Sanjeev Bikhchandani Spill The Beans On Entrepreneurship

He started Naukri.com in 1997 when there were only 14,000 Internet accounts in India

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Today, India is on the cusp of digitization and the startup ecosystem is booming. To boost this system there are angel networks, Venture Capitalists (VC), government initiatives. However, three decades ago the scenario was different. During the 90s, quitting a well paid job to become an entrepreneur invited a lot of flak.

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Sanjeev Bikhchandani, founder of Info Edge, had quit his job in 1990 to take the entrepreneurial plunge. He started Naukri.com in 1997 when there were only 14,000 Internet accounts in the country. "During the 90s, quitting a well paid job to become an entrepreneur was not encouraged. If a person started a venture and failed, the experience was not even valued while seeking a job.Today, things have changed. Entrepreneurial experience is valued in job interviews," said Bikhchandani. He was speaking on the sidelines of the i3 Summit by Times Bridge.

Read more: Sanjeev Bikhchandani: The Man with a Midas Touch read more

Scaling Business

In order to scale profitabily, a company needs to find its repeatable profitable unit. When Naukri.com was launched there were four people on board. The team would take all job advertisements from newspapers and put them up on the site. "There was a lot of traffic because people wanted to see jobs. This was a one-stop spot for job searchers across India. Soon, we were approached by HR managers for job posts that were not in newspapers."

"We hired a few salespersons and through them we could gauge the profitability in our business. The repeatable profitable unit in our venture was our sales team. So, an entrepreneur needs to find the profitable factor and keep on repeating it."

Spotting Talents

He spotted PolicyBazaar, Zomato in its early stages and invested in them. "Quality of a business and quality of the team are two very important factors. Evidence of natural traction is what I look for in a venture. If the startup is solving an unsolved problem it is bound to get traction."

"In the case of Zomato, the idea was phenomenal. The site had all the menu cards and personally I found it very useful."

On Digitization

When the pandemic rocked the world and social distancing was the ultimate savior, Unified Payments Interface (UPI) came as a boon. The contactless concept was widely used.

According to the latest data compiled by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), which manages UPI, it has reported a threefold increase during the last fiscal (2020-21) in both the number of transactions and the value. As of March 2021, the total volume has jumped to 2,732 million transactions, worth INR 5,04,886 crore. At the beginning of the fiscal, in April 2020, the total volume stood at 999.6 million with the total value of transactions at INR 1,51,141 crore.

"What the government did with UPI is truly remarkable. The ease of making and receiving payments has gone manifold with UPIs. There is a whole new sector, industry doing business based on these developments."

The business veteran is bullish about the growth of the Indian market, he said, "The Indian economy is growing. India may exceed the market potential in the long run but may not meet your expectations in the short run. The population of 1.3 billion looks attractive but to understand the consumer and provide the right solution takes time. Large population, economic growth, democracy, Rule of Law will be fundamental in driving India's growth."