By Guest Author Shailesh Otari
Wirkle is a mobile consulting firm specializing in the end-to-end development of mobile applications. The company provides application development (both client- and server-side) on a host of platforms such as the iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry. Applications range from social networking to enterprise productivity. The company was founded by Varun Khurana, Sunil Goyal, and Lomesh Dutta in 2005.
After completing his bachelor’s degree from the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi, Khurana started working with Network Appliance, a data storage provider company in Silicon Valley. Although he had no direct mobile industry background, Khurana noticed the rise of mobile phone applications in 2004. Back then, most applications on phones were Internet based and were influenced by the way browsing is done on computers. Companies such as Opera were optimizing Web pages for phones, but the basic paradigm of browsing remained the same. After pondering how mobile applications would look on phones that did not have Internet connectivity, Khurana started his research on popular handsets by Nokia. Aiming to build a platform that would enable easy access to data, Khurana wrote a business plan, and Wirkle was started in 2005. To gain early traction, Wirkle targeted companies such as Roamware that were already in the mobile space and provided them with a platform to build applications. One such example is an application that optimized tech support for a client called Microclinic. The tech support staff would visit customers one after another and would often have to go back to the home office to find out what their next allocation was. By integrating the client’s customer relationship management system with tech support’s mobile phones, Wirkle built an application that would tell the tech support personnel where the next closest customer complaint was located. This dynamic task allocation helped the tech support team to save time and optimize their scheduling and routing.
The operating model at Wirkle is similar to the software development life cycle. First, the sales and pre-sales team gets involved with clients to understand their needs. After documenting details such as mobile carrier and handsets used, sales and pre-sales hand the project over to the execution team, which formulates the application requirements and detailed specifications. The project then moves to the standard software development life cycle of design, coding, testing, and implementation. After the project’s completion, every customer is asked for feedback. Customer satisfaction is carefully monitored by upper management throughout the project’s duration, which is typically four to five months.
The company was bootstrapped and survived on funding from family and friends until it started making a profit in the middle of 2006. Wirkle’s growth path has been unique. Started with three co-founders, the company decided to grow from the bottom up, unlike most start-ups. The co-founders first recruited engineers and managers, and then partners for functions such as finance and HR. In this way the employee base grew steadily to 70 by 2009. The company is currently taking in revenues of over $1 million annually, all of which come from the United States and Europe. Khurana believes that the Indian market is on the rise and that activity will pick up in mobile applications in the near future. The company is looking at reaching $2 million in revenue by 2012. Khurana is confident that this growth is achievable and that making strategic hires is the key to success. The company plans to make VP-level hires in the first half of 2010.
The recipient of many accolades, Wirkle was nominated as a finalist for the Global Peer Awards in 2007 by MobileMonday. Khurana has been active in the entrepreneurship movement in India, and the company has been recognized in the top 50 emerging IT companies in India. Wirkle is also part of NASSCOM’s mentorship program and seeks guidance on strategic direction.
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This segment is a part in the series : Deal Radar 2009