This article is contributed by the multiple entrepreneurs from different fields.
The year 2021 has been one of the most memorable as well as the toughest year for the business industry. No matter which sector, every one of them faced some challenges and somehow they are also able to overcome them. With the pandemic creating havoc with the third wave once again. this year also seems like going to be a challenging one. Then again, when there is a will, there is always a way. Entrepreneurs, with their patience and perseverance, are able to achieve, what they thought was impossible.
StartupTalky took the initiative and asks some of the entrepreneurs, how they fulfilled their goals that seemed impossible to achieve in the year 2021. Let's take a look.
Rohit Sahni | CEO & Founder, WK Life
Recovering and surviving the slowdown of the market during the second wave of Covid as it affected the market and sales hugely, was the toughest thing in the year 2021. Still, we managed to recover our sales pretty well, we even witnessed an increase in 25% festive sales as compared to the pre-covid era. We achieved it by our strategic planning and expanding our product line. We added a lot of new categories this year such as personal care products, handbags for women, homecare, and other things. We also went digital for the online sales this year that added to our revenue and helped us reach new regions and customers.
Shyatto Raha | CEO & Founder, MyHealthcare
The first wave of Covid-19 in early 2020 had challenged our existing healthcare delivery channels in more ways than one and forced us to evolve and acknowledge the gaps that exist. The second wave only worsened it further. The integrated MyHealthcare Ecosystem was able to manage the complete patient care needs from diagnosis to delivery. The MyHealthcare platform is integrated across 80 leading hospitals, 65 specialty clinics, leading diagnostics providers such as Healthians, Lal Path Labs, Metropolis; leading home care providers HCAH and Antara; pharmacy providers Tata 1MG & PharmEasy; clinical devices from Omron, Roche Diabetes, AliveCor, and Abbott. With MyHealthcare’s EMR integrated across the care ecosystem, doctors were able to view a complete patient longitudinal history and deliver effective care to their patients.
Abhinav Mittal | Founder, The WorldGrad
I (Abhinav Mital) and my team at The WorldGrad were aspiring to create a new breed of programs that allow students to complete a part of their overseas degree online and then progress on-campus for the rest. This was supposed to become the ultimate platform in hybrid learning where students get an equivalent experience while learning online, similar to real-time classes. The advantage for students is that it helps them save up to INR 30-40Lakh in their total overseas education costs. And pick up valuable academic skills while still in-country.
Through these programs, students also demonstrate the authenticity of their intent from a visa/immigration standpoint. Which is often a high barrier to cross for any prospective student. Needless to say, it requires the buy-in and recognition from overseas universities, especially those in the top 2% in the world. Developing an online program and being able to deliver it as per equivalent standards that can be accepted across multiple countries and institutions was a daunting task that many thought would be impossible.
Today 20 universities and colleges (500+ qualifications) across Australia, the UK, UAE, and the USA are partnered with The WorldGrad. This makes us the largest provider of hybrid programs in the world. More importantly, The WorldGrad has successfully enrolled and graduated several students over the past year. Who are now on their way to their destination of choice in 2022 - which would be a long and successful educational and professional journey!
I would say we achieved this through our dedicated approach towards getting the right leadership team on board. The team stuck with a tangible goal in mind and outcomes were mapped with the right effort.
Ankur Singh | CEO & Founder, Witzeal Technologies Pvt. Ltd
I am happy to see Witzeal today creating milestone innovations in the ever-growing Indian gaming industry. The primary focus of Witzeal is Innovations at our multi-gaming platform for providing a unique gaming experience to our players.
Apu Pavithran | CEO & Founder, Mitsogo
Mitsogo hosted its annual user conference, HexCon21, from September 21-23rd for its flagship product, Hexnode. The event was a tremendous success - we managed to pull off a 100-speaker event virtually, and we saw a total of around 3000+ attendees over the three days. HexCon being only a year old, this was a massive achievement for us. The event hosted many prestigious speakers from reputed organizations like Microsoft, Kaspersky, AWS, and HP. The speakers covered diverse topics, which were relevant to cybersecurity, UEM, and data security. The event proved to be a great platform to network with some of the most reputed cybersecurity speakers. The most important achievement is that despite being a virtual event, it was a huge success, and that’s an impressive feat for us.
Himanshu Arya | CEO & Founder, Grapes
Though there is nothing that an Entrepreneur thinks is impossible, it is what one can think of and work towards achieving that it can be made possible. Last year, we decided to revamp Grapes Digital to Grapes, which means transforming the company from a digital marketing agency to an integrated one. The decision was taken after analysing the market sentiments, the client’s needs, and the prospect it holds in the future.
Transitioning Grapes from just digital to an integrated agency was a big leap for all of us and it was made possible by taking the right steps at the right moment. Strengthening our vulnerabilities and slowly achieving the path to perfection is what I believe in. Success comes only through continuous effort and struggle. In any business, the impossible thing can be done smoothly if the organization works together in pursuit of a common goal. With the help of dedicated colleagues and team members, we always develop a set of core values strategically as a framework for how we can achieve it.
Nishant Behl | CEO & Founder, Expand My Business
At Expand My Business, we believe that nothing is essentially impossible. Things may be hard to achieve for once but the team’s focus and determination have helped us become the largest marketplace for digital services in record time. Expand My Business very recently reached the milestone of 1000+ successful clients since our foundation in 2018. We have now established our presence across six continents of the world, by providing quality digital services in over 23 countries. While this seemed to be an impossible task to achieve given the severe impact the Covid-19 pandemic had all across the globe, it feels surreal to have achieved it.
Furthermore, our growth from 2020 to 2021 has been notable with our GMV increasing by 3025% and the revenue going up by 4900%. With over 1000 clients, our buyer base has gone up by 1122% along with our team size increasing from just 5 to 70 members! The exponential growth is owing to the consistency and persistent efforts of the team members across all domains and departments of the company. The company has hired some of the best talents with cross-industry experience in all departments which has helped us cater to a larger audience base, both online and offline, and also increase our customers and thus, sales.
Vatsal Agarwal | Founder, The Baklava Box
I (Vatsal) was sure that people who have already tasted Baklavas would shop from us but we realized that we needed a bigger audience. We tried to influence more people to try Baklavas. We never thought that educating customers who didn't know what Baklavas is was going to be difficult. We have been trying to expand our customers' by sampling our products and educational marketing campaigns. Now, a large portion of our customers includes those trying Turkish sweets for the first time. Getting people to look beyond traditional Indian sweets for holidays and getting them to open up to fusion or gourmet desserts has also been a challenge. Right now, we are the biggest sellers of premium baklava in India.
Varun Vashisthaa | Founder, HairVeda
I never thought that HairVeda can go global within a year of its inception in India. With consistent work and company vision our brand got registered at Amazon.com and our products are available in countries such as the US, Canada, Mexico, and many more. The quality of our product is one of the main reasons behind the popularity of our brand.
Shriyans Bhandari | CEO & Co-Founder, Greensole
We thought it would be very difficult to receive foreign funding and donation but ultimately, we were able to get the FCRA certificate after having a team behind it for 2 to 3 years. I think putting in effort and being persistent does pay off and that’s what we have been doing. We received our first donation of payment for our organization for doing good social work.
Kunal Patil | CEO & Co-Founder, WorkIndia
In order to provide employment to the blue-collar workforce and bridge the gap between the employee and the employer, WorkIndia decided to launch the Direct Calling Model. This model is aimed at helping jobseekers in contacting the employer or HR directly. This helps address the urgent need of finding a job by a blue-collar worker and also helps them avoid middlemen.
Initially, we were not sure if the change brought about by the launch of this model would be welcomed by employers and the recruitment industry, since they are accustomed to working in a traditional way. But being a pure tech company, we at WorkIndia were able to use technology and with the right product innovation, we're able to prove the benefits and effectiveness of this model in the industry. Our efforts were rewarded since the Direct Calling Model was subsequently accepted by employers across the board and now this is an industry practice.
Akshay Puljal | CEO, Quikish
Our biggest challenge was standardising Indian recipes and dishes. The goal was to retain big flavoUrs and balance the taste, in a single-serve pouch and a final process that does not overwhelm our consumers. It did take a while but we got there. We really had to delve deep into how every ingredient merges with another to give unique flavours. Soil, climate, water, the mode of harvest, processing, everything plays a role in the characteristics of an ingredient. This is why we are very particular about how and from where we get our ingredients from.
Shilpa Rathi | Founder, I Am Love
We launched in June with products that were completely new for the market. Nutri-cosmetics are drinks that you drink to get rid of skin concerns like acne, pigmentation, and dark spots. It was a tough spot. We had some slow initial months. Even the people who purchased the products assumed that the product was topical. They would get weirded out when they realized that the product was meant to be consumed because they had to consider if it was healthy and natural. We had a rough start but we were consistently giving our products to people who had skin concerns and we kept posting about their progress.
We were posting before and after photographs on our social media. September is when we first boomed and our sales went higher with November being our best month. We sold out our first stock in three months from September. Within another month, we sold out of stock for acne and pigmentation products. That is something I thought was impossible. Our product requires a lot of customer education because customers don't realize how acne is an internal problem. Tropical creams are going to help you fade out the acne that is on top but not going to stop acne from coming. So yes, it was a tough start but now we are going strong.
Farooq Adam | Co-Founder, Fynd
The lockdowns inspired by the pandemic were an obstacle for most companies out there. We were able to successfully help retail brands navigate the uncertainty and helped them grow with an adaptive omnichannel strategy. Technology is capable of solving problems so effectively that obstacles shift and give way to new methods of doing things.
Some of the things that we were able to achieve during the past year:
- Post-pandemic onboarding of brands.
- Scaling up brand sales in 2021, up to 2x for brands like Ruosh, Spykar, and others.
- Doubling the size of our company from 200 people to 400 people.
- Successfully launching our free-to-use AI-powered image editing and background removal tool, erase.bg.
Abhishek Nehru & Santosh Dabke | Co-founders, Ripplr
Changing the mindset of the brands to look at a professional distribution setup was one of the key challenges since most of the brands have been working with traditional distributors for more than 2-3 decades. We achieved it by convincing the brand to start with us in a small micro-market where we outperformed all the others by a big margin. Also, the impact of covid was so lethal that the brands realised our value and started expanding with us in other geographies as well.
Rasesh Seth | Founder, Nextyn
Disrupting the traditional consulting industry is something that I thought would not be impossible but would take years to do. As an entrepreneur, the word impossible doesn’t exist in our dictionary, its more about when can it be done, and how well it can be executed.
At Nextyn, we’ve built technology around providing world class expertise to clients across the world. Our platform “Expert Cloud” lets companies from across the globe get access to some of the leading global thinkers, that are shaping today’s world. Our proprietary Machine Learning algorithm matches client projects to relevant experts from over 70 geographies and 30 different industries. The platform has assisted over 100 clients from 20 geographies get access to knowledge on demand.
The year 2021 was definitely a memorable year for all the above entrepreneurs as they were able to achieve some of the goals for their company. The Pandemic is looming over our head and has bought a lot of uncertainty but with their hard work, the entrepreneurs were able to turn the year fruitful.