The darker alleys in the startup ecosystem in India have started talking about why we aren’t seeing enough exits and how Indian startups should mature at a faster rate and higher frequency. Still holding on to success stories of MakeMyTrip and Naukri, people are itching to see the next big technology IPO. And one of the few names that stand out here is Komli Media which raised a $39 million series D funding round led by Norwest Venture Partners, an existing investor in June 2012. Besides Norwest, Nexus Venture Partners, Helion Venture Partners, Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ) and Western Technology Investment have invested in Komli Media. We spoke to Amar Goel, founder and Chairman of Komli Media, to get his views.
Goel started his entrepreneurial journey with Komli Media, that in 2008 became two separate companies — Komli Media and PubMatic. Goel continues as chairman of PubMatic, while his younger brother Rajeev Goel is the co-founder and CEO of PubMatic. Komli Media, a real-time digital technology platform has an APAC focus and operates out of Mumbai , Bengaluru, Delhi and Chennai in India and numerous other countries in APAC. Goel says the rigours to build a product company for a global audience from India are tough. “You should be as close to the customer as possible. Specifically in the case of product management,” says Goel.
Having seen Komli grow over the years, Goel says the success of the company has been a personal satisfaction, but money has nothing to do with it. As a company, Komli has been growing 100% year-on-year since launch and Goel believes experimentation is key to growth. “You never know what works. I’d say we could have experimented a bit more early on in some areas. For example, even though we’re doing well on mobile now, we could have started this much earlier,” says Goel about a few things that could have been done differently.
Coming to the topic of IPOs, Goel says that it is a possibility but there are no formal plans. “It’ll happen when it has to happen,” he says with a smile. Komli has grown to a team of more than 400 and Goel says that it very important to build a very strong core management team. “Giving freedom to employees is what motivates them the most and a culture without hierarchies is of essence,” he says.
Goel is an inspiration for budding entrepreneurs, but he warns the enthusiasts: “Starting up is a marathon and not a sprint,” and goes onto emphasize the importance of perseverance in the whole journey. Komli Media plans to increase its investment in technology and consolidate its presence in SouthEast Asia further.
We hope for good things to come and wish Amar all the best to steer his companies towards more success!