Ankur has had an exciting career path covering the management consulting and internet space. Post ISB, Ankur joined A.T. Kearney Consulting as an associate, overseeing projects across multiple industries including Media & Entertainment, Retail, Real Estate, Private Equity and Oil & Gas. He worked in Dubai and New York during this time. He joined Accentium Web in early 2007 as a co-founder which runs websites such as Secondshaadi.com, Gaadi.com, Taaza.com amongst others. After Accentium, Ankur joined Rocket Internet in 2010. As a Venture Partner, he supported internet startups across the world including Groupon, Zalando, Jabong, Windu before he joined Groupon India’s Crazeal. Part of ISB’s Class of 2006, he was awarded the ISB ‘Young Leader’ award. He also holds a Masters degree in Physics and Statistics from Michigan State University.
1. What made you quit your job and start Accentium? What was the motivation?
Large part of the credit goes to fellow ISBian – Vivek Pahwa. Vivek started Accentium and asked if I was interested to join. So we started SecondShaadi.com in 2007 while I was still at A.T. Kearney before jumping full-time into it after 1.5 years in 2009. The motivation was always to become an entrepreneur and when it is the first time, it is as much of an emotionally charged decision as it is a wise-thought-through one.
It was not an easy decision though. Just married, I took a huge paycut to join something that we had built together – because we believed in it.
2. After Accentium you joined Rocket Internet, How was your journey as a venture partner in Rocket Internet?
After Accentium stint it was time to move to the next scale. Rocket Internet came across as a large global player, looking for opportunities to start in India. They asked to me drive the search in India. Groupon was one of Rocket’s investments and I was asked to help on the same.
3. Currently you are heading Groupon India’s Crazeal. How is it different from other daily deals websites?
The biggest difference is how we look at business. Deals business is all about merchants, while the other websites think it is about customers. So they went crazy acquiring customers through TV, Radio, Online and giving them multiple merchants to choose from everyday.
We instead, focused on getting the right merchants – the best in the city, and that brought in the customers by itself. In the end, if the merchants are happy they will give you what you want, to bring the customers in. But if you have unhappy merchants, that’s your end!
4. What does it take to become a serial Entrepreneur? Any hardships you had to face?
Entrepreneurship is about 3 things – Passion, Growth and People. You need to be passionate about what you do, because nothing else can explain the fact that you are entering a risky territory with nothing to back you up.
Growth should always be the basis for you doing it. You need to be obsessed with growth.
And it’s about people – nothing else makes you more successful as an entrepreneur than getting the right set of people together.
5. Any message to the budding Entrepreneurs?
· Think of what you want to do and shower-test the model. Shower testing is – while under the shower, question the business model to no end. You will realize that most ideas are thrashed at this stage itself.
· Find a mentor – it helps tremendously. You need someone who has gone through the experience you are about to go on.
· Know when to stop – the biggest mistake entrepreneurs make is to get married to their idea or venture. If it is not working, question why, change track if needed or shut down if needed. Always be true to yourself.
6. One Key learning from ISB
ISB is perhaps the biggest reason why I am an entrepreneur today. It gave me the confidence to take the plunge, knowing that I have the school to back me up. It opened my horizon to a lot more than I was used to in my pre-ISB days.