The word failure does not exist in our dictionary: we believe that we either succeeded or we learn." -Amit Jain, Girnar Software
Girnar Software is an ITeS company co-founded by Amit Jain in the year 2007. Girnar Software works on offshore products and software development. The mission of GirnarSoft is to create business value for its clients through innovation and speedy implementations.
Primary expertise of Girnar Software Pvt. Ltd. is in online customer acquisition - Search Engine Optimization, Viral Marketing, Conversion and Data Analytics and Operations Research. Apart from these services, GirnarSoft has its own online B2C products in various verticals.
Amit Jain completed B.Tech from IIT Delhi in the year 1999. He then worked as a Software Engineer with Tata Consultancy Services for almost one year. Later he went on to work with Trilogy for almost six years, before co-founding GirnarSoft.
In an exclusive interview with CrazyEngineers.com, we got Amit and the team to talk about their experiences at Girnar Software, his various ventures like BikeDekho, PriceDekho, MobileDekho, etc., the source of inspiration, the lessons he has learnt as an entrepreneur while starting, building & growing several big organizations, how feedback helps a start-up and a lot more. Read on!
CE: Could you give our readers a brief overview of Girnar Software Pvt. Ltd.?
Team: Girnar Software Pvt Ltd (Girnarsoft) is the manifestation of a Dream come true. Two engineer brothers from IIT Delhi carried a dream to harness the potential of technology and transform it into a unique business.
From IIT they decided to have a stint in the US to experience the hi-tech business world. Amit (the elder) had a passion for unique products, whereas Anurag (the younger) had a flair for algorithm. Together they formed a deadly combination.
7 years in the US, and equipped with profound experience, they decided to return to India and set up shop here. 01 April 2007 saw the birth of Girnarsoft in a one room set-up at Girnar House, Jaipur, with Amit (CEO & Founder) and Anurag (COO & Co-founder).
Exploration began by the initial team, which was slowly growing in size, to identify a product that did not require big investment. The team was seeking a hi-tech product that could be improved through continuous development & up-gradation. The strategy was to sell to generate revenue, and plough back the returns as investment into the business.
30 days down the line ‘CarDekho’ was born. The uniqueness of Girnarsoft has been that its growth has been vertical, unlike other companies whose growth is a gradient. Each year we doubled and even tripled our revenues. This is the paradigm that spearheaded CarDekho above our competitors in a very short time.
Sequoia Capital, a global investment firm, which has investment in organizations like Apple, Google, Just Dial, Zomatochose to invest in CarDekho in 2013. They valued CarDekho at US$ 50 Million, and have invested 15 million US $ for our growth, thus imbibing trust in our potential to create substantial value for all. GirnarSoft is now on course to raise another $50 Mn in funding, looking to be valued at Rs 1500 crore.
Our Vision is to be a $ 1 Billion venture before the year 2021
CE: You have come up with various ventures like BikeDekho, PriceDekho, MobileDekho, etc. What was the source of inspiration?
Amit: Success of CarDekho as a unique master product has endorsed the power of our motto of ‘Creating Business Value through Technology ’. Our approach of direct contact with our customers, our process of actively listening to them, and our agility to respond to their needs forthwith is the secret of our success.
We in CarDekho now believe that if we add fillip to Cardekho we can maintain it as an invincible product in competition. This inspired us to seek to explore other similar product genres viz. BikeDekho, PriceDekho … and others in the pipeline.
We believe we have mastered the wizardry of Creating Business Value through Technology.
CE: Could you introduce your team to us? How did you all come together?
Team: At the exploratory stage, as we were thinking of Technology as a Business Edge, and our constraint on Revenues, each day brought out the need for specific skills we needed. We looked for such skills through our networking so that we hired people who were as committed as we were and within budget.
This coming together and working together created close camaraderie, constant interaction, mutual recognition and celebration of small achievements, and constant encouragement of both success and learning.
The word failure does not exist in our dictionary: we believe that we either succeeded or we learn.
Inputs from all were amazing that we adapted instantly to constantly added value to CarDekho.
We have maintained that culture since.
CE: Could you share the lessons you've learnt as an entrepreneur while starting, building & growing several big organizations?
- There is nothing called Failure. You either Succeed or you Learn.
- If you do not give it a try, you are depriving yourself of success.
We are inspired and driven by ‘Innovation’ and ‘Agility’ which is a part of our culture.
- If we engage people and walk together, we develop camaraderie of understanding, trust, and faith: this significantly lowers barriers to Change.
- Everything in this world was built Twice: first in the human mind, and then its translation on ground. What has occurred to the human mind does not exist. We explore, innovate, learn, and create.
CE: How big is your team, and how big do you want it to be in a year? How does hiring look like in the near term?
Team: Last year we were around 350 in number. Now we are 750 plus. By the end of FY 2014-15 we intend to double our strength.
We have increased our visibility across India by innovative marketing strategies, and have well planned strategies for growth.
With the growth envisaged, we are revitalizing our hiring strategy by establishing our footprint in other cities pan India, thus allowing us to hire the best talent and cater to any location constraints if there be.
CE: What critical feedback you’ve gotten recently? How has it helped you and the team improve?
Amit: Critical feedback received is: first, to attain the Vision we need to explore plans of growth both inward and outward simultaneously: second, as this would require substantial funds we need to explore additional source of funding: third, establishing systems & processes is critical, as is to induct professionals to attain the growth plan
We have therefore planned Business Process Re-engineering in phases and are in the midst of it.
CE: Tell us about a time you felt company leadership was wrong. What did you do?
Team: Our culture is to take decisions through engagement of all concerned. If the decision-makers have gone wrong they accept it outright, and then collective plan the realignment.
We have stated and defined our Values that act as our guide. Each employee is expected to uphold the values and exemplify it.
Girnarsoft Values: Our Heartbeat
We will always do the right thing and never compromise, no matter how hard it is
We will reach out to our customers, listen to them, and give them what they need
We will provide perfect value to the customer through value creation processes that has zero waste
We will constantly adapt to changes in our environment to deliver better products & services to customers
We will say what we mean, and do what we say
CE: What are your views about blending entrepreneurship with engineering?
Team: This has been the strength of our success. Our definition of an entrepreneur is ‘a person who pioneers change’, and of innovation is ‘creating wealth by creating new/increased demand by pioneering technology for new/improved products, lean production, new markets, and agility to quickly implement’.
Our ability beat competition and constantly increase the competitive gap is a result of this.
All who join us afresh automatically get into the groove because they experience this from Day-1 as our work teams practice the same.
CE: What are the important questions any aspiring entrepreneur should try to answer before taking the plunge?
Amit: The questions that I asked myself were three.
Q1. Why do I want to be an entrepreneur?
Ans. I had the killer instinct to achieve and to create a cash cow tech savvy product.
Q2. Did I have the right Business Skills?
Ans. I believed I did. More than that I had the intrinsic urge to move on and succeed. I was challenging my gut feel and my prowess
Q3. What resources did I need to sustain and to grow?
Ans. I sought to create a product that would pay for itself from the short run itself. My plan was to create a unique product … start to generate revenue … and plough back the surplus and continue to add value in line with customers’ present and changing needs.
CE: Thank you for the time you have spent with us. Any message for our readers?
Amit: I would like to leave a food for thought.
Most people do not achieve their dreams because they keep prompting themselves that they will not succeed.
Little do they realize that if you do not try, you have not only failed, but more importantly you have deprived yourself of a chance to succeed.