Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Vartalaap - In Conversation with Mr Manish Harodia || Entrepreneur & Director || DreamWallets.com || Interviewed by - Harsha Daga & Piyush Jain || IIM Shillong || March 2016 edition


 VARTALAAP - In conversation with Mr Manish Harodia, Director, DreamWallets


Interviewed by: Harsha Daga & Piyush Jain 
IIM Shillong

Mr Manish Harodia
Entrepreneur & Director
DreamWallets
An alumnus of Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode, he has over 10 years of experience into multiple areas viz Education, Training, Project management, and Business Consulting. He has created two successful ventures in education, the first being www.genesismentors where he was the founder and www.6piconsultants.com where he is the Chairman and Managing Director. His previous work experience includes Associate Director LBS-CEE and Manger (Project Management Office) at HSBC GR. He is now onto his third and dream project www.dreamwallets.com, which is a crowd-funding platform that they have created to truly democratize the fund-raising and getting the early adapters for the product. He has also been designated the city mayor for Pune chapter @http://www.entrepreneurcafe.org/ . He aims to connect with like-minded individuals and his goal is to develop skill sets of the employable youth of India by providing them access to education - soft and technical based.



Markathon: People have these misconception about crowd funding/crowd sourcing that it is only for money and it’s a last resort for them, what is your view on this?

Crowdfunding is a disruptive funding model as it works on the ‘wisdom of the crowd’. What you have mentioned here is the most misplaced perception about the wonderful vehicle of crowdfunding. In India, the markets are majorly dominated by Reward based crowdfunding, wherein contributors are provided value based Rewards. Rules and regulations around the other channels viz. equity based crowdfunding and peer to peer lending are not very clear and water-tight. An effective crowdfunding campaign not only raises the required funds needed by the project creator but also generates validation of their ideas. It has also been proven time and again that successful campaigns improve the prospects for ideas and start-ups when they pitch for external rounds of funding.

Markathon: How difficult is it to promote your start-up given the budget constraints one has to face at this level?

Promotion is another massive challenge that start-ups and ideas face at the initial stage. The ideas that come to www.dreamwallets.com receive tremendous support from our digital reach inturn helping the projects gain wider audience.
Talking about www.dreamwallets.com, we have been using innovative ways to enhance the brand identity. We helped various national level innovation initiatives led by the respective state governments helping us gain tremendous visibility. We have also managed to create an eco system wherein we collaborate with potential multi-baggers.

Markathon: E-commerce in India is in the growth phase while being the most active space for start-ups. What do you think will be the next big idea to come out of this mix?

We are lucky to witness the E-commerce concepts taking shape across India. With
widespread penetration of internet & access to affordable technology they are transforming into mid to large sized organization. However, I would like to caution the readers and start-up enthusiasts against focusing too much on the ‘We want to become the UBER for X’ or ‘ We want to become the Flipkart for Y’.  It looks like a low hanging fruit but may not be the most nutritious or tasty one.

Markathon: Big data is changing the way we do marketing. Where do you think conventional marketing is headed and what is the scope of big data analytics in the near-future?

Consumer behavior has gained a new and enviable dimension. Transformation of consumption habits, preferences, and aspirations are making the data analysis extremely exciting.
50% of marketing cost is always a waste. The irony is no one knows which 50% is the goes gown the drain. Hopefully, putting more numbers around predicting consumer behavior would bring more rationality and less of hitting in the dark mindset for marketing professionals.
As the professionals say, one can’t manage what one can’t measure!

Markathon: Analysis shows that 9 out of 10 start-ups fail to scale up. What is that one successful start-up doing differently?

I would put this number to 99 out of 100.  I always believe in a famous Gujarati saying. If your business can survive for 1000 days from its launch, it will survive for a very long time.
I meet a lot of start-ups on a regular basis. What I have realized as checkpoints for most of them are:
  • An A grade team will be able to execute a B grade plan as well. The converse is not true. If the team is a B grade one, they definitely have the potential to screw up even an A grade plan.
  • Relentless efforts to avoid being stale and being ahead of the curve. All the startups that have been agile have a higher propensity of being successful.

There is no golden rule of being successful. But avoiding basics such as the above one is definitely a recipe for disaster.

Markathon: Is the idea the most integral component of a start-up? How important is its implementation in today’s world?

Sam Altaman of www.ycombinator.com has mentioned about four aspects of creating a successful start-up. A start-up success is a function of four areas viz. Idea, Product, Team, and Execution. As you observed Idea is just one of them.
Infact, these factors work on multiplier of concepts & not as simply additive. Hence, if there is negligence on only one aspect, it may make the whole equation insignificant. In the current scenario, there is also the fifth parameter to these four above. “Luck” – or as we commonly know it, “Funding”.
To answer the second part of the question, Execution or implementation is surely one of the most important aspect and this is an area that we tend to ignore the most. An idea can get you just this far. Relentless pursuit is the way to go for a success in any field. 

Markathon: Your take on Start-up India and other similar initiatives being taken by the government?

The present government is boosting the spirit of entrepreneurship by way small booster packages. Consider for example releasing a corpse of Rs. 1000 crore managed by the Industrial professionals.  The validation of ideas and guarantee  against risks, these are the two major themes on which the authorities are framing regulations. 
We are hopeful that more and more startups will harness these supportive policies.

Markathon: What advice would you like to give to our readers especially those who want to start their own venture but are apprehensive in taking the first step?

Go for a market that might be small presently but is growing at a better pace, rather than investing in a market that is relatively big but is growing slowly.
For example , Restaurant or In-dining industry is over a Trillion Dollar Industry but is saturating faster viz-a-viz Food Delivery aggregator has started gaining market share with more and more service oriented families.
You can make a mark moving from 0 1o 1 , but not from 1 to 1 to 1.5


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