NowFloats Start-up Helps SMEs to Create an Online Presence
NowFloats platform saves the time and effort businesses may have to spend in creating a website
NowFloats is a location- based disruptive technology backed; online and offline discovery platform which helps SME’s get discovered. The company’s USP lies in the fact that it’s a frictionless mobile technology that connects online consumers to local offline businesses. This startup helps companies create an online presence. It creates website which are auto-SEO enabled for SMB’s. This website helps customers get discovered by their potential customers -based on location.
With innovation deeply embedded in its very DNA, every 6 months NowFloats travels’ across India to uncover new tech behaviors and smartphone adoption. The insights gathered are then conveyed to the product development teams.
The highly scalable product provides a 4-pronged solution that is responsive, location based and optimized for enabling business discovery.
These are: Online presence: Bringing the business online instantly via SMS, Web and app Engagement: Personalized and customized prompting Content Creation: Domain relevant content by intelligent engagement
Discovery: Auto-optimized for location and content based discovery
As an added solution, the company provides an automated engagement feature (Relationship Intelligence Agent) and a multi-channel industry-specific prompting service using machine learning and artificial intelligence.
CHALLENGES FACED BY THE COMPANY FOR BUSINESS SETUP IN INDIA
“The challenges were mostly to do with the mindsets of people. There were naysayers in the beginning. The task of successfully creating a SaaS business for SMEs in India was perceived to be impossible. However, a good product never fails. Our company has not only acquired close to 250,000 customers in India, but has also proved that SMEs are willing to pay a premium price for a product that helps them grow their business organically on the internet”, Jasminder Singh Gulati, CEO and Co-Founder, NowFloats.
NowFloats was incepted in May 2012, with customer footprint across the United States, Asia, Europe, Africa and Australia with widespread presence across the Indian subcontinent. “Most of 2012 was dedicated to building the product. Winning the Microsoft BizSpark challenge gave us certain momentum to sustain. Although towards the end of that year, we did have a few hundred customers. This number increased exponentially in successive years and we’ve gained huge momentum in the market through our FOS sales force and strategic channel partnerships”, he said.
The product that the company offers is extremely easy to use and provides merchants with the autonomy to control their web presence and the information they choose to share on the web. It eliminates all pre-existing third party dependencies that are usually associated with establishing a web presence- there are no web developers, content writers, or SEO experts involved. Thousands of
businesses are self-sufficient and highly enabled through our platform, which spend very little time driving an omnichannel marketing strategy while gaining more customers as a result.
“As a company, NowFloats is deeply innovation oriented, and we build these innovations based on sound learning from our own market. This is where an initiative like the Digital Desh Drive becomes highly important for us- it helps us listen to the end users of the internet and create the right solutions for them. Often, there are impediments like lack of internet connectivity affecting an area, or simply cultural barriers that prevents women from accessing smartphones. We are able to understand how India really wants to use the internet, and that is invaluable to us,” he added.
CURRENT BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY IN THE INDIAN SMES MARKET
The MSME sector, regarded as the backbone of the India economy, is further expected to contribute significantly to India’s growing GDP. The industry segment will inevitably support India to improve nation’s financial inclusion and mitigate the urban rural divide.
According to Gulati, it is projected that by 2020, the country will have the largest job ready, youth population in the world and with favorable business ecosystem in the manufacturing sector it will not only generate employment of significant level but also become a great matrix for entrepreneurial activities. Therefore, business opportunities are huge.
2017 will witness many more favorable policies steered towards the MSME sector, making their business environment conducive to growth and development. The implementation of the GST bill is a great step in that direction.
“At NowFloats, our ecosystem is backed by high-end technology. We introduced RIA (Relationship Intelligence Agent) that represents a personal web consultant for every merchant, SMEs and otherwise. It creates custom recommendations and prompts for every merchant, which helps them to update the right content and enhance SEO. It uses Machine Learning and AI to understand the analytics and improve the merchant’s website with the relevant content. Since, we cater to a highly diverse client base, most of whom may not be familiar with building their SEO scores, these prompts become valuable in terms of aiding them to create their own unique content” he added.
NOWFLOATS PRESENCE IN INDIA
Currently, the platform has an instant presence across 230,918+ customers among which 80% are Paid customers, across all channels. The platform registers over 7 million unique visitors a month and has 433 thousand unprompted SKUs in its credit. NowFloats had registered 50% growth rate in a Quarter. Over the last 2 years, the company has registered a growth of 500% in terms of revenue. “This year we expect to grow about 300%, if compared to 280% last year. Thus, our growth has been stupendous by all means. We own more than 30% of all small business websites in India. 10% of all local searches for business discovery, happening in India, are present on our platform. We have attracted 2 lakh 40 thousand customers online, who are in turn attracting over 13mn consumers every month. This has been the kind of growth we have seen over the last few years,” he said.
“We currently have 52 branches in Tier-I and TierII cities all over India. 2017 will be our year to establish greater presence in non-urban areas. With a total of more than 51mn SMEs in India itself, we have a huge potential market right here.
Gulati further added that NowFloats is now also looking at international locations and have seen good acceptance in many places outside India. A couple of partners have on-boarded already in Philippines, Europe and Turkey. Our partners are one of the largest companies in their respective countries, who cater to the online requirements for SMBs in their region. We seek to keep this momentum going and grow the business accordingly.”