Dine and Gain: From Ambasamudram to Washington and Walking through Clay Characters
Encounters by Venkatesh Krishnamoorthy
Kiruba Shankar, the TEDx ambassador in India and CEO of Business Blogging (don’t chide me for leaving what other things he does; we assume you know and if not, go to Kiruba.com to find out), called me up this morning for a dinner meeting. He enticed me by saying I will introduce you to a person who will tell you a rags-to-riches story. As you know, we get excited by entrepreneurial stories and when it is rags to riches, it is all the more interesting.
As I walk into the meeting, a young, bald, and energetic Prabakaran Murugaiah greets me. His demeanour never gives you any indication of his company Corp-Corp.com, one of the largest recruitment portals for IT professionals in the United States. “The total IT jobs in US is 4 million and we have 2 million unique visitors,” beams Prabakaran. Operating out of Washington, DC, the three-year-old company is seeing explosive growth. Short-term consultant jobs are in demand in the US and Corp-Corp.com helps a recruiter find a consultant in 30 seconds flat. This process normally takes four hours. How? Prabakaran shows me a demo. If you are a registered member of Corp-Corp.com, you simply send a mail detailing your requirements. The reply mail lists all possible consultants in the database of Corp-Corp.com that match your requirements. Then you pick up the one you need. What about the quality of results? If the search results are high, the probability of you finding a closest match or exact match of your requirements is high. Prabakaran eases into a conversation quite easily and says he is overeating now in India because of his back-to-back meetings at hotels.
Corp-Corp.com conducts a monthly conference in different US cities to educate the CEOs, especially SME CEOs, on the advantages of finding a consultant fast and does not advertise its services explicitly though. Twenty-seven conferences in 36 months. “That may be a record,” says Prabakaran. There are now 6000 clients on Corp-Corp.com.
Prabakaran originally hails from Ambasamudram, not exactly but from a tiny halmet near this place in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu. What has made Prabakaran dive deep into entrepreneurship? What is his inspiration? And how did he achieve rags to riches? We will wait to hear his story.
In the dinner meeting was Praveen R. Chrispugg, a clay animation expert and entrepreneur. His creativity with clay animation leaves you inspired on one plane and amazed on the other. This Young Creative Entrepreneur award winner from the British Council in 2006 had to withdraw from a million dollar project then because he had little understanding of technology. He says a 30-second animation film takes 20 days to make. But the output is nothing short of phenomenal. Arun Sarin, who was then Vodafone CEO, called Praveen up to his utter surprise one day to appreciate his work as brilliant and to ask him to pursue his deal with a German company, which was offering animation on mobile.
Praveen could not afford 1500 pounds to engage an attorney to decipher a nondisclosure agreement with the German company, which wanted his animation to a certain spec so that it can be used on mobiles. That deal had the potential of millions of dollars. But he signed the NDA and then was sent a technical spec for which he needed support from techies. After a long search, he abandoned the deal as he did not have the resources. He still runs on shoestring budgets. Most television channels want his work for free. As a creative entrepreneur, his challenges are many.
Inspiring dinner. Thank you Kiruba.