Pankaj Agarwal, Founder, Clickindia Infomedia Pvt Ltd.
“The Market that India clicks”
There is a saying that the best marketplace will not just sell you the rice but also the starch. Pankaj Agarwal might possibly have had this aim in mind when he set up Clickindia Infomedia Pvt Ltd. The website helps many across India to sell their wares or find whatever exclusive service they may be looking for.
The young entrepreneur, a passout of IIM Indore, told us more saying “Clickindia.com is a simple, easy to use free classifieds website where one can advertise their products, services, talent or any offer to get responses from prospective buyers, and vice versa. One can look for a job, find property for sale, travel services, and can sell personal used items and much more. It helps sellers reduce their marketing cost and still give reach to their offers.”
“Clickindia serves over 5 million users and thousands of small businesses every month. We have had people calling us and congratulating on the site because they made over Rs. 10 – Rs. 15 lakh rupee worth sale by selling small retail items like phones, taxi services. Clickindia primarily cater to the Indian Internet users, though our services are being used and appreciated even by users from across the globe.”
The site is popular and gaining momentum with every ad that is posted and replied to. Pankaj explained why the site is so attractive and meaningful “ClickIndia is a marketplace where buyers and sellers meet..Enabling users to reach potential buyers without any cost…reducing marketing costs for small, medium and large enterprises”
“Posting an ad takes less than a minute. So within a minute you can reach out to numerous buyers across the world, especially India as it’s a an engaging marketplace with over 5 million visitors every month who are interested in buying / selling, definitely a large set to reach out to.”
Pankaj always knew what his profession was going to be, he says “I come from a business background so I always knew I had to get into business. While I was working with Citigroup, various interesting opportunities came. However, the prospect of doing something in classifieds industry seemed interesting, as it had both scale and challenge. A regular job is exciting but the satisfaction one gets creating something from scratch is what drives me. The idea to help a large group (mostly small and medium) of businesses & individuals, reach out to their prospective buyers without any cost is appealing and ofcourse the satisfaction of making a contribution to the overall growth of the Indian economy.”
Despite the background and the wisdom that his family’s experiences in entrepreneurship had passed on, Pankaj had his own mountains to climb. He says “Every entrepreneur faces one challenge in the beginning; marketing versus prudent spending; as a marketer, we want to advertise as much as we can to generate traffic. However, in a startup, marketing is not a liberty but only an option because access to funds is limited. We have stuck to prudent financial spending since beginning which has kept the costs in control and ensured we focused on building a better product first before going full throttle on marketing it.”
“It was a conscious decision to start this venture and I am happy the way it is shaping up. The satisfaction to be able to help such a wide audience drives me to work harder to establish clickindia as the preferred choice for classified related services in India. The testimonials we receive from our customers, confirm that we are on the right path & we will do everything we can to enable users to expand their reach via this medium without any cost."
On the learning curve Pankaj says,“We started doing multiple things at a time when there was a traction happening in late 2007. We ended up developing nothing and lost crucial 3 months in between. However, we were lucky to realize the problem in early stages and started focusing on critical functions only. We are happy to be guided by some of the best minds in the industry which helps us be grounded & focused on critical areas of work. We have Dinesh Agarwal, MD, Indiamart, on our board whose expertise becomes valuable and helps us avoid usual pitfalls one makes as an entrepreneur.”
Their reported growth rates are phenomenal by any count and Pankaj is pleased to reveal their figures saying “Since August 2008, we have grown 1000%. We now have over 7.5 lakh LIVE ads, 5 million users a month, and growing rapidly… Recent reports released by Comscore and Komli Media show clickindia.com ranked at 37th and 35th place respectively among the top Indian websites (as on 11th August, 2009). We have a team of 15 people from varied backgrounds and an office situated in Noida.”
YourStory found that Clickindia was named as India's leading B2C classified website in June 2009. More recently, Clickindia has been named as a Red Herring 100 Asia 2009 Winner.
Clickindia’s plans for the future hinges on an increase in internet penetration, and user acceptance towards used goods trading, leading to more postings. Pankaj plans to have around 5 million listings and says “We plan to reach out to every citizen of the country who has something to offer or is seeking something. We have to reach out to small cities, villages and we are working on scale to reach there. So, you will see lot of development happening on city based penetration activities. We are also working on integrating it with mobile to reach out to the masses. We believe mobile phone is the future and we are exploring various options in this field.”
Pankaj believes that an Indian entrepreneur should always be aware of three things while starting out. “Getting the right set of people working with you – make sure you have a great team to work with you, who are aligned with your vision. As someone said, a great team with an average idea is better than an average team with a great idea.”
“Getting your finance right – make sure you have a plan on how to spend your money. In the initial stages, how wisely it is spent will define whether you will be able to get past the gestation period that a business requires.”
“The regulations can sometimes make it difficult for the entrepreneur to scale – so they should ensure that they keep themselves updated on it & or take professional help to manage the eco system”
As now an experienced and successful entrepreneur, Pankaj passed on his perception saying “As budding entrepreneurs, we sometimes find it hard to take the final step and I see almost 60-70% of the people going back to their regular job. If you are sure of the business you are entering & love doing it, don’t hesitate, take the leap”
“Second, there is always a gestation period in any business you do, so don’t let the initial stages dampen your motivation level. In fact that is the time when you can actually focus on building the structures of your company strong and make it ready to handle the upscale that it would see eventually.”
“Work on your finances well. Money is short and needs to be spent wisely. Plan it to last till your business is able (estimated) to give you some returns. We, as children, have been brought up in an environment which does not allow us to fail. However, things are changing and it is ok to fail. The important thing is to learn from it and not repeat them in future endeavors.”
Clickindia will surely be the best of its kind due to the entrepreneurial talent that Pankaj Agarwal possesses. We hope his skills stay sharp and that fortune favors his every move.