The phenomenal success of IBS Software, which entered the 25th year of its existence as a leading global SaaS (Software as a Service) solutions provider, is a reflection of the support given to the IT industry by the successive LDF and UDF governments over the years, says the company Founder and Executive Chairman VK Mathews.
Addressing a press conference to mark his company’s 25th anniversary, Mathews recalled that when he had plans to set up an IT company in 1997 he was advised to start operations in Bangalore, the then favourite IT destination. But he chose Thiruvananthapuram because “the attachment to my homeland was overpowering”. He added that “investing and staying invested in Kerala was one of the best business decisions I have made in my life”.
He said banks had turned down his loan applications since his venture has no collateral to offer and IT companies were an “alien concept during those times”. However, IBS managed to get a working capital loan from Canara Bank with which the operations could start. “Without their timely help, my ambitions to be an entrepreneur would have died before it could even take off”
Starting in a space of 8,000 sq ft at Technopark in the state capital, IBS Software scripted a success story as a global software solutions provider that powers operations of some of the largest airlines, airports, cruise lines, oil & gas upstream logistics and hotel chains. “The operations that IBS’ solutions support are so mission critical that even a minute of downtime can cause huge losses for the customers, not to mention the chaos that ensues for airlines and airports. During our initial days, it was very difficult to convince our customers in the western world that software solutions developed in India could be trusted to do this”
Today, IBS has business presence in 40 countries, with 150 active customers including 14 of the 20 leading airlines, 2 of the 5 largest cruise lines, 4 of the top 5 oil companies, and 5 of the largest 20 hotel chains.
Noting that the future is full of opportunities, he expressed the hope that global travel industry would reach the pre-covid levels by 2023. “Except in a few countries like India, the airline sector is facing paucity of skilled manpower. The pandemic had forced airlines and airports to lay off staff and, today, with people wanting to travel there is huge chaos at most airports in Europe and US. This could result in a faster pace of digitisation offering new opportunities for companies like IBS”.
V K Mathews, who hails from Kizakkambalam in Ernakulam district, graduated from Mar Athanasius College of Engineering, Kothamangalam, and went on to obtain M.Tech in Aeronautical Engineering from IIT Kanpur, and a management degree from Harvard Business School, USA. He is currently the Chairman of GTech, the industry association of IT companies in Kerala.