YourStory’s Awesome Startup Employee series has been celebrating the behind-the-scene awesomeness that is the key success ingredient for any startup: the superhero employee who makes a difference at their respective dynamic workplaces.
Here’s a look at the Awesome Employees of 2014.
1) From a disgruntled customer to an awesome startup employee, Vrinda Pandey joined Mast Kalandar in 2010. She is the head of Marketing at Mast Kalandar. When she started, Mast Kalandar had nine stores and now it has more than 55. Her message is: “You have to continue to believe and trust in your brand and keep true to it. That is the best way ahead.”
2) Aadhar Agarwal’s key learning at Paytm is that trust is crucial. According to him, “If you can build trust with everyone who works for you and with you then that trust will always carry you through everything.” This awesome startup employee believes that you do not need to go looking for inspiration; inspiration is to be found in everything.
3) Nandini Vishwanath is the first employee of Urban Ladder in Bangalore. She joined them in May of 2012. “Working in a startup is not easy. It means a lot of work. It is like being in college where a small group of people put up a production together. Building something with a small team is the beauty of a startup,” says Nandini, adding that this is her biggest strength.
4) Deepak Dhar heads operations at Citrus Pay. He joined them in February 2012. Initially there were so many challenges that sometimes Deepak questioned whether it was all worth it. “Before Citrus, I did not have much belief in myself. I thought how much can an individual make a difference? Citrus Pay changed that. I realized that a set of individuals together can make a difference,” he adds.
5) Vidit Jain joined ShopClues in May 2013. Vidit started at ShopClues as an Assistant Manager and was promoted to Senior Brand Manager. A reflection of his immediate impact, says the Co-Founder of ShopClues, Radhika, is that, “He has all the right ingredients of an enthusiastic employee. He is a team player, a great mentor and a dedicated protégé. He is self motivated and a go-getter.”
6) Nruthya Kesavan had been with Exotel for just six months when she was nominated as the Awesome Startup employee. The founders agreed that in a short time she had built an amazing rapport with the customers and had helped the company understand how important it is to always put the customer first. Being from a non-tech background she had her doubts about handling the critical role she was assigned and is glad that the founders had the faith in her to do the task well. Now that does not happen always. Cheers to the startup universe!
7) Digbijoy Shukla’s DNA shows partiality towards entrepreneurship. Before he joined Ennovent, he worked with other startups and even started his own ventures. He recommends startups to everyone. “At Ennovent, we don’t call ourselves employees we are more like entrepreneurs.” Ennovent was started in 2008. It was a young organization when Digbijoy joined in 2011, it had four employees, and now the team has grown to 30. Digbijoy is one of the oldest employees. He drives strategy, management and operations and handles the community side of the business as well.
8) Mahesh Rangappa is ZipDial’s second employee and the first team member on the product team. He is a quiet leader, extremely patient and thoughtful. For Mahesh, a startup is all about people and the team. He says, “The stronger the team the more power you have to go through various challenges. Team building is an investment. It is important to ensure that you understand business and company goals. It is important you align your goals with the team. You have to have the drive and you have to exhibit the same exuberance every day.”
9) Piyush Goel joined Capillary Technologies in 2010 and has been with the company for close to four years now. He has donned multiple hats over the years, right from coding/designing modules, helping customers with support issues, recruiting new team members, ideating on what kind of products to build, to fire fighting outages in the middle of the night and has loved every moment of it.
10) Sravanth B. joined FrontalRain in June 2012. He was the first employee in the marketing department. On 17th April, 2014, Sravanth met with an accident on the highway 30 kms from Hyderabad which sent him into a coma. When we wrote about him he was working from home but was confined to his bed. Jayaram Srinivasan, the Co-founder, shared that his unrelenting spirit is a testimonial to the heroes in the world of the startup ecosystem.
11) Rohit Agarwal joined Housing in 2013. He feels that startups are about passion and if you do not feel passionate you may have a burnout because of the demanding work culture at startups. One of the challenges Rohit says he faces is that of ‘people scaling’. “Some people fail to scale up, primarily because of losing focus of the larger picture or getting carried away.”
12) Raghu Kolath joined FabFurnish in May 2012. His role involves anything and everything to do with customers. What Raghu loves the most about his role is the challenge and scope it gives him to develop people. Raghu’s most amazing quality is that he never gives up. Mehul Agarwal, Co-founder, says, “If he has given his word — be it to a customer or an employee or any of his superiors — he will do whatever it takes to keep it. His dependability is his biggest strength.”
13) For Mahesh Muraleedharan being the first employee of Uber India was nothing short of an adrenaline packed amusement ride. He was immediately thrown into the business where he was running analytics, managing partner relations and economics. Mahesh is responsible for Uber’s growth in the city along with their Community Manager who builds demand.
14) Sonam Shah loves the thrill, excitement and challenges that each new day brings at The Label Corp. She joined the company on May 1st, 2013, and started as a senior merchandiser just for theclosetlabel.com. Today, she is the head merchandiser and product developer for both the Closet Label and the Trunk Label; her main goal is to make sure that each category has a wide variety of unique products at all times.
15) Raveesh Bhalla joined Haptik in its early days. Raveesh has been an entrepreneur and is privy to the problems that an entrepreneur faces, and hiring is of course one of the biggest. Talking about it, he says, “It’s probably a combination of multiple things, but I personally feel that clearly defining goals and tasks, and giving people the ownership of those tasks helps a lot. This ensures everyone knows who’s responsible for what, and everyone can see the others contributing.”
16) Cumbertown’s awesome startup employee Ankit Jain is the VP of growth and marketing. In Cumbertown, he found the opportunity, not just to ‘use’ web products and experience how they change his daily life, but to ‘make’ such a product and bring change to lives of others.
17) Alexander Kudientsov is a 25-year-old Ukranian who moved 5300 km to join a budding startup team at Teabox in their very early days and has been championing the end-user experience and customer satisfaction within the team. Alex represents the essence of folks at Teaboxfor whom the mission is to disrupt old traditional industries and have an opportunity to work with a very diverse group of smart people.
18) Vivek Goel joined Zovi as a Product Manager in April 2011, when it was just called Robemall Apparels Pvt Ltd. Vivek highly recommends startups as the ideal places to work. “If you are the one who dreams big, loves to create things, gets a kick out of the results of your actions, then startup is the place for you to work,” he says.
19) There are people behind the scenes whose work is often not visible to the world. According to Pradeep Soundarajan, Co-founder and CEO of Moolya, Mampi is one such backstage artist for Moolya who helps the team deliver great value to their customer. She has been handling everything from office administration, recruitment, travel, vendor interaction, payroll, and customer visit planning, etc. and performs each task with 100% dedication.
20) Naresh Deshaveni joined ScaleArc when it was a month old. Talking about his time with ScaleArc, he says, “It has been a wonderful journey so far. I believe ScaleArc was the best thing that happened to me. I have three patents under my belt of the four filed, and many more patents are underway. In the last five years I have been part of the evolution of a startup.”
21) Shanmukhraja is working as Technical Director for 99Games. He is responsible for R&D on technologies, technical game design, is a mentor to technical resources and a decision maker on backend and server technologies for the games. He started his professional carrier at Robosoft Technologies in 2003 where he worked with various great teams and evolved as a core programmer/technical resource at Robosoft. Working on device drivers, image processing and customised UI development for a couple of years, he later moved to 3D gaming platform.
22) Prateek Goel is a core developer at ScaleArc and was one of the earliest employees at the company. The best part about working for ScaleArc, according to him, is, “Its culture of working with a team of highly motivated and technically strong individuals. This is a culture where learning becomes an integral part of everything you do.”
23) Shresht Poddar, 25-year-old wesome tartup Employee from Zozolo, lives by the mantra, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Zozolo is a social ROI solution platform for brands that work on an incentive-based model. His journey with Gozoop started in November 2013. When Zozolo happened, there was a perfect opening for him befitting his skill set, and he was transferred to this division.
24) “Starving for perfection is what keeps me inspired.” Awesome Startup Employee Vineet Sharma from ixigo is enthusiastic, committed, and keen to succeed. ixigo is an online and mobile travel search and planning website. Vineet was nominated by Aloke Bajpai, Co-founder of ixigo, for several reasons. Be it his ability to learn quickly or master expertise in new areas or the speed and efficiency he displays in executing things.
25) “Ajay Prasad has been in the system with us from the very beginning. His faith in the system is one thing that sets him apart. He has always demonstrated ‘above and beyond call of duty’ with honesty, integrity and strong commitment,” says Aniketh Jain, CEO, Solutions Infini, a company that provides bulk messaging solutions.
26) Kuttimani Tamilmani of Flinto manages procurement, supply management and is responsible for unit level economics of products at Flinto. His role starts right from selecting materials for prototypes, managing vendors globally from RFQ stage to purchase, taking boxes into production and assembling them to finished products with strict adherence to safety norms. He is also responsible for quality control, orders fulfilment and post purchase customer experience.
27) “The most defining moment of my life has to be the day when I decided to quit my job in finance and give fashion a shot. It changed my life forever,” says Samarpita Dasgupta, Head, fashion team at Roposo, a fashion focused social-network that allows women to discover and shop for new fashion products. Samarpita gets her kick from watching dynamic market changes as well as the stability of classic trends in the fashion industry.