NASSCOM EMERGEOUT Startup 24: Srish Agrawal, Founder and CEO, A1 Future
Srish Agrawal had deep interest in science and mathematics and he always topped examinations. He wanted to start a company so that he can give flight to his ambitions of doing something new. He did not want to do a job, but he wanted to create jobs. So he decided to move from science to commerce. Astonishing, but true!
Srish, the entrepreneur, started the business way back in 1997, when he was still in college. In 1997, Internet was something very new for Kolkata, and Srish took the initiative of starting the first cyber cafe of Kolkata, which received quite a bit of media coverage as well.
Srish’s understanding about human relationship and his foresightedness has really helped the company reach where it is today. There is still a long way to go, since the dream is to become the world’s No. 1 design company and have support offices throughout the world. In Srish’s words, “The reason of A1’s success is the dedication and passion, which the A1 team members bring to the table everyday, without fail.”
A1 Future Technologies is a creative design firm, serving customers from around the world for over a decade. The company operates in the little explored domain of logo design, graphic design and print design. A1 prides itself in creativity and customer service, which ensures that 89% of our business comes through client referral and repeat orders. A1’s customer base—10,000+ clients including Fortune 500 companies from 50+ countries. The company is profitable since inception, ensuring sustainability of long-term relationship. A1 regularly participates in international exhibitions like CeBIT, Germany and Internet World, London. A1’s virtual customer support office operates in UK.The accolades include ranked as one of the Top 5 Logo Design Companies in the World; recognized and awarded by NASSCOM as one of the Top 10 Emerging Companies in India.
A1 is a member of respectable trade bodies like NASSCOM, STPI, ESC, and D&B.
Having founded the business out of college, creativity is the mainstay of Srish’s venture. What does Srish have to say on entrepreneurship to Indian Startup EMERGEOUT initiative by NASSCOM. Find out…
1. Why did you take up entrepreneurship journey?
Srish: I was in college when this journey started way back in 1997. Always had the dream of doing something on my own to ensure that I could do my bit in reducing the problem of unemployment. Objective was atleast I should not be increasing the problem by adding one more unemployed youth to the existing number.
And suddenly, I got an opportunity...
We had a small space of about 150 sq. ft. I had to bring that space into use so that it does not get occupied by someone else. Now the question was how to use it.
Even during those days, I was pretty much “addicted” to the Internet. Read somewhere, “To enjoy, turn your hobby into a career”. I did exactly that and started offering Internet services.
2. What keeps you going (how and where do you find your motivation levels)?
Srish: Customer compliments, industry recognition, smiling team members, and improving balance sheet.
3. What is your advice to wannabe entrepreneurs in India?
Srish: Start early.
Turn your hobby into a career.
Do not feel ashamed to start small.
Find out a problem that others are facing and solve it. Problem = Opportunity.
Knowledge and opportunities can come from anywhere, keep your eyes, ears, and intentions open.
4. What success means to you and your organization?
Srish: Success is the main driving force. It motivates us to do still better. We treasure and value every small success. But, we never forget to keep aiming (and working) towards bigger success.
We are working to become the best and biggest design (corporate branding, graphic design, print design) company in the world.
An Indian company going global and being recognized is surely a success!
5. What are your learnings from the failures?
Srish: Just planning is no good unless you actually execute the plan timely. Surrounding yourself with people who have positive attitude and passion for the common goal, works—always.
Srish turned his hobby into a business and wanted to create jobs. So he became an entrepreneur right out of college. He has sustained his success in business by creating one of the world’s best design companies out of India. His success is a sure shot of inspiration and a dose of adrenalin for all those wanting to think big and go global.
As part of the Indian Startup EMERGEOUT initiative by NASSCOM, 23 entrepreneurs have shared their views. To know what they are, please visit the links given below.
NASSCOM EMERGEOUT Conclave, Chennai, April 30, 2010
NASSCOM EMERGEOUT conclave comes to Chennai on 30 April 2010. With “Nurturing the IT DNA in India’s growth sectors” as its theme, the conclave focuses on sectors that hold relevance to Chennai such as the automotive sector, in addition to opportunities that exist in the UID space, and workshops on marketing, product design, and many others.
The Chair of the EMERGEOUT Forum, Mr. Krishnakumar Natarajan, has provided the highlights of the EMERGEOUT Conclave in addition to details about EMERGE Forum and its activities. Please visit http://bit.ly/ckRFhI to read his interview to YourStory.
Phanindra Sama, CEO, RedBus.in, is going to be in a panel discussion on SaaS offerings (IT & SME – Is SAAS Finally Bridging the Gap?). We will feature a conversation with him soon. Phani found an opportunity in the bus ticketing space and has scaled RedBus phenomenally in three years. His success is an indication of opportunities that the domestic market presents.
Apart from this, we are sure to spring a surprise or two by featuring some opinions, interviews, and opinions.
Mr. Bharat Goenka, founder, Tally Software is the keynote speaker. It is a no-brainer right now that if you walk to anyone and ask them to cite you an example of an Indian product, Tally ranks among the top list, and it has been that way for a while. Mr. Goenka is without doubt one of the most prolific icons of the Indian product software industry. Talk to him about product positioning, understanding user behaviour, pricing, marketing and building a brand that is as big as Microsoft in terms of training and development centers, and you are sure to walk away in awe. Would you miss hearing him?
To wrap up the conclave, Mr. Lakshmi Narayanan, Vice Chairman, Cognizant, is going to engage in rather inquisitive conversation with Prasanto Roy from CyberMedia. He has been a technology industry leader for over 30 years. As a founding member of Cognizant, he was been responsible for the company’s high-touch customer relationship and delivery excellence model. Under his leadership, Cognizant became the youngest IT services company to reach the $1 billion revenue milestone. He is also the part of NASSCOM Chairmen Council and under his leadership, some new initiatives in the EMERGE Forum were started.
Speaker list and program schedule
To find the speaker list, please visit http://bit.ly/dvMYqq.
The complete program agenda is available: http://bit.ly/9on2ci An impressive lineup of programs awaits participants.
Interesting speakers and some sessions of interest
Jessie Paul, MD, Paul Writer Strategic Services, author of No Money Marketing, and formerly Chief Marketing Officer of Wipro, is holding a workshop on “Frugal Marketing—What Works, What's Trendy, What's Hype.” Besides great product or service and innovation, marketing right is crucial to build a brand. Jessie is going to demystify the art of brand building using a frugal budget. Visit her blog post at the EMERGE blog http://bit.ly/ahqdqO for details.
Kiruba Shankar, CEO, Business Blogging, is holding an “unconference” at the conclave.
The e-governance projects like the Unique ID Scheme of the government present huge opportunities for SMEs. One of the sessions at the conclave will explore this opportunity.
Register for the conference here
Don’t miss all the action! Join the bandwagon of the emerging opportunities in India!!
Please register for the conference here.
–Contributed by Venkatesh Krishnamoorthy, Chief Evangelist, YourStory