BANGALORE: Writing software that helps manage facilities within high-rises across urban India is providing brisk business for a number of technology startups.
These companies are creating customised software systems that help manage accounts, monitor vehicle movement and provide online social platforms within residential complexes.
"There were numerous issues at my apartment that volunteers meeting on weekends could not address," saidSangeeta Banerjee, a software engineer atTCSBSE 0.81 % who quit her job to set up ApartmentAdda, a small enterprise resource planning company in 2008.
Teaming up with a colleague Venkat Kandaswamy, she pooled in Rs 15 lakh to set up the Bangalore-based firm that now has over 1.5 lakh users. "We realised there was a vacuum in this space," said 35-year-old Banerjee who expects the company to earn revenues of Rs 7 crore by the end of 2014.
A number of entrepreneurs like Banerjee are setting their sights on this market that is estimated to be growing at 30% annually. Industry experts estimate that the market for enterprise resource planning software will touch 3,220 crore by 2015.
"Apartment management system is less than 5% of the ERP market currently but, as more innovative tools are developed, the segment will grow," said S Sadagopan, founder director of the International Institute of Information Technology in Bangalore that provides incubation for a number of young technology ventures. Raja Sekhar Kommu, an alumnus of the IISc, was working at software services company WiproBSE 0.76 %, when he realised that typical ERP solutions available in the market provided business management or accounting solutions.
"But apartments do not have manufacturing or production; what they need is customised solution that cater to the convenience of residents," said Kommu who teamed up with his colleague Gokul Singh to set up ApnaComplex with seed capital of 5 lakh.
The three-year-old company, which expects to earn revenue of Rs 1.5 crore this year, works on a direct-to-consumer model charging a monthly subscription of Rs 15 per flat. Kommu said his company's software is being used in 2,500 residential complexes, even as he begins negotiations to raise initial angel investment of up to Rs 4 crore.
Realty developers are of the view that ERP systems will become a critical backbone as managing the needs of hundreds of thousands of residents is an enterprise-size task.
"Societies are using customised software not only for efficiency and convenience, but also because maintaining database of residents has become crucial from a security aspect," said Satish Magar, managing director of the Magarpatta Development Corporation in Pune. The company, which has developed the Magarpatta City, is developing a range of in-house software.
For many residential complexes, the ease-of-use that customised software provides is a big draw. In Hyderabad, Aparna Sarovar with 1,200 flats has adopted the ApnaComplex system that comes with a mobile application.
"It comes with an SMS system and anAndroid app for instant access," said Irfan Shaikh, treasurer of the apartment society, which pays an annual subscription of Rs 1,70,000 for the software. Often software developed by these startups is integrated with existing ERP solutions within apartment blocks.
Bangalore-based CommonFloor, launched by three computer science graduates, provides community management and accounting systems and is also a property search portal.
"In our system, residents can pay bills online and share information," said 29-year-old Vikas Malpani, co-founder of CommonFloor, which recently raised Rs 45 crore of risk capital from Accel India and Tiger Global. Malpani expects his company to earn revenues of Rs 150 crore in the next two years.
As more residential complexes go vertical, demand for management systems that include social media features will rise according to 36-year-old Jay Kinker, founder of Mundrisoft Technologies. The Pune-based company has launched a social-media enabled system SocietyHive which integrates a society's website with text messaging, email and online payments.
"Societies stay connected and are efficiently managed," said Kinker.