Some entrepreneurs elicit awe with their numerous achievements, while others are admired for their consummate mastery of their field. It is a rare person who can invoke both and still lay claim to your imagination. Vivek Pahwa is an entrepreneur who has taken the consumer internet space and made it his own. His company owns several sites that rank among the best in their specialized fields.
Yourstory gained exclusive insights into his life as an entrepreneur and his game-plan. He spoke foremost of his varied creations saying “Accentium Web Pvt Ltd aims to be one of the leading players in the consumer internet space – Currently, it runs
a) Gaadi.com, India’s No. 2 Auto portal (soon to be No. 1, hopefully) where users can research their new car purchase, and buy and sell used cars. Gaadi.com currently receives over 300,000 unique visitors monthly.
b) SecondShaadi.com, India’s No. 1 Matrimonial site for second marriages – Filling a niche but important and growing need in the second marriage segment online – over 150,000 registered profiles
c) Studynation.com – India’s most content rich education site – helps students determine their best college choice in both India and overseas, while helping them prepare for competitive exams as well.
e) PriceBag.com - A price comparison and product discovery website that provides a great way to find and filter product across categories, compare products and find best price for them.
f) Movieplus.com - A movie and celebrity news, reviews, information, pictures, and videos site for Hollywood, Bollywood, Tamil & Telugu movies.
g) SitaGita.com - A Women community and information portal with topics ranging from Beauty, Fashion, Health, Travel, Relationships, Shopping and more.
“We currently reach out to over 500,000 unique internet users in India on a monthly basis, which represent over 1.5% of India’s Internet population. We hope to grow this to 5-10% in the coming years. Besides our users, we work with several companies and intermediaries in all of our products, adding value to their businesses, by helping them succeed more.”
It is his ability to think beyond normal perceptions of what one should offer that have made his products successful. He explains where they best their competitors and reveals “All of our products have differentiators – SecondShaadi is an obvious differentiator – With Gaadi.com, we have innovated in the way we present high quality auto related information to our users, and as well as innovating an offline business model where we help intermediaries achieve more success in their business. StudyNation.com has better quality content than any education site, and that is the biggest differentiator. Our success in business model can be attributed to incremental innovations in either of the concept, execution or delivery leading to incremental value being created in the system.”
His game-plan for future growth is simple and efficient, he says “We plan to continue down the path we are – Continue to build stronger differentiators in each of our businesses – continue to add value – and add new products to the mix in the coming years.”
His role as an entrepreneur is not lost on him and he revels in its varied aspects. He says “Being an entrepreneur in my opinion is one of the challenging journeys in life – It has its mix of highs and lows – but with hard work and intelligent strategy success is greatly rewarding. It is not easy by any means, especially when starting out, but with focus and determination, a lot can be achieved.”
His life is intertwined with his work and the challenges that result are manifold. We asked him what he considers as his biggest hurdle and he answered saying “I hear this question a lot – but I never know how to answer it – it has been a series of challenges, every day presents a new one – so I don’t have one that stands out, but so far, making the business model work on Gaadi.com has been a challenge which we are seeing success on now – but we are only 1 year old with Gaadi.com, so challenges are expected.”
“Hiring and judging people beforehand – Doing things in a hurry starting up because you are very anxious – Overspending on things which don’t require spending – these are some of the mistakes which have actually taught us well.”
“Starting multiple business at the same time, and making them all work together – This is quite challenging as successes / failures in one tend to ride over to the others – requires good multi-tasking skills and a great team.”
Their progress is clear for all to see and their projected figures are startling even for a company that has been known for success.”From December 2008 to December 2009 we are slated to grow 6 times – Hopefully next year we can grow another 3-5 times in terms of revenue, profitability and traffic.” says Vivek whilst revealing their trajectory.
His guiding vision as an entrepreneur is one of creation. Vivek states “Creating value – not only for the company, shareholders and employees – but also with partners and businesses that we work with – this is the biggest driver for our team.”
Vivek’s skill and acumen have been recognized and lauded by all. He speaks on the most recent recognition awarded to him saying “I was awarded Asia’s best young entrepreneur 2008 by BusinessWeek Asia. Even though it was an individual recognition, it is also a reflection on the great work being done by our team. This means a great deal to me and the team as we have put in a lot of energy and work into building the company so far.”
His vision for the coming year is rooted in a desire to see tangible results. He states the three factors he is focusing on saying “Grow traffic, revenue and profitability 3-5 times – We are very financially driven – I feel that if you drive your company by revenue and more importantly profit targets, everything else will fall into place. A lot of times start-ups are driven by technology / ideas / dreams of making it big. But ideas don’t pay the employees – revenues do. The MBA really helped in bringing about the financial focus.”
Vivek Pahwa has all the skill needed to make a business world class and then some. His advice to his peers reflects the kind of forward thinking that has gotten him to where he is. He doles out the essence of his entrepreneurial wisdom saying “Focus on adding value – Any business idea needs to solve a need – If you solve a big need for a big set of people or businesses, then it can become big – But you can also solve small needs for small groups of individuals – but until you solve problems for other people / companies and add value, you will not make money.”
“This sounds easy but is the key to entrepreneurship. Linked to this, the only way you can continue to add value on an ongoing basis – would be to have something others don’t – but having something that others don’t AND adds value is key - building a sustainable competitive advantage which solves real needs is the key to long term profits.”
Yourstory thanks Vivek for giving us his time and insights into entrepreneurship. We wish him success in adding value and creating lasting products and hope to see him outshine himself.