Why Rahul Chidgopkar Shut Down IzziDeals; Lessons for an Entrepreneur

Rahul Chigopkar, an IIM Indore alumni pursued a corporate life only to realize he wasn’t made for it. Bitten by the entrepreneurial bug, he jumped into one of the most lucrative area of 2011 in India- Deals. Everyone was coming up with a different way of pushing deals and so thought Rahul. Thus was born IzziDeals and he fought the battle for more than a year before announcing it’s demise on Facebook last week. It’s always a bit sad to see a startup go down but as always, this only makes him stronger. He’s already up and working with another startup, BizPunditz. But what happened to IzziDeals? We caught up with Rahul and he was humble and gracious enough to share his experiences with us.

YS: What happened with IzziDeals?

Rahul: There are multiple angles here.

  • Though I managed to figure out the B2B aspect of the business (merchant acquisition), I could not crack the B2C side (customer acquisition). The key problem was I could not clearly differentiate IZZI Deals from other deal sites. This was primarily a communication issue.
  • As the technology was outsourced, I faced problems when trying to execute new ideas, so the experimentation cycle was very long. Finally, I ran out of money trying to do this.
  • But, it is nice to know that TimesDeal has recently changed its model and made its deals free, which was the hypothesis that IZZI Deals was started with. So, it is nice to know that someone thinks this model is workable. :)

 YS: All the while you were running it, did you have a feeling that deals wouldn’t go anywhere?

Rahul: Deals as an industry cannot be termed as good/bad. Most people in India love a good bargain and so deals as a concept is still lucrative. However, there are some issues such as poor relevance, spam, service quality, etc. which have led to poor experience for both merchants and customers. So, I still don’t think the industry is dead, but I definitely feel it will have to evolve and address some of the problems mentioned above.

YS: When did you realize that this is it?

Rahul: The realization came some time in September. I had already started toying with another idea, but one conversation in particular brought a lot of clarity. I had a discussion with Arpit Agarwal, who is a fellow Headstarter. He had gone through the pain of shutting his own startup and joining a startup incubator in Delhi. After our startup recruitment event, Headstart Higher, he asked me about my plans and made me confront some serious issues regarding my startup plans and helped me gain perspective on my ambitions, my family, etc. After the conversation, I decided to pull the plug.

 YS: What led you to believe Bizpunditz is your calling?
Rahul:  I was clear that I wanted to work in the startup environment. So I got talking to a few of them and was in advanced discussions with a few. Among the startups I was speaking to, I felt that Bizpunditz had a product that was interesting, my role was challenging and I knew one of the co-founders very well. So, I decided to accept the offer.
YS: What do you take away from IZZI Deals as an entrepreneur? 
Rahul: Lots of things!
  • I know I have a good risk appetite and will definitely try it again some time in the future.
  • If you are a tech-enabled startup, never outsource technology. It just doesn’t work.
  • Have the conviction to startup, but also have the conviction to shut down. I didn’t have the later.
  • Make sure your family’s aspirations are also taken care of.

We thank Rahul for his upfrontness and sharing his experiences with us and we wish him all the best in all his future endeavours. 

Jubin Mehta

Jubin Mehta

Jubin is an old timer at YourStory. Deeply entrenched in the Indian startup ecosystem, he has written about more than 1000 startups. With an engineering background and a keen interest in data analysis, his passion for writing and entrepreneurship makes him a perfect match for Yourstory. He operates from the mountains in Dharamshala where he also runs a hackbase. He can be reached on Twitter @jub_in and on mail at jubin@yourstory.com