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Location: Home / Technology / Startup Mantra: Getting your network to add to your net worth

Startup Mantra: Getting your network to add to your net worth

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Your network is your net worth: is the catchphrase in startup circles, however, very few can utilise their network strengths to drive business and revenues.

This is because the value of network connections is invisible to us. Satish Patil, an entrepreneur, identified this gap and built an advanced platform, ‘Mitibase’ for syncing, mapping and understanding relationship data from customer relationship management (CRM) tools, contact books, social networks, communication streams, publicly available data and third-party sources.

Mitibase enables individuals and companies to discover opportunities using a collective relationship network.

In the beginning…

Satish Patil holds a PhD from the University of Minnesota, and a BTech from the University of Mumbai. With two patents to his name, Patil realised the importance of data back in 2009-10 and came back to India to pursue his entrepreneurial dream.

“Data analytics was very rudimentary that time. I had started a boutique consultancy for healthcare data analytics. I struggled for two years and got my first assignment from Flipkart for one of their customer- care related problems. In 2015, there came a boom for data science education. Many academic institutions and business schools approached me for designing courses and delivering lectures. My business picked up from there,” says Patil.

“I formed another company ‘Crysagi Systems’ which catered to startups from India. By 2019, data analytics started getting commoditised. Building a data analytics vertical organically was not easy. I wanted to get into product and exit the services business. Crysagi was acquired by CoreView Systems and I exited in 2019,” he says.

Competency vs relationships

While at Crysagi, Patil advised global pharma, e-commerce giants, industrial organisations, healthcare companies, and fintech firms on data strategy and algorithmic capabilities to solve business problems. He had seen how technology evolves and needs to be built, ground up.

Says Patil, “One thing I realised, which no one taught me in school, home, office or any other place of work, is the importance of relationship. Competency is important and required to be successful in business, but having good network and relationships can be one of the competitive advantages to your business. If one invests more time, money and energy in relationships, they can progress 10x more. We can hire competency but not relationship and reach. Relationships are an unfair advantage and whoever has it will progress faster.”

“Another mistake which we often make is we look at every opportunity as a transaction rather than relationship. Successful people act on this but they don’t say it. I realised that as a person or organisation, we don’t value relationships because they are not visible. To some extent, we are aware about our immediate close network, but almost clueless about the extended network in real time. On the organisational level this is mostly non-existent. Several organisations have Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, but it only captures customers, prospects and leads. It does not capture the network of their top management, employees, customers. So we have relationship capital which is unutilised because it is not visible. I said let’s make this visible to organisations in real-time,” said Patil.

Relationship capital

Any person or organisation’s network is not static. It changes every day and hence, it’s an opportunity to encash.

‘Relationship Discovery’ is a major aspect that Mitibase solves through its platform.

Says Patil, “Most people would say what’s new? They claim that they know relationship is important and may also do it manually, intermittently and sporadically. The challenge lies in bringing it on a platform and that too visually. Another problem with data available in the public domain (on Google, LinkedIn, company websites) is we can’t monitor it daily. Also, it is not interconnected and not known to us mutually. Mitibase bring the direct and extended network of individuals and organisations on a visual platform.”

“I wanted to create a knowle

dge base of relationships worldwide. Obviously this knowledge would be stored in data format. ‘Miti’ is a Sanskrit word for knowledge and hence, instead of database we coined the name ‘Mitibase’ which means a ‘knowledge base of relations across globe’,” says Patil.

Says Patil, “We are targeting two major segments. First is the investor community including venture capital funds, private equity funds and investment banks and second is the enterprise sales in midmarket (B2B, well-funded start-ups, IPO level companies). We look for sufficient value in our email extraction offering.”

“Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, we focussed more on product development instead of sales in the last two years. During the pandemic, we had accelerated our product development. Now we need funds to scale up. Out of the total amount raised 70 per cent will be used for sales and marketing,” he added.

Funding

Says Patil, “So far, excluding founder’s salary, we have invested $0.5 million since May 2019. We are at a juncture where we are planning Series A round in next 90 days. We are raising $5 million and we are actively talking with institutional investors based in India and US. As an entrepreneur, I have bootstrapped myself for three years. I have built this technology and we also have paying customers. We want to raise funds as it will add to the validation and help us to scale up.”

Relationship management

Today there is a common understanding that structuring and democratisation of data is the key. “All successful people design their relationships, but for entrepreneurs all new relationships are serendipity. Apart from discovery, how do I build my strategic relationships going forward is the question that every entrepreneur is facing,” says Satish Patil.

“Every platform has its own challenges. There is no context for new connections. People use a Sales Navigator as a tool for database, but it is poor for relationship management because hierarchy in match-making of connections is not maintained. These valuable insights are missing,” he claims.

“On the Mitibase platform, we have given filtering options in the connection hierarchy. We define these positions as decision makers. Our platform user has the ability to filter any connection hierarchy-wise. We also know the context between the two persons and the interaction between them – like the emails sent by them to each other or their investments in any company, etc. Eventually the whole vision is that our platform will become the bigger CRM – the Collective Relationship Management software,” he adds.

- Strategic relationship building needs:

- Relationship Discovery

- Relationship Intelligence

- Relationship Workflow Management

The chief experience officer (CXO) dilemma

Says Patil, “If we keep meeting the same people, we don’t get any new information discovery and over a period everybody has the same information. The ‘serendipity’ is flattened and that’s where people begin searching for new people for new information. CEOs, top management and decision makers face this dilemma but can’t find a way out. We need information asymmetry and that’s why we see a valuable information from outside our network. We call it information discovery via a weak connect.”

Relationship intelligence

Patil said, “We have a team of eight at present including the product development and research team members. Our focus will be only on the enterprise sales across industry and private market investors segment. We will need about 3 years to capture this gigantic market of about $25 billion.”

“Our go-to-market strategy is in place. We are starting US operations this year. We are also in talks with a couple of companies for CRM integration with our platform. Companies using CRM software can use our platform for getting automated relationship intelligence. Our platform will give a new definition to the CRM software – a Collective Relationship Management software,” Patil stated.

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