As companies struggle to find ways to control costs in today's economy, understanding what you are spending on SaaS tools is paramount. That's precisely what early-stage startup Quolum is attempting to do, and today it announced a $2.75 million seed round.
Surge (a division of Sequoia Capital India) and Nexus Venture Partners led the round, with help from a dozen unnamed angel investors.
Company founder Indus Khaitan says that he launched the company last summer pre-COVID, when he recognized that companies were spending tons of money on SaaS subscriptions and he wanted to build a product to give greater visibility into that spending.
This tool is aimed at finance departments, which might not know about the utility of a specific SaaS tool like PagerDuty, but look at the bills every month. The idea is to give them data about usage as well as cost to make sure they aren't paying for something they aren't using.
"Our goal is to give finance a better set of tools, not just to put a dollar amount on [the subscription costs], but also the utilization, as in who's using it, how much are they using it and is it effective? Do I need to know more about it? Those are the questions that we are helping finance answer," Khaitan explained.
Eventually, he says he also wants to give that data directly to lines of business, but for starters he is focusing on finance. The product works by connecting to the billing or expense software to give insight into the costs of the services. It takes that data and combines it with usage data in a dashboard to give a single view of the SaaS spending in one place.
While Khaitan acknowledges there are other similar tools in the marketplace, such as Blissfully, Intello and others, he believes the problem is big enough for multiple vendors to do well. "Our differentiator is being end-to-end. We are not just looking at the dollars, or stopping at how many times you've logged in, but we're going deep into consumption. So for every dollar that you've spent, how many units of that software you have consumed," he said.
He says that he raised the money last fall and admits that it probably would have been tougher today, and he would have likely raised on a lower valuation.
Today the company consists of a six-person development team in Bangalore in India and Khaitan in the U.S. After the company generates some revenue he will be hiring a few people to help with marketing, sales and engineering.
When it comes to building a diverse company, he points out that he himself is an immigrant founder, and he sees the ability to work from anywhere, an idea amplified by COVID-19, helping result in a more diverse workforce. As he builds his company, and adds employees, he can hire people across the world, regardless of location.