How Two MBA Graduates Started Up With Rs 50,000 Each and Built A Successful Company
Rohit Prasad and Vikram Kumar, both aged 34, are not just best buddies and business partners but they have so much in common that makes their bond inextricable.
Both come from a middle-class background, were ambitious from their academic days, and wanted to start something of their own. They met at Symbiosis Centre for Information Technology (SCIT) in Pune, where both did their MBA.
"We struck an immediate rapport as we had such common goals,” shares Rohit. The duo joined hands in 2011 and launched SRV Media Private Limited, a digital marketing company in Pune, with an investment of Rs 1 lakh, each contributing Rs 50,000.
SRV offered the entire bouquet of digital services starting from Search Engine Optimisation, Social Media Marketing, Design & Branding, Mobile Applications, Website Development and more.
“We operated from a small rented room in the city that served as our headquarters,” chuckles Vikram. The company made rapid progress and today its annual turnover is Rs 12 crore.
But it was hard for them in the beginning. “It was difficult for us to get employees because ours was a small company and suffered from cash crunch. People found it difficult to repose trust in us,” says Rohit.
Vikram reveals that their first client was in fact Symbiosis, their alma mater, for whom they did digital marketing.
“It was obviously difficult for a new company but we always worked with honesty and integrity and delivered on our promises. We slowly built a good reputation, which helped us in getting more clients,” says Vikram.
Hailing from Patna in Bihar, Rohit’s father was an employee with Rural Electrification Company (REC) under the central government, while his mother was a housewife.
“The economic condition of our family was not good because my dad’s income was not enough to run the entire family. My grandfather passed away early, so my father had the responsibility of looking after the education of his younger brother as well,” says Rohit.
Rohit had lived in several cities across the country as his father had a transferable job. He started his education at GSS School in Kolkata but completed it from Delhi Public School in 2004.
“I then went to ITM University in Gurgaon and completed my Engineering in Electronics and Instrumentation. I got a placement in TCS and worked there from 2005 to 2009,” says Rohit, who joined SCIT for an MBA in 2009.
Vikram was born at Bokaro in Bihar (now in Jharkhand). Like Rohit he too had an elder sister. “My father was employed with Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) and my mother was a housewife,” he shares.
Vikram completed his schooling from Bokaro Ispat Secondary School in 2001 and then went to Birla Institute of Technology (BIT), in Mesra (Ranchi), where he studied from 2004 to 2008. “I then took admission at SCIT, Pune, in 2009,” he shares.
At SCIT, Vikram and Rohit came to know each other. They completed their MBA in 2011. Rohit got placed at Accenture Technologies in Mumbai at an annual package of Rs 11 lakh, while Vikram was hired by HDFC bank on an annual package of Rs 5.5 lakh.
Despite getting jobs, they started SRV Media in April 2011 and operated the company with the help of two employees initially. SRV’s first year turnover was a meagre Rs 1 lakh. But Vikram’s decision to quit his job in 2013 and focus on SRV turned the tide.
In 2014, they launched Easebuzz, a payment gateway, with an investment of around Rs 15 lakh from their savings. “We wanted to create value added services along with the payment gateway, and help small and medium businesses scale up,” explains Rohit, who too quit his job and joined the business full-time in 2015.
EaseBuzz charges a commission ranging between 1.1 and 2.5 per cent on the transactions made through the payment gateway via credit and debit cards, and netbanking. Operating as a separate company, it earned Rs 2 crore in 2017-18.
With over 55 clients for SRV and over 5,000 merchants registered with EaseBuzz, the collective staff strength of the two companies is 120.
They now have their offices in Surat and Gurgaon besides Pune. In the near future, they want to become a global company with more focus on technology and solutions to help businesses scale up.
Rohit got married to Swarnima Mathur in 2012 and has a daughter, Anvi, while Vikram married Priyanka in 2015 and has a son, Aditya.
Is it not surprising that they have the same mantra for success: Patience and perseverance.
That surely paid off for them!