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CustomerXPs Aims To Help Businesses Provide 'Kirana Store' Experience To Customers

CustomerXPs Software Pvt Ltd is a Bangalore-based developer of intelligent, real-time solutions, designed to enhance customer experience management (CEM) and enterprise fraud management (EFM). And it is also a Techcircle Fastracker 2012, securing a place among the top 20 tech startups. Set up in 2006 by a team of four – Rivi Varghese (CEO), Aditya Lal (CTO), Balaji Suryanarayana (COO) and Sandhya V (CFO and HR head)  "the company caters to several industry segments like financial services, e-commerce, retail and telecom.

Interestingly, the name of the company actually illustrates its focus. CustomerXPs stands for Customer eXPerience eXPerts. But there is more behind the concept.

"If things like product prices, choice of brands and ambience are not a concern, majority of the people will prefer to go to a kirana store (neighbourhood shop) for their shopping instead of going to a supermarket. And the reason is simple. Unlike a supermarket, every time you go to a kirana shop, a recall happens. The store owner knows what you want and caters to your needs accordingly, without being prompted to do so. The same concept is true for any business if there is constant and repeat customer interactions (like it happens in banks, retail stores and telecom industry, etc.)," explains Varghese, co-founder and CEO of the company.

"But in today's world, the 'kirana store experience' (basically personalised servicing) is largely missing and that is where we come in. Our product can make banks smarter, faster and better. But it's not meant for the banks alone. Our solutions can work very well for others, such as retail stores, telecom providers and insurance companies," he adds.

The Beginning

Varghese was earlier working at Infosys' Finacle as head of product management (delivery channels) and was a product manager at Microsoft prior to that. He holds an MBA degree from IIM-Bangalore. Lal worked with Infosys' Finacle Architecture team before joining Amazon.com as a principal architect where he architected and delivered Amazon's flexible payment Web service. He holds a B.Tech degree from IIT Kanpur.

Before co-founding CustomerXPs, Suryanarayana was working for Accenture and he has more than 15 years of experience in software product development, implementation, business solutions and operations. Sandhya, a CA by profession, was the finance controller at one of the largest business units of Infosys.

In its early days, the company was managing solely on the personal savings of the founders. But things changed in 2008 when it received around $1 million in angel funding from Sharad Hegde, former Infosys CTO and the IT bellwether's first non-founder employee who made a premature exit from the company in 2003. The first customer of CustomerXPs was ICICI Bank (acquired in March 2010) and the company raised $4 million in its first round of VC funding from a fund managed by JAFCO Investment (Asia Pacific) Ltd in April 2011.

Product & Business Model

The company's flagship product Clari5 offers real-time, intelligent solutions in the areas of CEM and EFM, enabling businesses to analyse and interpret every transaction in real time.

The CEM solution delivers instant, contextual intelligence across three dimensions (tacit, actionable and conversational). It also helps in understanding situations, emotions and behaviour of customers to adjust responses to the interaction as it unfolds and converts data into applicable intelligence that results in credible insights.

The EFM solution proactively combats cross-channel and cross-product fraud; combats sophisticated fraud with real-time, actionable insights; and reduces the overhead of managing multiple point solutions, among others.

The company has a licensing-based revenue model which means it licenses its product to banks, telecom companies, retail and online players for which it earns revenues in the form of licensing fees. The company also earns recurring revenues in the form of annual maintenance contracts (AMC) or annual technical support (ATS), which is a percentage of the original licensing fee.

Competitors & Challenges

According to Varghese, entering established markets will be a challenge for the company as the product offering does not target the masses.

The company's competitors include Portrait Software, Pegasystems, Inc, CA Technologies, Inc and NICE Actimize, among others.

"But the biggest differentiating factor is that we are 'real time' and we maintain a 'customer state machine' kind of approach, which not only looks at past data but also at the new information as and when it comes in. Additionally, the information is interpreted and pushed to the touch point in real time," says Varghese.

Opportunities & Expansion Plans

Currently, the company has two offices in Bangalore and the employee strength is around 85. It will, however, increase the number to around 100 in the next six months. The company is also planning to raise more funding in Q3, 2012. The capital raised in the new round will be utilised to enter other verticals like retail and SaaS (Software as a Service) and also to expand into global markets (by leveraging Cloud).

"We are now in the high-end adoption phase and increasing our customer base, both in India and an international level," says Varghese. "The scope of growth is huge since every bank around the world has a requirement for our product offering. Additionally, the fact that we are also looking at other verticals like retail (including e-tail) and telecom only means that the opportunity is going to increase with time," he adds.

The company is not profitable yet but Varghese claims that it should start making profits by the end of 2013.

Ask him what's in store and Varghese promptly replies, "Everything about us and our company is long term and like every other committed entrepreneur, we, too, yearn for an IPO in the not-so-distant future."

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