2018 has been a fantastic year for #UpekkhaTribe.

In the founding UpekkhaOne cohort, all 4 startups crossed a $1m revenue run-rate, 6 months ahead of the 24 months plan.

We expanded our founding team to bring Thiyagarajan Maruthavanan (Rajan) on board as the third co-founder. Rajan was an entrepreneur himself, product guy, and until last year helped Indian startups with their global M&A through the StartupBridgeIndia foundation.

We launched UpekkhaPlus, a program focussed on the next orbit shift after product market fit i.e. creating and winning a category and ramping towards and beyond $10Mn.

Added 2 more UpekkhaOne cohorts taking #UpekkhaTribe to 15 with 30+ founders.

None of this would have been possible without our stakeholders and supporters of all stripes. Founders, Angels, Investors, fellow ecosystem oarsmen journeying along with us. Thank you!

Words we think describe us better: Catalyst, Value SaaS Catalyst.

As an outcome led equity program across 24 months, with hands on weekly business reviews, our high-touch high-contact time adds up to 500 hours per startup, way over any other program or format. As catalysts we transform SaaS startups into Value SaaS startups that can make a dollar from less than 50 cents.

2 years in many of our original beliefs seem to be holding good

  • First step to meaningful founder outcomes requires getting to product market fit without frantically burning a lot of equity
  • Frameworks are dime a dozen but contextual application is critical. Even then frameworks are only seasoning, the follow ups are the real protein that helps build product-market-fit & go-to-market muscle
  • Peers are force multipliers in making progress and they help you keep sanity
  • Skin in the game, both upside and downside is crucial, establishes the right foundation for co-creation between founders and us

Across programs I’ve run in the past, I’ve found the 3rd iteration is hardest: the initial honeymoon period has worn off, success is not yet apparent, but perhaps there’s a sparkle here and there of something hidden. Cohort 3 has indeed thrown us a few surprises but the pleasant one is that more founders are building niche B2B SaaS in all corners of India. While we don’t know whether the Google report of 100K SaaS startups will be true, we’re quite certain we will have a 1000 to work with in the next 10 years.

Going back to founders I worked with at Microsoft Ventures, when I meet those founders today, they’ve made tremendous progress and I see a strange intensity shining in their eyes. Their inner confidence that they can be world-beaters doing $1m ACV deals (even inbound!). Time will tell if if India SaaS will follow India IT in getting to $1M then $100Mn deals. It’s certainly strengthening the slogan that India will be for SaaS what Israel is for security.

In 2018 our inspiration has been from others who are leaving well-traveled shores, journeying into the far unknown. Challenging the VC model and Limited Partners is Indie.VC, bringing more skin in the game in investing. Challenging Universities & Code bootcamps (Lambda School) and investing in “equity” of their students. Challenging how private equity is done (Adventure.es).

Finally a decade long observation has been that in India B2B SaaS those that are winning are Aam Aadmi Founders from across the country that nobody was willing to back.

Hence our final conviction – strengthening with our first cohort results – being a catalyst will bring results better than “picking” in India B2B SaaS.

We are not in the job of picking but transforming everyone that we can touch.

Looking to work with more Aam Aadmi Founders in 2019!