"Strong business minded approach is a must for any startup" - Aditya Gupta,iGenero
Aditya Gupta and Karan Kumar co-founded iGenero in 2009. Based out of Hyderabad, iGenero is a digital marketing solutions provider that helps in accentuating a brand message through streamlined communication and design strategy with a strong tech backbone.
Aditya Gupta is also the founder of Social Samosa, a famous Bangalore-based startup.
In an exclusive interview with CrazyEngineers, Aditya talks about iGenero, the journey of their startup over the last five years, what made him quit his job at Azri Solutions and how iGenero started. Aditya also shared the details about the various challenges any startup has to go through, methods by which startups can raise funds and his favorite entrepreneur.
Please read the following interview to know more.
CE: Could you please tell our readers more about iGenero Web Solutions?
Aditya: iGenero is a digital interaction agency that specialises in branding, web-based products and digital strategy. We're here to help businesses find it's feet in the online world. Our vision is to make the web more intuitive and accessible to the world at large; from design to development, online revenue generation to digital brand management, we aim to provide a transformative experience for users through bits and bytes.
CE: iGenero was founded five years back in 2009. How has your journey been at iGenero?
Aditya: We just turned 5 a few weeks back & it has been an insane ride so far. Crazy amount of learning and loads of experiences so far.
CE: You have also founded another Mumbai-based startup named Social Samosa. What is the source of inspiration behind these startups? Why did you leave your last job at Azri Solutions?
Aditya: Social Samosa covers everything that’s got to do with social media in India. My cofounder Ankita is based out Mumbai and so is the team. We saw the gap in the industry and the need of a dedicated portal for India, hence the idea came about.
My first professional experience in life was at Azri Solutions & Azri is were I started my journey in the digital space. I loved my job and I had fantastic people at work for company. I left Azri thinking I’ll pursue higher studies and then iGenero happened!
CE: Managing financial resources is one of the most difficult task for any startup. iGenero has been bootstrapped since launch. How did you manage the available resources so efficiently? What is your advice to engineers who are scared of launching their own startup because of financial constraints?
Aditya: We have always been weary of our resources from the beginning, be it people, finances or infrastructure. And consciously planned to be as efficient we can with the available resources at hand. The fact we have been bootstrapped from the beginning forced us to be disciplined with our finances from the get go and instilled a sense of discipline when we had to spend. We also prioritized our expenses so that we always invested first in what we needed most, be it an addition to the team or infrastructure.
For engineers looking to startup, I would say that if you really are passionate about something, then finances should be last thing on your mind. If you are making a difference with your service/ product, then the revenues will definitely flow in. The market out there is not restricted to geographical boundaries & is big enough for you to acquire your set of customers. You just need to manage your finances efficiently.
CE: What are some ways aspiring entrepreneurs can raise the funds to develop their business idea?
Aditya: There are a lot of organizations/ bodies setting aside capital for just that. There’re a juggernaut Angel Investors, VC’s & incubation centres just waiting to pounce on the next big thing. There are also a few really popular platforms for crowd funding your idea. Based on your idea & what you are comfortable with, there are multiple avenues to fund your business idea.
Despite the options, it is not easy, entrepreneurs will have to put in that effort to shape their ideas into something that makes value. Also, a strong business minded approach is a must.
The other way is obviously to take your idea forward bootstrapped. The entry barriers to creating a prototype and market your idea is very low. But you will have to be prepared to sacrifice quite a bit if you are taking this route.
CE: How big is the market that you are targeting? What makes iGenero different from its competitors?
Aditya: The market that we are in has been around only for the past decade & is growing exponentially worldwide. As the world gets more connected & people start getting access to the internet, it is only going to get bigger. According to a recent report, Digital media is about a 165 billion dollar industry globally & is expected to touch about 225-250 bn by 2020.
One thing that we have strived for is to be on the cutting edge of innovation & new technologies. We have always evolved as soon as a new technology paradigm is introduced. Another thing is that our focus is on both technology & design. We would like to think of ourselves as a company at the intersection of design & technology providing amazing experiences to consumers.
CE: What did you learn from your biggest failure? What lesson would you like to share with budding engineers?
Aditya: One of our biggest failures was our pricing model. We were underpricing our services in the first couple of years & that slowed down our growth quite a bit & left us cash dry for a while.
Make sure that you know the worth of your product & have a concrete pricing model. Spend some time to understand the market & price yourself accordingly.
CE: Could you tell us about your favorite entrepreneur? How are you inspired by him?
Aditya: This is difficult to answer so easily. Jeff Bezos & Steve Jobs top the list.
CE: Tell us about the moment when you felt really proud with your decision to build your own company?
Aditya: It was a very special moment when we moved into our new office. For about 6-7 months, we were working out of our homes to save up money for an office. It was a proud moment to see about six months effort finally pay off to get a small but really cool office. This also led to our first hires & sustainable growth for our company.