What does a company or a business aims to establish for a substantial growth? Good consumer relations? Information or understanding user needs or fulfilling their needs by providing information of the product/services? The apt answer to this question would be all of it through a simple help desk. The word ‘Help Desk’ meant something else 10 years back but now it has a different meaning altogether. The emergence of technology in the society was just another seed for advancement. Today, Help Desk has gone online, providing services to companies with a minimal cost and feasibility. To boost the concept of Help Desk services in the education sector ‘BlackBeltHelp’ came into being.
Founded by Arun Kumar Chopra (CFO) and Ravi Bhalla (CEO) in September 2012, the company aims to provide effective help desk solutions like Financial Aid, Admission & Enrollments, Campus Services along with classroom Help Desk needs i.e. IT and Leaning Management System. The company is working in both B2B and B2C sectors.
Since its inception, the company has developed itself in various domains of the Ed-Tech sector and has different products.
- BlackBeltHelp Chatter: The service bridging consumers with businesses. Chatter allows users to access live chat support wherever they want. The interesting thing about the service is that it integrates its functions into the app too.
- BlackBeltHelp Lexicon: This is a cloud based knowledge base where agents can locate, access, and provide the accurate answers to their customers. This service can also be accessed through mobile devices. Moreover, the agents can also contribute information to the portal.
- BlackBeltHelp SF1: The product is an incident management system where one can keep important guidelines to determine and segregate incidents. This helps in prioritising incident management on a click where less important tasks will automatically go down the list according to the requirements set.
- BlackBeltHelper App: This is a personal assistant app that helps 24×7. Be it booking a movie ticket or a restaurant table reservation or finding jobs, the app is targeted to the B2C sector.
- BlackBeltHelp Mobile App: Now this app provides services to students, faculty, staff and alumni. These services include: general enquiry, IT help and student services (Financial Aid, Admissions and enrollment & Registrar).
- BlackBeltHelp SSO: The most common problem while handling different portals using different platforms is “I forgot my username and password”. BlackBeltHelp SSO addresses this problem by enabling users to use one username and password to login into all of their websites and enterprise software applications on any device.
The startup has offices in US (Cleveland) and Gurgaon (India). BlackBeltHelp is currently serving over 100 clients globally for Help Desk administration and end user experience.
The companies avail services on contract basis for a minimum of 3-5 years and the company gets paid up front every year. When asked about the same the company quoted, “We monetize by charging the clients for handling help desk interactions on transaction basis. For products, there is a set-up charge plus recurring maintenance fee. Our client retention and net new revenue growth rate is 95% and 35% respectively.”
The company claims to have a revenue of more than $1.5 million (FY 14-15) with a client base of more than 100. BlackBeltHelp hold a number of 700,000 serviced end users. When asked about the same they said, “Due to 100% referenceability, we have seen tremendous growth on service contracts.
Also, we are seeing a lot of traction on products. See below the pipeline size for BlackBeltHelp products:
- SSO – 2 institutions on boarded and 4 accounts in pipeline
- Chatter – 2 institutions on boarded and 12 accounts in pipeline
- Lexicon – 4 institutions on boarded and 8 accounts in pipeline
- Mobile App – 8 institutions on boarded and 3 accounts in pipeline”
Funding & Competition
The company is backed by Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital (EVC), they have already pumped around $1.5 million in the startup. These funds were further used for client acquisition and technology expansion with 30% of the total funds pipelined into service delivery. BlackBeltHelp is looking to raise another $5 million to accelerate its client base and services.
They compete with B2B platforms like Blackboard, Ellucian, and Pearson who aim to provide similar services. Though there aren’t any ‘on-the-line’ horizontal players, the closest is US based company iYogi, which has raised a total of $85.6 million from seven investors in 5 rounds acquiring ‘Clean Machine’ on the way.