Apps are becoming an essential part of business and services these days, so much so that they are said to be the new business offices of today. Hubbler is one such digital transformation platform that allows companies to digitize their business processes into an app for iOS, Android and Web without writing any code through its intuitive “drag and drop” interface. Ramesh Kumar Raja caught up with Vinay Agrrawal, Founder, Hubbler, to understand how easy it is to build an app and what is its monetization model to be a leader in the market. Interestingly, Agrrawal earlier founded Unicel Technologies that was later acquired by mGage, a US-based mobile messaging provider. Excerpts:
First Unicel and now Hubbler, your entrepreneurial journey is centered around the mobile phone only? How has been your experience so far in digitizing the businesses one way or the other?
The first time I laid my hands on a cell phone was when I started working for Aircel in Tamil Nadu in 2000. Mobile phones in the 2000s were incredibly simple devices – but I was still blown away by the possibilities that these devices had to offer. It’s been 20 years, and phones still don’t cease to amaze me. From ordering food to midnight meditation, we’re doing everything on our smartphones.
Personally, I feel very proud that we have been able to contribute to this revolution led by mobile phones. I am glad that the technology that we built at Unicel has enhanced the mobile banking experience. We’ve helped create new customer habits, like expecting to see a payment acknowledgement via SMS while making banking transactions.
With Hubbler, how simple is it to develop an app or mobile-centric software to do business?
While I was at Unicel, we built a lot of the products and then kept customizing them for every customer we sold them to. One of the key learnings from that was this: whatever you build, customers will always look for ways to customize it to suit their organization’s process.
So when I started to work on Hubbler, we decided to do something drastic. Instead of building the product, we built a platform. We created something akin to a whiteboard – so that you can just draw whatever you want on it. If you have a problem in mind, you can start building a solution for it on Hubbler, just by simply dragging and dropping.
You make an incredibly powerful app using Hubbler under 15 minutes. And you don’t need to write even a single line of code to do it. The best part: you can run that app on any platform – be it Android, iOS, or Web, which solves a major problem for a lot of enterprises. Hubbler is a non-coder’s paradise.
Can you please tell us about the technicalities involved in building enterprise-grade apps for iOS, Android and Web?
Oh, you touched a raw nerve. I still remember my first demo on our hybrid platform (we spent 10 months building it), and I hated it. I came back from the meeting and told my team: we have got to start from zero again.
So we started building the platform from scratch for each device. It is very challenging when you have to build a platform that works on all devices natively. Firstly, all your UX and design plans must factor in the limitations/special features of each platform (iOS vs Android vs Web). An app that is designed for iOS has to go through many design changes/tweaks to ensure the best UX on Android.
Even as this is just a beginning. There are a lot of iterations on the designs and backend APIs when the team starts coding. We countered the challenge by getting the iOS and Android teams to work on different modules. For example, once the iOS team had completed a module, they would make a knowledge transfer to the Android team, thus making the entire process efficient and quick.
How is Hubbler different from others engaged in the software/app-building business?
There are multiple factors that differentiate Hubbler. We empower users with high-speed digitization. If you’re an enterprise with less bandwidth and time to build internal apps, Hubbler is your answer. We provide rapid and scalable digitization in under 24 hours.
Another unique factor here is Hubbler’s no-code platform. If you’ve digitized your process into an app using Hubbler, you can customize it anytime. You won’t need any coding. Hence, it evolves as your business grows, and keeps up with changes you go through. You’ll never be stuck with the same solution for different problems.
Hubbler is very flexible and integrates with any system you have. So if you have two or more systems, like a CRM and a service ticketing app, Hubbler can connect them. So you can push and pull data among them with just a click. In fact, you can make a connected ecosystem with your existing tech stack using Hubbler’s integrations.
Hubbler offers ready-to-deploy bots. They can be configured to automate certain key and regular tasks in your processes. Consider an example of a Service Ticketing workflow: When a customer raises a service request, the customer service personnel has to respond to it. Now, by any chance, if they don’t respond on time, Hubbler’s bots can auto-escalate that request to their manager. Practically, that manager would get notified about that pending issue request automatically. Reminders, re-assignments, escalations, many of these key tasks can be automated by assigning them to Hubbler’s bots.
|“Hubbler is very flexible and integrates with any system you have. So if you have two or more systems, like a CRM and a service ticketing app, Hubbler can connect them. So you can push and pull data among them with just a click. In fact, you can make a connected ecosystem with your existing tech stack using Hubbler’s integrations”|
What are your pain points in dealing with the people/clients to make them understand the whole concept of app building, as many of the old-fashioned businessmen still hesitate in giving a digital makeover to their businesses?
One of the biggest roadblocks we faced in the early stage was making people understand that they need to digitize their business. However, we have seen considerable change in this mindset over the last one year. Businesses have understood the need for digitization. They are looking for more efficiency, faster turnaround times, better collaboration, and ways to communicate more effectively.
Having said this, enterprises still have a long way to go before they can fully understand the difference between digitisation and digital transformation. They need to look at the entire process as one holistic approach and not piecemeal as they are looking at this currently.
How has been the response of your products and services so far?
The response has been amazing and energizing, and at the same time, very educational. We have customers from across industries, with highly unique processes. No matter the challenge, we have been able to help them make comprehensive solutions. From clinical services to agriculture product manufacturers, law firms, food delivery start-ups, and even IT companies – they have digitized key processes to scale their businesses.
What is your revenue model at Hubbler?
Hubbler is offered as a SaaS platform. There is a one-time setup fee that our clients pay. And then, they’re charged per month based on the features/apps they use/add. It’s a combination of pay-as-you-go and pay-per-feature models.
What is the size of app market in India and where does Hubbler fit in driving businesses?
We never looked Indian market in isolation. The global enterprise SaaS market is going to be $18.45 billion in next 5 years. As I said before, we will be playing a larger role in transforming regular businesses into digital ones. One can connect their legacy systems to Hubbler to create a connected platform.
One can not only build a new application on Hubbler, but they can also connect/integrate their existing/legacy systems on Hubbler to create a connected platform. Our belief is that people should interact with one single application (instead of more than 15-20 different applications, which they are doing currently).
Do you wish to make Hubbler global? What are your plans to extend its reach?
As I said before, we do have plans to go global. We have designed our platform to be device and language agnostic. We have had great learnings from our last 18 months in Indian market, which has helped us add a lot of great depth to our platform. We plan to launch our services globally in the next one quarter.