Friday, 23 September 2016

Entrepreneur Speak: Sachin Garg, Co-founder, MintM

                                                     
About MintM:

MintM is world's fastest growing In-store customer engagement company. It was recognized by TIE50 and NASSCOM among "50 Most Promising Global Start-ups of 2015". With presence in US, India, Brazil, Ireland and Dubai, MintM helps global brands and stores reach customers at the last mile of truth.
Sachin Garg, CEO, MintM
Sachin Garg is the Co-Founder of MintM Loyalty Services Private Limited. He heads the overall direction of it, including the product vision and strategy. He built and sold a Mobility startup to a US based company. He has worked in India and the US with companies like Motorola, Intel and Cisco. He also holds a few patents in his name. He has studied Electrical Engineering from IIT-BHU.
Please share how it all started and how the inspiration or the idea to start happen ?
In 2013, I was running another company and we used several marketing channels like Adwords, news paper and magazine ads. I found myself hooked to online advertising due to strict control on budget and ability to analyze but I couldn't have the same kind of control on other non online mediums which made me think on how can we improve traditional marketing by making it more accountable.

Could you please describe the early years and the preparations you undertook before you embarked ?
we were already running a profitable company and were not sure what to do with this idea. It took us few weeks and we decided to sell our existing business and focus full time on this. It was hard decision to move from a profitable services company to a high potential product company but we were excited.

What has changed since you started the business between then and now ?
 We have been evolving. I won't say pivot but evolve. We have been understanding market dynamics and realizing that our product has lot more potential than we thought. We first named it "Shelf" because we thought its only for retail industry but then eventually renamed it to Magnet - The engagement BOT which has wide use cases beyond retail.

What are the most important ingredients that make your business successful ?
We have lot of customer appreciation and great success stories but we don't call our  business successful yet. We want to be nothing less than a $1B business. This require a grand vision which we have. Apart from that it needs a cult team to execute the plan. I think we have it all. Once we time it right and market it correctly there is no stopping.

What are the major success drivers that you believe worked for you ?
I think once you have no plan B, you give your startup everything and this is one single largest reason of our success.

What word of advice would you give to young entrepreneurs embarking on the Startup journey ?
Think big. Have some funds before you jump on to this journey. Don't do it because everyone is doing it, do it only if you are in love with your own idea.

Which are the most common mistakes or pitfalls that budding entrepreneurs need to avoid ?
One of the mistakes I made in my first venture was to focus on survival. Focus on growth and speed. Its easier said than done but it is possible.

How do you keep ahead of the technology and what are the measures you take to make your business future-proof?
Technology in right direction can be single largest differentiation. You need to keep innovating ( we have come a long a way since our start ). Protect it using patents. Also see if you can build an eco system around your product which can help it become future proof.  

How should a new founder start building a team ? Would you like to share your experience?
 I ended up interviewing lot of guys from good colleges and average colleges. To my surprise it didn't matter in the end as i found really good guys regardless of which college they are from. Get people who believe in your idea and not just job seekers. They should be willing to take a cut if needed and also be willing to work alone without external support.

What qualities do you look for in angel investors ?
Angels are angels as the name suggests. They are here to help the business in the limited capacity they can. To me if they can add value outside money is very important. It can be opening of doors, giving right advice and similar industry experience.