Serial entrepreneur Vivek Bhargava on his exit from Dentsu and building SaaS startup ProfitWheel

Vivek Bhargava had launched Mumbai-based SaaS startup ProfitWheel in 2020. The startup has been active in stealth mode for the last one year.
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Serial entrepreneur Vivek Bhargava on Wednesday announced his exit as Head of Dentsu Performance Group to work on his Mumbai-based SaaS startup ProfitWheel.

Founded in 2020, ProfitWheel has been active in stealth mode for the last one year.

“With ProfitWheel, we are attempting to connect adtech with martech to make both efficient. Our eventual goal is to make the advertising and marketing expenses a part of the balance sheet where it becomes the cost of sales rather than an expense. It’s a game-changing model for the startup ecosystem,” said Vivek Bhargava, Co-founder of ProfitWheel.

Vivek Bhargava, Co-founder of ProfitWheel [Image Credit: ProfitWheel]

Vivek’s entrepreneurial journey began in 1997 when he founded Communicate 2, which later got acquired by iProspect India, a digital marketing agency, from Dentsu International in 2012. Post-acquisition, he went to hold the position of Founder and Managing Director at iProspect Communicate 2.

Later in 2016, he was named the CEO of DAN Performance Group, where he was responsible for looking after all of Dentsu’s digital performance agencies.

Last year he launched ProfitWheel, an advertising company, and was working on building its business and product while wrapping up his existing engagements at Dentsu.

“ProfitWheel is an adtech SaaS startup. We are clearly not an agency; we want to focus on technology. We don't want to be in the agency world; we want to be in the tech world,” Vivek tells YourStory.

Entrepreneurial journey

In a conversation with YourStory, Vivek reveals that the entrepreneurial seed was planted in him when he was just 10-year-old.

“When I was 10-year-old, my father asked me the difference between a job and business. I obviously didn’t know what the answer was. He said when you do a job, you have to spend less than what you earn. This was the seed sown in my mind — I was going to be an entrepreneur. That manifested into a company 15 years later.”

Coming from a business family, Vivek went on several trips abroad, especially to the US.

“During those trips, I was really impressed by the way America was using technology for marketing communication. I thought to myself, Indian companies were not good at marketing, and using technology for marketing was an even bigger grey area. So, at the age of 24, I decided to quit the family business to help Indian companies use technology to make marketing communications more effective. That was the beginning of Communicate 2 in 1997,” he says.

Soon, it scaled and became one of the largest performance agencies in the country, and joined hands with Dentsu.

Vivek is also an angel investor and has backed about 22 companies. His book, ‘Happiness is a Muscle’, where he writes about his belief and interpretation about the concept of ‘happiness’ is also set to launch soon.

Building Profit Wheel

ProfitWheel is aimed at connecting adtech and martech to deliver improved Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC), Average cost per action (CPA), Return on ad spend (ROAS), thereby driving profit for clients. It claims to provide ‘profit-as-a-service’.

“When advertising firms, including publishers, work with a client, they focus on how much spending power the client has. So, a lot of agencies make money on a percent of what the client spends and even the publishers make money by how much the client is spending on advertisement. I think that this model is broken; it should be about how we can increase the client’s profit. So, my goal is that I want to ship the advertising expense from the profit and loss account to the balance sheet,” explains Vivek.

He adds that the startup’s aim is to help the client earn more, and then share its profits.

“With that vision, we established ProfitWheel. We want to be a true partner for our clients and share their profits. Then, there will be no cap on our earnings, as long as we make more money for the client,” he explains.

Image Credit: ProfitWheel Website

Vision for the new venture

Vivek says ProfitWheel is not only focusing on the Indian market but also on the global market.

One of the areas the startup wants to focus on is the direct-to-consumer space because it is a big opportunity in India, as well as across the world. In the long run, D2C brands are expected to spend more money on customer acquisition, he adds.

“I have the philosophy that 20 percent of one’s customers give 200 percent of the profits. If you have really good customers who are very niche for you, acquire more such customers and quadruple your profits. We have incorporated this philosophy into an algorithm that works in advertising. So, we are a customer data-led company. We analyse our client’s own customers, find out the best customers, and then help them acquire similar best customers, thereby increasing profitability substantially. The more and more profit we make for you, the more and more money we make as a company,” says the entrepreneur.

To aspiring entrepreneurs, Vivek recommends building large-scale product companies rather than service companies as building global companies has now become a little easier in the digital age.

“We are in the golden age of digital in India and I would recommend entrepreneurs build product companies. Also, don't build for India but build for the world,” he signs off.

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Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta