In May, 2019, cloud-based HR tech company, Vantage Circle, bagged a deal worth around 20 million dollars, with a big client in the US. It is the biggest deal secured yet by an Indian vendor dealing in employee benefits and engagement. They finalised the deal on the 2 May, 2019 and the programme was launched on 20 June, 2019.
For more details of the deal, we spoke to Partha Neog, CEO, and Anjan Pathak, COO of Vantage Circle, in their office at Vasant Arcade, New Delhi. The name of the client is omitted on request.
Neog and Pathak had been dealing with the client’s India team for almost four years, while general conversations had been going on with the US team for about a year till then. The breakthrough came when they bagged a small contract in December, 2019, to launch their product inside the US team. “We had to launch for about 1000 employees, which was one department inside the organisation. But more importantly, we were in their system”, said Neog. “This is the most difficult stage for vendors as access to the client is crucial, no matter the size of the deal.”
The client had a good year in 2018 and they wanted an employee rewards programme to surprise their employees with a reward for all their hard work. Vantage Circle was one of the vendors being considered for the programme. They had already signed a small contract with Vantage Circle in December and the feedback from the client’s India team had been positive. This gave the tech company an advantage. Finally, VC was chosen and the deal was finalised at 20 million dollars. It was the biggest closing by any Indian HR tech company dealing in employee benefits.
The highlight of the deal was that the entire process was completed in three months, right from discussion about the platform and the client’s needs, down to the final delivery of the programme. Moreover, they never met the client once during the entire process! The only exchange between the client and VC was either on the phone or through Skype!
Neog and Pathak listed three possible reasons which may have moved the US team to favour them over other global vendors. They cite the first one as the smooth experience the client had with the earlier, smaller contract and the positive feedback from the India team.
The second reason was the ease of integration into the system. “Our product offered them a quick and seamless integration without any difficulty in launch, despite there being a time crunch”, explains Neog.
The third factor was the ease of customisation which the platform offered. This made Vantage Circle a platform of future-ready capabilities, which could be used regularly by the client, irrespective of the changes required.
“For us, this is a big opportunity. It gave us the chance to launch Vantage Circle in the US market. We already have an office setup in New York. We also have been approached by another US client. This deal spells immense benefits for us in terms of both cash and credibility. More than the cash, the credibility of our organisation has gone up because of our tie-up with the US team”, asserts Neog. “This now shows that we are a company that can handle contracts with big organisations having around 80,000 employees”, explains Pathak.
The platform gives employees a one-time reward which can be accessed through the system anytime at their convenience. Vantage Circle is now in talks with the client and preparing to sign a more permanent contract around the same amount.”
Both co-founders had a positive experience in dealing with the US team. They shared a few points about what they found most satisfying about the experience. “The US team valued time more than money, both ours and theirs. All talks about the deal were done without any wastage or unnecessary meetings. Also, they always had a contingency plan in place in case any detail had to be changed or if something else went wrong”, related Neog.
Adding to that, Pathak said, “Apart from their attitude towards us, which was respectful and polite, their response while dealing with problems was what made working with them easier for us. They were calm and understanding even in challenging situations. For instance, when we ran into a short delay in setting up the programme, they were quite understanding of the situation. Moreover, they valued our inputs in customising the programme. Every change needed, was put forth as a request and not a demand.”
Neog and Pathak have big plans ahead on expansion, having made their entry into the US market. They believe that the market is huge and that their product can make a difference. With their latest achievement, India’s Vantage Circle has made its entry into the global HR tech market!