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Wednesday July 6th, 2022

Rootcode: The Enabler of Global Enterprises

Alagan Mahalingam Founder and Chief Executive of Rootcode (L) Mangala Perera Partner and Chief Operating Officer of Rootcode (R)

Rootcode provides innovative solutions to enterprises across 29 industries worldwide, helping them adapt to the ever-evolving realities of the world of business and technology. Rootcode’s technology touches the lives of over 79 million people with its solutions in mobile apps, web apps, data analytics, UI/UX design, machine learning, AI, and cloud.

Founder and Chief Executive Alagan Mahalingam and Mangala Perera, Partner and Chief Operating Officer at Rootcode, talk about the company’s journey from startup to global enabler. With a growing clientele, particularly in the Nordics and North America, they share insights into how the company is reassuring its people and customers and unlocking growth opportunities.

Rootcode started the journey as a startup that grew into a global tech company in a short period. Could you take us through that journey?

The story begins with Alagan developing an AI-based karaoke app while still a graduate student. The app was a roaring success, got nominated for the Asia Pacific ICT Awards, and a UK-based company acquired the app soon after that. Enterprises hearing of Alagan’s successes started inquiring about building software solutions for them. And that was how Rootcode was conceived, as an outward-looking startup that could be scaled by solving complex problems confronting enterprises of all sizes in more advanced economies.

The company grew to about 20 people in the first five years as we tried different things, were unafraid to develop innovative solutions to complex problems, test them, fail fast and quickly reiterate the development process. Two and half years later, Rootcode had expanded to 100 dedicated tech wizards serving some of the biggest brands in the world. We empower companies, from multinational enterprises to startups, to build better tech-based products and services. Our clients are almost entirely European or North American enterprises. In a nutshell, Rootcode provides a comprehensive suite of solutions from software engineering, design, AI, data analytics, backend, and cloud capabilities to help businesses reimagine themselves for growth and even successfully navigate through economic challenges.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, we could pivot fast and provide solutions to our customers, many of whom were struggling to deal with the unprecedented economic consequences of the global pandemic. For Rootcode, 2021 was the best year, growing the business by 85% that year.

We recently started another vertical called Rootcode Studio to help businesses with superior designs for elevated user experiences. Rootcode Studio is one of the earliest premium design studios in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is a well-known software engineering destination, but we are on a mission to put the country on the map for design and creating unique user experiences.

As Sri Lanka contends with the worst economic crisis in history, how is Rootcode reassuring its people and motivating them?

Motivating employees has always been core to everything we do. Rootcode is all about the people. They are the reason for all our successes and the drivers of growth. It all begins with the hiring process. We look for self-driven, initiative-taking professionals who share our values around integrity, technical excellence, and desire to make a difference for ourselves and our clients. They also need to be able to collaborate well with teams. An aspiring Rootcoder must have all these attributes, and we offer exciting prospects in return. We give them the freedom to do what they do best without micro-managing people or projects and the opportunity to fast-track their careers within an atmosphere of collaboration. We expose them to new opportunities in developed markets and challenge them to continuously develop themselves on the latest upheavals in technology while constantly mentoring and nurturing them. Their well-being is a paramount concern. We took extraordinary measures to make them feel comfortable during the pandemic and continue to do everything we can to reassure them by easing the burden of the rising cost of living through our Cost of living allowance program. In doing so, they can focus on what they do best and find purpose in the transformative changes they are helping enterprises achieve.

How are you reassuring your clients?

Our clients have expressed complete confidence in Rootcode because we always deliver above and beyond expectations, as we aptly demonstrated during Covid. Our customers love the tech solutions coming out of Rootcode, they admire our resilience and drive, and their feedback so far has been encouraging.

While Sri Lanka contends with an economic crisis, the global economy is facing headwinds. Enterprises, even those in developed markets, are starting to feel pressures building from rising inflation due to global energy and food supply constraints. Cash flow is tightening for several industries around the world. However, there is an opportunity for enterprises to engage with companies like Rootcode that have mastered the ability to build solutions that sustain growth. So, amidst all the uncertainties, we are confident that demand for our expertise can only grow, which is good for the country and Rootcode and means better opportunities for our people.

As a Sri Lankan company, we are committed to developing and elevating the tech ecosystem. We are investing in an initiative that can potentially transform the tech landscape in Sri Lanka. The IT industry brings around $1.5 billion in revenue from export services annually. There is potential to increase revenue to $5 billion, but that requires considerable capacity building, both in the number of professionals and level of skills – Sri Lanka needs to elevate skills to move higher up the tech value chain. We as a company will contribute to building that capacity by investing in a technology academy that will focus on making graduates employable, upskilling professionals, and helping professionals in other industries switch to IT.

We plan to maintain that growth annually by aggressively expanding our global reach and increasing the team to 500 by 2025 to capture the Nordic and North American markets.