Tuesday 18 Jun 2024

PlanQube: Modest beginning, global clientele

BHARATI PAWASKAR | JULY 25, 2023, 10:34 PM IST
PlanQube: Modest beginning, global clientele

Their mission is to enable customers to reach their sales goals and scale up their growth while still maintaining individual personalisation and customised relationships with their contacts. “What we provide is a smart service that can do the introduction, communication and nurturing of potential home buyers by providing them with information, details of home on sales, closing formalities etc,” stated Ajoy Raj, co-founder and vice president of Engineering at PlanQube.

“These were earlier time-consuming processes that were managed by individuals which are now orchestrated by our AI. Since it is a very domain-specific work, we have been able to train AI models which can do the communication and follow-ups on the agents’ behalf thereby saving time and enabling scale,” he briefed. Ajoy Raj with wife Manju Saseendran runs their start-up PlanQube from Sancoale in North Goa. PlanQube is into building AI-powered lead management and conversion CRM for real estate companies and agents.

The couple moved from the US to Goa for good, seven years ago, and have a partner company based in Seattle, USA that handles their sales and marketing. “We are focussed currently on the North American market and our typical customer is a real estate broker service or an individual agent,” said Raj whose start-up started as an idea in 2015 when the couple came back from the US.

“We had thought of it along with our colleague, Khek Teh, who also worked with us during our time at Microsoft. We had various discussions since then and in 2016 he came down here and we decided to venture out as entrepreneurs. Our initial attempt was to build enterprise-scale portfolio management applications which transformed based on feedback to the product we have today,” Raj recalled.

Our initial idea was to build an enterprise-based-portfolio-management-system for technology investments. While working on it, we developed an AI platform that was helpful in managing dates and appointments which incidentally was found to be quite helpful with some real estate agent friends. We found out that it was a viable business option and there was a genuine opportunity to employ AI-managed intelligent system to automate the management of leads and also automatically curate and nurture them with customised information and recommendations.

Ever since the couple pitched the idea, they have 200 plus customers using their product now. The pivot to real estate domain happened in 2017. The product spun off as Fieldnotes (www.fieldnotes.ai) and has been growing ever since.

Asked why they chose Goa as their base, Raj shared, “We had debated between various tier-1 cities and other states like Kerala and Goa. We chose Goa because our family is here, and we moved from US to be closer to the family. As for the economy, we have grown at a modest pace from just the two of us working to now, having eight employees. All of the money coming is foreign exchange that comes into the country and all of the expenses are here in Goa. All of our employees are Goan. As of now, we don’t have any products that are sold inside India.”

The couple has several plans on anvil. They are working on adding other verticals for which a lead nurturing and management service is needed including legal services, property management, mortgage management etc. Each of these is similar to real estate services. “We are in the process of gathering training data to create AI-trained models for these verticals. In addition, we are still integrating and connecting with other services in real estate domain to make our services more connected,” Raj disclosed.

Their development team is completely Goa-based. Hrishikesh Shirsat, as development manager, runs the team. Madhur Amonkar, senior developer works on the data models and assists Hrishi in day-to-day services and operations. Their global team has Khek in US leading the company there.

“As with any new venture, we faced several issues, everything from staffing, location, approvals and certifications. We had initially high hopes for the start-up policy but the process was slow. Incubation services like CIBA nurtured us in initial days. Once we graduated from the same, we have been able to ramp up in a consistent manner,” concluded Raj.

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