Keka – The Startup That Took The Route Less Travelled!

  • The quest to attain customer delight
  • The right startup mix

The startup ecosystem has gained a lot of momentum over the past few years, and we have witnessed the startup culture flourish like never before. While some were left behind in the race, the ambitious ones have succeeded in leaving their mark in their respective markets. One such startup that paved its way to become a well-known and trusted brand in the Indian HR ecosystem is Keka HR.

The founder of Keka HR, Vijay Yalamanchili says that the idea of developing Keka came out of disappointment while using the conventional HR software in the market. Basically, they were tired of using software that had complex interfaces and limited functionalities, which made it difficult for the HRs to manage their people process. Instead of just sitting idle and complaining, they fueled their efforts to create software that not only eases the burden of the HR personnel but also offers employees a seamless experience through its simple and interactive interface.

Being a bootstrap startup, Keka concentrated more on the fundamental aspects of bridging the gaps in a traditional HRMS system and focused on the client’s needs. Unlike other cliche HR tech organizations, Keka placed more emphasis on bringing out an intuitive system which would streamline entire HR process and automate the mundane activities, rather than just focusing on sales. The HR personnel now have more time to invest in strategic aspects rather just managing administrative functions. This approach has played a vital role in setting Keka apart from the rest. However, their journey to be the pioneer had just begun as they scaled their client base to 3000+, acquiring an elite group of clienteles on the way including names like OYO, Karcher, Dream11, OnePlus, Vedanta, etc.

The Quest to Attain Customer Delight!  

Nonetheless, this journey was not as smooth as it sounds. Like every other company, Keka as well, had its own share of roadblocks in the way.

Sharing the journey further, Vijay said, “Working in a startup environment requires people to be passionate and have constant zeal towards growth. One of the most crucial challenges for Keka was to hire the right talent who were self-driven and excited to work. In addition to this, the other major challenge was funding. As a bootstrap startup, money was also a major concern for us.”

And in a span of just 4 years Keka was able to grow 7X in size and 400 times in revenue, they became one of the most dominant players in HR and Payroll tech market in India.

Well, how did they do that?

“It happens, when a dedicated and energetic team with growth-oriented mentality, works towards a clear and unified objective and gets nurtured in an accommodating work environment.” said Vijay. 

He also added that the quality of the product and proactive service to our client turned on the ‘Customer Delight’. And with the organic marketing they were able to pave their way towards success.

The Right Startup Mix? 

The right market, the right product or the right team?  

According to Vijay, “Market and products are dynamic and are subject to change, but the team is your foundation upon which you built your organization. A great team opens up scopes in the market. If my product would have failed, I would have pivoted to a new product with the same team.”

And when asked to share his secrets to a successful startup for the budding entrepreneurs, he specified the steps below that he follows:

  • Always make sure to validate your idea with data.
  • Research and analysis of your target market is a must.
  • Study your customers and identify their concerns
  • Offer solutions rather than just selling your products
  • Ensure that you hire the right set of people as your workforce

“No Matter How Brilliant Your Mind or Strategy, If You’re Playing a Solo Game, You’ll Always Lose Out to a Team” – Reid Hoffman 

The Bottom Line: 

Right from building the idea to now being one of the leading HR software in India, there is no looking back for Keka since then! With just starting as a rudimentary HR and payroll software, they now offer solutions from hire to retire. They have left no stone unturned in the journey throughout with the dedicated teamwork and succeeded at being the best Employee Experience Platform!

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Bhagyashree shreenath

Bhagyashri Shreenath is a full-time Content Specialist and a part-time influencer. 

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