Kalyan Chakravrthy Chandrapu explains why he set up his quality assurance business, specialising in offering support to startups.
Tell us about your business, what does it do?
Qapitol QA offers software Quality Assurance services to startups, SMEs and large enterprises. We validate idea, design and test software to ensure functional, performance and security requirements have been catered to. We work with startups at various stages of their growth and, in most cases, travel the journey with them and assist them to deliver quality applications to their target customers. We also work with investors and perform due diligence on the applications / ideas they want to invest in.
What did you do before you started this business?
I was an investor prior to which I was an IT consultant managing medium and large IT projects for financial institutions in the UK.
What inspired you to start up?
The constantly evolving technology and the entire tech start up ecosystem which was conceptualising and delivering very interesting solutions. In addition we have identified that whilst there are many organisations offering QA as a service to enterprises, there are very few or none offering similar services to startups. So Qapitol QA was created to address this need.
How would you describe your business to your grandma?
We are experts at getting rid of the weeds that would otherwise cause havoc.
Where do you get advice, support or help?
We have a Board of Advisers, who come with a wealth of knowledge and relevant industry experience. We are also guided by our technology partners and most importantly Empact Ventures Growth Studio (www.empact.ventures) which has been a very useful support mechanism for helping us to get connected into the national startup ecosystem. We also partner with EU India Centre for Business and Industry and Centre for Entrepreneurs These three organisations have extended our exposure to the domestic and international markets and more importantly provided us an insight into the realms of business understanding, which strongly helps us strategise for an upward business growth.
Finance is one of the most common barriers to starting up. How did you access the finance you needed?
At the time of incorporation we raised a round of investment to support the operational needs.
What has been your biggest achievement so far?
Getting Qapitol QA to break even under 12 months since incorporation and building a rock solid team which delivers.
How do you differentiate your business from others?
We apply context-driven approach to our testing which means we do not build mountains of mundane scripts to test an application. We instead put ourselves in the shoes of the end-customer and work our way through the application and its modules, stand-alone and integrated, to ensure they are free of critical issues that could otherwise impact the end customer and the client we work for.
What’s it like to be your own boss?
Exhilarating :-). The challenges faced coupled with successes is a perfect recipe for a fantastic roller coaster ride.
Where do you see your business in 5 years time?
We hope to be a 100 member team and be the #1 organisation offering QA services to starts-ups and SMEs. We hope to have travelled the journey with many startups and operationally grown to be at least a $50M company.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
- Follow your dreams, take calculated risks but know when to stop, if your plans don’t seem to be working.
- Have a clear exit strategy at the start, and review periodically to help you understand whether you should go forward or stop.
- Have an experienced mentor or adviser to guide you. Don’t hesitate to ask even the silliest of questions - they may prove to be costly later.
- To summarise, dream big, get started, take risks, network, review periodically and learn from your mistakes.
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