Sumit Jain, Lalit Mangal & Vikas Malpani Founders, CommonFloor.com

Being of use to others at no cost to them hardly sounds like the sort of entrepreneurial venture that readily churns out a profit. However it is no grand secret that the best entrepreneur is one who can make money out of nothing at all, and CommonFloor.com can hardly be called nothing. We spoke to the brilliant young entrepreneurs behind CommonFloor.com Sumit Jain, Lalit Mangal & Vikas Malpani found out exactly what their venture is about and how they have made it into a source of income for themself and others.

Sumit explained how CommonFloor.com works saying “We provide an easy apartment administration tool for owners association at no cost helping them to communicate
with the residents and bringing down the maintenance costs. For residents, commonfloor.com is a one stop place for most of their apartment related needs.”

“We are targeted towards the housing societies and currently present in 8 cities in India. We are planning to roll out our services in 12 other cities shortly. Our service is used by the residents, associations & property managers of the societies.”

Sumit also explained his business model and clarified on how he makes his bread saying

“Our differentiator is our product offering which has been built over the time (two years) we spent in the market understanding the requirements of thousands of communities we are already working with. We don’t charge a penny from our users. Our service is ad supported so we generate revenue through advertisements.”

Sumits keen mind was meant for entrepreneurship. His intuitive nature was busy identifying the shortcomings of the market and a 9 to 5 did not suffice his mind for long. He spoke about his inclinations saying “I could see a lot problems, gaps and opportunities in the market. A lot was needed to be done, why not me? The time could not have been better so I started along with the people with who shared my vision. When you can see yourself building something which is used by millions of people, leaving a 9-5 job is no tough job. In fact, it comes as the first step.”

“I’ll say that leaving your job is no big deal, courage is required to not to take another one just after that. You need to stick with your plan for at least 2 years. If you don’t have enough fuel in your car, don’t start.”

“Life turning moment for me was when I was given a Ganitagya Upadhi Samman from my city after I won a Mathematics competition in my 12th Standard and that gave me enough confidence in myself. After that everything looked achievable. It’s just that how badly you want it?” 

He has a method for handling his problems which arise as a part of his chosen vocation. He says “In a start-up you face challenges almost daily. If you are not facing one, you are probably not doing it the right way. Whatever challenges I can remember, the key to face them has been patience. In a start-up, speed matters most but if you lose your patience or direction you are surely going to have an accident.”

He recalled his initial mistakes, which he hopes will serve as a lesson to others saying “In the start, we spent quite a lot of time in figuring out things. We also had a hit and miss at some places which I now believe could have been minimized. There were times where we spent more time in day-to-day things which we have automated now. So the biggest mistake was spending more time at certain tasks and doing some redundant things. The biggest problem with these kinds of things is that they are also going to grow as your company grows resulting in more wastage of time.”

Sumit sportingly revealed his company’s financial situation. He believes in running a tight ship and it certainly reflects. He says “We have been running the show in a bootstrapped mode till now with some capital from a couple of private sources. As a web business, we don’t require much capital and also because of huge traction till now, we have been able to generate revenues.”

“We are happy with the growth of our business till now. Saying that we have a more aggressive plan for the next 1 year. We have 15 employees and we have only 1 branch in Bangalore.”

Their presence in 8 cities across India in such a short span of time is testament to Sumit’s hard work. He says “We are receiving a huge number of requests from all over India and have a target – to set up a CommonFloor for every residential Society in Tier I cities by 2011.”

He also recalled how he almost did not start his journey and his thoughts on entrepreneurship saying “When we started, just within a week, we got a couple of exciting offers which I am glad that we humbly denied. Soon enough we had learnt the art of denyingJ”

“The fact that we are happy with what we are doing gives us enough kick. If that does not kick, rest of the team member does. I also think that as an entrepreneur, we don’t need to do anything great to stay buckled. That simply comes natural.”

Sumit also gave us his take on what a budding entrepreneur should look out for saying “Think thousand times before you start and once you start don’t look back. Have proper fuel in your car and have patience. Don’t forget to be happy whatever happens because that is what matters in the end.”

Yourstory wishes Sumit Lalit & Vikas good luck with their entrepreneurial dreams and aspirations.