In India, and the world, the importance of design has evolved over the years. Startups and companies are investing heavily on the design aspect of their products. In fact, design-led innovation is what is spearheading leaps that help in a company’s growth story. Today most companies have a design lead to harness the best out of their product, and answer competition aptly.
With this foundation, three IIT- Bombay alumnus Debprotim Roy, Vikash Choudhary, and Ankit Agarwal started Canvs.in in June 2015. Their aim was simple: to create a community of designers and artists.
The platform first looked into recruitment and job solutions as well as merchandising solutions. At the drawing board, the three IITians offer members a platform to upload work, sell online, interact with peers, find jobs and projects, and participate and curate offline exhibitions/workshops. An expo of sorts for players to network and connect, only this is purely design centric.
The team had earlier tested a couple of ideas in a beta run. Then, in September 2015, they raised seed funding of Rs 1 crore from undisclosed investors.
Join the club of designers
In February 2016, the team realised that the most preferred revenue-making model was the Canvs Club. A subsidiary of Canvs.in, which lets the community work towards projects and completion.
With this change in direction, their team of nine was reduced to five with Debprotim as the sole founder helming the change. The other two founders left the company.
“The real need was not connecting designers to the job. It was to make sure that the pipeline works. What companies look for now is the quality of work, and whether the work is coming on time - briefs need to be met properly. They don’t care about who is doing the work,” explains Debprotim.
Canvs Club gradually turned into a B2B service provider of digital designs for companies across the country. Based in Mumbai, it helps companies with their design requirements that are fulfilled by designers and inhouse product managers that are on-the-job.
How it works?
Debprotim feels that hiring is a problem in the design space. “The companies usually don’t want to hire a design team for a short period of time. That is where Canvs.in comes in,” Debprotim says.
Canvs Club works with companies and startups, specifically in sectors like VFX, insurance tech, mutual funds, debt financing, health tech, etc, fulfilling digital design needs.
The team spends a great deal of time getting the brief right with companies. It then breaks down the whole project into modules, and into smaller niches that cannot be mis-executed. It also breaks timelines based on what is deliverable by the team.
“We set product timelines for companies, an invision, and a plethora of products. We also ensure we are in touch with the company for most part of the project. This gives the company a feeling of security over the design agencies,” says Debprotim.
The price it charges its clients depends on the duration and the team or talent hired for a project. The costs range from around Rs 10 lakhs for short and small projects to over Rs 50 lakhs for larger ongoing engagements where teams have been set up and costs are recurring and monthly.
Expanding on the USP, Debprotim feels that the last-mile delivery of its products and its on-time delivery are what differentiates his startup from other players such as Uxexpert, Soch Technologies, and Designboat.
Even after completing the project, the company ensures that the final product is what the clients expected.
The design team is ready
Canvs claims to have served over 60-70 clients since its inception. The team has around 80-90 designers apart from five main team members who are also the in-house product managers.
“A decent fraction of our work lately has been in the fintech (insurance, MF, and retail banking etc) domain where we have built products that are useful to savvy customers as well as the ones that are new to tech and online products in general. Aside of FinTech, we have been working on some very interesting products in the MedTech sector as well,” says Debprotim.
He further adds that most of Canvs’s work has involved digital product design such as building apps, websites, PWA's etc. “We have built products for Mutual Funds, insurance tech, large on-ground sales teams, High Frequency Trading, electronic health records, among others. Aside of building products for firms directly leveraging our canvs club design teams, we also work with firms to set up and oversee the execution of their design and product pipelines through our dedicated Design Ops setup. Design Ops has been a service that becomes especially beneficial for large firms undergoing a digital transformation with lots of moving parts.”
While the company’s focus while starting up was to expand the community and test new products, today its main focus is on tech and the Canvs Club.
Reluctant to disclose the figures, the company, however, claims to have grown 3X in terms of revenue. Future plans include expanding its area of products and services. The company is also on the lookout for investment.
(Edited by Suruchi Kapur- Gomes)