An Interview with Mr. Prayaag Kasundra, Founder & CEO, BookAdSpace.com
By Karan Mange, Correspondent, BMS.co.in
- Tell us something about yourself?
I did my Engineering in IT. Among many other interests, computing technology also what I really liked. By the time I graduated, I had acquired wider knowledge on many sub-domain of computing & information technologies. And right before beginning of last year, I was craving to earn some money anyhow. I started doing freelancing and worked for foreign clients. I possessed knowledge in many topics and domain of computing technologies so I didn’t want to keep myself limited to fixed role of coding or anything, which I thought, would have happened if I’d have done any job. So I didn’t want to do job and decided to start my own business.
Frankly speaking I had no idea about innovative tech startup world. All what I knew at that time was about IT and software service business (outsourcing related). Because, during college time, doing software business meant to be doing software services business (outsourcing type you know). My research and knowledge about tech startups wasn’t that extraordinary. So I started with small service business. As I was running it, many creative product ideas kept going through my mind and I also started researching about innovative tech startups, particularly, consumer web related startup coming out of silicon valley. In 2011, I got Idea about BookAdSpace.com. Meantime I learned lot about innovative tech startup ecosystem in Silicon Valley and I knew I need to be at good Incubator to make the idea shape up into real growing startup. I applied at The Morpheus. I went through many rounds of interviews by Sameer (Co-Founder and Partner, The Morpheus) and was talking to a friend that it would be so big if I get selected at The Morpheus.
- Tell us something about your business.
BookAdSpace.com is platform for physical advertisement media owners and buyers. It helps media owner manage their business while reaching to bigger buyer base. It equips buyers with better buying tool and helps them discovers available media easier and quicker. Physical media includes adspaces like hoardings and ads on buses etc.
Idea behind BookAdSpace was conceived in 2011 and business was incorporated in early 2012. The idea behind BookAdSpace is to organize vastly unorganized physical ad-media industry by making buying and selling media lot easier and become one and only destination for anything related to physical adspace market.
We have solution for media owners and buyers. We have just started our operation in Mumbai and going to launch new front end website tools for both media owners and buyers.
- What is your philosophy towards work?
I believe aspiring entrepreneurs should learn to be realistic and not delusional. It’s not about money, it’s about doing something unique and big. There’s always hard work behind building something unique and big. Working “smart” but not “hard” is not easy as said. Working smart itself takes lots of acumen and effort. And startup entrepreneurs have to prepare themselves for hardwork with struggle and lots of risks. Set goal for your short term and long term future. Every night you go to sleep, ask yourself a question did you worked enough today such that you can reach your goal? May be you worked ten or fifteen hours a day but that might not take you to where you want to be. So make that assessment part of daily routine and make it habit to the point it happen unconsciously. Continuously assessing yourself unconsciously forces your mind to work towards your goal and keeps yourself away from distractions.
- Whom do you admire as your role model? And why?
I do admire lot of great people but I am not hardcore fanatic of any single person. From entrepreneur point of view I admire likes of Bill Gates, Howard Huges, Eon Musk. While Bill Gates had been richest person for more than decade, distinctive thing about him is his philanthropic inclination not just by donating billions of dollar but really putting dedicated time to do research and work for philanthropic activities and creating impact on the world.
I liked the way ambitions were rooted in Howard Huges and the way he was compulsive and aggressive about making something big and perfect.
Eon Musk, I am sure most reader doesn’t know about. He was genius and so sure about his life. He is finest example how one can realize dreams and fantasies. He had interests in computing technology, clean energy and space. Before turning 42 he has achieved milestones in all domains. He started couple of venture in computing and IT domain, including the famous Paypal. He started Tesla Motors which achieved breakthrough in building 100% practical electrical car, which no other world leading car manufacturer has been able to do. His biggest venture has been SpaceX where he created most efficient space vehicles and was first to launch private launch vehicle to space and had contract from NASA. He also is chairman of SolarCity, provider of solar systems. He is just wonderful.
- “Management is core to every individual, organization & society.” Give your views on it.
I completely agree with this. Management is directly or in-directly associated with everything we see. There’s also personal management. For society we call it governance. To make yourself more productive, you need to manage your personal chores and schedule very well. Management is all about some standard processes and rules that make person or organization more organized and productive.
- Name 3 qualities of prime importance that an entrepreneur should possess.
Willingness to hardwork: This is must have quality because as I said earlier there’s no shortcut to success. May be you can earn money with shortcuts but not the long-living reputation for doing something unique and big.
Willingness to risk: Path of entrepreneurship is full of risks. You can’t expect safe and stable career and entrepreneurship at the same time. This doesn’t mean every entrepreneur goes through tough time financially. But if you keep worrying about your financial safety, you will never be able to venture.
Persistence: Not all things get done as quickly as you might have expected. Many things might go wrong. You have to remain persistent in doing what you want to prove.
- According to you, what are the challenges for Entrepreneurship today?
In India, Entrepreneurial ecosystem is still at nascent stage, particularly technology related startup. It’s difficult to get proper incubation and funding. Also doing your startup in India, you also have to face bureaucracy issues, governmental and non-governmental.
- Can Entrepreneurship be taught in B-Schools/Management Institutes/Colleges?
Yes and No. There are some common mistakes and common methods related to starting your own startup. There are some standard processes that can be followed. May be institutes can teach all these things as a subject. But it cannot teach how to innovate in case of building technical enterprise. If you look at technical startup, most startup is result of innovative tech idea and mostly started by technical co-founder. Even for not-so-technical-startup, there’s lot to entrepreneurship that is not theoretical. E.g. Institutions can’t teach how to “risk” or how to have “vision”. Most entrepreneurs are powered by these things only. They are intuitively fixers. They just somehow fix every problem they face while building a company. Management studies help managing business. But bootstrapping is more dependent on other qualities like intuition, vision, willingness to risk and hardwork etc. and not theoretical knowledge of managing as in big corporation.
- Do you think today’s economy is conducive for a new venture to start upon?
Yes. I do not see state of today’s economy being barrier to do new venture. May be for some sector it might affect. But overall I think it doesn’t matter much.
- 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?
If you are graduating from prestigious institute, you could have good network and connections. You could have attended events and met people etc. But from knowledge and skill perspective it doesn’t make big difference I guess. It really matters and it (graduating from specific institution) matters most for being on position to lead multi-million dollar corporation employing thousands of people. But as I said, starting your own venture takes lot more than management knowledge and domain expertise etc.
- What qualities you see for apart from the required academic qualification while recruiting a person?
While recruiting a person for early age startup, you need to make sure he feel special in working for your startup and willing to go extra mile to get things done. He/She should be comfortable with uneven working condition etc. Passion for what they are doing is most important thing you need to look for in potential hire.
- “Earning more & more is the motive behind any business.” Is it justifiable?
I don’t think so. One cannot go much longer just by looking at money. Of course business means money, but richest businessmen are driven by will to achieve greater height of success. For them greater height of success is increased figures on balance sheet, so we mistake that as their greed for money. But it isn’t the case.
- Share with us the most enjoyable & most embarrassing moment you had experienced on work.
Every time we aren’t able to keep promises and time to client, are embarrassing moment. Kind of person I am, I enjoy the moment when I fix a problem by working for long hours on it.
- Your feedback for BMS.co.in?
BMS.co.in is good initiative for business management students. Providing relevant news and particularly entrepreneurial resources can be very helpful. Also with this series of interviews with small entrepreneurs, students will have lot to learn from practical advice and real accounts of entrepreneurs who are just like them and not big and famous persona. BMS.co.in can also start guest column where entrepreneurs or even student can submit guest posts related to business management and entrepreneurship.
We have just started operation recently. We built product, realigned it to industry needs and right now we are in process to roll out solution to media owners.
To become de facto standard for physical advertisement media industry’s technology needs.
Products & Service-
The only product or service we have is BookAdSpace.com itself. In its new version, it will have plug and play modules to manage business for both media owners and media buyers and paralleling making media buying and selling lot easier.
Our business is B2B and it is offline sales. We are focusing on Mumbai region right now and try to add median owners on our platform.
Nothing complex here. BookAdSpace want to be best technology platform for physical advertisement media industry in India. If successful, we would expand geographically and also roll out tools that help media industry.
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