When Yogesh Khandelwal launched his startup technology company, geoAMPS, two and a half years ago, he heard the same advice over and over: “If you make it through the first year, you won’t fail.”
Khandelwal, a civil engineer with a background in technologies, had developed software to help companies manage land rights and infrastructure assets. But business took off so slowly in the beginning—the company signed one client during its first year—that Khandelwal admits he began to doubt himself.
“When we started off, everybody we talked to said, ‘You have the greatest product,’ but we didn’t have the sales to justify what we were hearing,” Khandelwal says. “So it was like, ‘OK, well, are we just kind of kidding ourselves?’ ”
Those initial insecurities disappeared as geoAMPS (the AMPS stands for Asset Management and Project Solutions) entered its second year and gradually gained more clients. Momentum continues to build for the Powell-based company, which Khandelwal, president and CEO, runs with his wife and chief operating officer, Leena Madan. Madan was previously a leader in shared business analysis at Nationwide
The couple, natives of Indiajointly manages a team of 25 employees, serving 14 clients in the United States and Canada and offering a dozen software products custom-designed for industries such as oil and gas, alternative energy, right of way and transportation, among others.
“Our typical client is someone who is looking for efficiency,” Khandelwal says. “I think the big thing would be they have large quantities of data that they are trying to manage, and they don’t have an effective way of doing that.”
The software helps clients achieve, on average, a 35 percent increase in efficiency over traditional systems, sa Dan Liggett, geoAMPS’ communications and public relations manager. Customization sets the company’s growing line of products apart, he adds. “Few software companies can customize the software and the capabilities of the software to meet a specific customer’s needs, and we do that.”
Mobile apps developed for each product allow clients to use the software remotely via smartphones and tablets. The software also offers global information systems (GIS) mapping through a product called gisAMPS, which provides 3-D views along with analysis of 3-D data.
The owners say that although the products are technologically sophisticated, they were made to be user-friendly. “When we do demonstrations, we hear ‘wow,’ aahs and oohs. It is amazing,” Madan says. “And we’ve seen people who just stare at us and say, ‘You actually did this?’ and ‘How long did it take you to do this?’ because they are dumbfounded when they see the product. … That’s our moment of accomplishment, when we see those reactions.”
The owners say training each client to use the software and giving them 24-hour technical support has been key to geoAMPS’ success. The company conducts in-person training upfront, but then complements that with training documentation, quick-start guides, webinars and live Web chats.
Recently, geoAMPS expanded into Canada. Its first wave of clients there includes Evolve Surface Strategies Inc., located in Airdrie, one of the fastest-growing cities in Alberta.Evolve interviewed at least six software companies before choosing geoAMPS, says Brodie Allen, a member of Evolve’s leadership team
“I think the biggest impact it’s had on our business has been in efficiency creation, particularly in our high-volume projects where one project may have 400 different landowners,” Allen says. “Our field agents … click a few buttons and hit ‘link.’ Traditionally, that would have been, go back to the office, take your manual notes, log in and upload. And start the next day all over again.”
After the initial training session, Evolve has received ongoing technical support mainly through webinars. “My theory is we’re using technology to increase efficiencies,” Allen says.
More expansion is the goal for geoAMPS’ future: Khandelwal and Madan have their sights set beyond North America. “We want to be a global player,” Madan says. “Europe would be our next area to be focused on.”
On the home front, geoAMPS will soon move its headquarters, upgrading from cramped offices to a modern 7,000-square-foot space in Powell. Other plans are in the works to open two satellite offices, one in Houston and another in Calgary. geoAMPS was a semi-finalist for the 2012 TechColumbus Innovation Awards in the Outstanding Startup Business category.
“Once the ‘Hey, are you going to stay in business?’ went away, people have kind of come in a big way,” Khandelwal says. “A lot of people who were on the fence initially now are recognizing that this company is here to stay and is doing great work.”
Dana Wilson is a freelance writer.