SaaS startups in India – Ones to look for in 2021

The Software as a Service industry is booming in the nation. It is slowly becoming the need of the hour. The SaaS industry  is picking up faster than ever. Read in detail about top SaaS companies in India. But before that, let’s understand the meaning of SaaS and how it works.

What is SaaS? 

SaaS is typically Software as a Service and is all about delivering applications over the web as a service, may it be on-demand, web-based or hosted software. It is a software licensing model which allows access to software on a subscription basis. This is done by using external servers.

Accessing programs is possible without installing the software on the user’s device. SaaS has innumerable applications such as email services, auditing functions, automation, managing documents, sharing company calendars (useful for scheduling events) , Customer Relationship Management which is an integral part of business.

SaaS is a part of cloud software and it may include applications from office tools to email. Popular examples of SaaS include Google Docs, Dropbox, Slack, Mailchimp, HubSpot, DocuSign, Netflix, Microsoft Office 365 amongst others. 

Types of SaaS companies 

B2B SaaS 

B2B SaaS, meaning Business to Business SaaS refers to companies who sell software as a service to other businesses. Such products help organizations and companies to automate internal functions and work efficiently. B2B SaaS companies have a main focus on customer success. 

Examples of B2B SaaS giants are Slack, Snowflake, OpsGenie, Google Cloud Platform, Splunk, Zoom.

B2C SaaS

B2C SaaS, in simple terms, means products and services that are sold to customers. This is an entirely different set of target audience and usually, buyers or customers are emotional in B2C SaaS. B2C SaaS businesses experienced a surge in 2018-19. Types of B2C SaaS companies include direct sellers, advertising-based, intermediaries,etc. 

Examples of top B2C SaaS companies include Asana, Shopify, SAP Concur.

Examples of B2B SaaS companies include Survey Monkey, HubSpot, Microsoft, Mailchimp, Canva, Adobe.

SaaS companies in India 

Zoho Corp

  • Headquarters: Chennai, Tamil Nadu 
  • Co-founders: Sridhar Vembu, Tony Thomas 
  • USP: Customer Relationship Management 

Today, a pro at dealing with CRM or Customer Relationship Management, Zoho was founded in 1996. With their consistent effort, Zoho has built a customer base of almost 50 million users globally. The type of this SaaS firm is both B2B and B2C. Being India’s largest SaaS firm, Zoho also offers IT infrastructure management, software maintenance and more. This SaaS company specializes in customer support and product development, as a result of which Zoho focuses on developing products for the Indian market. 

FreshWorks: Amongst the first SaaS companies in India

  • Headquarters: San Mateo, California, US (Company based in Chennai)
  • Co-founder, CEO: Girish Mathrubootham 
  • Founded in: 2010
  • USP: Customer Relationship Management 

FreshWorks is aimed towards easing the customer interaction as well as brand automation. In order to help brands and businesses stay focused, FreshWorks has set up an integrated multi-channel. Primarily designed to fulfil the demands and needs of businesses, FreshWorks was founded in 2010, with a focus on CRM i.e. Customer Relationship Management. 

Whatfix: Fixing your business right away!

  • CEO,Co-founder: Khadim Batti 
  • CPTO,Co-founder: Vara Kumar 
  • Headquarters: Bengaluru, India
  • San Jose, California 
  • USP: Performance Support

Prominently a B2B SaaS brand, Whatfix was founded back in 2014 with an aim to push training updates through the self-help mode. Whatfix provides in-app guidance and performance support for various web applications as well as software. Besides this, they have maintained an Omnichannel presence and provide in-app training to the users / employees. Whatfix is renowned for its outstanding customer service and stands as one of the top SaaS companies in India.

Web Engage: The Best Tool for Customer Engagement and Retention 

  • Headquarters: Mumbai, India
  • Co-founder and CEO: Avlesh Singh 
  • Co-founder and CTO: Ankit Utreja 
  • Founded in: 2011
  • USP: Marketing Automation 

Web Engage is a Mumbai-based SaaS platform. It was recognized and featured as one of the top SaaS companies in India. Most importantly, Web Engage provides its users with a personalized experience and lets people design targeted messaging for the lifecycle of the customers, thus helping in customer retention. They aim to activate dormant users and bring back those who abandon their carts after adding an item.

Leadsquared: The Leading Platform for CRM and Sales Automation 

  • Headquarters: Bengaluru, India 
  • Co-founders: 
  • CEO Nilesh Patel 
  • COO Prashant Singh
  • CPO Sudhakar Gorti 
  • Founded in: 2011
  • USP: Marketing Automation and Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Leadsquared is a leading SaaS company based in India that helps in tracking and seamless management of leads. They typically cater to B2B and B2C SaaS companies and are a great help in terms of lead conversion. Their products are user-friendly and affordable, making it another reason to choose Leadsquared. They take pride in driving high-velocity sales and having the best automation in place. 

Cloud Cherry – Cisco Webex Experience Management: The Ultimate Customer Experience 

  • Headquarters: Bengaluru, India
  • CEO, Co-founder: Vinod Muthukrishnan
  • Chief Evangelist, Co-founder: Vijay Lakshmanan 
  • Co-founder: Prem Viswanath 
  • Founded in: 2014
  • USP: Customer Experience Management 

Specially catering to and designed for the needs of customer-facing brands, businesses and organizations, Cloud Cherry is a customer feedback app. Apart from Bengaluru and Chennai in India, they have offices abroad. Cloud Cherry is hosted in Microsoft Azure and they combine mapping customer’s journey, integrations, and analytics that help with quick insights. Now, it’s been acquired by Cisco Webex Experience Management.

Chargebee: The Subscription-based SaaS Model

  • Headquarters: Chennai, India
  • Co-founder, CEO: Krish Subramanian
  • Co-founder, COO: Rajaraman Santhanam 
  • Co-founder,CTO: Saravanan KP 
  • Co-founder, Architect: Thiyagarajan T
  • Founded in: 2012
  • USP: Subscription Management, Revenue Management 

Chargebee as a SaaS company is into building billing software as well as subscription software. According to reports, Chargebee is India’s 11th unicorn as the company was able to raise $125 million in Series G Funding. Their international office is in Walnut, California, United States of America. Truly, it is one of the top SaaS companies and is continuing to grow each day.

Kiss Flow: A Unified Workplace in the Digital Arena

  • Headquarters: Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
  • Co-founder, CEO: Suresh Sambandam 
  • Founded in: 2012
  • USP: Work / Business Automation 

This SaaS model, Kiss Flow, was born out of OrangeScape, the parent organization by  the CEO Suresh Sambandam. Kiss Flow came into existence due to the rising need of work automation and the idea to put everything into one, I.e. integrating the all-in-one digital workplace solution. It also tracks performance of tasks.

Facilio: World’s Only SaaS Dealing With Data-Driven Building Operations and Maintenance 

  • Headquarters: Chennai, India 
  • Co-founder, CEO: Prabhu Ramachandran 
  • Co-founder: Krishnamoorthi Rangaswamy 
  • Founded in: 2017
  • USP: Data-Driven Building Operations ( Real Estate)

Facilio is useful for unifying real estate portfolios across various systems and to maintain a smooth workflow. It helps cut down 20% of the maintenance cost and relevant operations. Enterprise Management, Property Management, Enterprise BMS are included amongst the services offered.

How do SaaS companies make money?

There are various ways in which these SaaS companies earn revenue. Subscriptions work great for SaaS companies. Apart from this, there is upselling and affiliate sales. Setup fees are charged from a client while onboarding them. Advertising, customer service, reporting, white label licensing, etc. are a few other options to make money.

Lastly, who doesn’t love extra space, data or speed? Everyone does. SaaS companies can persuade customers or businesses the best with this option.

This helps gain a happy clientele with the right amount of trust. Also, a SaaS company can go for an Application Program Interface or API which is a beyond-the-application revenue stream. 

These sources of making money for SaaS companies in India and worldwide are beneficial only when appropriately defined and used. SaaS can prove to be a highly profitable business when a strategic revenue model is implemented. 

 Closing Thoughts 

I hope you enjoyed reading this listicle about leading SaaS companies in India. It includes a list of leaders and trend-setters in the SaaS industry. B2B and B2C SaaS is here to stay and it’s time you invest in SaaS as a business-owner or a customer. SaaS is surely profitable and beneficial in the long run.

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In her free time Vani loves storytelling and helping talent meet their aspirations. She has been a part of enterprise, growth stage startups & VC firms. She is driven to make stories and startups matter.

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