Running a business is indeed more than an art. It is a fine blend of ideas, vision and Return On Investment (ROI). Meet three CEOs from God's Own Country and find out what they had to say about running their own companies.
The profound four
As college students, Jofin Joseph and three of his friends always dreamt of doing something different. The friend gang already had a brief entrepreneurial stint, running a small venture at school for two years.
After their B.Tech in College of Engineering, Chengannur, the four-member gang parted ways: two of them joined a reputed IT firm and the other two started working with startups. However, they caught the entrepreneurial bug once again. Eventually, the four of them quit their jobs for their dream venture – Profoundis.
Jofin and his team had contributed a significant portion of their savings towards the company's initial capital requirements. The first product launched by Profoundis was called I-Testified, which did not seem to last in the markets for too long. But that couldn't dampen their spirit. Without pausing to sulk, the group started working towards a new product.
Having worked in the area of data analytics, Jofin and his team decided to create a product that would be instrumental in recording various contact details – a browser plug-in called 'Vibe.' Soon, a technology enthusiast from the Silicon Valley in the USA publicised it via social media and blogs. And now, the product has reached out to over 100,000 users.
Thinking out of the box
Is technology devoid of creativity? Well, Abin Jose, the founder and CEO of Web and Crafts, thinks otherwise. An alumnus of the SA Engineering College, Chennai, Abin now runs a web designing firm in Thrissur. At present, the company consists of over 30 employees.
Computers had always fascinated Abin. “I was 14 years old when my father bought our first computer,” Abin said. The curious teenager would often dismantle and reassemble the gadget. It was not long before he had mastered the hardware aspects of device and had begun servicing computers in and around his neighbourhood. The service charges were lower than those offered by many others. At S.A Engineering College, Abin began exploring the software aspects of a computer. Soon, he decided to venture out into the world of web designing under the tutelage of Joseph Mattappally.
Later, when Abin designed the college website, his efforts were appreciated by many. This was followed by many similar tasks that helped him earn a sufficient sum as pocket money. A few years later, Web and Crafts came to existence. Now, firm has completed three years since its inception.
Safer and happier online experiences
Ever since the internet boom, several questions have been raised over the security of various online tasks. Meet Neeraj from Kozhikode. He is also the COO of Kozhikode-based firm Yarddiant.
After having completed his M.Tech in Information Technology from Calicut University, Neeraj worked as a lecturer for a year. An entrepreneur at heart, Neeraj decided to step away from the world of teaching to pursue his greatest passion. As a student, Neeraj, along with his friend Prasoon, had engaged in activities related to e-commerce. “We would sell t-shirts online. The business did not last long for we were unable to handle the firms's production activities,” said Neeraj. And that experience did trigger their next big idea.
Neeraj and his friend, who is incidentally a certified ethical hacker, decided to work towards providing a secure and better e-commerce environment. “Anybody can 'crack' the information from a computer-based network. There aren't many companies that focus on such services. Thus, we decided to ahead with our product. Soon, Yarddiant came into existence, offering customers a variety of e-commerce solutions.”
Yarddiant not only develops websites based on their clients' requirements, but also looks into the product's cyber security systems. A year on and the firm is steadily growing with over 10 empolyees now.
Hurdles en route the path to success
Like most novice entrepreneurs, Jofin, Abin and Neeraj faced several challenges in the initial stages. Jofin found it rather difficult to find talented human resource, regardless of his firm's close proximity to Kochi's Infopark.
Meanwhile, Abin's problem was mainly money-related. Neeraj and his friend were part of a failed initiative before conceptualising Yarddiant.
What did their families have to say?
None of the three entrepreneurs hail from any business backgrounds. Jofin said that neither his parents nor did his friends' parents had issues with them running a startup. “It could be due to the fact that they have seen us do similar things earlier,” explained Jofin. What is common is all three had supportive parents who encouraged them to do whatever it takes to keep themselves happy.
The wisemen's words
Jofin, Neeraj and Abin are passion personified. The three of them believe that as long as one is passionate and enjoys what he does, sky is the limit. “You need to be sure of what you would like to do and keep working towards it. But most of all, you must love what you do,” said Neeraj.
“Be prepared to take risks. Running a startup is a different game. You might not be drawing a fixed salary regularly. But if you are focussed and patient, you will be able to pull through,” said Jofin.