Vivek Doraiswami, Founder & CEO, Zibika, Mumbai
Carpediem is the Latin for 'Seize the day'. It is also the guiding mantra of Vivek Doraiswami, CEO, Zibika. His portal is the largest content aggregator of personal finance products in online social media space and was recently in the news for getting into insurance broking business. "Zibika is a Sanskrit word, which means weapon of Kuber, the god of wealth,"explains Vivek about the choice of his company's name.
And trust this god's weaponry to have all possible armaments (read personal finance products) to unleash, what else, but wealth on you. "We have 650 loan products with multiple interest rates, 3000 fixed deposit schemes, 1200 insurance products, information on 300 credit cards, EMI comparison tools etc," says Vivek nonchalantly. "You feed in your preference of financial product or bank and we give you all the choices available in the market."
Zibika is positioned as a social media site."It's important to have fun and present all benefits and information about personal finance in a simple way," says Vivek. On Zibika, you can form a community and share your portfolio with your friends to exchange and discuss information on various financial instruments. If a friend turns out to be a financial expert then you can upgrade him from friend to an advisor.
The guy who knows the inside-out of various banking and financial instruments at the back of his hand had to learn it all the hard way. "In fact, in school days, I wanted to be an archeologist like Indiana Jones," chuckles Vivek. In 1995, he graduated from St Xavier"s, Mumbai, in Economics with Honours and joined Magic Box, a TV production house. He worked there for three years. "Internet and dotcom was on ascendancy in 1996 and I got fascinated with web," says Vivek. He did a 1 year course in web designing, programming, java, server administration and started taking freelance assignments for web designing and development. "Every other company wanted to have an online presence. I use to do couple of websites every month and earn good money," says Vivek.
In 1999, he teamed up with two of his friends and started an end-to-end consultation firm for dotcom companies called Wormhole Technologies Pvt. Ltd. "We were internet startup advisors and took care of business plans, web architecture, PR activities and the launch," adds Vivek. "We got lot of exposure." They did well and earned good profits before the dotcom burst in 2000 wiped out many companies. They too got affected but PR activities kept them going.
However, Wormhole was dissolved in early 2002 due to creative differences among the partners. For the next five years, Vivek worked in various companies such as International SOS, AMP Sanmar Life (now Reliance Life), Marsh Insurance Brokers, and Bennett & Coleman. In 2005, he completed a one year Executive Programme in Business Management from IIM Calcutta. "I learned a lot about insurance broking, life insurance, group insurance and other financial products," says Vivek. But, it was the Bennett job, which renewed his love for the online medium. "I was part of strategy team of Times Business Solutions, which looks after various portals such as Times Jobs, SimplyMarry, Magicbricks. It was here that i got hooked on to the social media space and thought of a portal offering all the information and benefits on personal finance on a social media platform."
Vivek left his job in September 2006, took a small break to spend time with his infant daughter and started working on Zibika. "For the whole of 2007, I worked on the website content and infrastructure. Finally we launched Zibika last month and have got around 2000 registered users." Vivek and his partner have invested close to Rs1 crore in the venture and have employed 15 people currently.
He is already negotiating with various banks and insurance companies for tie-ups to covert the leads generated on his site by customer queries into final act of selling of various personal finance products. "I certainly don't intend to forward a lead to multiple banks and expose my visitor to be inundated with calls, mails, SMSes. My endeavor is to make it a one click, one lead, and one vendor model, where in my client gets the best financial product based on his preference," says Vivek.
- "Unless you are on a death-bed, there is always a way to work around the problem without losing your sanity," says Vivek as he summaries his plan for the future: Phase-IEstablish a delivery mechanism from lead generation to fulfillment ( sale)
- Developing leads for banks through their own online advisory model.
- Selling Insurance products online
- Phase-IIInsurance broking- trading of stocks and mutual fund.