Interview with Abdulla Hisham, Cofounder of Foradian Technologies

- - Interview
Explain a lit bit about foradian.

Foradian started as a web design and web application development company in 2009. Now we concentrate on the Education industry with our core product ‘Fedena’. The team comprises of 8 childhood buddies who got together over a long period of time, mingling and studying in different schools and colleges in Kerala and Karnataka.

We never started with an idea, we started with our confidence and energy.

Why the name Fedena ?

Athena is the Greek Goddess of Education. We coined the name Fedena as a coalition of Foradian + Athena. It also has a meaning – the coolest thing alive, usually meaning something come from royalty or from wealth

What all are your products ?

Fedena is our flagship product. Fedena is used in 40,000+ schools and 20 million+ users worldwide.
It is used by Government of Kerala, India to automate the system and process of 15,000+ schools (7 million+ students) in the state.

It is a multipurpose school or campus management software, which can be used by educational institutions for all administrative and management activities. The software can be used by schools and colleges and can be scaled up to suit universities and training centers’ requirements. Fedena can help head of institutions to track and monitor all activities of students and the institute. It can also facilitate smooth transfers among different institutions as well as in preparation of certificates, generating various reports related to students, parents, teachers and non-teaching staff, preparation of examination database, preparation of integrated timetable, and more.

We are coming up with another revolutionary product in the Education sector.

Foradian has given an online face to Tintumon, an iconic cartoon character for Malyalees, which was another viral in the internet.

What all have been the challenge that you faced so far?

Lack good utility providers like electricity, internet etc for our office space in Kasargod, a small town in Kerala, where our 70% of employees and our core technical center.

Presence of big and small players already in the market. Big players already had the brand and small players spoil the market with low cost and poor services. It was hard work that we were able to crack big deals and our business strategy.

Presence of a lot of company in the industry doesn’t mean that the complete solution has been provided. Even now ‘customizations’ has been a real challenge in the education ERP industry. But we have tackled it with our unique plugin model / add – on concept. We have made our system optimized for customization.

Another problem is the support/service. Coming up with the SAAS model this problem has been solved.

In addition to the business related challenges you will have social pressure too. It would be tough to handle the situation until you really start making business and recognize yourself in the society.

It would be very hard time during the initial stages but once you have made the break through then things are different.

Fedena being Open source, how do generate revenue?

There are several Open Source business models that generate revenues. I can give you an example that is similar to our business model is Redhat. We generate revenue from paid services of Fedena like customization, support, training etc.

Who all are currently using fedena?

I can say that the only place which may not be using Fedena would be Antarctica :) We have daily downloads of 200+ in our site and it has come from almost all the countries across the world.

You where the first one who design the rupee font, right? How was it?

Yes. At time of creating the Font it was just another design. But after few hours things started changing. Within a day more than million downloads and then automatically it was a viral phenomenon in the internet. It was a Google trend for the day and covered in almost all medias.

Now it has more than 20 crore downloads – More than Kolaveri :)

What is brand mango?

We started as a web design and web application development company. So our creative wing was named as Brand Mango and it was running profitable from the first month onwards. But now as we are concentrating only on our core product ‘Fedena’, we have almost stopped all the operations of Brand Mango. Rarely we do hear stopping a successfully running entity. It would require in the course of time of your business you need to make tough decisions. Business / Great Entrepreneurs is also about making great decisions :)

Any advice to our budding entrepreneurs?

a) Keep things simple
b) Perseverance pays off – It’s very true.
c) Get advisers / mentors which will give you broad idea of things around you. After all you are the one who take decisions.
d) Don’t burn out or don’t have too many employees/infrastructure at the start. Keep expense minimal or make maximum utilization of optimal resource. It’s a misconception that billion dollar companies can be formed only with large number of employees.
e) Solve 1 problem at a time.

Mahatma Ghandi was great marketing person and I would like to present one of his quotes here for all the entrepreneurs –
A ‘No’ uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a ‘Yes’ merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble.

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