Salesforce, well-positioned to be a great partner for small businesses, is helping us create an ecosystem that will encourage an entrepreneurial revolution in the coming decade.”

Bala Nadar | Founder seeds a nationwide start-up and SME ecosystem with Salesforce

Bala Nadar and his team at Startupwala are on a mission to make India the entrepreneurial hub of the world. The online legal services platform was set up in 2009 to support small businesses and start-ups with their start-up legalities and documentation, trademark registrations, and compliance challenges.

Today, the company is in an enviable position. With only two offices in Pune and Bengaluru, the firm has onboarded 67,000 customers across the length and breadth of the country. It has also helped register around 37,000 trademarks.

And with reforms such as GST and Startup India encouraging the formalisation of the six-crore strong SME sector, Startupwala’s growth story has merely begun.

Nadar, Founder of is passionate about more than just his own company’s growth.

“I believe that we are at a point today where India can become a global entrepreneurial hub,” he declares.

“But this can only be achieved when the growing number of informal businesses are made aware of the benefits of a structured ecosystem.” As registered corporate entities, SMEs can take advantage of market opportunities, and will have greater access to funding from banks.

“We don’t want to be just a service provider,” explains Nadar. “We want to drive an awareness of the benefits of corporatisation of businesses and formalisation of the market.

“And Salesforce is helping us create an ecosystem that will encourage an entrepreneurial revolution in the coming decade.”

Seeding growth with Salesforce

Startupwala’s steady growth can be attributed to its early adoption of internet technology, which enabled the firm to reach customers across the country’s geographical spread.

Prior to that, the team manually entered leads into Excel sheets and contact management systems. These rudimentary systems were error-prone, and sat on individual desktops. Without easy flow of information across offices, timely delivery to customers was becoming difficult and Startupwala started looking for a solution that would provide real-time access to data.

Cloud technology had just arrived in India, and Salesforce as a market leader in cloud-based CRM was the obvious choice for Startupwala’s tech-savvy team. Startupwala has since leveraged Salesforce technology to build a low-touch, customer-friendly business model.

 “Ours is a large volume business since our SMB customers cannot pay huge amounts,” explains Nadar. “When you have to work on a large scale, person-to-person interactions are not always possible. To build trust, we need to give our customers on-the click information that allows them to track project progress. This is where Salesforce comes into the picture.”

Kickstarting efficiency

As a first step, Startupwala automated its entire backend operations using Sales Cloud. All leads that come in from the website are consolidated in Sales Cloud. Prospects instantaneously receive personalised emails with service quotes and payment links, and are connected to business consultants who respond within the hour.

“Earlier, we spent an entire day in just putting together proposals,” says Nadar. “Now, quotes are sent out in a few minutes and my team can instead spend time servicing the customer.”

This has led to deals closing 70% faster, while ensuring a steady 20-25% year-on-year sales growth after a 55% initial uplift post Salesforce adoption.

“Our headcount is maintained at 100,” says Nadar. “And our sales team work at efficiencies of upto 165 – 170%.”

Startupwala’s initial business model had low repeat business. But with customer data all consolidated on one platform, it is now accessing rich insights to cross-sell and upsell services to the tune of 3x.

Customer delight: a trademark value

Not surprisingly, automation has freed up valuable consultant time which is now used to better understand specific customer needs.

“Our business has around 25 customer touchpoints, with 8-9 stages of documentation,” says Nadar. And consultants are using data flowing through Salesforce to understand each of these touchpoints and reduce response times.

“Access to data and a single customer view also ensures that new employees are able to immediately take on projects and provide the right level of service.”

As the team never meets their customers face-to-face, trust becomes an all-important value. To further reinforce trust, an in-house technology team that includes Salesforce developers is now building an app that will give customers access to all the information they need on their projects. The app also functions as an online document repository and generates fitness reports, providing customers with transparent access to their compliance journey.

This dedication to customer service reflects in the company’s customer ratings. Startupwala has seen a 40% improvement in customer satisfaction and 92% 5-star ratings. Worldwide, it is also the highest rated online legal service platform on Google. More interestingly, many customers have told Nadar that they aspire to provide a similar, smooth customer experience.

Incubating a visionary future

But the company is not resting on its laurels.

The new Heroku app, for instance, will provide a range of legal documents at a nominal cost that customers can create, print, share and download for themselves.

“We want to make our low-touch model into a no-touch model,” explains Nadar. “Enabled by our technology and all the customer data that we have.”

In line with its larger mission to create a structured ecosystem for SMBs, Startupwala is also using Salesforce Pardot to launch and target awareness campaigns that reach out to informal businesses, explaining the benefits of becoming corporate entities and how Startupwala can help in the journey.

“Salesforce is well-positioned to be a great partner for small businesses. And we want to use our partnership with Salesforce to boost the entrepreneurial ecosystem in India.

“We always tell people that we are built on Salesforce. Wherever Startupwala goes, Salesforce will be with us,” says Nadar of the future.


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