These headlines often hit the media and the one recently doing the rounds was that of Rohit Bhatia joining Dhigana as CEO. Founded by twins Snehal and Swapnil Shinde in 2007, Dhingana is an on-demand music streaming service that has gained traction (indicative infographic) and is in a very interesting battle with Saavn and Gaana to become the number one player in India. At this critical juncture, Dhingana has brought in Rohit Bhatia as the new CEO who has had 25 years of professional experience, in the corporate world as well as in startup atmosphere.
Rohit has been with Airtel and Ericsson from where he brings a rich telecom experience and served as the CEO of Seamless (a company into mobile commerce) for 5 years from 2006 when the company was in a high growth phase.
But the founders had raised another round of $7 million, doing good in terms of traction, so why get a new CEO?
“When we closed Series B, we decided that its time to get a CEO on board to drive Revenues, Sales and Business Development while as founders we focus on Product and Technology,” says Snehal Shinde.
And how does one look for a CEO?
In this case, the founders had approached Transearch, one of the recognized executive search firms in India who have a data base of professionals who can potentially join your firm.
On taking over as CEO at Dhinagna, Rohit says, “Full credit goes to the board and founders of Dhingana – I think they have made a phenomenal start. And now they reached a stage they needed a professional CEO.” Rohit has previously done seen the phase with Seamless when he joined the company when it was a size of 20 and then grew the company 10x in 5 years he was with them.
The decision can partly be attributed to the investors as well because it’s a group decision once a company has investors on board. Hiring and structuring the organization is one of the biggest value add a good investor brings.
But why did Rohit quit Seamless if it was doing well?
It’s more of a desire to be in a high growth scenario. And new challenges always excites a person. “I always like to dream. The dream leads me to create a vision that I believe in. Then I strive to achieve the vision. And success is the natural outcome. Dream, believe, strive and succeed- this is my motto,” says Rohit rather philosophically. He further adds, “40% of entertainment spend is on music. In our stressed-out lives, music always calms down, relaxes; it is an essential item of life and Dhingana was making this happen. That is where the dream came for me. And now we have a vision, and then will strive to execute the vision.”
Monetization is one of the key areas where Rohit will be bringing in his expertise.
So, who makes the decisions now?
“Three of us will work as a team and co-own the vision and strategy of the company moving forward,” said Snehal.
We saw a similar case recently where in Delhi based social gifting startup startup, Giftology raised a seed round and appointed a new CEO. Although Giftology is at an earlier stage in the startup cycle, but the reasons are similar, “I was more interested in improving the product and focusing solely on it. I realized that going forward, once we get more people on board as well as expand, a CEO needs to focus on defining processes as well as running the organization, which I wasn’t passionate about,” says founder, Aman Narang.
It surely is a tough call for the founders where they have to give up authority over their baby (product) and there is a lot of emotional attachment involved but mature founders will always understand and put the business above everything else. There have been instances of dispute in such cases but the founders will always do what they think is the best for the business. It is more like a mother kid relationship.