Interview with Sagar Kogekar, Founder @ Billbooks

BillBooks

[This interview is sponsored by workspot.in , India’s leading aggregator of co-working spaces, meeting rooms and shared offices. If you have additional office space and are looking to rent it, please do list it on workspot.in. If you are looking for space for your startup, do visit workspot.in]

Sagar Kogekar founded Billbooks in 2010. Voted no. 1 on TheTopTens, Billbooks is a Cloud Invoicing and Estimation App suited for freelancers, startups and small businesses who sell any type of products and services.

It’s been almost 14 years that he has been in product ideation, design and usability. Started operating from a small garage in early 2000, and since then he’s never looked back. The urge to create his own product started in 2005 when he had to bill his ever growing clients and online solutions available at that time where not very user friendly. Moreover their monthly billing packages were just not suitable for small businesses. That’s when he decided to create Billbooks, the most convenient and economical billing software which creates and sends online invoices/estimates in less than 60 seconds.

Apart from English, Billbooks currently supports Spanish, German, Dutch and French languages as well. More to be introduced in 2016. Next updates include Time tracking, ACH & mobile payments, third party integrations and more.

Give us a snapshot of your professional journey till now.

Since childhood I was extremely passionate about computers, games, design and technology. After passing out of 12th grade I started with a premium digital agency called Webwingz in 2000. My aim was to build digital landmarks on the web. Later I completed MBA in Advertising and communications management. Since inception Webwingz has been a pioneer in web and mobile apps with international clients including colongmorates like Mahindra, Reliance, ZF Steering and 300 more. BharatEstates.com (Real estate portal), Billbooks and Optically (branded glasses for Australia) came along the way.

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When & how did the entrepreneurial bug bite you?

I think the bug was always infused in me right from the start. It wasn’t a decision that I wanted to become an entrepreneur. It just happened while I was doing what I loved to do. Only with more focus, determination and perseverance I have been able to achieve what I have. I have been in the technology industry since 15+ years and it still feels like my first love.

What were the early days at BillBooks like?

Billbooks happened in 2008. In 2007-8 I experienced a spike in projects and client acquisitions due to that I could barely manage to send estimates/invoices on time, track payments, expenses and manage clients simultaneously. I had started using online invoicing applications back then and realised that there could be a better solution which is more economical, user-friendly and packed with more valuable features. That is when Billbooks manifested {came into existence}. Our aim was to help freelancers and small businesses send invoices in less than 60 seconds by paying 30 cents per invoice (without a monthly rental fee).

Can you please describe what a typical day at office is like?

At Billbooks we actually spend most of our time on market research, listening and monitoring our customers. However we hardly get time to do any customer support even though that was precisely the main idea behind building Billbooks. But since it’s Simple, Effective, Easy to understand and “gets started in seconds” it does function exceptionally.

Can you tell us about the technology stack used at BillBooks?

At Billbooks we like to Keep it simple. Hence we use Php, MySql (Zend framework), Html 5 and Ajax.

Is there any technology that you’re personally betting on to help you scale up?

We might shift to Angular JS to enhance user experience and python to scale up securely for a large number of users.  

How are you using Business Intelligence and analytics at your company?

Billbooks is used widely across 140 countries and in 400+ professions. Each user uses Billbooks in an incredibly different way. Based on feature analytics we set the level of priority to work on feature enhancements. We also use BI to identify third party integrations and to be a part of the current ecosystem.

How else does technology help your company stand apart from its rivals?

Today all technologies are more or less indifferent from each other. It all depends on how commanding you are in a particular technology. For us, we have always used LAMP stack for all our projects since our inception. Hence we are quite comfortable with the said technology.

What has been the biggest technical challenge you’ve faced while running BillBooks?

Today’s technical challenges are never too big or small. we need to overcome them with sensible approach. Billbooks had its own cup of challenges, which we tackled in different ways.

What are some of the attributes you look out for in prospective technology employees?

Team at Billbooks and Webwingz is proactive and inquisitive. Thirst for knowledge and walking an extra mile for perfection are the two most important qualities in a technology expert. Programming Languages are irrelevant against fundamental logic and its application.

How do you keep up to date with the latest happenings in the technology world?

I listen to a few tech podcasts, read interviews, participate in tech forums and subscribe to tech feeds to know about the latest happenings around me.

What gets you excited about coming to work every day?

I love understanding new customers and getting fan mails everyday. It feels really awesome. The contentment I have achieved out of building a product that not only helps but also makes users happy is immense. It even reflects in our tagline which is “the joy of billing :)”.

What sets BillBooks engineering culture apart from other startups?

It’s not really culturally apart from other startups. We are a simple bunch of people with simple approach towards problems and solutions. We love to pour in our hearts and brains in whatever we do. Maybe that sets us apart from the majority of start ups out there.

Which BillBooks value resonates best with you?

“More for less” is the best feature of Billbooks. It offers a simplistic platform (with no rocket science) to SMEs and freelancers at a fraction of a cost against the cloud invoicing software giants in the market.

Any piece of advice for techies out there?

Never give up and aim to minimise coding. 70% Research and 30% execution is all you need to focus upon. It’s all out there. Make sure you google well and learn from others mistakes.

 

[This interview is sponsored by workspot.in , India’s leading aggregator of co-working spaces, meeting rooms and shared offices. If you have additional office space and are looking to rent it, please do list it on workspot.in. If you are looking for space for your startup, do visit workspot.in]

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