“There’s a way to do it better – find it.” –Thomas A. Edison
That’s exactly what Vijay Yalamanchili, Founder and CEO of Keka did way back in 2015 when he was frustrated with the inefficient existing options when hunting for an able HRMS for his software services company. And so was born Keka-an HR and payroll software-that was created to relieve HR of the mundane, tedious and monotonous activities that clench much of their time, leaving no time to focus on the core assets of the company- the employees.
Vijay reveals, “We realized that though there has been a massive transformation from where the world of HR was a decade back, it still needs a strong shoulder to rely on. The progress and boost needed to make worthy changes in a company to allow the business to grow rapidly, efficiently and productively were lacking and we knew just the right solution for it.”
A software that’s centered on smooth experience for employees
Keka HR is ultimately a software built around and centered on employees. While most traditional HR systems are geared towards making life simple for the administration, Keka’s product is designed to deliver a smooth and seamless user experience to the workforce. It does so by simplifying complicated workflows that take up so much of employers’ time, effort, resources, and expertise. With all information, including leave balances, employee documents, teammates’ details, events, pay slips, and several others on the Keka portal, employees no longer have to run errands or keep punching in mails to get their HR-related tasks done.
Meanwhile for businesses and organizations that are looking to graduate from old-fashioned, traditional workforce management practices, it is a one stop solution. It offers payroll to modules like Performance Management, Timesheet, ATS and many others. With Keka HR, enterprises and organizations can process payroll without any hitch and manage their workforce easily.
Everything is data-driven, which helps organizations make smarter decisions. In addition, the platform also comes with blended traditional and innovative features that make attracting, acquiring, and nurturing top talent a breeze.
From 400 customers to 3750+ companies while being bootstrapped
Keka’s growth journey started on a strong note with 400 customers joining within a year of inception. Over the past five years, it has witnessed an exponential growth curve as it managed to double both revenue and number of customers almost every year. Today, 3750+ companies trust Keka with their HR automation needs, which includes names like Vedanta, Toyota, Hyundai, upGrad, OYO, Hitachi, Razorpay, and many others.
More importantly, this growth has come with the company choosing to remain bootstrapped despite the heavy influx of funding in the HR Tech space over the years.
On this aspect, Vijay shares, “As the company grows and the footprint expands, getting the right kind of help in line with the company's values is essential. Keka truly has an inclusive growth mindset as opposed to a growth at all costs that several financial investors expect.”
The pandemic punch
That being said, the uncertainty brought about by the pandemic impacted Keka too. It made a dent in the inflow of new customers, which directly affected over 60% of Keka’s new revenue.
However, banking on its years of experience and the conviction that the tide would soon turn, Keka took the leap of faith to invest in core activities even further, including marketing- something that it had shied away from since inception, relying only on word of mouth and pure customer love.
While the months of April, May and June were the worst, July signaled a turnaround for all the efforts that the company had put in. The doubling down on sales, core product enhancement, and investment in the team ultimately enabled the team to double its revenue figure of 2019-almost an unbelievable feat in the uncertain times of 2020. Over the past year and a half, new revenue per month has almost tripled, with the number of new customers has increased by 2.5 times per month.
In particular, this doubling down and focusing especially on the SME market during these times by going after it segment by segment enabled it address a huge gap and secure a pole position in the SME HR Tech space in India.
“Doing the right things and doing things right require time and a mission-focused mindset among all stakeholders. Doing right by customers, employees and the product requires measured and purposeful growth. For the Indian market, this did not require a large amount of capital,” Vijay reveals.
Differentiating by creating digital workplaces where employees feel safe and flourish
When it comes to the competition, Vijay believes that unless there is competition, there is no progress. Every phase of Keka’s journey was a competition in itself where the company battled with its product’s previous efficacy and features to create simpler, more efficient, and an enhanced version.
When it comes to the market, Keka competes on 3 levels- the local SME, mid-segment market and the mid-enterprise market as the depth and breadth of the product snugly fits them.
Moreover, the pandemic has pushed a lot of customers to embrace technology further, boosting the demand for products like Keka. Companies that were earlier using excel sheets or on-premise solutions are looking for cloud solutions now. Working from anywhere, 24x7 availability seem to be hygiene today. In a post-pandemic world too, companies will be keen to permanently embed a completely digitized and remote mode of working, thus leaving more scope for HR leaders to devote their time more fruitfully towards organizational and employee growth.
It is this mindset of being an employee-centric product that Keka considers as its biggest differentiation factor.
Vijay aptly sums up, “When we stepped into the HR market, we noticed a void that existed in this arena. Companies were concentrating on other aspects and completely ignoring the real purpose behind creating the software. We took it on ourselves to fill this void and today we are successfully helping employee-centric companies to focus on these assets and transform themselves. Our mission is to create digital workplaces where employees feel safe and flourish to do their best and we can see it happening already, so that’s quite a feat for us!”
Hear Vijay Yalamanchili, Founder and CEO of Keka, speak at People Matters TechHR 2021. Click here to register.