YourStory in conversation with Kiran Kumar who has Co-Founded Adepto after spending 5yrs at Google
Kiran Kumar and Prem Pillai, Founders, Adepto - Incredibly Intuitive
Increased sales are a God send for any business, so if an app delivers increased sales then it must be divine too. Trol.ly is one such app which has more earthly origins despite its effectivenessin generating awareness, conversations, engagement, and sales for your products. Trol.ly is an offering from Adeptowhich has been founded by Kiran Kumar and PremPillai.
Kiran has over 10 years of experience in Internet Sales, Marketing, and Communications. He has an MBA from Liverpool Business School ('02) and had an Executive Orientation in Entrepreneurship at Chicago Booth ('09). Before founding Adepto with Prem Pillai, he spent 5 years in Google India and helped set up the Direct Sales & Operations (DSO) function. DSO is now a multi-people, multi-million dollar division and a large contributor to Google's revenues in India.
YourStory caught up with Kiran Kumar for an interesting insightinto pioneering 'Automated Social Commerce’ and his entrepreneurial journey at Adepto…
Give us a quick background on your work experiences?
I have been in the internet industry for almost 12 years. After my initial schooling in Hyderabad, I went to the UK to domy MBA and then in 2004, I joined Google in Hyderabad. People knew Google as only a website then, later in 2005 Google went Public and then the rest is history. It was a great job. For the first time we learnt that the value of perks was much higher than the salary itself. I worked there for five years, and in early2006; I took a transfer to Mumbai and grew to handling the sales function of Media and Entertainment vertical for Google India. Later, one fine day I just quit Google with no future plans of what I wanted to do next. I wanted to sit back and think on what I wanted to do. People were getting more curious about new ways of engagements beyond text ads. I like film making and reckoned that something can be done with Youtube. But I only had hazy thoughts.
On one fine day, I started Brown Hat Media. We reckoned that no company, especially no product company can do with our a video in these times. But after several assignments, while the need is there, I did not feel that it’s a scalable business model. Price was also a major concern with the clients. So, in the 1 year that I ran the business I realized that Film Making was a hobby for me. I did not want it to be career option.
It was during one of the film-making projects, that I collaborated with Prem Pillai (Co- Founder at Adepto). Prem had also quit Google by then and was working in Malaysia. He was on a vacation in India. We created an application together. It was a lot of fun and we realized we could do something together.He never returned to Malaysia.
What was the business idea behind creating Adepto?
The biggest challenge for businesses today is how to leverage social media. We knew that the biggest categories in online business are Retail commerce and Travel. We thought something that combined these two will be interesting to work on. However, in the U.S, bespoke apps cost around $100,000 (Rs45 lacs) and in India people don’t pay you more than 1 lakh. So the service model was not exciting. Instead we felt that if we create a platform combining social media and eCommerce we might end up doing something big.
Tell us more about the productTrol.ly (Social Commerce – Social Media and e-Commerce brought together)
Trol.lyis the result of the thought process I just explained. It is an 'Automated Social Commerce Application' for eCommerce businesses. Once installed it helps generate awareness, conversations, engagement, and sales for your products on Facebook. From the application’s perspective, we are pioneers in India. A few companies in U.S. are working in this space but in India we are the first movers.
How is Trol.lydifferent ?
Firstly, it is important to note that Facebook is an ‘influencer’ in buying decisions. People may not yet shop on Facebook but they are interested in their friends’ purchases all the same. Secondly, Sharing needs to be active not passive like just putting share buttons. Then, the newsfeed should have a ‘Call to action’ to interest friends. Messages have a very short window of exposure (given that an average user has 130 friends). The key is to ‘engage’ friends around purchases (think about Gaming/Quiz formats). Then the challenge is to make friends buy. There are cases of companies having a lot of followers but struggling to convert them into sales. Lastly, an even bigger challenge is to create an application that auto-runs needing no expert knowledge about Social Media. Trol.ly sucessfully does all of the above.
Who is the product targeted at?
U.S. is the market focus. It’s built for the world not just India. We already have a couple of clients and its showing very good results.
What is the Business model behind Trol.ly?
Retailers ‘PAY’ only when Trol.ly ‘SELLS’ their products. It is a CPS model. All the branding that Trol.ly generates is free for the retailers. Many retailers have affiliate programs and we work with those programs.
Retailers who are keen can SIGN UP here http://get.trol.ly
YourStory wishes Kiran Kumar and Prem Pillai a fruitful and storied entrepreneurial journey with Adepto.To learn more about Trol.ly and what it can do for your business visit http://adepto.in/pages/trolly