We talked to Pankaj Gupta, CEO, and founder of EnableX, about streamlining communication among systems and this is what he said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Pankaj Gupta: Thankfully, we are all doing well! We were able to isolate and social distance optimally in the early days, and since then we have been ensuring that we do not get any exposure beyond what is necessary. This has helped us protect ourselves from contracting the infection.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded EnableX.
Pankaj Gupta: EnableX.io is a cloud communication platform provider for integrating real-time communications into apps and websites. Prior to this, I worked as MD of Arkadin India – a joint venture between ConferIndia, a conferencing services company he founded in 2004 & Arkadin – a global leader in collaboration services and part of the NTT Group, Japan. I have served as a founder, board member, and CEO in various IT & Telecom Services companies over the past 2 decades. During my entrepreneurial journey, my focus has been on new disruptive businesses in the emerging markets pertaining to areas like Digital Transformation, Partnerships & Strategy, and Innovation.
Founded in August 2017, Headquartered in Singapore, EnableX was started with a vision to redefine how the world communicates in real-time. The name itself reflects exactly what our company offers – enabling real-time communication within organizations’ applications/solutions through the use of our platform. We have built a cost-efficient, scalable and robust communication platform that provides unmatched customer experience by creating smarter and meaningful communications at every touchpoint across the customer journey.
How does EnableX innovate?
Pankaj Gupta: EnableX.io is a cloud-based communications platform helping businesses and developers to quickly and easily integrate real-time communication capabilities into mobile applications and communication workflows. From feature-rich Video and Voice APIs to SMS, Number, and FaceAI APIs, EnableX is one of the few players in Asia-pacific offering a full-stack of communication capabilities with all the necessary toolkits to develop innovative and engaging communication experience.
We are uniquely positioned in the market as one of the few global players with a complete suite of services ranging from Communication Platform-as-a-Service (CPaaS) to Video Communication Software-as-a-Service. Businesses can leverage EnableX.io to develop an omnichannel experience – allowing users to communicate on any device (Android, iOS), browsers (Chrome, Safari, etc.), and channels (voice, video, and messaging).
EnableX also supports multiple deployment options to fit businesses’ goals, budget, security, and compliance needs. Most CPaaS providers offer CPaaS on a public platform that cannot address a number of critical enterprise use cases like having a business process workflow within a protected environment. For such requirements, we provide the flexibility to run real-time communication in their own private cloud environment, on their own data center/on-premises, or a hybrid of both. This will enable businesses to use the service within their preferred, safe, and virtualized environment.
In addition, our Next-generation CPaaS is complemented by AI and Machine Learning. For example, our FaceAI leverages on emotion AI to provide deep insights into the emotional impact of each conversation, taking customer experience to a whole new high.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Pankaj Gupta: The pandemic has definitely changed the landscape of the industry. Businesses were left with no option other than adopting remote working and digital service ecosystems. This increased adoption resulted in a heightened interest in investments related to working technologies and infrastructure ranging from Video Conferencing and collaborative software to project and time management tools to adding security mechanisms in order to ensure a seamless transition to ‘Work-from-Home’ so that business continues as usual. Therefore, businesses are embracing omnichannel digital communications now more than ever. In such times, It became quintessential to deliver an excellent digital customer experience and smart capabilities for personalization, emotional engagements, and much more.
This has accelerated the adoption of CPaaS providers like us amongst businesses. Through our comprehensive suite of services across channels – voice, video, visit, SMS, and other collaborative tools – we are remarkably positioned to help organizations rapidly and effectively create an omnichannel experience in the essential APIs. With the market developing progressively, we are further committed to providing cutting-edge solutions to our clients. One of our recently launched solutions- ‘FaceAI’ is yet another disruptive offering harnessing the power of AI with live video to further enhance the customer experience. Moreover, we are supporting multiple deployment options – on-premise, private cloud, or hybrid – to fit businesses’ goals, budget, security, and compliance needs.
We’ve seen 100% growth quarter-over-quarter in the last few months and are now generating good revenues with a growing number of paying customers for our platform. The number of developers on our platform has grown exponentially and we see the rate of growth only increasing as we further scale up our sales and marketing efforts.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources and what are the lessons learned?
Pankaj Gupta: There were some difficult choices throughout this period. The first was to close the office even before the official lockdown. We did know it won’t be easy to suddenly transition to a WFH scenario, but in the interest of the health of our employees, we did it without second thoughts.
Then during the pandemic lockdown, we had to struggle to ensure employee engagement, work with them to help them manage the stress of the situation, and still maintain a semblance of productivity. We consciously chose to not reduce the salaries or fire any of our team-mates. While this was a big stress on an early-stage startup, we believe our people take first priority, and without their welfare is our top priority, we cannot hope to have a productive staff which is the keystone for any successful company.
In fact, we soon found ourselves growing to the extent of having to hire new people, and are still in the hiring phase.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Pankaj Gupta: Since our business is a tech business, our entire customer management is online. Hence that wasn’t really impacted to a large extent, except during the lockdown when our customers and prospects were themselves grappling with the situation.
We do use a CRM and other proprietary tools to manage our customer lifecycle, and a lot of it is in-house developed.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Pankaj Gupta: We did not seek any government grants and were fortunate enough to be sufficiently capitalized to stay afloat and tide over this difficult year.
Your final thoughts?
Pankaj Gupta: We are planning to come up with an On-premises deployment that will enable businesses that are remotely located or highly regulated to have all or part of the infrastructure hosted on-premise, which is not provided by many CPaas providers. We will also be offering more no-code Software-as-a-Service that is built from our carrier-grade CPaaS such as next-gen Contact Center. This will be useful for the service provider to build it on their own cloud/data center and reselling it to their customers