Thrissur: Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) took a decisive stride in promoting the culture of ‘work near home’ (WNH) when the nodal agency facilitated a nascent IT firm to set up an office in Kerala, ten months after it shifted base from Bangalore amid a Covid-induced lockdown.
KSUM Chief Executive Officer Mr. Tapan Rayaguru inaugurated the new office of Premagic near Thrissur, enabling the three-year-old company to turn a new leaf in its service offering cloud-based solutions for wedding photographers in a post-Covid scenario.
“The pandemic has prompted many companies to allow its employees to work from home. But the family atmosphere and professional engagements needn’t necessarily be an ideal mix. It is here that WNH gains relevance,” the CEO said while announcing the formal start of Premagic’s headquarters in Kandassankadavu, 16 km southwest of this city.
The 2018-registered company, which is into SAAS business, chiefly targets wedding photographers, has launched a cloud-based photo-proofing app.
“Weddings can just be a start. Clients can come in for any joyous occasion — personal or professional,” Mr. Rayaguru said. “I am sure WNH is to catch up in the days to come. KSUM assures all help to make it a big trend.”
Premagic founder Anup Mohan said the KSUM-incubated company started as a cloud-based photo proofing app for photographers & their clients. It allows the clients to easily select/choose the images that are required for their album. It also helps the photographers to make digital signature albums that can be used to generate more referral leads and eventually new business.
“One major point that has to boost our profile is our vacating the Bangalore premises last summer. In Kerala, we set up a base near my home. All our meetings and demo calls happen online from here,” Mr. Mohan said.
Recently, Premagic hired two hands from Bangalore. “To my surprise, they showed interest in relocating to Thrissur. They now work from here,” he revealed. “All we need is a good internet connection, ecosystem, and accommodation. We managed all these with far less expense,” he revealed.
Premagic, which was selected as a delegate to attend The London Techweek 2019, received a scale-up grant from the Kerala government. In February last year, the company’s monthly revenue crossed Rs 3,00,000 while the total number of its paid photographers rose to 200.
The outbreak of Covid-19 curbed weddings and its photography business, leading Premagic to scale down expansion plans. The company, instead, started exploring the B2B2C side by upselling the bride and groom via photographers.
Premagic, with eight staffers, created a secondary revenue model by charging the photographer’s client. “We expanded the market and got new paid customers from Delhi, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, and Andhra Pradesh — from where we now have 100-plus photographers,” Mr. Mohan said.
“Photographers in our platform crossed 4,000 with more than 500 paid subscribers. Total weddings on our platform crossed 10,000. Our revenue in January this year was Rs 5,00,000. “I believe our initiative will be an inspiration for other Kerala IT startups based outside to relocate their bases back to their home state.”
KSUM, as a non-profit entity registered in 2014 under Society Act 1956, is an incubator approved by the Union government’s Department of Science and Technology’s National Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board. The agency, which works for the promotion of entrepreneurship development and incubation activities in the state, undertakes planning, establishment, and management of technology business incubators and accelerators to promote technology-based ventures by creating the infrastructure and environment.