Vineet Bajpai, Founder and CEO of Magnon Solutions Pvt Ltd & Magnon International Pvt Ltd dreams to be a definitive market leader of the Indian Digital Media Space and to be among the top 5 web solutions outsourcing providers from the country by 2015. Her
Vineet Bajpai, Founder and CEO of Magnon Solutions Pvt Ltd & Magnon International Pvt Ltd dreams to be a definitive market leader of the Indian Digital Media Space and to be among the top 5 web solutions outsourcing providers from the country by 2015. Here, he gives a lowdown on his journey so far.
Seema Seth(SS): What is your company’s full name and in which year was it established?
Vineet Bajpai(VB): My company’s full name is Magnon Solutions Pvt Ltd & Magnon International Pvt Ltd and it was established in the year 2000. We have a total of 140 employees now and three branches in New Delhi and Mumbai.
SS: In about 100 words, please tell our readers about your company.
VB: Magnon Solutions is one of the most respected and broad based interactive media companies in India. Magnon has worked with over 1200 client organisations across 15 countries. Magnon has a state-of-the-art digital development centers and our clients are Adidas, Marks & Spencer, Hyundai, Bharti, Schneider, HBO, Suzuki, UNO, Haier, India times, Emaar MGF, Ministry of Finance (GOI), Birla soft, Mahindra & Mahindra, Daikin, Samsung, Videocon and Axis Bank. The company has been appreciated by numerous business magazines, newspapers and TV channels as one of the most vibrant entrepreneurial success stories in India. Magnon is an ISO 9001 certified company and is a member of NASSCOM.
Magnon’s group company, Magnon International, is a dominant player in the Web Solutions outsourcing space. Magnon Solutions was ranked among the Top 25 Internet companies in India in the year 2010.
SS: What is the scope of your organisation? How many people benefit from it, or use its services?
VB: Magnon is a full service digital media company with services including Web Consulting, Web Designing, Web based Technology Solutions, Internet Marketing, SEO, SMO, SEM, Rich Media Planning, Online Media Buying and Hosting Solutions. The company has assisted hundreds of organisations in varied sectors to derive value from the internet. Our clientele includes government organisations like the ministry of finance, several fortune 500 and multinational companies, NGOs like Helpage India, universities like Jamia Millia and Delhi university, Indian army and even individual professionals and artists.
SS: What are the differentiators of your business? Can you explain the business model?
VB: Our USP lies in the fact that we offer one-stop-shop services to our clients. In the past there were several companies that got their website designed by one agency, multimedia presentations by another, hired a third agency for search engine optimisation and engaged a fourth agency for online advertising. Clearly, that resulted in a fragmented internet strategy. With Magnon, our customers get a single window service provider for all their digital media needs ranging from online retail to e-learning, from robust email solutions to specialised brand sites. This, clubbed with our deep international exposure, allows us to offer world class solutions to our clients from under a single roof.
SS: How do you plan to scale-up the business?
VB: Our scale up strategy is robust and exciting. We have already grown from being a 3 member unit to a 140 member strong team in just 10 years. We are now planning our growth under the 3 broad heads of web solutions (domestic), online advertising and outsourcing. These 3 will offer us separate verticals to grow and help achieve the position of India’s number one digital agency. We are looking to scale up to over 500 people in the next 3 years.
SS: Why did you choose to be an entrepreneur rather than stick to a regular 9-to-5 job?
VB: Immediately after my MBA I was working with one of the largest companies in the world, General Electric. It was a brilliant experience and the company taught me many things about professional aptitude, international best-practices, integrity based business and team spirit. However, I could not help but feel like a small ball bearing in a huge steel plant. (I have mentioned this in my book on entrepreneurship, Build from Scratch). Being one among hundreds of thousands of employees, I wanted to feel more involved in the organisation’s mainstream and make a visible difference. Secondly, I was personally very eager to build a center of excellence in the form of a company that reflected my own spirit and zeal for growth and value creation.
SS: What has been the biggest challenge for you so far, and how did you overcome it?
VB: It’s hard to name any one challenge as the journey has been dotted with challenges and threats. The biggest challenge in my opinion would be the way we entered the digital media business as a 3 member company with rented computers in a generator room, and had to walk into a jungle where we had to compete with the biggest and the best. However, our willingness to stick it out, our core team huddled together, our fanatic customer orientation and our thirst to make a difference enabled us to soon be counted among the largest and most respected digital agencies in the country.
SS: What is the biggest mistake you made as an amateur entrepreneur?
VB: Again, difficult to name any one mistake. But yes, we ignored the international outsourcing space for the first few years of the business. Maybe an earlier foray would have made overcoming entry barriers of that space much easier.
SS: Where did you find the seed capital for your company?
VB: There was hardly any capital worth mentioning as the first couple of months were run by the money I had saved over my previous job. However, a few months down the line we found support and finance from a high networth business family. Thereafter, Magnon has grown swiftly yet organically with all the new initiatives of opening offices in Mumbai, starting the outsourcing company Magnon international and the venture in online media buying and planning – being funded by the company itself. During the way we have had equity participation interest expressed by various global digital media corporations, which encouraged us to further accelerate our growth and scale. The company remains open to discussion with pure-play or strategic financial partners as of today.
SS: What has been the growth trajectory of your company? How many employees and branches do you have now?
VB: The company has grown at nearly a 100% year on year since its inception, barring the year 2008-09 which posed global recessionary challenges. However, the company grew by close to 40% even in this year. Magnon Solutions and Magnon International hire over 140 people and have excellent infrastructure in both the major Indian cities of New Delhi and Mumbai. The company is systematically working towards setting up international marketing and developmental offices, starting with London in the year 2012.
SS: What has been the biggest achievement in the growth of your organisation?
VB: The biggest achievement has been that Magnon is today perhaps the most broad-based digital agency in India. The company is probably the only organisation in the country to have extensive domestic and international operations, being present in both Delhi and Mumbai and offering online media services in addition to customised digital solutions – thus making it offer services across the depth and width of the interactive media industry. This offers the company a unique amalgam of value creation and strategic positioning, creating huge entry barriers for competition.
SS: Have you, or your organisation, ever been recognised in any way for your great work?
VB: With all humility, we have been appreciated by numerous business magazines, television channels and newspapers as a brilliant entrepreneurial story. As mentioned above, Magnon has been ranked among India’s Top 25 internet companies.
On personal note, CNBC TV featured me, Founder and CEO of Magnon Solutions and Magnon International, in their popular programme ‘Young Turks’ and the ‘Week’ magazine lauded me as one of the most vibrant upcoming entrepreneurs of the National Capital Region. I am also author of two management books – ‘The Street to the Highway’ and ‘Build from Scratch’. Both these books are focused at an audience of budding entrepreneurs and owners of SMEs. They offer steps, strategies and practical insight into building a successful start-up venture and for transforming small businesses into large companies. Magnon, on the other hand, boasts of dual ISO 9001 certifications for both domestic and outsourcing operations, one of the very few companies to have achieved this. Magnon Solutions is also a member of NASSCOM.
SS: At any point, did you feel like giving up and finding a regular job?
VB: No, never. The journey has only been getting better, irrespective of the challenges and the upheavals.
SS: What drives you to stay buckled on the rollercoaster ride of entrepreneurship?
VB: It is nothing but an undying spirit to succeed. The edge of true entrepreneurs is that adversity makes them work harder. Success makes them work harder. Anger makes them work harder. Competition makes them work harder. They are basically driven people who dig in their heels when the others are looking to flee. It is something indescribable – something I have called ‘Antaragni’ (or the fire within) in my book. Hope that answers your question.
SS: What is your Vision/Guideline for 2015?
VB: To be the Definitive Market Leader of the Indian Digital Media Space and to Be Among the Top 5 Web Solutions Outsourcing Providers from the Country by 2015.