Being a Marketer & Digital Entrepreneur in India, it is highly impossible that you wouldn’t have heard about IAMAI: Internet and Mobile Association of India; which is an association formed and managed by some of the biggest names of the industry. They conduct events all over India, covering various sub-niches and presided by over some of the most experienced veterans of the industry.
For the 8th India Digital Meet held at Hotel Lalit in New Delhi between February 6th and February 7th, 2014, I had the opportunity to visit the event and experience it first hand. I was not able to attend the event on 6th, which I still deeply regret. But, for the concluding day that is on 7th I was prepared. At exactly 10 AM in the morning, I entered Hotel Lalit, and thereby begun my adventure fueled by Entrepreneurship, Marketing, Social Media, eCommerce, Ideas, Hope and Drums.
The whole summit was broadly divided into several sessions, being held at different locations within the campus. For the first half, I decided to attend the sessions called “Entrepreneur’s Stage”.
For the first session of the day, which was between 10:00 to 11:15 hours, I entered the Regency Hall 3 and seated myself as some of the most accomplished Digital Entrepreneurs started their panel discussion on the topic: “From Launch to Series A: First Two Years of Successful Startups”. The discussion was moderated by Neville Taraporewalla, General Manager, India Advertising & Online, Microsoft and Entrepreneur panelists were Rammohan Sundaram, Playform Play ; Harsh Roongta, Apna Paisa; Vivek Bhargava, iProspect-communicate2; Kunal Shah, Freecharge and Mohit Dubey, Carwale.
Some of the valuable and interesting notes during the discussion:
- When asked on how Freecharge was able to get their first 50,000 customers, Kunal Shah explained in detail the internal struggle and fights encountered by the team. They had created one dashboard, which was placed in the middle of their office, wherein the count was updated on a daily basis. He said, “When you start measuring, you start growing.” Their team went to colleges, created various profiles in social media and answered each and every question tossed at them on Quora. He shared that it took 35 meetings with Mc Donanld’s management to get their account. And once that account was achieved, other corporate followed suite rather easily.
- When asked when to raise money from VC, there were two contradicting thoughts within the panelists: a) Raise money when and where required. Don’t leave any chance to raise money as money is the only support base you will have in times of distress. b) If you have good operational efficiency, then don’t dilute your ownership, and don’t ask for money.
On the question of a dream startup, Rammohan Sundaram shared that educational startups in the current phase looks promising as this sector is witnessing tremendous growth. Startups with social impact are another sector which looks promising as of now.
Mohit Dubey from CarWale shared his story of entrepreneurship. He shared that initially he was not even aware of the term Venture Capital, and how he door-to-door contacted all rich people in Bhopal and asked for investment! At last, he came to know about a venture capitalist from Bhopal (his home town) who was settled in US and sought his help to raise funds, which eventually happened.
Rammohan Sundaram shared his story of his office in initial period, when there was no woman’s washroom present. Once when a female employee asked for washroom, he silently went across the street to a restaurant, and broke a deal for Rs 200 / month to use their washroom. The message was: Entrepreneurs need no excuses to win; they just have to do it!
When an audience member asked when to bail out your idea, Kunal shared his wisdom by stating, “Never fall in love with your idea; fall in love with success” and “Ideas never ever gets stolen”.
Legality is very important in entrepreneurship and every step should be taken to be in the safe side of the law.
On a question of how many co-founders a company should ideally have, the panelists replied that at the max, 3 co-founders team looks perfect. With too many co-founders, personality clashes are bound to happen. Yes, VC do lookout for teams which can perform, and having a co-founder is a definitive advantage.
I hope you found these takeaways valuable. In part-2, we shall talk about the discussion on Social Data or Market Research, with some interesting observations. Stay tuned!
About the Author
Mohul is a Senior Online Marketer from Noida, India. You can follow him on Facebook to know his views on Online Marketing, Entrepreneurship & Life!