Coincidentally, my previous journey as an entrepreneur began during the subprime mortgage crisis, when the housing market went bust and the US economy went into a tailspin. I learned an important lesson: if you dial up the signal, shut-out the noise, and focus on creation, you will prevail.
The next several years after the economic debacle has been nothing short of a dream, I co-founded a seed-stage fund, a mobile security startup that was later acquired by Oracle, worked as an advisor at a large venture firm, and went behind the scenes at a category-leading SaaS startup. As a product operator, the desire has always been to find and solve the biggest problems in enterprise software. I started Quolum in the summer of 2019 to focus on an area that is key to software success in the 20s: SaaS management.
Why this problem? Why now?
In our personal lives, we cannot imagine ourselves without software services, whether Whatsapp and WeChat, or Amazon and Google, or Zoom and Netflix. In our work lives, the call to arms to transform enterprise software has only gained speed in the last decade. SaaS as a business and delivery model has caught on and is the biggest accelerant for software consumption from Fortune 500 companies to mid and small-sized companies around the world.
However, a lot of this innovation has focused on the “front-office” of business: e.g. Sales, Marketing, Customer Support, and related categories. As SaaS adoption has grown 25-30% Y-o-Y, it has gone from being a novelty to the wild wild west. SaaS has driven agility and productivity, but also incrementality and sprawl. What started as one cloud CRM is now 570+ CRMs, what started off as one email campaign tool is a MarTech category with 8000+ players.
In contrast, the innovation in the “back-office” aspects of the business has remained parched dry. While employees whip out credit-cards and subscribe to new software, the other stakeholders of an enterprise purchase are notified post-facto. Whereas procurement and security policies are put at stake, the vendor gets a dopamine shot without getting into a relationship with decision-makers involved. This creates a long term problem for both the buyer and seller.
With the SaaS industry expected to cross $1T in the 2020s, both back office and front office innovations are needed. Both software buyers and sellers need new ways to confidently and sustainably make purchases, manage utilization and spend, and drive value with rapid time-to-market powered by new pricing models, new workflows, and new technology platforms.
At Quolum, we believe SaaS management needs a new approach to bridge the gap between the back and front office, between sellers and buyers, and between spend and utilization.
How to read Quolum’s visual identity
Here’s a screenshot from our homepage. I’ll explain the story behind some of these elements.
- The name. Quolum is an inflection of Kolam, a design system and artistic expression that encapsulates thousands of years of folklore including science, culture, and mythology
- The logo. The logo represents an aggregation of statistical analysis done on raw data, with a pie-chart on the top left as the anchor
- The dots. A dot represents an atomic signal, a data point that a SaaS application is emitting, waiting to be tapped, analyzed, and understood.
Flipping the switch
While the industry knows me as an entrepreneur and friends know me as a budding pilot, at my deepest, I am a product builder. For Quolum, we have a fantastic roadmap of things that we want to build. Right now, we are lining up the runway with our first release containing the first set of use-cases. We would be releasing our private beta over the next few months to a select set of companies. Though the endgame of the current global pandemic is unknown, we have flipped the switch to ON for our website and we’re open for business.
I also believe we will get out of the current crisis with a renewed focus on value, balancing growth and conservation for Planet Earth, while shutting out the noise, and spending time creating something new.
Feature image: Take The Plunge. (slides on entrepreneurship).