Tag Archives: product

Interview with Monish Darda, Founder of Contract Management Software Product Company ICERTIS

ICERTIS is a Pune-based software product company that makes cloud-based contract management software. Yesterday, they announced that they have raised $15 million in Series B funding led by Ignition Partners, and existing investors Greycroft Partners and Fidelity Growth Partners India.

ICERTIS is a provider of contract lifecycle management (CLM) in the cloud. In the last year itself the company signed on clients like Cognizant, HBO and Airtel. In addition to helping users create contracts, the software provided by the company also tracks when terms are met, ensures regulatory compliance, and automates administrative tasks like sending renewal reminders.

We took this opportunity to catch up with Co-Founder and CTO, Monish Darda.

Congratulations on the new funding round. Can you discuss some of the funding details, and the expansion plans.

Thanks! We announced our Series B funding today – we raised $15 million, led by Ignition Partners and current investors – Fidelity and Greycroft. We plan to use the funds to expand our global operations, invest in marketing, and further enhance the Icertis Contract Management platform.

Can you talk about the vision for ICERTIS, and the product direction?

Our vision is to apply the cloud to unlock the power of contracts. The cloud has enabled the extended enterprise to be connected in ways unimaginable just a few years ago, and we are at the forefront of that technology revolution, helping the business get better and more efficient. We were one of the first Cloud Software Vendors to build on Microsoft Azure – Icertis Contract Management has evolved into a powerful platform for managing all types of contracts and is super easy to use, getting the consumer experience to enterprise apps. We will continue to build on that platform.

What is ‘Contract Management’, and how does software help in improving this business process?

Contracts bring the enterprise together – whether you are hiring, or acquiring a company and everything in between, you have a contract to make that happen. Icertis Contract Management (ICM), is a cloud-based contract lifecycle management platform designed to help global enterprises turn its contracts into powerful business assets. ICM provides a 360-degree view into an organization’s contract operations to increase compliance, improve governance, mitigate risk and enhance user productivity.

What are the industries, market segments where the ICERTIS Contract Management Solution is deployed? Can you talk about any customer examples?

Icertis Contract Management is deployed across many industries and market segments as it is able to manage all types of contracts. The platform is used to manage over 2 million contracts in 40+ languages by over 500,000+ users in 150+ countries. We have an elite roster of customers including Becton Dickinson, Cognizant, HBO, Microsoft, and Skullcandy; all of which use ICM to enhance productivity, increase commercial compliance, improve governance, and mitigate risk.

Can you discuss some of the technology issues in the solution? What are the technical challenges?

We developed the Icertis Contract Management platform Cloud First. This Born-in-the-Cloud Enterprise App sent some unique and interesting challenges our way: around security, robustness and integration. Cloud development philosophy is “loosely coupled,” bringing with it a different way of thinking, and attention to detail. We have explored the nooks and crannies of Azure, we use almost all PaaS services that Microsoft Azure provides – I don’t think there is so much Azure expertise concentrated so much anywhere else! Keeping up with the platform, and adopting it to deliver a best in class platform has been challenging, fun and fulfilling.

Can you share some thoughts about your entrepreneurial journey so far? What advice would you have founders who are just getting started with their startup venture?

I love the excitement. Entrepreneurship is in my bloodstream, and it is a high! Two bits of advice: First, go all in. You have to believe from day 0 that you are going to make it, so don’t hold back; if you don’t, it is not for you. Second, don’t overthink. That leads to starting trouble, procrastination and loss of confidence. Doing things and being smart about knowing your boundaries really helps!

This is an exciting time for India – the land of opportunity is here, nowhere else. Grab it with all you have got.

Pune’s @PersistentSys, @Zensar, Kirloskars, KPIT start I4C, a non-profit to mentor product innovators

Top Executives from Pune’s Persistent Systems, Intel Ventures India, Zensar, Deloitte, Kirloskars, KPIT, and a bunch of other companies have come together to create I4C (Inter-Institutional Inclusive Innovations Center), a non-profit public-private-people-media partnership organization that aims to strengthen the product innovation market in India.


The primary objective of i4C is to scout, showcase and mentor technology innovators and help them market products, which have the potential to positively impact the lives of people, he added.

Who is involved? Here are some interesting names. Anand Deshpande of Persistent is involved and:

Other prominent members of i4C include Ganesh Natarajan (Vice Chairman and CEO at Zensar), Kirloskar Brothers President (Innovations Society) Pratima Kirloskar, KPIT Chairman and CEO Ravi Pandit, Deloitte Partner Hemant Joshi and Sakal Media Group Chairman Prataprao Pawar, among others.

What are their goals?

“We want to help ‘productise’ 100 innovations in the nex three years. Innovators face a number of challenges ranging from funding to patents to right mentors and this is where we want to help,” i4C co-founding Director Arun Jamkar said.

And these are the areas that they plan to focus on:

i4C will search for technology innovations in the fields of Healthcare and Diagnostics, Water and Energy conservation, Information Technology, Engineering, Environment, Defence and Agriculture.

Read the full article

More About I4C

For more information, check out http://inclusiveinnovations.in. Anand Deshpande tells PuneTech that:

This is an open forum and we are keen to have more participants.

Those interested are encouraged to contact I4C via this contact form, or email idea@i4c.co.in

I4C also runs an annual Innovations Conference where they invite nominations for innovators in Health Care, Water, and Technology, and the best innovations are felicitated at the event, and also invited to pitch to get funded. The event was held in December last year, and received over 9000 nominations.

The call for nominations for next year’s event is already open.

Quick Heal plans initial public offer in Dec-Jan – Financial Express

Financial Express reports that Pune-based computer security software products company Quick Heal is planning an IPO in Dec-Jan.

This is likely to be Pune’s first software product company IPO, unless Pubmatic manages to do an IPO before that (which is still quite possible).

Excerpts from the article:

In 2010, the Pune-based company was valued at Rs 600 crore, when Sequoia invested Rs 60 crore for a 10 per cent stake.

Sales have grown from Rs 10 crore a decade ago, to over Rs 215 crore in FY 13 and expects to cross Rs 250 crore mark in FY 14, Katkar said.

“Over a span of 20 years the company’s R&D has focused on computer and network security solutions. We now plan to expand new products range with the launch of new version of end point security (EPS) in July-August this year. We are also offering data loss prevention and mobile devise management to our customers,” Katkar said.

The company has more than 8 million customers in 60 countries. The company has strong global presence with offices in Dubai, Japan, USA and Kenya. It plans to strengthen the staff strength in these offices and looking at opening new office in Europe and Australia in the near future, he added.

QuickHeal, which claims a 35 per cent market share in India’s consumer anti-virus market, was founded by Pune-based brothers Kailash Katkar and Sanjay Katkar.

Read the full article

Interview with @KevinHenrikson of @Acompli, hot mobile startup with Pune connections

Mobile email startup Acompli has been in the news recently for raising $7.3 million in funding.

Kevin Henrikson, co-founder Acompli, has a long history with Pune, and Acompli has a 4-person team in Pune which is expected to grow. Kevin is visiting Pune this week, and we took the opportunity to interview him for the benefit of PuneTech readers.

Can you give a quick overview of Acompli as you see it?

iPhone Email Just Got a Promotion. Acompli allows professionals to take more action with email on their mobile devices. Leveraging the full capabilities of smartphones, Acompli uniquely combines advanced email, full calendaring, file sharing, predictive search and smart contacts into one powerful app. Request an early invite to the iPhone app at http://www.acompli.com

Can you give an overview of Acompli’s development activities in Pune and overall – in terms of team size, composition, and responsibilities?

Vishwesh Jirgale leads a team of 4. The focus is identical to those in the San Francisco, CA USA office. Make Acompli the best place to work for those focuse on solving the hardest problems for professionals on mobile using email. Team is made up of experienced experts in both the email and mobile space.

Specifically, can you give details of the technology stack you’re working on, the kinds of skills that your team has, and generally the cool technology challenges you’re tackling?

We’ve got a very modern tech stack. Server side Java running on AWS talking to mailboxes on both Gmail and Exchange. We have a Python based Frontend device API proxy and a custom binary TCP based protocol that delivers lightening fast dat to our iOS Objective C client. In short we use the best tech for the task and are very focused on both end-user UX and speed of the application.

How did Acompli land up in Pune? Can you talk about the structure, and other important aspects of this relationship?

9 years ago I started a team in Pune for my last company Zimbra. After 12 trips to Pune in the last 9yrs it’s become like my second home. I know so many people and have so many friends it was an obvious choice for us when starting Acompli. Vishwesh and I connected via mutual friends and we quickly assembled a team from within our networks. Having a team in both Pune and San Francisco is a huge advantage to a small company like Acompli. We get 24/7 coding and operations support. We also get to hire the best talent from two super strong software cities.

Doing geographically distributed development is always a challenge – how are you tackling this problem at Acompli Pune?

Number #1: Hire great people. Great communicators, great engineers. The rest really just falls into line. Also you need to spend time together. I’ll be back in Pune the first week of March. This constant face-time with the team is the best way to build a strong team and great relationship. It’s also the best way to recruit. We are looking to hire a Sr Java Platform engineer and a Sr Android engineer. For communication we use Google Hangouts. It works really well.

(Kevin is visiting Pune this week. Those interested in meeting him should get in touch with him or Vishwesh)

Roundtable Meet on Building a global software product company from India

iSPIRT is a group/forum/think-tank of software professionals in India who are focused on strengthening India’s Software Product industry. More information about iSPIRT is here.

iSPIRT is organizing a couple of events in Pune in June to help take the discussion forward. One of them is a roundtable discussion on the challenges with building a global software product company from India, on 15th June, from 1pm to 5:30pm, at Sapience office in Shivajinagar.

This roundtable will focus on companies that are selling beyond India’s borders. It will address the challenges faced with building global operations for a software product company. Topics include product management, sales, marketing, product development, infrastructure, hiring, timings and cross-border communication. While the topics can be varied, the unifying theme is challenge of cross-border operation for various functions. This roundtable is brought to you by iSPIRT. One of the initiatives of iSPIRT is to convert conversations into playbook for product entrepreneurs.

The main objective is to enable a free exchange of ideas and best practices to help attendees in running cross-border functions in their company more effectively. The roundtable will be highly interactive. Though not necessary, attendees can derive the most benefit if they are pre-prepared some notes prior to the roundtable.

A 30-min presentation by Samir Palnitkar including interactive Q&A. This presentation will summarize Samir Palnitkar’s personal experiences in setting up cross-border operations in two companies, ShopSocially and AirTight Networks.

There are only 12 companies which will get to attend this RoundTable. If you are interested, please fill this form and we will confirm your participation. More details can be found here

Pune Startup launches Vaultize – Cloud-Based Enterprise Backup & DR

Pune Startup Anoosmar Technologies, has just come out of stealth mode, and announced the public beta of Vaultize, which they describe as:

Vaultize is next generation data protection: cloud-based backup and disaster recovery that also enables collaboration between users, synchronization of devices and sharing over web. Vaultize turns your zero-returns investment in backup into an asset that improves availability, increases productivity and makes sharing easy.

Anoosmar Technoloies has been founded by Anand Kekre and Ankur Panchbudhe, both of whom are Pune old-timers, with an ex-Veritas (Symantec), and ex-McAfee background. Both of them have been in the data protection, security, and storage space for over 10 years, and have deep expertise in enterprise infrastructure software. Between them they have 64 US patents.

Before you dismiss Vaultize by comparing it with Dropbox, or , remember that Vaultize is not a consumer product – it is targeting the enterprise space. In that sense, I see Vaultize as more of a competitor to Pune’s Druva. However, given the backgrounds of the founders of Druva and founders of Vaultize, I would be tempted to guess that Druva is likely to be more interested in enterprise backup, and replication and generally areas more to do with performance and availability in an enterprise, while Vaultize is likely to move more in the direction of archiving, and e-discovery and generally areas more to do with risk management and legal compliance. But that’s pure speculation – I might be wrong.

Also check out the customer case studies page and the management team page.

Druva is one of the few Pune software product companies that has received funding from well known VCs, and hence, Anoosmar, which has a similar pedigree and similar target markets, is a company to watch closely.