An Interview with Mr. Ashish Gupta, Founder, TheShoppingPro
- Tell us something about yourself?
I am a 2001, IIT (Delhi) grad and started my career as a new products manager @ ICI India Limited. ICI opened my eyes to the fabulous world on new products & innovation and in many ways shaped my professional thought processes. I left ICI in 2006 and have been involved in startups ever since. I was a co-founder at Studyplaces.com that was acquired by Educomp and a partner at Tekriti Software, which is now a public company by the name Kellton Tech.
So TheShoppingPro is my third startup, albeit my first as a founder.
- Tell us something about your business.
TheShoppingPro was born out of the vision of making the complex world of ecommerce simple and rewarding for the consumers. While a lot of companies were asking what they could get the consumer who came to their site, we started asking the reverse question i.e. what we could do for the consumer by going to the consumers wherever they were.
Which this we came up with the concept of tools and platforms that would make the shopping process personalized, localized and automated. Our first tool is a browser plugin that works on all popular browsers (Chrome, Firefox, IE & Safari) to bring a variety of shopping information right to you as you browse your favorite sites. Try it out @ www.thehoppingpro.com. We are now building as sophisticated engine that would add intelligence to this data that matches with a consumers shopping preferences. The next product will be a specialized shopping browser (especially for the mobile).
Facebook/Twitter Id: https://www.facebook.com/TheShoppingPro
- What is your philosophy towards work?
I’ve preferred high impact over high quantum of work. I’ve always encouraged employees to review their performance aggressively with only one parameter in mind; The Difference They Made. Very often we cloud our minds with factors like the number of hours we put in. These are all irrelevant if those hours do not translate into tangible benefits.
- Whom do you admire as your role model? And why?
Hmmm … I am a bit of cynic and don’t really have role models or people I measure myself against. Having said that my recent meeting with Sanjeev Bikhchandani did leave me a bit spell bound. For a person who has changed the shape on internet businesses in India, he is so firmly rooted and is able to cut through the clutter with remarkable precision to identify the values and potential pitfalls of a business model.
- “Management is core to every individual, organization & society.” Give your views on it.
Wow, this is a bit too philosophical for me. I myself am a bit of a maverick that does lot of stuff instinctively, rather than based on management philosophies. So I don’t really believe in this for the individual (for organizations & society perhaps). Manage has always been a bit of a negative word for me, it always tends to have a tenor of playing safe and getting something out of a situation. I am a much bigger fan of having moments of ecstasy associated with a huge success, even if it means you fail gloriously at other times.
- Name 3 qualities of prime importance that a businessman should possess.
Confidence, honest self-evaluation, tenacity
- According to you, what are the challenges for Entrepreneurship today?
While changes are happening, I do feel that the tendency to take the easier path is what’s holding back a lot of potential. So you have entrepreneurs who focus on building before having any sort of marketing strategies in place as building products is in their control while customer acquisition is not. You will find many more startups in B2C and very few in B2B, while it is well knows that the chances of success in B2B are much higher. Similarly you will find a lot of seed funds asking about traction and consumer response at an early stage, instead of betting on the concept.
- Can Entrepreneurship be taught in B-Schools/Management Institutes/Colleges?
I think entrepreneurship needs to come from the heart, it’s a trait like valor that comes from within. You can’t really teach a soldier valor. But you can give the soldier weapons and shield so that a valiant soldier succeeds. I think this is the role formal education can play. These institutes can equip those who have the entrepreneurial spirit, with the right tools and access to mentors / investors / service providers / partners to rapidly increase their chances of success.
- Is the Name of the Institute from where a student pursues his/her Graduation/Post Graduation or other courses important while setting up your business?
Well eventually people need to trust your product, so all this doesn’t matter. But till the product isn’t established you need your stake holders to trust you as an individual. It is only logical that pedigree does make a difference when you start but becomes more and more irrelevant as you move forwards.
- Do you think today’s economy is conducive for a new venture to start upon?
No matter what the situation, the answer will always be YES!
- “Earning more & more is the motive behind any business.” Is it justifiable?
Depends on what you consider earning. If you add earning respect, accomplishment, sense of achievement, goodwill, thrill to the “monetary” earning then it would definitely be justifiable. Of course the monetary earning by itself isn’t too bad now is it!
- Share with us the most enjoyable moment you had experienced on work.
Hard to pick one. I find the initial phase of every startup, where there are very few resource but a lot of tasks at hand the most enjoyable.
- Your feedback for BMS.co.in?
Keep up the good work.
History- Started in 2013
Vision/Mission- Analyze USER BEHAVIOR for delivering PERSONALIZED & LOCALIZED tools in an AUTOMATED MANNER to make the shopping process EASY & REWARDING
Products & Service- Recommendation engine, price comparison, cashback, coupons.
Marketing Strategy- Viral and partnerships
Existing Market Presence- Just started
Future Plans- Go cross platform and global