In a planned series of interviews with Indian entrepreneurs, here is the first one. I got in touch with Kishore, an old friend and associate, and talked to him about his venture fullhyd.com.
In your own words, who are you and what is your business?
fullhyd.com is a local content and local search company, currently focusing on Hyderabad, India, and planning to scale to all Indian cities soon. We help people find comprehensive details about various businesses and services in their neighbourhood, and help them interact with the businesses, and with each other about the businesses. We also cover life in the city - events, movies, shopping & sales - and serve as a local community organizer, apart from being a guide for tourists. Our revenue/business is focused on providing unprecedentedly low-cost advertising solutions to small and medium business enterprises, by helping them reach customers in their neighbourhood, and pay for just that.
How did you come up with the idea for your business?
Through reading about the Internet and the way it is likely to evolve. I felt geographic communities are quite likely to be big.
Is this your first business?
Who are your customers?
(1) All people interested in any information about a city, and (2) all businesses seeking to reach any subset of people in the city. The former give us our product (our traffic), and the latter, our revenues.
What are your most significant products or services?
Content about businesses/services/organizations/groups in a city, and the technology to deliver it and to help users interact with it and with each other, is our product to our audiences, and our traffic is our most significant product to our advertisers.
How has your market changed in the past few years?
The emergence of telephones as a key delivery mechanism, and more - and more professional - competitors, have been important changes.
How has your business changed to keep pace?
We overhauled our entire site in a 4-year exercise to get more comprehensive in our content and to provide more features to our users. We continue to evolve every day.
Growth and Revenues
How many employees do you have? Full- or part-time?
About 10, mostly full-time.
How did you finance your business? What have been your most effective sources of financing over the years?
Seed-funding from friends and family in the initial years, revenues thereafter. We seek funding to grow.
Is the business profitable? Still investing, cash flow positive, profitable?
Profitable at the current scale.
What are the most crucial things you have done to grow your business?
Use innovative approaches - good search-engine-optimization is one example, $2 ads is another - to generate traffic and revenues in the absence of an advertising budget.
What plans do you have now to expand your business further?
We seek to raise funding. Can’t say much more here, of course.
Your management style
What is an average workday like for you? What systems have you used to automate your business to give you more time for business planning and development?
The average workday is mostly consumed by operational work. We are increasingly bringing in good people to manage operations so that I get free to work to raise investment.
What has been your biggest challenge to date?
We are India’s no. 1 local guide for traffic in a city. Achieving that with no funding support, when all competitors have been funded millions of dollars, has been a significant achievement. Bringing into existence the second version of fullhyd.com, which involved surveying work in the city on a scale never attempted before by anyone, has been a big challenge.
Have you ever felt like giving up?
What has been your biggest mistake in business?
There’ve been plenty. Trying to unveil a magnificent product at once instead of putting up small features one after the other has been a mistake.
If you were starting again, what would you do differently?
Many things - we all evolve over time, and there’s been plenty of learning. Prioritization and compromising are 2 things I’d give a lot of importance to.
Words of advice to fellow entrepreneurs.
Be organized, and prioritize. And get yourself a good team. And be ethical.
For our readers
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