NASSCOM EMERGEOUT Startup 8: Manav Garg, Founder and CEO, Eka Software
Manav Garg is the CEO and founder of Eka Software Solutions. Besides the overall responsibility of managing Eka, Manav oversees the areas of business strategy and corporate finance. Manav founded Eka after a brief stint as a trader with a large global commodity trading house. It was during his trading days that he saw the deficiencies in traditional trading and risk management software. Realizing the market opportunity, and combining this with his passion for technology, Manav set up Eka with venture capital funding.
The first few years of organizational building at Eka were an invaluable experience, helping him gain deep and unique insights into all aspects of the business, and the needs of customers across the globe. Today, with Eka having shown significant growth in revenues, profitability, customer base, and employees, Manav provides leadership and overall direction in such strategic areas as talent management, product direction, and growth strategy. He constantly strives to achieve ever higher levels of organizational excellence and customer satisfaction by encouraging responsibility and accountability at all levels.
Born in 1974, Manav graduated as an engineer from REC (Regional Engineering College) Jalandhar followed by an MBA from IIFT (Indian Institute of Foreign Trade), Delhi. Manav is a member of the CII National Committee on IT, ITeS and e-Commerce for the year 2009–10 and is part of the sub-committee on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Agriculture.
Eka Software Solutions is a market leader in software for global commodity markets. The company helps other companies that buy, sell, or trade commodities and manage the challenges of volatile markets and 24×7 global operations more efficiently. Eka works closely with its customers helping their growth, working with them to improve operational control, increase profitability, accelerate growth, and manage risks and exposures. Eka is derived from the word ekam, which means “unified” or “integrated” in Sanskrit, the ancient Indian language. It signifies Eka’s intent to provide a single-platform solution for managing trade and risk across commodities, industry verticals, and business segments. Eka is a 200+ member strong team that caters to clients across a cross-section of commodities, segments, and sizes, including leading names like Louis Dreyfus, Noble, and CHS.
Manav, whose business helps other businesses succeed, tells NASSCOM EMERGEOUT Startup Initiative why he took to entrepreneurship.
1. Why did you take up entrepreneurship journey?
Manav: As a young student, I always found myself inclined towards starting something I could give shape to and nurture as my own. During my stint as a commodity trader with the GP Group, my job involved creating contracts, managing risks, accounting for the stocks etc. Working in this industry helped me realize that not only were the processes time-consuming but the absence of adequate technology was withholding optimum growth of the business. This provoked me to start my own venture, Eka Software, to address this gap through the use of technology.
2. What keeps you going (how and where do you find your motivation levels)?
Manav: What keeps me motivated the most is the success of Eka so far. We have been competing with established global players and have created a name for ourselves. Eka’s achievements in just 6 years motivate us to strive for greater heights.
Eventhough we have an exceptional product to streamline commodity trading and risk management processes, one of the big challenges for us was to convince the world about India’s ability to build a world-class product. Our ability to overcome this roadblock has given us the confidence to forge ahead.
3. What is your advice to wannabe entrepreneurs in India?
Manav: One quote from Bill Gates has always stayed with me, "We were young, but we had good advice and good ideas and lots of enthusiasm." The most crucial element of entrepreneurship is the “idea”. That is where it all begins. Once you have that you need to:
- Learn to take and manage risks. A person who wants to play it safe always will not be able start his/her own venture ever.
- Keep your personal expenditure at minimum. The more liabilities you live with, the less you will able to focus on your core purpose that is your own venture.
- Living with uncertainties. While taking risks can be based on certain business intelligence and analytics, living with uncertainties is more about a mental make-up.
- Ideas matter. When starting out, it’s important to see the need and viability of your business proposition for your audiences. Knowing the needs of your target audience is most critical in all cases. Do not be led by success in another part of the world.
4. What success mean to you and your organization?
Manav: Success for me means building an organization whose business goals are in sync with the market need. We are proud of our achievements in the last few years, whether acquiring prestigious customers, expanding operations globally or building a team of over 200 talented professionals who have built a world class product for the commodity trading space.
It gives us immense satisfaction when we are able to simplify life for a commodity trader so that he can concentrate on what he is meant to do: create business.
In addition, we are also proud of having built a successful software product company out of India despite skepticism about India’s ability to produce a world-class software product.
5. What are your learning’s from the failures?
Manav: Well, you can only learn from your failures and failure is a stepping stone to success. My primary lesson is to never give up even if you fail the first time or even the second time. I have learned to stay focused on the goal and not the obstacles and never be afraid of taking calculated risks.
With his feet firmly on ground, Manav is out to disprove skeptics who doubt India’s ability to create world-class products. He is surely a worthy role model for young entrepreneurs who view stumbling blocks as an opportunity to create something bigger.
As part of the Indian startup NASSCOM EMERGEOUT initiative, seven entrepreneurs have shared their views. To know what they are, please visit the links given below.
1. Kishore Mandyam of PK4 Software, http://bit.ly/cVfVRp
2. Anil Pagar of Spadeworx, http://bit.ly/ct4m4H
3. Ajay Sharma of Shristi Software, http://bit.ly/ciV7OW
4. Pallav Nadhani of InfoSoft Global (FusionCharts), http://bit.ly/9VhDWY
5. Manoj Srivatsava of Hanu Software, http://bit.ly/9FKdXv
6. Sriram Raghavan of Comat, http://bit.ly/dtDbvh
7. Sushil Chaudary of Mann-India, http://bit.ly/cphzMi
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’s objective is to help understand what opportunities do the Indian growth sectors present for you and how you can tap into these emerging opportunities.
Mr. Bharat Goenka, founder, Tally Software is the keynote speaker. The story of Tally was started with a belief and vision of one man – Mr. Bharat Goenka. A truly Made in India product Made for India. Tally epitomizes what a visionary can do to bring about technology revolution. Tally is now synonymous with accounting software in India. The product is used by a significant chunk of SMEs across all industry sectors. Mr. Goenka has developed in Indian context a product that is most essential to run a business. Would you miss hearing him?
Mr. Lakshmi Narayanan, Vice Chairman, Cognizant, has kindly consented to give the valedictory address. Lakshmi Narayanan has been a technology industry leader for over 30 years. As a founding member of Cognizant, Lakshmi has 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. So he is worth listening to to find out what strategies he applied for successful execution of plans to reach a historic milestone in quick time.
To find the speaker list, please visit http://bit.ly/dvMYqq.
Please register for the conference here.
–Contributed by Venkatesh Krishnamoorthy, Chief Evangelist, YourStory