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BW Businessworld

Always Ahead Of The Curve

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Twenty-seven-year-old twins Anant and Anuj Garg were in class VII when they developed a website for their school, Our Lady of Perpetual Succour (OLPS), in Chembur. A website was not something schools were known to have in 1998, and OLPS may well have been one of the first to have one in Mumbai.

For the next three to four years, the twins designed and developed websites for their family, friends and relatives till they turned 16. It was then that the Garg brothers decided to set up Inscripts, and start charging for their work. The brothers operated the company from home, and had a joint bank account for the income received for their work.

But it was not until 2009 that the brothers, after completing their education — Anant did his bachelor’s in engineering from the KJ Somaiya College of Engineering and Anuj his master’s in commerce from RA Podar College of Commerce and Economics — registered the company and moved into the office premises in Chembur.

Four years on, Inscripts is a software firm that offers innovative products that help website owners increase site engagement with and among users.
Sector: Software
Founders: Anant Garg and Anuj Garg
Year Of Inception: 2009
Base: Mumbai
Capital Invested: Less than Rs 1 crore
Investors: None
Employees: 70
Key Customers: Nike, BharatMatrimony, Aegon Religare
Key Competitors:
Envolve, Meebo, Wibiya
Since its inception, the duo was making money by designing websites for Indian companies. “But it was in 2004 that we launched our first product — Envision — an image gallery. It was followed by a product that was more like an alumni register that educational institutes could use for their database,” says Anuj. Both products witnessed thousands of downloads, which led to the brothers deciding to focus on software products.

Inscripts now offers a range of products for website owners. Its flagship product is CometChat — a software used by websites to engage with their customers — which has been deployed by tens of thousands of sites across 127 countries. The Gargs refuse to compare their product with Gtalk or Facebook chat, with Anant saying, “It is very different from them, especially the purpose behind the product... Let us say that a visitor on BW Businessworld’s Web page wants to interact with another visitor. The visitor will have to go to another platform like Gtalk for that, but that is not profitable for BW, since ideally all websites want their visitors to stay on their page for the maximum time possible. So we have CometChat (which has to be bought and installed) that would enable all visitors to the Web page to learn who else was currently present on the Web page and then interact with them directly on the website.”

The brothers say that while India is being touted as an IT hub, there are not many products coming out of the country. “But you can easily recall a lot of products by Microsoft, Oracle or other global IT firms,” says Anuj. The duo say that they decided to plug this gap with products that help websites retain visitor who would otherwise have moved on to social networking sites.

Inscripts has also been designing other products that can be easily used by websites globally, such as a centralised music and announcement set-up for retail chains that will allow one nerve-centre to simultaneously broadcast information/music across all outlets. The firm is also experimenting with a chat bot (instead of an actual person, like on CometChat) that can answer frequently asked questions on websites.

The company, with its ready-to-use software, also allows its customers to quickly deploy their products, on both Android and iOS platforms.

Inscripts has come a long way from its beginnings as a small, at-home outfit started by two teenagers. It is now a successful multi-crore software solutions business for websites. It has no ‘formal’ investors, and whatever the Gargs earn from their products and savings from their erstwhile website designing days is what is ploughed back into Inscripts as investment. “In a way you can say that our parents were angel investors as most of our expenses related to electricity or other overheads were taken care of by them, since we lived with them. I guess that increased our risk appetite,” says Anuj.

For the initial two years after registering the company, both Anuj and Anant operated from their father’s office in Chembur. For their employees — now a team of 70 — an office space was leased. “Recently, we purchased new office space where we and our staff will shift,” says Anant.
“The access is commendable. They are readily available for a person to pay and get the product”
By switching lanes to product development from website development, the brothers claim Inscripts has witnessed an exponential growth in its revenues and net profit. The company’s revenue grew by more than 100 per cent year on year in FY11 and by 61 per cent in FY12; its net profit also grew by more than 100 per cent in FY11 and by 60 per cent in FY12.

Inscripts mainly offers three types of solutions — the first is customised chat solutions for websites, software-as-a-service applications and intranet; the second is developing custom components for websites and mobile phones; and the third is staff leasing and outsourcing.

However, the Gargs hinted that they may shut down the outsourcing segment since they intend to focus on product development.

Inscripts expects to grow by around 40 per cent annually for the next few years, driven by new product development and launches. Anuj and Anant envision a growth trajectory and scalability for Inscripts, and have a plan in place. “We are not a one-product company and have a variety of products to offer,” says Anuj.

Inscripts recently launched SellMojo, a financial transaction product enabling users to set up stores on social networking sites, mainly Facebook. “Say, someone who is making cupcakes has a Facebook page; then customers can directly buy the products on the page itself by paying through SellMojo,” says Anant. The company is also developing products targeted at the retail industry.

For now, the duo has its sights set on the immediate future, claiming that in the IT industry, there are no long-term trends — change is the only constant.

(This story was published in BW | Businessworld Issue Dated 22-04-2013)