This Entrepreneurial Story is about Himanshu Joshi & Puneet Poddar who Founded ‘Admirch Media Labs Pvt. Ltd’ located in Bangalore, India.
Himanshu Joshi MBA IIM-Bangalore(2012), B.E. – NIT Bhopal (2003) Past Experience – Corporate Strategy, New Product Development, Winner of various new product development competitions, Photographer – photo exhibitions held. Member of office band in Noida as a percussionist. Was a part of company’s cricket team in previous organization.
Puneet Poddar MBA IIM-Bangalore(2012), B.E. – NIT Allahabad(2003) Past Experience – Sales, Consulting, Movie maker at heart and involved in theatres throughout his life, Social Contact Links of all Founders (Email, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter etc)
Product Name: Guppit (http://www.guppit.com)
When Started: March 2013
What motivated you to start your Business?
Post MBA, we were working on areas that were actually the building blocks for a new startup. We used to meet occasionally and discuss new business ideas ranging from a BoP targeted inclusive business model to something in the luxury sector. I (Himanshu) was working on a product called admirch (that was launched as guppit later) that would allow facebook page owners and any common user to start earning money using our platform. I discussed the idea with Puneet and his instant response was “This is good, we should start on this” and thus it all begun.
[Below answers by Himanshu]
Tell us about your Business
Guppit is all about saving money while shopping online. We help users save money through deals & discounts, cash backs and price alarms. Unlike any other coupon or cash back website we directly sit on the browsers and thus the user will automatically get discounts related to the store he is visiting. He does not need to go to any coupons website to search for the deals. We did a detailed analysis on internet usage in India and we found out that most of the online shoppers still prefer shopping through their laptops or PCs rather than their mobiles – reason being they are concerned about secure payments over mobile. Mobile is definitely the next big thing in online shopping but what about the needs of people today? We should think for the future but without ignoring the present. A recent report on Next Big What says most of the Indian shoppers who buy online visit coupon sites before making a purchase
(Research data: http://www.nextbigwhat.com/indian-shoppers-buy-online-convenience-discounts-variety-297/).
We do not feel that going to a coupon store is required. The roadmap for penetration of ecommerce and associated businesses in India looks as under: There has been absolutely no play of technology in couponing and cashback space. If you see coupon sites in India today, they all look exactly the same – flooded with irrelevant coupons and advertisements. We want to clean up the mess using technology. The biggest advantage that Guppit provides is the ease of getting coupons. Through our browser plugins we provide coupons right on the shopping store a user is visiting. This reduces a lot of pain that the user goes through in finding the coupons through any coupon website. You take any coupon website in India today; you see a lot of clutter – ads flowing on all the corners of the websites, overwhelming with deals. We do not think it makes sense for a user to see a deal for mobile phone when he is looking for deals to purchase diapers.
What is a Day in a life of you like?
Well I seem to be inspired by A R Rehman these days. I start my day late say 11:00 a.m. and it can end up anytime between 2:00 to 3:30 a.m. The first thing I do is to check out for the alarms (if any) got triggered for the cloud servers. Once satisfied, I make a list of tasks for the day. I personally believe that you cannot have focus on your tasks until you have all of them right in front of you. You should set priority correctly. So I set realistic targets that are slightly difficult to achieve but achievable and then start my work. I work from Nasscom’s 10000 startup warehouse in Domlur. So I make sure I spend atleast 30 minutes a day to learn from other teams about what they do, how they do it. As I am handling technology, marketing, branding and finance, it becomes very difficult sometimes to manage all of them together so have to stretch late in night.
One particular skill you got right and gave you best results.
Well as my profile suggests, I was a strategy gut before we started this venture. So moving back to coding was never easy. Hiring new coders was taking time and we interviewed many people before deciding that we ourselves should code. I had technology background and I feel that I can architect frameworks and technology so I personally believe that the ability to scale (by means of system architecture) is one such thing that has helped us extremely well. I am handling all the cloud infrastructure and I can scale up both in my application as well as infrastructure anyday anytime. This is something that I learnt the hard way. My server crashed 2 times taking the website down.
What have been your biggest challenges in running your Business so far?
I will not say Finance because that is one common problem that everyone has and you need to manage it smartly. For us the biggest challenge has been marketing. We tried various ways to market our product. Someone suggested taking the social promotions path, someone suggested taking the adwords path. When we started, we were absolutely confused how to go about marketing.
How did you overcome these challenges?
Well we again took some time to understand that whatever we do should appeal to the user. So we started to organize new contests for which we had some goodies as rewards. Most of these rewards will actually be equivalent to our user acquisition cost that we had budgeted for. The contests were held inside a user’s profile. So a person had to register before answering any question. This I believe was the most creative way we found out to tackle the challenge.
What have you found the most effective way to get new clients?
We ask our users to give us feedback for which they can win rewards. In order to give us feedback they have to use our service. Once they start using our service, we are sure that they stick to us. This is, again, budgeted in the user acquisition strategy.
What advice do you give to other business owners?
Plan Plan Plan and then Execute, Remember when you go on a vacation, you prefer a planned one rather than an unplanned one. The same happens with a startup as well. You should plan up your tasks for a week and whatever be the situation try to finish them and stick to them. Many founders lose the track of what they are supposed to do and keep doing operational things that are not priority. Decide the priority and stick to it.
Remember the 3D model of time management: Any task should be assigned to one of the three categories.
- If it is most important and highly required – Do it.
- If it is not urgent but important – Delay it to give way to some priority tasks.
- If it is neither important nor required – Dump it.
A startup journey is an uphill ride. If 1 thing works in your favour, 10 do not. So just hold your nerves and enjoy the most memorable time of your life.
How did you keep motivated through difficult times?
Every day brings new emotions in the life of an entrepreneur. I make sure that I read a book before going to sleep. I can say that I have this ability to detach me from things pretty easily. So I make sure that I do not think much about my venture when I am having my food, or a quick evening tea. I make sure to take breaks in between. I do not support people bringing coffee to their work place. I am the kind of person who rejuvenates by taking a coffee break. I play keyboards at home to burst the stress and negative sentiments. Occasionally I take out my camera and shoot pictures (I used to shoot a lot before starting up, now I rarely get time to do so). One thing that I make sure I do everyday is to play games on my PC. They actually motivate you and burst your stress a lot.
What are your Marketing, Funding and Team Building Strategy?
We are trying out various mixes of social media, word of mouth & google adwords marketing and will continue the same. We are also planning to recruit some platform evangelists to promote us on social media. We bootstrapped from the beginning until Kyron put some minimum seed funding in us. Fortunately we have credits to take care of our technology infrastructure so we need not worry about funding immediately but yes, in near future we do look forward to raise angel funding. We plan to build a solid team in the near future. So we plan to recruit people who have passion of working in a startup kind of environment, taking the responsibilities rather the ownership of tasks and deliver more than what is asked for.
- One of the six companies at Kyron Global Accelerator’s first cohort
- One of the first six companies to get selected in Nasscom’s start up warehouse
- Featured in most of the leading startup websites in India
- Userbase of 10000+
- Revenue earning company
Whats your favorite quote?
I am a Gandhian inside, atleast in some sense. “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” Is something that always inspires me.
Who inspires you?
Mahatma Gandhi, Sergey Brin, Bill Gates and Jerry Yang.
Do you have a Business Philosophy?
We never treat our employees as juniors or people who work for us. We want to make an organization that is collaborative, open to approach and without any hierarchy. We do not want to fake anything. We prefer saying the truth in its naked form rather than trying to wrap it up in a curtain. We strongly believe one lie leads to 100 more.
Startup Freak wishes all of you, All the Best!