"Parellel worlds -- in one place, at one time"
Yogesh Bansal has one of the most intresting profiles you'd come across. An MBA from University of Carolina, Yogesh started ApnaCircle.com in 2006 with a vision to make it a truly mega brand!
ApnaCircle.com is India’s first career and social networking site. A visit to the site provides a refreshing experience as it provides the opportunity for both career and social networking. There is no need to wander for network socially and professionally in divergent direction, it facilitates parallel networking in one place, in one time.
In 2006, social networking was becoming a rage in US and Yogesh was a witness to this growing industry. When he moved to India, he saw the opportunity in the huge youth population and the need for a property which would allow the youth to connect and at the same time derive value for their individual growth.
"I saw the need and I worked and researched. Interestingly I found that friends and career are the two aspects that were at the top of the youth’s mind. And, at that point of time there was no such platform that would have catered both the aspects. So, I developed a platform, ApnaCircle.com, which is a relevant platform and caters to both the aspects." says Yogesh
The networking site ApnaCircle is free to join and it manages the profiles of professionals from various sectors that are available for public view. It helps you to find out the right kind of job options and also helps the employer to have the right kind of professional on board.
The users are empowered to express their thoughts as far as their profession is concerned. Users can also avail interesting applications like redeem rewards and free SMS services. Especially, for the Indian professionals, the networking site provides relevant localized content.
The user base of ApnaCircle has been growing at a phenomenal pace. It is today considered as one of the largest interconnected Indian professional networking sites and has a membership of over nine lakhs members from across the country. Apnacircle.com primarily targets the Indian market and parts of the subcontinent as well.
Yogesh tells us "As per market estimate, only 5.3 percent of the total adult population in India is online. That means there is a huge opportunity in India for growth. We have already more than nine lakh users in India. In addition to that our recent merger with Viadeo,Tianji and Unyk has also helped us to further expand the horizon of our users. The merger has helped us to connect our Indian users with Unyk’s sixteen million users and Viadeo’s eight million additional users from across the globe."
This company aims to become a "glo-cal" company. Global because they aim to have a worldwide presence and Local because they aim to be percieved as the local actor in each country, catering primarily to the needs of the professionals who are essentially doing their business locally.
"We believe that the 80/20 rule applies in our market, more than 80% of cross-border relationships are generated by only 20% of professionals. Catering to the need of the other 80% needs, should thus give us more market depth, more usage, and ultimately more revenues.We want to become a truly “Glo-cal” company which entirely depends on creating strong member base intially in order to allow for virality and SEO to take off and to generate revenues." says Yogesh.
What sets them apart
Unlike other networking sites, ApnaCircle focuses more on business and career aspect besides having fun elements of social networking. Other networking sites either focus on the social aspect or the professional aspect. They provide both!
ApnaCircle provides the opportunity to build up a professional network, where prospective employers and employees come to network; connect and build relevant contacts. Various job openings are also listed in a section from where one can lookout for job opportunities. Also, you can see and find out if you know anybody from a particular company who is there in your network and connect with them to have a better understanding of that particular company or job posting.
His Entrepreneurial Journey
After completing his MBA, Yogesh got a job and worked for five years but he was always enthusiastic in starting his own venture. He says "I was keen to establish my own set up. Subsequently, while in US, I started few entities. Afterward in 2006, I came back to India and started ApnaCircle.com."
He invested all his money to incept ApnaCircle.com, However like any other startup, he also faced many problems and bottlenecks. " There were many issues—hiring the right kind of talent, funds, creation of the right team, etc. However, over period of time we managed to sort out these problems" recalls Yogesh.
In the road to success one certainly stumbles across few mistakes, infact this help an entrepreneur to grow as a businessman. Yogesh also did a few mistakes. He says "I also committed few mistakes in the beginning. But most importantly, I learnt from the mistakes and tried not repeat the same mistake. The challenges and roadblock were always there but I always believed in my idea and my vision which made me cross all the roadblocks. It’s obviously not an easy task.
However, it was the result of lot of dedication and hard work. My passion to provide best of the services to my target audience has been one of the biggest factor that made me stick to this."
ApnaCircle.com’s merger with Viadeo, the world leading professional networking could be termed as one of the biggest achievements. Having more than thirty employees and a numbers of offices across the globe is not less than an achievement for ApnaCircle.
Tips For budding Entrepreneurs
According to Yogesh The challenge for budding entrepreneurs is to innovate, differentiate and most important to solve a problem or fulfill a need for masses in a simple manner.
He advices the first generation entrepreneurs and says "From the very beginning one has to believe in himself and must have the courage to keep progressing in the path one wants to proceed in. One has to create a team which believes in the same passion and values as you do. Also, differentiate yourself, be innovating in creating and adding value for customers and must keep in mind that there should be a market for your product"
YourStory wishes Yogesh Bansal and ApnaCircle.com all the success and wishes that it spreads its wings Glo-cally in the coming years.