January 14, 2007

'Excess VC money is dangerous' - Shaadi.com CEO

Read the interview of Shaadi.com CEO Anupam Mittal on PaagalGuy and found he has pointed out many key points like:
  1. Importance of a proper revenue model
  2. Knowing about your consumer base
  3. Future of Social networking sites and
  4. VC funding
Some of the excerpts from the interview is given below:

You come from a background in textiles (his family business), how and when did the idea of an online matchmaking portal come to you?
Incidentally at that point(when the internet was not so popular) I met a pundit and got really intrigued by what he did, but soon realized that he could visit only a few people and carry a limited number of biodatas in his bag. Thus the choice for a life partner depended solely on the number of Biodatas he could carry and the number of individuals he would meet. This is when the idea of taking all this and putting it on the Internet came around and we launched Shaadi.com.

Initially what was your revenue model and how have you improvised on it? What was your conviction with respect to Indians paying online? How do you sensitize your consumers in order to build trust and make online payments?
I am aware that there are several Indians living abroad who are disconnected from home and they needed a way to meet like-minded individuals. Hence there is lot of information, experiences and analysis that led us to realize that there is a potential business model.
I agree it is harder to get Indians to pay online but we need to realise that Indians are very value conscious consumers. For example when they go even to a supermarket they deliberate a lot before they make their final purchase. Online one cannot have a sales person thus it is harder to convince them. Hence the way we sensitise them is by providing them a lot of services free, the reason being only when you provide them with a lot of value will they be willing to pay.

How did you spread the word about your brand? What advice would you give to a budding entrepreneur in order to build a brand for his products and services?
Distribution of th brand is very important.
Once the distribution was taken care, the second thing we did was that we went mainstream very quickly. We launched television campaigns in USA and India.According to me what really helps creating and building a brand is consumer experience, which then leads to word of mouth and buzz.

The first time when you received venture capitalist funding how did you plan your spending? And when an entrepreneur gets funding what all should he keep in mind?
According to me VC funding makes you more accountable and it forces you to think about planning, organizing, allocating resources, which are truly very important aspects of managing a business.One needs to think a lot before deciding how much money is required, as a VC will always want to give you more than you need, as that will give them a bigger part of the pie.

Whats your take on the whole debate between web 1.0 and web 2.0?
In my mind there is no debate. According to me all good and successful companies will incorporate new technologies as and when they will feel the need.

If risk taking ability is a given, what according to you are the top prerequisites one should have to be an entrepreneur?
One needs to be persistent as bad things may happen but still one has to continue to strive, work hard and come back into action. An entrepreneur should be prepared to accept failure, get up and take another punch of failure.

What is your take on the Indian entrepreneurial scene? What is it that in your opinion, entrepreneurs from India lack/have? How are they different from the hotbed of entrepreneurship- the bay area!
There are two scenarios in case of the Indian entrepreneurial scene. Firstly there are individuals who have the capital to fund their business plan and secondly there are those who build and work upon their business models with the help of institutions. According to me both are fine because earlier there was hardly any capital available so only individuals who had the fire in the belly, perseverance, determination to go against all odds were the ones who managed to accomplish their goal. Whereas the others are concerned they required money and certain resources without which they could not really do anything much.

Read the Complete Article



At Jul 17, 2008, 6:55:00 AM , Anonymous Ashmita said...

Himanshu - interesting interview with Anupam.. he does forget to mention first mover (or one of the first movers!) as being key to the success of the shaadi.com

For the next big thing you may want to keep your eye on HastaMilan (http://www.hastamilan.com) - it's quite an innovative but simple site that allows users to leave messages for anyone on any site for free (including any profiles you've seen on shaadi.com!)

Again, it's reliant on the network effect to work but for anyone on these dating/ marriage sites it would be a no brainer to sign up!

At Nov 22, 2008, 11:46:00 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

well… i visit your website first time and found this site very usefull and intresting !

well… you guys doing nice work and i just want to say that keep rocking and keep it up !!!!


At Nov 24, 2008, 8:43:00 PM , OpenID thoughtsprevail said...

Thanks very much for all the appreciation :) Actually, there is only one guy ie me behind this blog and this is just "ANOTHER" personal blog with some good quality :)

BTW, I liked the site Shaadi Direct :)

-Himanshu Sheth.

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At Jan 31, 2009, 10:11:00 AM , OpenID thoughtsprevail said...

Thanks for the comment regarding NoDahej, would have a look at the same.

-Himanshu Sheth

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