Sudheer Koneru wanted to retire by the age of 40. Instead, he is building and leading India’s first beauty and wellness unicorn Zenoti.
The journey began with his hunt for software to manage administrative functions like payroll, finances, HR for his chain of seven spas. When he couldn’t find the right solution, he did the next best thing. He built it from scratch.
Sudheer had prior expertise in building enterprise solutions. To gain first-hand information about the pain points of the spas, he sat at their reception desk for months. It took him two years to develop the entire suite to address end-to-end needs.
In this opening session of SaaSBoomi Annual OnAir 2021, curated by Shekhar Kirani, Partner, Accel, Sudheer talks candidly about how they got their first clients, why they expanded to MENA & SEA before the US, and how payments has proved to be the gamechanger for Zenoti.
Sudheer says that building in India allowed them to make mistakes without critical repercussions. That’s because in India business is relationship-driven. If you make mistakes, your software has bugs or your site is down for an hour, clients are forgiving due to personal relationships. Zenoti leveraged this by perfecting their offerings before expanding to other regions.
Zenoti’s success can be attributed to its willingness to evaluate new opportunities and grab them when the ecosystem was right. Their expansion to the Aus/NZ market, where there were no players at all, is a case in point.
Sudheer says there is no replacement for researching and understanding your target customers. Once you do that, you are in a position to take critical decisions like choosing new markets versus serving the existing one. And also work with the dream clients.
For instance, after 30 days of intensive research in the US with his core team, Sudheer wrote 5-line emails to five CEOs, got three responses (one within 5 minutes), and converted one of them within 15 days. That’s the power of understanding the customers.
Let’s dive straight into the session to know more.