OpenTurf, a sustainable alternative to firm hiring tech teams in Middle East

For any tech company, finding the right talent is the biggest hurdle. Around 93% of employers in UAE-based tech companies find it difficult to hire the right talent, a study commissioned by the UK-based Institution of Engineering and Technology showed. The reason behind the talent gap is the same as in tech resource-rich countries like India—the education offered by technical institutes and engineering colleges is not at par with the changing tides in technology. 

“Many times, companies take a long time to find and hire the right tech talent. Moreover, founders with a minimum viable product (MVP) may want to hire a full-fledged tech team only after they have scaled significantly,” explains Kaustubh Kashyap, Co-founder and Chief Growth Officer at OpenTurf Technologies.

Bengaluru-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) consultech firm OpenTurf expanded to Dubai in 2020 to deliver quick technological solutions in the dearth of the right talent.  Co-founded by Kaustubh and Zunder L, OpenTurf offers services, including tech consultancy and customised automation solutions, along with software modules in blockchain, Web3, 5G, and more.

From product to SaaS

Zunder and Kaustubh have been working in the tech sector for over two decades. They first met at Comviva, a Gurugram-based company, which was incorporated as Bharti Telesoft Limited in 1999. It was later acquired by Tech Mahindra.  After moving on from Comviva, Zunder founded OpenTurf in 2015 as a product company. However, he felt that offering tech products were only half of the solution, and in 2019, reunited with Kaustubh to discuss the scope of consultancy services   “When we were working with Comviva, we realised that although we were selling tech solutions and products to client companies, they did not know to integrate these systems,” recalls Kaustubh. In 2020, Kaustubh joined OpenTurf as the team pivoted to a SaaS consultech model and entered Dubai.  1511 people loved this story Sequoia-Backed UrbanPiper Has Set Its Sights On The Middle East

How it works

OpenTurf’s team of experts first consult clients on probable tech solutions and takes up the project to deliver as per the client’s request. The projects typically last for about six months and cost between $50,000 and $120,000. The team did not disclose the consultancy fees.  One such client was a cross-border payment company (name undisclosed), which was founded in India and now has a base in Dubai. The team sought OpenTurf’s help to restructure their existing systems to scale hardware and software and integrate with local systems.  “While consulting them about restructuring, we proposed introducing third-party integration with local software on their platform,” he says. OpenTurf has built the client’s third-party integrations with about 50 different companies, and Kaustubh claims that this helped the company clear its delivery backlog and improve financial performance.  To find the right talent, OpenTurf taps into colleges in Tier-II cities in India and offers the necessary training after hiring.  “We give them the option to either work from our Bengaluru office or work from their homes. For us, this is also beneficial in terms of cost-cutting,” Kaustubh explains.

Operating in MENA

Kaustubh, who has worked in Dubai, feels it is important for companies to have a physical presence to tap into the MENA market. “For instance, a company sitting in India may offer a solution, but there are thousands of such companies. When you are (physically) present in front of the clients, it brings in the confidence required to do business,” he reasons, highlighting that the initial set of clients reached out only because the bootstrapped company was setting up an office in Dubai.  While OpenTurf did not disclose figures, it says it contributes around 10% to its global revenue. So far, the company has provided services to 30 companies in the UAE, Nigeria, Kenya, and Europe, of which five are based in the Middle East. The company claims a repeat percentage of 91%.  OpenTurf competes with the likes of Tata Consultancy Services, Accenture, Deloitte, and PwC.

Future plans

Despite a slump during the pandemic, the consultancy market in the GCC is on the rise, with government initiatives such as Expo 2020, the 2022 Qatar World Cup, and Vision 2030 being the primary drivers. A report by Gartner forecasts IT spending in the MENA region to total $178 billion in 2023, growing at 3.1%. Going forward, OpenTurf will explore opportunities in Saudi Arabia because of favourable market conditions.  The 70-member team also hopes to expand the customer base through channel partners or enterprises that have extensive networks across the MENA region.

Source: Your Story