This article was written by Mengyuan Ge, originally published on KrASIA
Vika is a Chinese startup that provides digitization solutions for companies in multiple business contexts. It created a simple interface built on spreadsheets and other tools to empower enterprises and teams to collaborate more efficiently and reduce operational overhead.
Vika was founded by Kelly Chen in 2019. In his previous work as the CTO of a consumer brand, Chen found that whenever companies made the move to digitalize the workplace, they purchased a plethora of SaaS products for different purposes. However, after investing a lot of time and money, costs remained high as expenditure merely shifted to the IT department or third-party vendors who maintained the systems. Plus, cross-platform collaborations are often ineffective, especially when there are multiple vendors involved.
Chen found that most companies were still using Excel sheets to store their most valuable data and manage customer relationships, collaborative work, and human resources. As more companies move their work to cloud-based services, and look to integrate low-code and no-code solutions into their digital transformations, they need a new tool that is conducive to a more efficient way of working.
In April 2020, the company launched its core product, Vikasheets. It is a team collaboration and project management tool that transforms two-dimensional spreadsheets into multi-dimensional spaces where files and APIs can be integrated directly with the sheets. Vika wants to make data more accessible in work collaboration settings, combining visually appealing spreadsheets with the power of databases.
"As its name suggests, the essence of Vikasheets is to simplify the complex SaaS software of the past to be as flexible and easy to use as Excel, weeding out the way a company works with repetitive overlays of various SaaS software," said Chen.
Vikasheets added a powerful toolkit for users to customize their workflows in areas such as customer relationship management, project management, e-commerce operations, human resources, and tracking inventory. For example, Vika allows e-commerce businesses to integrate sales volumes from different e-commerce sites, which enables sales representatives to monitor and evaluate merchandise movement in real-time.
Like Lark, Dropbox, and other workplace tools, Vikasheets offers a basic free version and generates revenue from subscriptions for more advanced features and services. It plans to offer diversified premium models in the future: charging API services based on data volume and support for privatized deployment. The company has racked up seven-figure revenue since early 2020, in part drawing from paid features of Vikasheets' beta version, with the lion's share of income channeled from digital consulting services.
Vika has seen demand surge during the pandemic. Its product is now deployed in 9,000 organizations across 14 countries, including big names Xiaomi, Tencent Entertainment Group, and Ping An Bank. Around 50% of its clients are medium to large companies with revenues exceeding 100 million.
Investors have taken note. In September 2019, Vika raised an eight-figure angel round led by IDG Capital and Tiantu Capital. In early 2020, it raised another multi-million dollar investment from 5Y Capital.
According to data from Gartner, the global sector for low-code enterprise tools is worth USD 13.8 billion in 2021, up 23% from 2020. The researchers estimate that 65% of apps will be developed using no-code platforms. In China, cloud-based low-code and no-code programming services are still in their early phases, reflecting huge potential for growth.
Spreadsheets are blank slates. They are two-dimensional grids that hold up the many systems of our economies. There's little doubt that companies like Vika have a promising future as they build bridges that benefit workers and enterprises in game-changing ways.
Vika was one of the ten finalists of the Alibaba Cloud x KrASIA Global Startup Accelerator Hong Kong Demo Day that was held on December 14. It was named as the Asia Star of the event alongside GridMarkets, a software company that gives consumers access to cloud-based high performance computing capabilities.
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