Paras Arora, Founder and CEO, Papam.in

By Team YS|14th Feb 2009
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For a company that was founded barely over six months ago, Papam has swept the market in entrepreneurial terms. With biggies like Convergys, CISCO and State Bank of India in is pocket, the 'Bond Building' company is aiming to cross the Rs. 100 crore company valuation in 2010. And when Paras Arora, co-founder of Papam (http://www.papam.in), talks about Bonds, don't think of him as another market-driven businessman. The man has a softer side, and so does his business. Papam is all about connecting with people, bonding with family, friends, coworkers, employees, and even the local politician. If Papam's personalized greeting cards warmed the hearts of the corporate giants, its Gandhigiri cards bowled the media and the Indian public over with their satire. Jibing the local politicians takes a whole new meaning when you can personalize a Gandhigiri card and send it to his or her office. Splashed across Economic Times and featured on CNN-IBN, Paras Arora and Papam are redefining human relationships with their personalized greeting cards.

Why did you decide to become an entrepreneur? Why did you not pursue a regular job?

I always felt that 9-to-5 jobs do not do justice to my capabilities and interests. Working within the confines of an office and a defined job restricted my coming of age as a true professional. When I was working a regular job, the career path was too long and success was not defined. Sometimes, one needs to jump-start one's career by climbing the ladder ahead of one's peers but that is not possible in most bureaucratic office settings. I tend to lean away from organization politics. In doing something on my own, I have the freedom of strategizing and celebrating the success of my own efforts. However, I believe that an extensive job stint gave me such an experience of various facets of professional life without which it would have been impossible to live up to my dream.


Can you tell us something about the initial years - what kind of challenges, struggles did you face?

In the last year and a half, the biggest challenge Papam faced was the creation of a perfect team which would share the original dream. The company needed a team of people who would share the same passion and sense of adventure that drives me. Apart from a rock-solid business plan, I believe that a sincere and passionate team can propel a startup to success. It was also challenging to set up logistic channels, seeking early funds, and building a strong, sustainable business model.


What was the turning point in your business /career?

The turning point of my career was when I met Manish Pathak, co-founder of www.papam.in. In Chicago, Manish and I incubated our dreams and planned the launch of Papam - a decision that changed our professional lives forever. Though Papam is still in the beta phase as far as business growth is concerned, there has been one significant turning point. Within a very short time since it was launched, Papam managed to secure a big corporate client. This boosted the team's confidence and validated our products within the corporate world.


Did you at any point feel like giving up and getting back to a regular job or doing something different?

Never. In fact, every new challenge gives us renewed strength to think, plan and move ahead.


What drives you?

It is the confidence in Papam's business model, team and myself that drives me despite the challenges the business faces. When we stretch ourselves to work harder, our capabilities are sharpened and spur us on towards the goals.


Could you please elaborate on business – the operating model, the differentiators of your business, plans to scale up etc?

www.papam.in (hereafter referred as Papam) has been designed as an integrated e-commerce portal in the sphere of "Personalised Bond Building Industry." The company provides personalised bonding products and services for both B2B and B2C customers. Papam is creating a niche for our user base - both from corporate and retail sector - by providing innovative solutions in corporate and personal bond building sphere. Papam offers a wide range of products - from very basic personalized paper greeting cards to papaer posters, personalized regional and tribal arts, modern contemporary arts, collages, personalized invitation/wedding cards and personalized gifts. The user can select, personalize and order any product from the portal in less than 60 seconds!


Papam provides customers innovative ways to create bonds with their near and dear ones. The corporate market finds Papam a cost-effective, personalized solution to stay connected with employees and customers.


Papam is committed to providing timely services on-demand to corporate as well as retail users. We offer IT-integrated systems to corporate users through our Active Employee Connect Program (AECP) and Active Customer Connect Program (ACCP). The zero-inventory model based on strong fundamentals of operations engineering and supply chain management driven through integrated systems with our vendors keeps our costs low. This enables us to provide value-added products to customers at the lowest possible price We are planning to scale up our business both online and offline to widen our user base.


What are the growth drivers / vision for your enterprise?

The vision of the company is to become global leader in the bond-building industry. I believe that Papam has a great business model, if we take right action at the right time, everything will fall in place.


As any other start up, Papam has multi-pronged growth drivers. Both challenges and accolades push us to achieve more and provide better services to our users. Under the aegis of the mentors of the industry, we have a strong zero-inventory business model, continuing acceptance from retail customers and an escalating online user base.


Do you have any tips for budding entrepreneurs?

To succeed, an entrepreneur must have an analytical approach, the ability to take risks and a strong leadership skills. As long as you choose your friends and critics wisely, nothing can hold you back.

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