The service industry is mired in a crisis.
Products are becoming increasingly diversified and complex. Customers’ expectations for a quick fix when problems or breakdowns occur are rising. At the same time, experienced older technicians are retiring, leaving newcomers with considerably less on-the-job knowhow to pick up the slack.
Mohan Sethi, previously a technician who worked in the commercial marine and automotive industries, believes his startup company, Collabtic, can help fill this critical knowledge gap by enabling technicians to connect quickly and easily with people in their company who have the answers to technical questions.
“From my own experience, I observed that technicians often had a lot of tools and information, but they needed a strong support infrastructure to be able to collaborate with other technicians and fix products faster,” Sethi says. “Collabtic has developed a web-based and mobile-application platform that connects a company’s technicians, managers, help-desk personnel and even some of the leadership. They all sign up on the platform, which becomes an enterprise tool for solving technical problems quickly.”
Collabtic’s platform is designed around product service for individual industries. “When a technician has an issue, he can log on to our web page or mobile application and enter the product make and model, an error code and a photo or video and then post this information on the Collabtic platform,” Sethi explains. “Once posted, all of his colleagues and managers are notified that this technician is stuck and is looking for help.” The system also will proactively recommend fixes based on past knowledge gained by the technicians.
In 2017, Collabtic launched its product in the printing and imaging industry. Now it is entering the automotive space. Client companies pay a subscription fee for the platform service, which generates an ongoing revenue stream.
“To date, our platform is being used by eight business-to-business clients, including MARCO (printing and imaging) and MAHLE (automotive) and 2,000 technicians,” Sethi reports. “It’s working great. We’re getting referrals to new clients and seeing increased use of new features by our existing customers.” This year he expects revenues to top out at slightly under $100,000.
Sethi is presenting to venture capital investors at the 2018 Michigan Growth Capital Symposium, where he hopes to raise a $500,000 Series A round of financing. To date he has bootstrapped the business, investing approximately $300,000 of his personal funds.
“This product is applicable to many industries ─ such as elevators and escalators, industrial power generation, oil and gas and medical ─ because the problem is the same across all these sectors,” Sethi says. “Our immediate need is to scale the business. We want to hire more sales people, boost our development team and reach out across multiple industries. Going to the MGCS and raising additional capital will enable us to grow the staff we need to achieve greater scale.”