Emerging Entrepreneurs

A one-stop hub to organise all the non-core services

N Ramakrishnan | Updated on August 22, 2019 Published on August 20, 2019

Veena Sujay Kumar, CEO & Founder, Yunakti Technologies Pvt Ltd

konektUP helps start-ups manage HR, IT, legal, finance and marketing functions

Veena started her working life in a start-up, which was acquired by a larger company. She had been in a technical role in the start-up, but after the acquisition her career underwent a complete transformation. She was pitchforked into a human resource business partner role, which laid the foundation for her entrepreneurial journey. After more than a decade in various companies, her last assignment being with AMD, she decided to call it quits, mainly to strike a work-life balance. And, she turned entrepreneur.

Her first venture, Ionia Consulting, which was into high-end HR consulting, had bagged a few marque clients when it merged with another consulting company. A few years in the merged entity, Veena decided to strike out on her own. Thanks to her experience of working in and dealing with start-ups, she realised that founders spend a lot of time on peripheral activities such as HR, IT, legal and finance that took up a lot of their energy, and, more importantly, management bandwidth.

Why not help start-ups and SMEs, which too face similar issues, with their peripheral business services while they concentrated on their core business? This was the idea behind konektUP – the company’s name is Yunakti Technologies Pvt Ltd – that would help start-ups manage their HR, IT, legal, finance and marketing functions. “You work with start-ups and growth stage SMEs. There are lots of problems in terms of accessibility to the right network and right partners, cost-effective services. We provide a hub of business services to start-ups and growth stage SMEs,” says Veena.

Three business verticals

 

The company has three business verticals – konekt2Start, which is for bootstrapped ventures and those at an ideation stage; konekt2Scale, for growth stage companies; and, konekt4Funds, which is to help ventures raise funds. In the pipeline is a technical platform that will provide all these services on the go.

Start-ups and SMEs requiring any of the services can download docketised, templated modules from konektUP’s website for a fee. They can also avail themselves of free consultation for each one of the dockets that they buy. For instance, says Veena, a company that has raised a round of venture capital funding will need to scale up the team quickly. Change management will be an issue here. konektUP steps in and helps the company both in hiring talent and managing the change. Or, konektUP will help a venture that is looking to raise funds to prepare the pitch deck.

According to Veena, konektUP is sector agnostic and works with ventures from the seed to Series A or B stage fund raising.

“Our growth so far has been completely organic. We have served more than 200 clients in the last three-and-a-half years. This has been by word of mouth, surviving on our own revenues and operationally successful,” she says.

Her vision is to make konektUP a technology platform – a platform-enabled service where more than 70 per cent of the work will be taken care of by technology, while the balance will be offline, personal intervention. The plan is to offer video and white-boarding features so that people can discuss issues online. “Our vision is to make konektUP the home for entrepreneurs. Like we think of LinkedIn as a professional networking platform and Facebook as a social networking platform, people should look at konektUP as the start-up and entrepreneur home,” says Veena.

Service offerings

konektUP will help start-ups right from incorporating a company to completing all the legal formalities and carrying out compliance and finance functions. konektUP is a seven-member team and with external consultants that it relies on for various expert functions, it has a total of 14 people. The tech platform is expected to be up and running in 2020, when the team size will increase to about 40. konektUP is also looking to raise about half a million dollars.

According to Veena, konektUP has served international start-ups too, those looking to set up subsidiaries in India, helping them navigate through the myriad rules and regulations.

The money will be used to expand the team, roll out the technology platform and grow geographically. “Sitting in Bengaluru, with zero marketing so far, we have serviced clients in Mumbai, Coimbatore, a lot in Chennai, clients in Boston, Dubai and other places. I know with technology and a good amount of branding, brand-building and marketing, this has immense potential to grow,” says Veena.

There are other companies offering the kind of services that konektUP provides, but not the complete suite, she says. The technology platform will be the game-changer, she adds. “I would love it when someone sitting in an airport, toying with an idea, they download our app and look at the options, and strike a conversation,” says Veena.

Published on August 20, 2019
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