It has been a bumpy
year for infotech companies. But Mindfire Solutions has
prospered despite the turmoil all around. Slightly over one
year ago Mindfire opened shop in a small one-room office with
a staff of six.
Today, there are
120 employees in a smart office and the company, which
specialises in software development services, is thriving even
though some of its clients are slowing down. Mindfire offers
services in mainstream technologies such as Web/Internet and
Windows as well as niche areas like Apple Macintosh and Omnis
Studio. The brain behind the company is CEO, Chinmoy Panda who
graduated from BITS Pilani and then did an MBA from
the Indian Institute
of Management, Ahmedabad.
It was an urge to do something of my own which prompted
me to start my own enterprise. I had a very comfortable job as
a management consultant. But I was more interested in software
and soon joined a software firm Intera and then Adobe.
However, there was no job satisfaction. I was looking
for something more than money and so, without thinking too
deeply about it, I plunged into the software business.
Getting a venture capitalist for funding was considered
fashionable in those days but I decided against it. Instead, I
invested my own hard earned savings.
I had managed to save some money and also the Adobe
stocks which I sold fetched me enough capital to start my
business. My total investment was Rs 3 lakh.
It was a modest beginning with a one room apartment as
my office and six people including myself as the total
workforce. From the very beginning I focused on fundamental
strengths in software while others were more into new edge
languages such as HTML, Java and so on.
We started with developing educational software for an
US client and we were paid $ 40,000 for the job. It was a good
start and we’ve never looked back since then.
We had two clients when we started, but within three
months the number increased to six. Our turnover during the
first year of operations was Rs 1 crore and we expect to notch
up Rs 3 crore in this financial year.
Though we achieved our targets there were plenty of
difficulties. We faced major operational difficulties such as
long power cuts, getting phone connections etc. However, there
were no technical problems.
Despite the software slowdown which had just started
we’ve managed to get good clients such as Ecobeaker, Idyllix,
Around 80 per cent of the clients for whom we have
executed projects are still with us. While making clients we
look at a long term relationship and we have been fortunate
that clients have returned to us.
The market slowdown did have its affect on us also. But
its affect was more on companies that are completely web-based
and went in for early IPOs. We survived because our company
does not completely focus on web-based solutions.
Rather we provide services and solutions ranging from
development services such as desktop development, quality
testing services, maintenance services, business
intelligence/OLAP solutions among others.
Due to the slowdown in the IT sector many of the
software clients across the world have become wary of
investing too much money in their projects.
Therefore, to make projects cost effective for client
and save ourselves project hours, we have started an online
monitoring system where the client can be in constant touch
with the project.
Under this at any stage, if the client feels that the
project requires modifications or wants to add some of his
ideas, he can get in touch with us right away.
Mindfire also executed projects for a few web-based
companies. But, the slump has forced some of them such as
Gutenbergnet.com, iCompas.com to either shutdown or go into
To create a niche for ourselves in the market, we have
started developing our own specialised software, getting it
patented and then selling it.
We are developing a technology based on an original
idea for document analysis. This innovative product will help
in cross linking and referencing within a set of documents. We
are in talks with big companies such as Sun Microsystems,
Microsoft, Adobe etc.
We intend to expand our client base to Japan, Europe
and so on. We aim to cover more areas in the spectrum of
software services. Apart from development we also want to get
into QA testing of software.