Mohit’s first venture was a failed startup with two of his office colleagues which hardly lasted for 6 months. After doing some interesting consultancy assignment for Infosys's flagship product Finacle, and other startups for some time, Mohit founded EQTribe in August 2015 in partnership with his elder sister Rachna Shukla. They together conceptualised two inter-related product ideas and EQ RunMyOffice was one of them.
They started EQTribe with the high level concept of a product that would bring smiles for hard working community of small entrepreneurs which is the backbone of the economy. Once he formed his company and started taking baby steps, two of his childhood friends - Vineet Jain and Hanumanth Rao - provided him with initial seed funds. With that there was no looking back.
Today EQ RunMyOffice [www.eqtribe.com] is being used by several small entrepreneurs to reach out to their partners, team, clients, leads, vendors, association members and so on. EQ RunMyOffice is a mobile platform that enables app to app business transactions related to money, sales, leads, work and so on.
A few insights into Mohit’s perspective and vision of EQTribe, the way he says it!
With what motive and goal did you start EQtribe?
For modern, educated, ambitious small entrepreneur in India, I want to create easy to use and affordable technology solutions. It should make running business easy like how large companies run.
I was working at SAP - the world’s most revered business software provider for large companies worldwide. I saw that that modern small entrepreneurs (like EQTribe itself) do not have technology enabled tools that are ubiquitous in large companies. There is a clear divide between businesses that are technology-haves and technology-have-nots (not just in India, but globally).
It is interesting that many modern urban-educated entrepreneurs, like startups, modern boutiques, professionals, etc use a lot of technology in their personal and social lives. But when it comes to activities of business, barring the odd accounting software, they are left with paper registers, logbooks, whatsapp, Gmail and excel. There are not too many choices of real business software. They can’t even setup an online store of their own easily. This led me to think of the tremendous gap in that particular tech space and what a humongous opportunity can be there for companies like EQTribe.
What opportunity did you see and build on?
The market of small businesses is almost infinite. There are around 4 crore small businesses in India alone. Small businesses operate on a tight budget. They cannot have custom made technology solutions (software + other technologies) since that is very expensive. Even getting a small business mobile app done can cost anywhere between Rs 5 lacs to Rs 20 lacs. So, the only solution we could very well see is productization of solutions. World over, product companies - like Microsoft, Adobe, SAP, Oracle - have tried, tested and succeeded with this model. There are many more modern product companies that have targeted this segment of small businesses and created tremendous value for customers & investors in recent years. Some such extremely successful examples are Atlassian, Salesforce, Intuit Quickbooks, google, myob, Tally and many others.
I could clearly see the market gap and a huge opportunity to make our niche in the small businesses and startup segments. Other companies like Intuit, Sales Force, Atlassian have done it. Same market segment but different products and different countries. Once we clear the initial start-up and marketing glitches , there is no stopping us.
How are u looking at the implementation of the idea?
The idea will be implemented in multiple steps:
Step 1 . Build a very smart mobile app called EQ RunMyOffice customized for small businesses/offices/startups, with teams of upto 30 people. The app is designed to give bird’s eye view of their business - right on their mobile - helping them to know what’s going on in his business, from any place, any time. It covers their money daybook, customer list, vendors list, leads, staff, work, etc.
The RunMyOffice itself runs on a proprietary software cloud platform called EQ Maya invented by EQTribe. The Maya network interconnects all the users of the app and all the businesses into an infinite interconnected network so that businesses can use RunMyOffice for App-to-App transactions and interactions with their customers, vendors and associations.
Step 2: Enable connections and networking between business that have a common interest (eg with customers, vendors, partners, sales channels, etc)
Step 3: Allow businesses to find customers and vendors on this network so that they grow their business further
In the long run, we will provides upcoming cutting edge technologies like IOT, Big Data, digital currency etc to these small businesses on our EQ Maya platform.
The first step is already executed and out for all to see. EQ RunMyOffice is out in the market, has made it across the pilot phase and now being carried over to real time users. Step 2 is in progress and step 3 is in pipeline.
What is your vision of EQTribe?
To build India's greatest product company (and possibly one of the world's greatest company) and become a provider of latest technologies via this platform. We are looking for a very high company valuation in 8 to 10 years
Do you ever regret quitting your secure and high-flying corporate job for the mind-numbing slog that running a start-up offers?
No, in fact, it’s quite the contrary. I always feel that the daily challenges and dynamics that comes with operating a start-up is very refreshing and rejuvenating and it keeps me on my toes. The kind of energy that I find everyday to make this happen and the hope to make it big is beyond compare. I feel this was the best decision of my career.
Do you ever think of a back-up plan in place?
No. There is no plan B.
Once the initial hiccups are resolved, EQTribe will grow very fast. We have figured out many pieces of the puzzle by now and I agree there will be many more that are yet to fall in place. But this is where it gets interesting and inspiring all at the same time. But we know that once the EQTribe finds its footing in the market, sky is the limit for Maya platform.
As networks like facebook, linkedin, whatsapp, have become all pervasive in personal technology usage space, so will EQ Maya in business space.
What are you driving at with EQTribe?
Create the Google of small businesses.
What according to you is EQtribe’s strength?
EQTribe’s strength is its innovative team. The team has a very strong gender diversity. Being in Bangalore also gives us great talent. There is a great team of mentors who guide us and help us.
Who and what do you look up to for inspiration?
As a company, my inspiration is Atlassian - inventor of Jira software. Their business model, their vision, their elegance, their futuristic thought, their boldness is what I draw a lot of inspiration from. What atlassian has done for software development industry, we will do for small entrepreneurs.