Though the team was in place, it took us over a year to develop the first sample. By January 2008, we started taking feedback from prospective clients and realised that the product was becoming very complex. That's when we started interacting with Sharad Hegde, former Infosys chief technology officer, for his advice on simplifying the product. By mid-2008, he joined our firm as a consultant and also became an angel investor for CustomerXPs. He has invested about $1 million (Rs 4.6 crore) in the company.
Our deadline for earning the first revenue was August 2009, but we missed it because we couldn't close a deal. However, the silver lining was that we were upgrading our product, which was an ongoing process. Despite realising that selling software products is difficult in India — many such companies have been forced to change to software services firms within six months as revenues don't roll in — we were determined that our first inflow of funds should be licensed revenue from a reputed client.
At that time, international markets were a taboo since foreign travel would have increased our costs significantly. As a result, we became more negotiable and, finally, we earned our first revenue from India's largest private sector bank, ICICI Bank. It became our client in March 2010.
In January 2011, we raised our first round of venture capital funding from Singapore-based JAFCO Investment. None of us took a salary, or for that matter, a holiday, for the first three years and were managing on personal savings and investments. The austerity has finally paid off. Today, we employ 60 people and operate from a 5,000 sq ft office at JP Nagar (leased for Rs 1.5 lakh). Currently, we only have ICICI Bank as a client, but we are looking forward to closing deals with about 4-6 more banks by the end of the year.
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