March 29, 2010 – Noted publisher Malcolm Forbes once said that diamonds are chunks of carbon that stuck to their job. Replicon, a Calgary-based software company, is that quote personified. The company, headed by Indian-born immigrants, Lakshmi and Raj Narayanaswamy, is that gem of success that rose from the ashes of initial failures.

It was 1996 when Raj and Lakshmi, both computer science and electrical engineers from top universities of India, decided to step into their field as entrepreneurs. “Web-based solutions were a happening thing at that time. We tried the launch of buying-tracking software and failed. Another attempt too fizzled. By the time the third attempt at the product flopped we were down by nearly $100,000.

“It was quite a painful process and we were paying one credit card through the other,” recalls Lakshmi. “We panicked. Both of us had three options in front of us — declare bankruptcy, pursue a dream with a vision or quit entrepreneurship and get a job. We chose the second.

They discussed and delved. “With the help of an external consultant, we were able to focus on our weakness. While both of us were good at engineering, we lacked in marketing and management with no business background,” Raj pinpoints. “We corrected that.”

Replicon is born

The couple stuck to their vision and at last were able to make their first sales to a Seattle-based firm. Replicon was born. Raj and Lakshmi became the co-CEOs of the company.

Fourteen years down the line, Replicon has become a leader in web-based timesheet and expense management software. It serves 6,700 clients (big ones like Ernst & Young, Sony, Schlumberger, Intel and Volvo) from 62 different countries and in January this year was ranked 17th on the Fast Growth 50 by Alberta Venture magazine. Lakshmi figures among Canada’s top women entrepreneurs, ranking sixth among Canada’s top female entrepreneurs by Profit magazine in 2009. And it wasn’t her first year making the list either.

What is the lady’s secret in being among the top entrepreneurs’ years in a row? “I just focus on the trends. My endeavour is to provide value and give the very best to the customers and employees. I introspect a lot,” she shares.

The company’s employee list looks like an international roster. Ninety workers in its Calgary downtown head office are drawn from different nationalities. “We value skills and try to imbibe the best from whatever country or culture they come from. Multiculturalism just comes by and [I am] proud of it,” says Raj.

“Focus on being open, authentic, professional and have fun in whatever you do. Be committed no matter what colour you are. As a human and a worker, you should gel,” says the co-CEO.

Raj chose Calgary as the head office because it was here that he first landed on a work permit. “I liked the place. A lot of tech-savvy and talented people around,” he says.

Offices in America, India and beyond

With offices already in the United States and India, the couple now plans to extend the footprints to countries in Europe and Asia. “Australia is being considered seriously,” Lakshmi divulged

Unlike other companies, which keep the India office just as a business process outsourcing hub, Replicon actually moves people between there and Canada. “As many as 40 per cent of our total set of employees is in India. We relocate them here for training. This way barriers are lowered and interaction gets better,” Lakshmi says.

On the roadmap that they have carved out for this year, Lakshmi gets a bit philosophical. Quoting Jim Collins, she says: “Not one of the good-to-great companies focused obsessively on growth. Growth is good, but also limit the goal. This year besides overseas expansion, we would like to enrich our relationships further with the clients.”

Get started today.
Set up a free trial based on your business needs. Start Free Trial

The Future of Project Resource Management in Professional Services

When it comes to PSA, automation is (literally) the name of the game. We turn to machine learning and AI to make our processes easier and cut down on the…Read More

If You Want Profitability, You Cannot Ignore Resource Utilization

After an enormously challenging year, professional services firms are trying to get back on track to achieve their growth and profitability goals. To do so, it has become more important…Read More

Reduce Revenue Leakage and Drive Efficiency in Professional Services

Imagine traveling in a boat that has a small hole at the bottom. The boat is slowly filling with water, and unless you do something to fix that hole, it…Read More

5 Ways to Improve Service Delivery in Your Organization

In a highly competitive market, service-based businesses need to capitalize on any opportunity to set themselves apart from their (often very similar) competitors. While implementation, system details, and service management…Read More

Demystifying the millennial workforce: 5 tips from Trunk Club’s Andrew Anderson Devine

Time magazine labels the millennial generation the “most threatening and exciting generation,” infamous for “narcissism [and] its effect: entitlement.” In the workplace, the perception of the millennial workforce is no…Read More

Exempt vs non-exempt workers: simplify employee classification

In the United States, most jobs are governed by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which classifies workers into two broad categories: exempt and non-exempt. Under the FLSA, non-exempt employees are…Read More
  • Polaris
  • Time & Project Insights
  • Time & Projects Solutions
  • Replicon Products
  • Replicon Users
  • Cloud
  • Corporate
  • Professional Services Management
  • Shared Services Management
  • Time and Attendance Management
  • Customer Feature
  • Time Intelligence
  • Industry News
  • Global Compliance Updates