Jay Vikram Bakshi, Founder,DIGIQOM SOLUTIONS

By Team YS|11th Jun 2009
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The way a Brand projects itself can make or break its fortunes. It is thus an inevitable consequence of the high stakes involved that they would rather leave the job to professionals.. Jay Vikram Bakshi established DIGIQOM in 2006, with a vision in mind to provide exactly that sort of service; he says “DIGIQOM is India’s first Brand 2. Omega™ Communications Company. Our mission is to explore conversations in Brands, and connect them to their target audiences using the evolving paradigm of conversations in media, disruptive technologies, and creative breakthroughs in creative design and content. Our “On Demand” delivery of brand management Services, has enabled us to create service products which combine creativity, hi-tech delivery, and measurability making “service as a software” possible. We have worked with global majors on their Indian Market Entry strategies and with Indian majors on their global front end. We have also created new business models to bring the paradigm of brand creation via online, social media, and mobile connect to numerous startups.”

“Our scope extends across every vertical, stakeholder, and conversation where opinions are made, and shared which influence outcomes for our customers. For instance, we are supporting Indian Angel Network, as communication partners for evangelizing the cause of entrepreneurship. One initiative, The Economic Times Power of Ideas, powered by IAN, and in turn supported by us has influenced the behaviour of at least 11,000 potential entrepreneurs who submitted business plans, and many millions of others who have either read about, viewed, participated via blogs, tweets, wall posts on Facebook and Linkedin. To that extent, the impact of our work is pervasive. Whether it is influencing a change in mobile lifestyle as we have done with BlackBerry, or bringing ancient art forms into web 2.0 space for IGNCA, or even inspiring people to be more Green conscious (our website is based on a black background, because it consumes less power for lighting up your laptop screen).

Brand 2. Omega™, signifies a number of key values at DIGIQOM.”

“As highlighted above we focus strongly on using web 2.0 technologies and platforms to explore brand conversations with brand stakeholders, be they investors, regulators, customers, employees or even communities. While we are doing this, we are cognizant of the fact that while the mobile web has changed people’s interactions with each other, work, play and commonly held notions about sharing, privacy, this is not even close to the future that is about to unfold. 2. Omega™, takes the vision forward into the realm of future technologies, which we track very closely. Omega is the last letter of the Greek alphabet, and for us, signifies- nothing beyond.”


Unlike other firms that manage clients and try to create or decipher their market relationships for them, DIGIQOM has a different strategy in mind. Jay says “Our ability to work on the big picture with our clients, and then plan and manage the process of brand creation, with deep dives for exception management, differentiates us from our peers. Deep Domain knowledge, technology- led systems and processes that enable flexible, repeatable and measurable success typify our approach. Our business model, therefore, combines a mix of high intensity consulting with creative brand message discovery and highly scalable execution management processes.” 

They are a firm that is more action and less talk. What they have chosen to portray is also something that they have inevitably achieved. When it comes to what the future holds for them, there is but one thought on their minds and that is scaling up. Jay says

“We are growing the capabilities of managing integrated brand communications internally, while building a fairly deep and diverse eco-system of collaborators and network partners. We intend to aggressively extend our reach via eco-system partners, while building process and concept – based IP’s internally.”

Spearheading such a company takes a special kind of Entrepreneur, and Jay was custom made for the job. He says “First things first, I don’t know what a regular 9-to-5 job is! My first meaningful job was as a markets reporter in the early 90”s working at the Business Standard newspaper. My day started at 9 AM and rarely ended before 1AM. Media jobs were like that those days, and I guess, still are. I moved to the world of advertising and brand consulting, thinking the hours would be different, they weren’t! And then I moved into the corporate sector dreaming about the mythical 9-to-5 job only to realize that I did and do enjoy what I do, and I can keep doing it as long as I want to.”

“My interest to become an entrepreneur was first triggered by my urge to test my limits. Not that I didn’t have enough opportunity in the jobs that I held, strangely enough, all my jobs including my media jobs were created for me, i.e. there were no incumbents I replaced, I have had the good fortune of having been an intrapreneur and creating the roles that I held in the corporate world. Entrepreneurship for me is not a choice it’s a call that came, and kept me awake in the middle of the night. Or maybe, it was just my way of wanting to live out my personal mission statement: interesting things happen to interested people! J”


Jay does practice what he preaches, the challenges that he has had to face have been far from mundane, and proved to be never ending he reveals “There are multiple challenges that you face as an entrepreneur. And each stage of growth brings its own levels of complexity. Additionally, in countries such as India, the regulations, bureaucracy and infrastructure is not really geared to help entrepreneurs. The veneer of civil society disappears in direct proportion to distance from major cities. For me, there have been challenges at each stage. If at start up, the challenge was to get the company registered in time for the first checks to land in a bank instead of in a file, at other times, it has been client acquisition, talent acquisition, fund acquisition, and so on and so forth. Looking back, I can’t think of any one challenge which didn’t look insurmountable at that point of time and was quickly replaced by another one the next month. I guess, it is this extended crisis management which keeps entrepreneurs from growing rusty.”

Jay confesses that no matter how talented he might be life has not been all roses. Being but human at times, he has committed an error or two, he says “There is a copy book available for entrepreneurship now, especially if you are building an organization in the IT and ITeS space and that is as follows. Write your business plan, hawk it to an investor, get in seed money, hire team, build proposition, get a few “alpha” or concept clients, get more money from investors, build up scale with people, offices, get more clients, and either the business starts making money or else gets acquired by a bigger fish and the entrepreneur exits to build the next one.”

“My biggest mistake was to ignore the copybook, because of the space that my enterprise is in, and try to create a new and perhaps, different path through the woods. Life might have been easier within the formula set, but then half of the stories that entrepreneurs tell would not be told if everyone stuck to the formula.”

He thus strayed from the beaten path in more or less everything he did. No surprise to us then that he also acquired seed capital in a manner unlike others. He says “Short answer, I didn’t! There is another way to build startups, and it’s called Bootstrapping. My first enterprise was built with customers buying services, which we learned to deliver on with our strategic partners, building the team with whatever resources one could afford, manage discontinuities and keep building. I have also noticed the short life span of two other startups I funded, and have come to the conclusion, that entrepreneurs with low or no money have a far higher chance of delivering lasting value, than folks who get funded easily. The risk taking behaviour and audacious moves come only when you have your back to the wall, an ambition to achieve, and willingness to put all your effort in the entrepreneurial gamble you took.”

He brushed aside our queries on growth and company volume saying “This is perhaps the wrong year to answer this question. Let me put it this way, had things gone to plan and the global financial crisis not brought the house down when it did, our story would have been remarkable. Having said that we expect to be on a very different growth trajectory, if we can survive through the downturn, and might be able to share a few case studies then on how to scale.”


He is hopeful to survive the economic reversal and believes that their abilities will win the day. Small wonder then, that he also considers his arsenal of abilities to be an achievement in itself. He says “Our ability to take small sub-level proof of concept assignments, and turn them into case studies, is what has truly amazed our clients, over and over again. This ability to collect valuable case studies at the bleeding edge of brand communications, reputation management; digital marketing is what gives us the impetus to reach higher.”

“Beyond client appreciation, I don’t think we have either sought or got any special recognition. In a small startup, being flooded with more work than you can handle is a good phenomenon, and spending more time in delivering to client delight is more rewarding than filling out forms for awards. For a Brand communications company, we are extremely under communicated. To use an old village saying, the best barber who cuts everyone’s hair has the worst hair cut.” 

He is also not one to give up and go home anytime soon. He will definitely fight the good fight to his last business idea. He explains his stand saying “For entrepreneurs like me who have spent over 15 years of their adult lives living inside corporate MNC bubbles, the tendency to say “hang it all, and let’s listen to the next head hunter” is very very tempting. Listening to other more established entrepreneurs, who tell you “you know if you can make it through this year, the next one will be better” is something of a motherhood and apple pie statement that constantly gives you hope.”

“At this point of time, I realize they are trying to keep just one more of their kind in the fray just one year longer, and am thankful for all the voices who have in many ways kept me on the path. I also recognize, that every year that I stay on course, my reference points of the past get replaced with new learnings and challenges which I may not either have got or recognized in the corporate environment.

It’s simple! In a corporate, you catch a colleague doing dubious financial deals; you can quietly ease him/ her out, and then go back to HR and raise the bar for the next bunch of hires. As an entrepreneur, you are responsible- for the hires, the oversight, and the next level of learning.”

Jay is surprisingly candid as we discovered when he revealed his impetus for staying in business he says “Fear and Greed, my friend! Fear and Greed! Fear than I will fall off, and miss this opportunity of creating something of unique value. Greed that tomorrow is a better day! J”

He also prefers to play his cards close to his cheat and divulged very little about future plans saying “Think online, Act local! Sorry that’s the only part which is out of NDA, the rest is only for team members.”


Personally Jay has only treasured one achievement or award so far and that too more for sentiment than anything else he says “I treasure a Kashmiri scarf that was casually wrapped around my neck, by my ex-CEO at Hughes, and chairman Nasscom, the late Mr. Arun Kumar, a legend of a man, I consider to be my mentor, guide and friend, after the successful completion of India’s first Book Build IPO. There are many other awards but nothing that meaningful.” 

Truly a man of multiple layers and much experience, he summarizes his experiences saying “A few things to consider:-

A. Entrepreneurship is not a job, a career or a profession, it is a calling. It will keep you awake while you’re dreaming of your enterprise, and keep you awake when you’re struggling to make it succeed.”

“B. Entrepreneurship is about value creation. If money is your goal, there are other ways of making it. Entrepreneurship is about challenging the existing status quo and pushing the envelope of change. Anything less than that will not inspire your investors, customers, team to stick around.”

“C. Make sure you have a lot of support around you. You are about to embark on a very lonely journey, no one will really understand what you are going to go through, so make sure you have a support group in place to pick you up when you’re down, and push you down when you’re flying in the clouds.”

“D. Timing isn’t everything, Speed is! They say you need to time the wave, and ride it, you will be lucky if you do. But, if you procrastinate too long, you will probably swallow a lot of water before you surface again.”

“E. Finally, it’s about your life! If you have read this far, you’re probably already serious about entrepreneurship. Having said that, don’t take it too seriously, you will win some, lose some, go from point A to X before getting to B. And as John Lennon said, “ life happens while you’re making other plans”, I’d like to add business plans to that! Make sure you don’t stop partying, lose connect with all that you value, and become obsessed with success. It’s your life, live it!”

Yourstory wishes the best to DIGIQOM and Jay for the coming future and hopes this enigmatic leader continues to break set thoughts with his own innovative brainwaves

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