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The story behind building UPilot (Interview with San-Part 1)

Published On: October 4, 20223.1 min readBy

In this interview, San Bhaskaran, founder of UPilot, will be discussing the story behind building the advanced sales CRM platform. Amazing insights on the "Why" and the "How"!

UPilot is a cloud-based CRM software that helps small to midsize businesses with budgeting, lead tracking and reporting. Its key features include real-time analytics, revenue control, sales pipeline and supplier management. UPilot integrates with third-party platforms such as MailChimp, Google Sheets, QuickBooks, Xero, Marketo, Asana, Slack, Outlook, Exchange Calendar and Zapier.

Rajesh Srinivasan, the CMO of UPilot recently interviewed San Bhaskaran who is the founder of UPilot about the challenges faced by small, medium and growing businesses and how they can overcome them. Also, San will be discussing the story behind building the advanced sales CRM platform “UPilot”.

Let’s get into the interview!

Rajesh: Welcome San!

San: Thanks, Rajesh for having me today. I’m excited to share my insights and journey with the audience.

Rajesh: You have spent around 8 years on research and developing UPilot platform. Tell us what made you take this extra mile, and what were your learnings during this journey?

San: Sure. What prompted me to build UPilot is actually because of my personal experience. I have built, scaled and sold a company earlier. During that time, I was using a legacy CRM that was the only option available in the market.

When I started my second business which was a healthcare business in partnership with GE Healthcare in India, one of the things I realized was I wanted to use a simple and modern CRM. At one point, I realized that I won’t be able to scale my own business with those CRMs. The simple reason is “I was able to scale my previous business because I was able to predict the cash flow, future sales and invest in the production capacity based on the data”.

Being able to predict what is coming in the next quarter or next half a year accurately helped me to anticipate the investment required to scale the business.

We were about 150 employees at that time and when I looked at these small business CRMs, I immediately realized there was no way to predict using the existing plans. In order to get an accurate forecast, I have to purchase their highest plan and get the data.

That is when I realized there is an opportunity for bringing those advanced features like forecasting to small businesses at a lower cost.

We started the journey by actually creating this forecasting feature for a small business CRM called “High Rise” at that time and we called it “sales dials” and we build an add-on to the CRM and that was really popular in a couple of months.

In a few months, we got about 200 customers and this is when I was in Paris and we started the startup in Paris but after a couple of months, we got the news that “High Rise” is shutting down.

At that point of time, we realized that we have to do the entire CRM along with those Enterprise features once again for our new brand. It has been an amazing journey and we got customers as soon as we had the modules completed by our team.

Currently, we are having companies that basically have 2-3 employees to 5000 employees and they have not been asked to upgrade or switch to an Enterprise CRM or change CRM at any time.

We are also able to take care of large companies like Volvo Financial Services which handles hundreds of millions of dollars. All our clients have the option to perform accurate forecasting and scale their business inside our CRM. Predictability is the major vision of UPilot and we are focussing on delivering effective solutions to all the small and medium businesses.

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