Web Werks started life in the way many successful tech companies do – in its 17-year-old founder’s bedroom. Since October 1996, it has grown into two businesses – Web Werks and NeoSoft Technologies, the latter founded to service the demands of the other.
“When I started out, the internet was brand new to India. I’d been dabbling in bulletin boards, which were a precursor to the internet, and where you could dial into a network and exchange messages,” Founder and CEO Nikhil Rathi explains.
“I’d always loved technology and so my brother and I started Web Werks as a hosting company. However, over the years we’ve organically grown into taking on web development and web design through our business NeoSoft. Essentially, we can now do the whole works.”
The bootstrapped startup moved from Nikhil’s bedroom into a garage and then, when they outgrew that space, into a barn before setting up a centre in the US. After realising that India’s digital knowledge was catching up with the rest of the world, the brothers began to run a very small set-up in Mumbai, which is how Web Werks evolved from being a primary hosting company to a US hosting company, then to a data centre player in India.
We’ve always been able to work around the challenges by demonstrating that we’re innovative, intuitive and responsive, and always looking for new ways to approach things.
Web Werks is a unique data centre in that it remains 100% owned by Nikhil and his brother. “We have never taken venture funding or any private equity and have no investors. It’s a totally bootstrapped company where we own the real estate for all our data centres and operate everything ourselves,” Nikhil says.
“We have data centres in Mumbai, Noida and Pune and plan to open more in all major Indian cities including Hyderabad and Bangalore.” Nikhil has never lost the enthusiasm for technology that led to the creation of Web Werks.
“We knew that the internet was going to catch on and so we ran with an opportunity,” he says. “We founded NeoSoft because Web Werks had to be continually developed and so we created a separate company to service that.
“NeoSoft is a pure IT service company, which now has almost 2,500 employees and its own trajectory and growth path. With both companies, there was the recognition that the cloud has to meet the ground, which is why we run data centres and servers as well as service businesses and organisations with their development needs.”
Web Werks’ growth trajectory shows no sign of slowing down and Nikhil’s aim for the business is to be a major player in all metro markets in India. “We’re in a position to be considered to provide hosting to the Indian government, and we expect to see a lot more opportunities filling up our data centres,” he says.
“There’s so much opportunity. Mastercard, for example, is just one business that has moved its data to India and many more are set to follow. And, of course, India is always growing. We’re now at more than 1.3 billion people and so, to serve the current population, we need to have data centres all across the metro markets.”
As far as the plan for NeoSoft goes, Nikhil is just as ambitious. “We’ve got about 2,500 people working for us and, in the next three years, I expect to double our team,” he says. “We’re serving the DACH countries, which is Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and we’re in the US and also have South African and UK presences.
For us, success is around how we scale and then how we evolve our internal systems to service the increase of work.
“We intend to scale up our team and our customers while keeping the product engineering and offshore product development in India.” With big plans for both businesses, Nikhil is gearing up to tackle the challenges that brings, which for him is around raising capital. “Frankly speaking, NeoSoft is debt-free,” he says.
“From the US$30 it took to start the company, we’ve always made sure we used our own capital. The challenge we now have is how to scale up. We’ve always been able to work around the challenges by demonstrating that we’re innovative, intuitive and responsive, and always looking for new ways to approach things, which is why we continue to win deals. But, yes, it is the biggest challenge for us as a business.”
Scaling up is also how Nikhil is choosing to measure the success of both businesses. That and, of course, revenue. “For us, success is around how we scale and then how we evolve our internal systems to service the increase of work,” he says.
“We want to ensure that when you walk into any Web Werks data centre, you get the same unified experience across all our facilities. And then there’s the numbers. You can build a great restaurant and you can have great food and plenty of people can eat there, but if there’s no money in the bank, is it successful? For this reason, increased revenue is always going to be a target for us. And alongside our growth, it will also act as a measurement for our success.”
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