Though with a background in finance, Purnima Varadrajan entered the tech domain in December 2005 when she founded iPOTT a web-based information centre for all software developed across the world. Driven by a determination and hunger to succeed, and ably backed by a team whose strength has grown to 20, Varadrajan cites her main achievement as opening up the software market in India; iPOTT now clocks one million hits a month.
The site offers quick and easy access to software for all needs and purposes — satisfying the requirements of individuals as well as firms, ranging in price from $1 to $1 million, software that cannot be procured online as well as free trials for customers and clients.
Varadrajan funded the establishment of iPOTT with her savings and contributions from her family, a total investment of Rs20 lakh. Starting off with a team of two, it has grown slowly but consistently; iPOTT is now a million-dollar company in the process of becoming a billion-dollar one.The first website of its kind in India, a feat recognised by NASSCOM, iPOTT does not have any direct competition. “Sites like download.com and cnet.com offer freeware, shareware and open-source software. But iPOTT is the only site that lists software with information,” says Varadrajan.
Promoters list their software on iPOTT and can display screenshots, upload brochures and propagate their popularity and clientele. In addition to this, iPOTT has run innovative campaigns and events (Software on Wheels, Ad-apt Campaigns, Snail-mail Campaigns etc) with the prime focus on providing exposure for the software listed on the site.
Currently, Varadrajan has envisioned two-phase growth for iPOTT. In the first, the emphasis will be on exposure for the software. “The plan is to develop an open market space wherein the competition becomes irrelevant. We intend to focus on ‘need’ and ‘availability’ in order to create demand,” she says.
The next phase of growth will include concentrating on software quality, by bringing out product certification.
For Varadrajan, the CEO of iPOTT, launching her own venture was like nurturing her own child. “The pleasure and pain of entrepreneurship is an experience in itself,” she says.
The mistakes she has made she cites as learning experiences. The first, she says, was conducting herself more as a professional than a businesswoman. “This is a hindrance to the progress of any company. Business needs to be handled in a businesslike manner,” she says.
The second was, for a while, not adhering to a focus on iPOTT’s core business. “Instead of sticking to our prime focus, we were tempted and distracted. What began as bad results became bad decisions, which led to more bad results,” says Varadrajan.
But, with support from a team that trusts her and dreams with her, she remained on course for success. “Indications that the market was waiting for us to come out with our next innovative campaign were enough. The feel of that power in my hands to create a change…,” Varadrajan says.
For her work, Varadrajan has been awarded as the best (and, in fact, youngest) female manager across India by ASCII. But for her, the greatest recognition was the market accepting and opening up to her ‘baby’.
Varadrajan now aims to build iPOTT into the largest unbiased source of software and software information, and the most popular vertical search engine for software. “It will be the final destination for every individual or company that sells or wants to buy software, or needs information on the same,” she says.
This endeavour is for her no less than a dream, one which she has acted on, has believed in. “And if that dream needs to be manifested into a reality, get others to dream with you. I could not be where I am without my team,” she says. For the pursuit of her dreams, yourstory.in wishes Varadrajan the perseverance to see them all come true.