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Bootstrapping a $100 Million ARR SaaS Company: The Netcore Story (Part 5)
Written by
Rajesh Jain
Rajesh Jain
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Bootstrapping a $100 Million ARR SaaS Company: The Netcore Story (Part 5)

Emerging Markets and Enterprise Sales

Netcore has been built without raising any external capital through its 25-year journey. It was not that I have not tried. Like in IndiaWorld, I have had multiple conversations with potential investors through the years. None materialised, but each conversation taught me what I needed to do to fix the flaws in the business. Because Netcore has been profitable, we were never under pressure to raise capital to meet working capital needs. For the past many years, as our profits grew, even as we invested in growth, we also built a healthy cash balance. Cash in a company grows at 4-5% annually. Converting that cash into a business can create far greater value. Hence, we scouted for large acquisitions to expand our footprint both in India and globally but did not succeed in closing any until the Unbxd investment opportunity came along.

Inorganic growth has been just one of many pivots we have made through our journey. The early days of Netcore were as a Linux-based enterprise mail software provider. While some part of that business still continues augmented by cloud solutions, the real growth of Netcore began when we focused on the needs of brands wanting to communicate with their customers. Push messages (SMS, email, push notifications and now WhatsApp) are the most important mechanism for B2C brands to bring their customers back to their websites and apps. As Netcore’s email and SMS business grow from 2007 managing to survive multiple changes in rules (Gmail in email, and TRAI in SMS), we decided it was time to move up the stack. Thus was born our foray into martech in 2015.

Through a combination of internal product development and two tuck-in tech acquisitions, Netcore has built a full-stack martech solution. The goal is to provide marketers with a unified view of their customers for omnichannel personalisation. From campaign management to journey orchestration, from analytics to product experience, Netcore’s CEE platform (customer engagement and experience) combined with its multi-channel communications capabilities has attracted hundreds of B2C brands as customers.

Even as we built our product capabilities, in 2019, we realised we needed to change our go-to-market strategy. Because we primarily sold in India and emerging markets, our focus had been on in-person engagement. We never needed much marketing. Our sales teams had built good relationships with most marketers. When Kalpit and I attended SaaStr in early 2019, we realised we had to change our approach to tap into global enterprises. We needed to adopt the SaaS playbook for the next phase of our evolution.

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