We caught Rupam Gogoi of Sugoi Labs over a questionnaire. All non techies who got an idea, this is especially for you.
What’s Sugoi Labs & the idea behind?
Sugoi Labs is a young technology company that is working hard to re-vitalize the rather ill-reputed “Technology services market” with a “Technology & team as a solution” concept. We aren’t a single product company but we are trying to solve a problem which is definitely there in the market today, that is, a number of great ideas & startups are starting up, who do not have an in-house product development team, nor do they have senior technology leaders as co-founders to hire a great team at the very beginning which is rather costly as well.
The idea is to enable entrepreneurs as such with a strong product team, which helps them develop their ideas stage by stage, ensuring market fit etc just as an in-house product team would, overseeing a larger timeline which spans over most of the product lifecycle.
Our first product Fitko, which is a Nasscom 10000 Startups Nurtured product, and was also awarded the Hot 100 Startups Award 2014, is a fitness/wellness tech. product with a vision to be the go to platform to access fitness/wellness businesses by consumers.
How Sugoi Labs started?
Sugoi Labs started as a student startup story in late 2012 with two co-founders and childhood friends, Amar Saurabh and Nayan Mittal right out of college, offering outsourced services for small businesses. However gradually the need to do something different was felt. So after long hours of working in stealthmode with Rupam, who being a mentor to Amar during his internship period had always been keyed in to Sugoi’s developments, andalso had been working on conceptualizing something similar, the Technology and team as a Solution (TTaaS) was kickstarted, with Rupam joining up as the third co-founder, after quitting his high profile corporate job.
What’s the Traction?
Sugoi Labs is currently growing at 50% MOM rate and is marginally profitable. The team has scaled to a 10 member team spread around Bangalore and Mumbai, with active collaboration operations in Delhi-NCR.
Can you name a few startups for which you have enabled tech?
Naming people we work with is something we cannot do because of code of conduct. However to name a few domains and products we have worked on: Marketplace platforms for niche e-commerce segments, Events & entertainment, Enterprise Data & Analysis.
What’s your criteria for picking a startup for tech enabling?
There is no fixed qualifier as such but we do look at the focus of the entrepreneur behind the concept and product, whether he/she has thought about sticking to the product for atleast 2 years no matter the iterations via his/her idea of the product roadmap. A reason why most products never actually take off is because people starting them do not think through the time frame needed to see a good product through to the market and the investment in terms of both time & money they need to make. Of course the monetary investment can be brought down but the time, focus understanding cannot be. In our line of work we do see a lot of people merely coming in to take off products as hobbies, want to take them off in mere 2 months etc, but want to reap benefits of such a product for 2 years. These are marked red areas for us, in which case we never engage.
How you decide upon equity holdings for the same?
This is a component we allow the collaborating product company to decide. We still operate majorly on cash components rather than on equity first because even we need operating funds. However these cash components are very minimal compared to having a team up and running and maintaining them.
Any thing else you want to share
Just the one thing. One of the major reasons we are doing this is because of our vision to enable India as a serious product powerhouse. However almost 70% of the aspiring product entrepreneurs we see are more interested in quicker routes to profits rather than in framing a clear product roadmap, with appropriate time & money considerations, or plan B & C’s in case pivots are necessary. Our soundbyte to the community therefore are the following:
1) If you are thinking of doing something, do it consistently, be ready to do it for the necessary time and with a good failure scenario plan as well.
2) Go to market fast, but don’t stop building on your product just because you have gone to market.
3) As long as the product is seeing customers and market, it will go on, so don’t make the product a scapegoat to generate quick bucks and cash out.