SM: What kind of price range did you have for these projects? Let’s say you did a mockup in 2002, 2003 time frame. What size project would you expect to get from that bid?
SA: Normally, the projects were between $200 and $600. That was the range we were working on. $200 to $600 was the median range.
SM: So, you could absorb the cost of the mockup?
SA: Right. The costs were also less. The employee costs, the setup costs, everything was affordable in those days. We could definitely afford all of that. As we moved ahead, people started offering us projects based on the portfolio that we had. When we started, we did not have a great portfolio. The mockups were a way to go ahead. As the portfolio got built up, the requirement for mockups decreased to a certain extent.
SM: How much business did you do on Elance in, let’s say, 2002? Or how much business did you do altogether in 2002?
SA: That is difficult for me to remember.
SM: Do you have a ballpark figure?
SA: It must have been at least more than $40,000.
SM: That’s pretty good for a first-year business.
SA: Yes. It was not less than $30,000 to $40,000.
SM: How many people did you hire?
SA: Then, we did not have more than eight or ten people … maximum, ten people.
SM: Were these mostly graphic designers?
SA: They were all graphic designers, and they were all freshers. We have always hired freshers. We have trained them based on our requirements.
SM: Where do you hire these freshers in Calcutta?
SA: We hired these freshers from an institute called Arena Multimedia. Our first batch was from Arena Multimedia, and I’m proud to say that most of them are still working with us today.
SM: That’s absolutely wonderful.
SA: I’m proud to say that our attrition level is one of the least in the industry.
SM: Fantastic. That’s outstanding. One of the big problems of the industry, right? So, if you’ve been able to crack that, that’s amazingly important. So, in 2002, you did about $40,000. What percentage of that business was coming out of Elance at that point?
SA: Majorly, it was majorly through Elance. A part of it was through Scriptlance.
SM: Were your clients mostly design agencies or end customers?
SA: Design agencies.
SM: What happened in 2003?
SA: We got a few clients who started offering us direct projects. They were satisfied when working with us on Elance, and as things moved ahead, a few of them started offering us direct projects. Today, some of them who used to offer us maybe one project a month also grew along with us, using the designs that we made in their portfolios. They became successful, and since we’re attached to them, we also grew.
SM: How did that grow? How many projects can you get from a client nowdays?
SA: There are a few clients who are offering us more than 25 projects a day.
SM: 25 projects a day?
SA: Yes. There are a few clients that offer 25 projects, and maybe we are working on 60 to 65 new projects every day today.
SM: What kinds of projects?
SA: Most projects are logo design … and infographic design. Infographic is something that we started with simply, but a major part of the projects … if I talk about 65 projects per day on an average, I’d say about 50 are logos, and then maybe 4 or 5 new websites, and brochures and flyers and caricatures make up the other 10 projects.
SM: OK. So, you do the caricature, cartoon kind of work as well?
SM: Interesting. Today, in terms of revenue, starting at $40,000 a year in 2002, in 2012, what is your revenue level?
SA: Last year, we had revenue of about $1.25 million.
SM: Excellent. How many people do you have?
SA: We are a team of about 115 or 120 people today.
SM: 120, and these are all graphic designers?
SA: Most of them are graphic designers. We have a small team that is doing Web development. Out of 120 people, maybe we have 25 people who do Web development.