STARTUP THE BUG BUSTERS

Avekshaa checks for bugs in the client’s software code and ensures that all its components run smoothly

By Vishal Krishna

HEY SAY the strength of the chain is in the weakest link. This adage can be ap­plied to, say, data flow management in a connected car ecosystem. The data gen­erated by the car’s telematics system and the mobile device is transmitted through a network and stored in a server. On top of this “pipe” is middleware and a fire­wall protecting the data shared between corporates, consumers, telecom operators and dealerships. If this ecosystem does not maintain a continuous flow and, if any latency in the software sets in, it may be cata­strophic for the company — a system failure can send its fortunes reeling. Hence, the need for experts to avert a situation of this sort. Such an expert is the Bangalore- based startup, Avekshaa.

The company checks IT systems of big companies for bugs in the code and gets the pieces ready for integra­tion. Once the pieces are placed together, Avekshaa’s engineers make doubly sure that all components of the software work in unison. “Failure in information technology.

The assurance space in which Ave­kshaa operates is a lucrative one. Re­search firm Butler Group says com­panies lose $73 billion each year due to bugs and scalability issues in their software. The market size for firms in this space is $8.5 billion and it is growing at 20 per cent year-on-year.nology (IT) systems impacts cus­tomer service and eventually dam­ages corporate reputation,” says Rajinder Gandotra, one of Avek- shaa’s founding partners.

“Traditional IT business services are commoditised and no longer hold the edge in serving complex business practices,” says V. Balakrishnan, for­mer Infosys chief financial officer and now, founder of Xfinity Ven­tures. Considering that IT services firms are grappling with automation and also with employing more people to test complex IT practices, he be­lieves the platform offered by Avek­shaa could change the way assurance businesses operate.

Avekshaa was started in 2010 by Ashutosh Shinde, Arun Ramu, Gan­dotra — all former employees of Info­sys — and Ramnik Singh, with a novel business pitch. They went to the big banks and convinced them that Avekshaa could provide assur­ance, security and scalability of IT infrastructure on an automated plat­form and also give them (banks) a second opinion of the work already executed by the bank’s IT vendor.

Modus Operandi

Of course, the fact that the four part­ners were former executives in large technology companies, where they had won and managed business lines worth $1.5 billion, helped, when they started Avekshaa. “We build compu­tational techniques that automate the migration of core applications and this sets us apart from other companies,” says Shinde.

In a particular case, wljen In- duslnd Bank changed its core bank­ing solution across its 461 branches and 852 ATMs, Avekshaa made sure the system did not suffer on the per­formance front. The system went live in a single day and issues across the technology stack were identified and mitigated well in advance. “With the transformation, the technology al­lowed significant growth in terms of client base and physical branch net­work,” says Paul Abraham, chief op­erating officer of Induslnd Bank.

“They (Avekshaa) helped us im­prove response time, which will ulti­mately improve customer experience with the bank,” says Sanjay Jaiswal, vice-president, IT, of Induslnd Bank.

Axis Bank too, has employed Avek- shaa’s services. “They delivered re­sults by improving efficiency and reli­ability of critical applications,” says R.V.S. Sridhar, president, IT and re­tail banking operations, at Axis Bank.

On The Money

Avekshaa is testimony to the fact that highly-paid successful executives can move out and make their ideas work. They seem to have read the story right because according to ana­lysts, 50 per cent of Indian corpo­rates will go digital by 2020 and

AVEKSHAA

FOUNDED: 2010

USP: Automates testing of the entire IT infrastructure onto a single platform TEAM: 40 members FOUNDERS: Ashutosh Shinde, Arun Ramu, Rajinder Gandotra and Ramnik Singh

INVESTMENT: $500,000 COMPETITION: Top IT vendors such as In­fosys, Accenture, Capgemini and Wipro

would need assurance companies to help scale their IT systems.

To Avekshaa’s credit, it is vendor- agnostic and can ease the pain points of a firm’s products by testing them in a multi-vendor scenario. “Indian en­trepreneurs have been successful in building business-to-business ser­vices. Startups that provide flexibil­ity, with automation, will be the ones to work with large companies,” says Sanchit Vir Gogia, CEO of consulting firm Greyhound Research.

Balakrishnan has invested Rs 25 lakh in Avekshaa as a pre-seed fund. It also raised $500,000 from KIT- VEN, the venture fund started by the Karnataka government. “We in­vested in this company because it had big banks as its customers and was solving a critical aspect of the client’s business,” says Manish Kumar of Karnataka Information Technology Venture Capital Fund.

While IT businesses across the world are getting commoditised, profit margins are getting thinner. To survive and maintain margins, com­panies must innovate. Analysts say automation can contribute to 33 per cent of net margins. “Software inte­grators are only looking at their end and not at the whole technology sphere in a corporation,” says Shinde. “In an ever converging world of IT systems, and the cloud, you cannot ignore the working of the entire pipe.”

Avekshaa has executed 250 proj­ects for 18 clients — 16 in India and two overseas. Of course, a corporate firm is bound to work well with a team whose combined work experi­ence is 75 years, and hence can do good business in India. But Avekshaa with its four partners hopes to build a global business in a short time and become a corporate itself.

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