100ms is a video infrastructure startup that delivers real-time, audio-video interactive experiences on any web platform or mobile app. The New York based SaaS provider achieved tremendous growth, about 20x increase in Q4 of 2021 and currently serves 2200+ customers with a revenue of about $13.5M.
100ms’ complexity challenge
100ms is committed to enabling any business to create better virtual experiences by tailoring their requirements. The platform essentially brought together video conferencing and live streaming together in a single platform serving several industries with a variety of use cases.
Every customer could choose their specifications - video or audio, with or without streaming, session time, number of participants and viewers, the definition of quality, etc all of these contributed to the rates. The pricing models included volume pricing, tier based pricing, fixed usage, free units, credits and discounts for every combination of the offerings.
While customization was central to 100ms’ offering, configuring it into pricing models and contracts was beginning to become a headache.
The actual usage for all metrics had to be measured and stored accurately. The invoicing had to check the pricing of the contracts against the usage metrics. Accounts also allowed for multiple users with different usages tied to a single contract.
The search for a solution
With their client base growing, 100ms could not rely on manual processes.
The team set out to find a billing system that could configure the flexibility of the pricing system they supported. Their contracts were extremely variable. While templates were a good starting point, they also needed to configure more components for custom plans whenever needed. Usage data had to be measured accurately and transferred seamlessly to their invoicing module
As a fast-growing company with an evolving product, it was also extremely important for the leadership to be able to iterate and experiment on their pricing models in the future.
They were using Stripe billing but had begun to explore Chargebee and Zuora as well. But none of the existing billing tools fit their requirements.
After exploring dozens of billing tools in vain, the team resigned to build the core billing system in-house and use a mix of tools to manage their invoicing and accounts receivables. That’s when they found Zenskar.
"We realized in our conversations with Zenskar that they truly understood our challenges and had the capability to solve them. After agreeing to do the pilot, there was no looking back."
– Kshitij Gupta, CEO, 100ms
How Zenskar automated the entire billing process for 100ms
Unlike most legacy billing tools that can only support subscriptions, Zenskar was built to solve billing complexity.
Migration and implementation
The transition from Stripe billing to Zenskar was completed within a mere three days. The migration was expedited by Zenskar’s feature that enables bulk upload of customer data.
One crucial part of the migration involved configuring the contracts on the Zenskar platform. The Zenskar team closely collaborated with 100ms to ensure that the contracts were accurately set up in alignment with their business requirements and billing processes.
The usage data, another vital aspect of 100ms billing, was pushed into the Zenskar platform via API. The usage streams are transmitted twice a day to allow for data accuracy throughout the billing cycle.
100ms also integrated Zenskar with Quickbooks for financial management, HubSpot for customer relationship management, and Stripe Payments for payment processing. The successful integration of these tools allowed Zenskar to plug into 100ms’ existing setup without any disruption of workflows.
The entire migration and setup process took a total of 10 days and the 100ms team could not be happier about it.
“As a fast-paced startup, quick turnaround times are critical for us to implement things as we envision them. Really appreciate Zenskar for getting started at a record time.”
– Kshitij Gupta, CEO, 100ms
Automating complex billing
100ms automated contract creation by configuring complex contracts by building templates using Zenskar’s visual contract builder. These contract templates took into account all the offerings and customizable parameters 100ms offered. Every contract with all its flexibility could be created from just a few preset templates. The complete automation of the contract creation process saved the team several hours monthly.
The usage data for each offering was fed into Zenskar via API connection. Billable amounts and invoices were generated based on this.
Invoicing and receivables management
Once the contracts and usage data was in place, invoice generation was a breeze.
The team created several invoice templates based on the clients’ use cases and payment methods. Different invoice templates could be mapped to different clients by configuring user segments.
Every month, invoices were generated automatically. This reduced the time spent on repetitive efforts, as well as reduced invoicing errors that were prone to occur given 100ms pricing complexity. The team also realized they were underbilling several customers as they missed charging for certain usages when billing manually.
Payment communications via email could also be templatized on Zenskar. The invoice and payment reminder emails sent manually before Zenskar were automated. Payment confirmation emails were also triggered from the platform once the payment was received.
“Zenskar truly exceeded our expectations with the receivables process. Not only did it significantly cut down the grunt work for the finance department, we also saw an uptick in our monthly cash flows.”
– Sonal Agarwal, VP Finance
Reliable usage metrics
100ms was committed to predictable pricing and transparency, but they lacked the infrastructure to offer their clients visibility into usage metrics. After onboarding with Zenskar, they were able to provide granular data such as product usage, free units consumed/remaining, invoice totals, product totals, etc.
This was done in two ways - usage reports and customer portal.
100ms scheduled daily usage reports to its clients with the communication module. The usage data was pushed to Zenskar every 12 hours for accuracy. Zenskar’s usage module calculated the line items every day to send daily reports to their clients.
100ms’ clients could also access Zenskar’s customer portal to check the historic usage data at any point in time.
In addition to complete automation of the billing operations, Zenskar simplified revenue recognition too.
With the Quickbooks integrations, revenue, receivables and credit liability sub ledgers are populated and updated in real time. The finance team at 100ms’ can access up-to-date data, enabling them to make informed decisions and respond quickly to any financial developments.
The creation of journal entries on Quickbooks through the integration helps the team close their books faster too.
10% increase in revenue
The team realized they had been underbilling their customers as they missed taking into account some of the consumption data during billing. When the billing process got accurate with Zenskar, the team saw an astonishing 10% increase in their revenue.
Automation of invoices and the subsequent payment reminders made the receivables process reliable. As a result, the payments flowed in faster and their cash flows increased.
But the real impact for the 100ms team was the problems they never had to face.
Launched 4 months faster
100ms avoided the opportunity cost of having to build a billing system in-house. Not only would it take significant time and engineering bandwidth, it could have also delayed the product launch by months according to their internal estimates. 100ms was able to use the time to build the features that better served their clients.
Zenskar's no-code solution meant that maintaining the billing process could be achieved without engineering support. The team appreciated that it was also a future proof architecture that could be used by non-technical teams.
“If we hadn’t found Zenskar, building an in-house system for our complex usage-based model would have delayed the launch by at least 4 months and we would still be force-fitting our use case on clunky old tools.”
– Sonal Agarwal, VP Finance
250 hours of grunt work avoided every month
Zenskar’s fully automated billing system was a dream come true for 100ms that took care of billing, metering, accounting and receivable management.
This decreased the manual effort substantially for the entire team. On an average, the finance team of 4 spent about half of their bandwidth doing the tasks Zenskar automated. The estimates Zenskar saves them about 250 hours of grunt work every month.
The team is happier for it since they now spend their time on more strategic and meaningful work instead.