Dear Reader, Entrepreneur’s Corner is pleased to feature this interview of Srikanth Muralidhara, Co-Founder of the Bangalore-based Decision Sciences Company, Flutura Solutions, that focuses on M2M (machine to machine) and Big Data analytics. The company, started by Krishnan Raman, Srikanth Muralidhara and Derick Jose has recently made news, by being the first company to be invested in by The Hive India. This is a Fund anchored by the siblings Amit and Arihant of the Patni family, set up to invest in the area of data analytics. Srikanth is the managing partner and the Head of Customer Success at Flutura. He has close to 17 years experience in the IT industry and has wide experience ranging from embedded systems to analytics.
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Question: What triggered your journey into entrepreneurship?
Answer: Krishnan, Derick and myself incubated the Analytics business for our erstwhile company Mindtree where we worked together for a decade. It was a fantastic journey and we wanted to do this all over again. We also saw multiple large forces at play with transformational programs taking off world wide like our own Aadhaar initiative, assess to ubiquitous and attractive price/performance technology to innovate, and our subdued urge to build products.
“Passion met opportunity and we took the leap !”
Question: How did you build early traction and customers?
Answer: The initial team which came together to create Flutura had deep expertise accumulated over the last 2 decades and had engineered some game changing solutions to several Fortune 500 companies globally. Long standing relationships in the industry helped us win our first few customers and then WOM from these initial customers continues to follow-on.
Question: The percentage of companies that get funded in India is quite low, what has made you successful in raising external funding for your company? Are there any learnings that you can share from this process? Can you give us 3 key reasons as to why you got funded?
Answer: This was our first experience raising funds. The path had quite a few unknown unknowns. By design or otherwise the best thing which happened to us was, we had a good set of trustworthy mentors to guide us at various stages of our journey.
3 reasons why we think we got funded – Team, Opportunity space, Ability to Execute (initial revenue traction always helps)
Having said this I found a lot of VC s’ to be risk averse. A lot of them expect all answers to be available from day 1.
Question: If you look back at the funding process, what could you have done better to make you more prepared to face investors?
Answer: Having mentors eases out a lot of unknowns. I don’t think we would have done anything radically different. Choosing the right mentors takes time. A lot of people are very courteous and don’t call a spade a spade. We have been lucky on this aspect.
Question: What do you think are your strengths?
Answer: Our fabulous team with an obsession to solve business problems for our customers.
Our marquee customers – a growing list of fortune 50 companies.
We are experimenting with a lot of new ideas, I guess “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish” culture inspired by the great man keeps us going.
Question: What are your key worries about the next 1 year, the next 3 years?
Answer: Longer sales cycles I guess which is now becoming a norm across sectors.
Question: What do you like/dislike about the ecosystem for entrepreneurship in Bangalore, in India?
Answer: I think there is a lot of help available in the ecosystem to leverage and go through the journey. No complaints! It is a great time to start. There are lots of opportunities.
Question: Are there any other insights / learnings / experiences you would like to share with a company that has survived the initial phase and is looking at growth?
Answer: For us, this journey has been a journey of personal discovery. You will realize the power of the sub-conscious mind at play. Its an exciting and a fantastic learning journey. Every day we learn something new. Its easy to say enjoy it 🙂 .. It’s high highs and low lows.
Identifying the business problem you want to solve really takes a long time. We underestimated this. The good thing is we are conscious about it. It helps to pivot quickly.
I would summarize this journey with this quote from Alan Alda.
“The creative is the place where no one else has ever been.
You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful.
What you’ll discover is yourself.” — Alan Alda