top of page
  • Writer's pictureGreat Companies

Nikhilesh Tiwari, Founder at Helical IT Solutions Private Limited

Great Companies: How did you get your idea or concept for the business?

Nikhilesh Tiwari: The co-founder’s i.e. Nitin Sahu and Nikhilesh Tiwari, we had done schooling together. We always wanted to start something of our own and tried a few things but unfortunately failed. One of the venture was also about starting a healthcare IT company and tried to provide software products to hospitals, labs, blood banks, etc.

But we didn’t have much idea about the healthcare domain (which had a lot of stringent regulations) and thus had to shut it down.

Having failed a few times we have had a good share of learning of do’s and don’t while startingup. Since Nitin had been working in the DW BI ETL space for a few years now and knew the sector inside out we thought of starting a company in the same domain. That is how Helical IT was born. The name Helical continued from our healthcare IT venture.

We started the company as a pure-play services company and used to provide services in the domain of Data Warehousing, Business Intelligence and ETL space and that too focusing primarily on the open-source tools and technologies.

We also raised angel funding within few months of starting and after that, we have been pretty profitable. Over the years we provided services to more than 80+ clients including some big names like CA Technologies, Tata Communications, Fractal Analytics, Technip, Government of Micronesia, Government of Marshall Islands, Government of Kiribati Islands, etc.

While providing services over various other BI products we felt the kind of issues and limitations which are there in other BI products and that’s what prompted us to start working on and launching our own Open Source BI product Helical Insight. Right now there are 51 clients who are using Helical Insight on their production environment across various domains and geographies and we have had 8 releases so far and we are working on a major 5.0 release.

We provide our product as a developer friendly and extensible BI framework and that too in two versions i.e. a free version and a paid version. Our paid version is also almost 85% cost effective as compared to other BI products without really compromising on the features.

Great Companies: What are the various Services provided by Helical IT Solutions Private Limited

Nikhilesh Tiwari: We are a mix of both product and services. On the services side we provide services on the below

Business Intelligence: We provide services on various BI tools which includes open source as well as proprietary BI tools like Jaspersoft, Pentaho, PowerBI, Quicksight, Tableau etc. We consult customers, build various reports and dashboards, white labeling, embedding and other services we provide. Aside we also have got experience on various stand along charting engines as well as mapping engines.

ETL: We also help customers in building their data pipelines. We use various ETL tools like Talend, Kettle, AWS Glue, Apache Spark and various other data processing engines to build the data pipelines.

Data Warehouse: We also provide consultation on designing the data warehouse, populating the data warehouse, best practices etc.

Big Data Migration: For customers who are looking to migrate to big data technologies that is also something we help with. We have got experience on various big data and NoSQL technologies which includes Apache drill, mongoDB, DynamoDB, Cassandra, hadoop, Presto etc.

Apart from the above list of services we also provide our own BI product Helical Insight. We offer our product both on subscription model as well as perpetual license model. For certain customers we also provide services on our BI product and help customers in building their various required reports, dashboards, white labeling, embedding, SSO etc.

Great Companies: What makes Helical IT Solutions BI product offering different from hundreds of other similar service providers?

Nikhilesh Tiwari: Whereas most of the BI products have a very closed garden approach, we have built our open source BI product Helical Insight as a developer friendly open source framework. We have empowered our customers and developers so that they themselves can add functionalities. We are a completely browser based product. We are one of the only products which comes with a workflow functionality. There are placeholders to add code like HTML Java Javascript SQL Groovy etc. We are the only product with extensive API support, each and every functionality is supported by API. At each and every module it is possible to add functionality like adding new DB support, adding new chart, adding new charts customization, adding new DBFunction, adding new aggregate function etc. There are a lot of configurable XML files also.

Aside we are one of the rare product which not only supports new generation dashboards and map based analytics, but we also support pixel perfect multi pager document kind of canned reports as well.

On the costing side also we are more than 85-90% cost affective as compared to other BI products. We have a very strong product roadmap as well which is going to challenge the most feature rich proprietary BI product as well.

Our long term vision with our product is to empower even simple to medium sized companies also analyze the power of analytics and data and help them in better decision making. A decision making should be backed by data and that is what we are empowering companies to do. Our open source free option and less costing allows any company to be data driven. Our future versions which will also have NLP and ML will allow people to ask questions from the data, thus making it even more simpler to derive insights from the data.

Great Companies: What are the struggles and challenges you face?

Nikhilesh Tiwari: The biggest challenges which we have faced is in terms of getting good talent and retaining them. Even though our country adds a lot of new engineers every year into the talent pool but most of them are poor on skills. So it is very difficult to get a person with the required skillset, experience and attitude. It is even more so for a small company which is not a big brand as compared to the MNCs and big organizations.

Aside when we had started we also had problem of cash flows but that soon got resolved as we got funded and as we started getting customers. Further with our product maturing the margins and top line has been improving substantially.

Great Companies: How do you plan to grow in the future? What does 5 years down the line look like for Helical IT Solutions Private Limited?

Nikhilesh: We have a lot of things which we have planned for our product as well as services.

On the product side we are very aggressively working on a major version release i.e. version 5.0 of our product which is having a lot of UX and functionality improvement on our product. There are also very futuristic technologies and features which we have planned on our product which also includes UI driven workflow engine, a Google search kind of interface wherein users can ask questions in English language and get the answers from the data, in-memory support, support of statistical and ML algorithms inbuilt into the product and much more.

We do plan to raise funding as well in next two quarters which can help us to fast track our product development and sales effort. We do plan to have some kind of offshore offices as well as have regional partners in non native English speaking countries for more outreach to clients

Aside we also plan to increases our services portfolio as well and add more and more cutting edge skillsets into our product. That will always help us learn how the industry is shaping up and where to innovate.

Great Companies: If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?

Nikhilesh Tiwari: Some of the advices I would like to offer to someone starting up are below

- Build something in a sector wherein you know the painpoints and how you can tackle those painpoints. Otherwise in many cases the learning curve itself can be very long.

- Have patience. There is no overnight success and things take time. So don’t give up irrespective of the hardships and keep on fighting.

- Don’t try to start alone, have more than one cofounders with complimentary skillsets.

- Try to chase and create value for your clients, money will follow

- Never run out of cash. Always keep your expenses under control. Expenses can increase exponentially but not necessarily your revenues

- Build fast and release fast. Do not wait for the perfect product/perfect feature.



bottom of page