Netcore International: An Indian SaaS MNC in the Making (Part 3)


IndiaWorld, my first success, was also an international success. Indians from all over the world had made our portals their content destinations in the late 1990s. Many of our advertisers were from the US – looking to target affluent Non-Resident Indians (NRIs). Netcore began with a focus on B2B communication and marketing solutions for enterprises in India. We perhaps should have ventured outside India much before we did. But we had to build a safety pool of capital before we took risks in new markets. That strategy has worked well and we now have the foundation for accelerating global growth.

I was reminded of this from a few years ago as I sat in the room listening to my colleagues: “In one of our reviews in Netcore after we had failed to show progress in our international foray, one of our Advisory Board members asked: “Why are you chasing Menaka?” Seeing my puzzled look, he said, “Are you really serious about your international efforts? Or are they just so some of you can travel abroad periodically? Right now, you are chasing Menaka – it’s an attractive distraction.” Under the leadership of Netcore’s CEO, Kalpit Jain, international is now a very attractive destination!

What has worked for us is the courage that a few Netcorians had to leave the safe shores of the home market and build their lives and Netcore’s business in new markets. We have found the right leaders who have, step by step, built trust and recognition for Netcore against competition willing to splurge money. Our email products worked as the landing points and then our customer engagement suite provided the expansion. Our three acquisitions in the past few years helped with personalisation, product experience (nudges), and solving the search problem for ecommerce sites. Our local teams experimented with the go-to-market until their messages hit the right chord. We organised “Hashouts” (conferences) to connect customers and prospects to each other. We learnt from our mistakes and shared these amongst teams to ensure we did not repeat errors. We thus created a playbook to enable us to expand faster to new markets.

The teams outside India work with “scarcity” – they do not have the full attention and resources that the India teams have, being close to HQ. In a way, that has worked well – because the teams outside India have learnt to do “more with less.” Their marketing innovations are now being replicated in India – much like global MNCs have taken their learnings from India to their home markets.

The two days I spent in Bangkok created some wonderful moments and memories: the camaraderie between people many of whom were meeting their colleagues in person for the first time, the spirit of sharing success stories and learning from the losses, and the bonding between sales and the supporting teams (marketing, SDRs, customer success). I left with the belief that “One Netcore” applied not just to our full-stack product but also to our people. Across nationalities, gender and age, they have united to grow Netcore globally. We have done a lot of the hard work across many markets, and are now ready for our version of exponential, forever, profitable growth. Netcore International is a triumph of the indefatigable human spirit of ceaseless exploration – and we have many new markets to conquer and many new customers to help in their profipoly quest with our Made-in-India, Made-for-the-World products.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.