In Conversation with Gaurav Chauhan from KonarkPro
October 12, 2023
Q: What is Your Name and Title?
What is your company? Describe your value proposition.
KonarkPro streamlines time tracking and invoicing for companies using an hourly billing model, saving them valuable time and ensuring they get paid promptly. Our software automates the tedious manual tasks of collecting and formatting timesheets, generating invoices, and sending them to clients, so companies can focus on their core business operations.
What inspired you to start your company?
Before the pandemic, my product development company, Jellyfish Technologies, operated smoothly, but once everyone went remote, tracking our billable hours became a major challenge. Our billing timeline, which used to be between the first to fifth of every month, became extended by 10 days due to the manual task of collecting data from team members and compiling it in the proper format. As a result, we were getting paid in 45 days, which negatively impacted our cash flow.
To solve this problem, we developed a small desktop app that automatically tracked hours, which proved to be a game-changer. We continued improving the app and eventually built a web-based version. After sharing the app with my friends, I realized that there was a significant demand for this type of software in the market. That's when I decided to turn this solution into a product and founded KonarkPro.
What does your company name mean to you?
The name KonarkPro holds deep significance for our company. Konark, an ancient temple in India’s state of Orissa, has been used for centuries to track time, aligning with our focus on providing a time-tracking solution. Additionally, as the temple is dedicated to the Sun God, we drew inspiration from its association with productivity and efficiency. By combining Konark with 'Pro' which stands for productivity, we aim to create a brand that represents our mission to help businesses optimize their productivity and streamline their operations.
How does your company/technology work?
KonarkPro is a cloud-based time tracking and invoicing software designed for businesses that operate on an hourly billing model. Users can sign up for the software as a service and create their own workspace, inviting team members to join.
Team members can then track their time using the desktop application, which offers granular tracking options, or they can simply log their time and add a description via the web application. This data is automatically collected and organized, allowing project managers and administrators to easily download timesheets and invoices directly from the platform.
Our software is intuitive and user-friendly, making it easy for businesses of all sizes to streamline their time-tracking and invoicing processes.
Who is your ideal client?
Our ideal client is any company that operates on an hourly billing model and requires an efficient and reliable solution to track their billable hours and generate invoices. This includes small and medium-sized businesses, as well as larger enterprises, across a range of industries such as software development, consulting, marketing, and more. Our software is designed to be customizable to meet the unique needs of each individual business, making it an ideal solution for any company looking to streamline its time-tracking and invoicing processes.
Why do users care about your product?
Users care about our product because it simplifies their time-tracking and invoicing processes, making them more efficient and accurate. When we talk to people, we often hear that they are spending their weekends filling out timesheets instead of spending time with family and friends. Our software helps to give that valuable time back to users, allowing them to use it more effectively and enjoy their personal time without the added burden of manual time tracking. By automating these processes, we take the dirty work off their plate and allow them to focus on the more important aspects of their work and personal lives.
Tell us about your journey to Canada:
Although I never had any specific plans to come to Canada, I found myself visiting twice - first in 2016 to meet with clients, and then in 2021 as part of a NASSCOM delegation to explore business opportunities in North America. During the delegation, I had the chance to visit several provinces and I began to seriously consider the idea of relocating to Canada to better serve my clients in this region.
To make this a reality, I applied for a Start-up Visa Program and was accepted into five different accelerators. After completing all the necessary requirements and receiving an endorsement from LatAm Startups, I was able to secure my visa and relocate with my family to Canada last year. It has been an exciting journey so far, and I'm looking forward to continuing to grow my business in this dynamic and innovative market.
Can you tell us about any eye-opening moments you had when you first arrived in Canada?
Yes, I would say that one of the biggest surprises for me upon coming to Canada was the need to unlearn certain habits and approaches that had served me well in my home country but were not necessarily applicable in this new context. As an entrepreneur, I had to be open to feedback from others and willing to constantly learn and adapt in order to succeed in this new market.
In particular, I found that being receptive to feedback and constantly striving to improve myself and my business has been a key factor in my success here. I have learned to approach each challenge as an opportunity to learn and grow, and to leverage the insights and expertise of others in order to drive innovation and create value for my clients. Overall, I would say that the biggest surprise for me has been the need to remain humble and flexible in the face of new challenges, and to embrace a mindset of continuous learning and improvement as a key driver of success.
How are you marketing your product?
There are a number of ways we are marketing our product to potential clients. One of the key strategies we're currently using is targeted proof-of-concepts (POCs) to ensure that we are providing value to the right companies. In addition, we're reaching out to potential clients in Canada through LinkedIn, particularly in the accounting and call center industries.
Moving forward, we plan to increase our focus on email marketing and content-based marketing to expand our reach and build our brand. We also plan to connect with Chambers of Commerce to build relationships with businesses and spread awareness of our product. Ultimately, our goal is to ensure that we are providing a valuable service to our clients and that they are able to see the benefits of using our software for their time-tracking and billing needs.
What makes Konark pro? Describe your team.
Konark Pro is a company founded by myself and Amit Kumar Pandey, who is based in India. Our partnership started with the founding of Jellyfish Technologies in 2011, which still employs over a hundred people and continues to be a successful business. In 2016, we founded Jellyfish Telecommunications, where we built IoT products, and now Konark Pro is our third venture.
Our team in India assists us with product development and marketing, while I handle the operations in Canada. We are planning to expand our team in Canada this year and continue to grow our company.
What kind of person would succeed in your company?
At Konark Pro, we value individuals who are self-motivated, adaptable, and passionate about what they do. We are a fast-paced startup, so it is important that our team members can take initiative and work independently, while also collaborating effectively with others. A successful person at Konark Pro is someone who is willing to learn and grow with the company, and who has a strong work ethic and attention to detail. We also value diversity and inclusion, so we encourage individuals from all backgrounds to apply and join our team.
What do you consider your biggest accomplishments?
In 2016, my co-founder and I faced a major setback as our first company was about to fail. But instead of giving up, we decided to rebuild it from the ground up. The ability to persist in the face of adversity and turn things around is something that I consider to be our biggest accomplishment.
What are new and exciting things you are working on?
We are constantly innovating and enhancing our product based on customer feedback. We are excited to bring new features and functionalities to our platform that will make time tracking even more effortless and efficient for businesses. Additionally, we recently completed the Acceleration + program, and we are excited to apply the valuable insights and strategies we gained from the program to our business. We are always looking for ways to improve and grow, and we are excited for the future of KonarkPro.
Tell us a little bit about your experience with Acceleration + and what you found beneficial.
Acceleration + was an intensive program that demanded a lot from me, but I was determined to make the most of it despite my busy schedule as an entrepreneur. Even though I had to juggle many responsibilities from my home country and Canada, I attended every meeting and found it to be a great achievement. One of the most valuable aspects of the program was having access to experienced mentors who challenged me with tough questions, pushing me to think more deeply about my business. The insights and knowledge gained from the program have been extremely beneficial in helping me take my company to the next level.
What is your long-term vision for your company?
Our long-term vision for KonarkPro is to become the go-to solution for businesses struggling with time tracking. Our goal is to empower people to work more efficiently without sacrificing their personal time to do invoicing, project tracking, or billing. We want KonarkPro to be recognized as a brand synonymous with friendly, efficient, and effective time tracking. Achieving this vision will be a significant milestone for us, and we are committed to making it a reality.
Are there any trends you see in the market?
One trend I've noticed is that many of our competitors have a broad approach to market segmentation. In contrast, we are focused on building niche solutions for specific industries, such as time tracking for accounting firms or call centers. This approach sets us apart in the market and helps us to establish a reputation as experts in these areas. We believe this strategy will help us achieve our long-term vision of becoming the go-to company for efficient and friendly time tracking."
What is your special talent or hobby that no one knows about?
I have a passion for riding motorcycles, something not many people know about me. It all started in 2009 when I bought my first bike, a Royal Enfield. I loved taking it on long rides and exploring different parts of India, particularly the beautiful Himalayan mountains. Even after selling that bike, I couldn't resist getting another one. I've owned a Fatboy and most recently a Hayabusa, both of which I've taken on countless adventures. Unfortunately, since moving to Canada, I haven't had a bike, but who knows what the future holds.
How can anyone reading this assist you or be a part of your company?
If you know of any firms struggling with tracking their billable hours, we would love to hear from you. We're always looking to connect with businesses that could benefit from our time-tracking solutions and are open to exploring potential partnerships or collaborations.
TechPlace is a fantastic coworking space that offers a supportive and collaborative working environment. I was first introduced to it in 2021 during a presentation by Izabela, and since then, I have had the pleasure of connecting with some of the other entrepreneurs who work here. The staff are incredibly friendly and approachable, and there are plenty of resources available to help startups grow and thrive. I particularly appreciate the presence of organizations like Haltech and Angel One, which can provide funding advice when needed. Plus, the coffee is great, and the views from the workspace are truly spectacular.
Is there anything that you are reading or listening to that you find inspiring and willing to share with our readers?
I'm an avid reader and podcast listener, and I'd like to share some of my sources of inspiration with your readers. A friend of mine, Beatriz Zanatelli, recommended the book "Psycho-Cybernetics" by Maxwell Maltz, which I found amazing.
I also enjoy listening to "Find A Way," a podcast run by my LatAm's Alumni, which features inspiring stories of immigrants who started their own businesses in Canada.
How can we get in contact with you or your company?
Company LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/konark-pro/