By Guest Author Shailesh Otari
In this post we discuss Clearpath Technology, an Indian company in the field of Internet marketing and search engine optimization (SEO). What started as a hobby in engineering college became a profession for the company’s founder, Deepak Bansal. Surfing on his home computer and learning methods of search engine optimization led Bansal to develop expertise in this area, and he even wrote a book on the subject. Convinced that Internet marketing is his greatest passion, Bansal took the road less traveled and founded Clearpath right after his graduation in 2005.
The market for Internet marketing and search engine optimization is huge, and Bansal realized the its potential when he observed that most businesses, big or small, in countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom have an online presence. A significant portion of these companies’ business comes via online searches, but most companies do not have expertise in how to attract traffic using techniques such as SEO. Bansal decided to tap this opportunity by providing his Internet marketing expertise to such businesses. Customers have traditionally come from countries with high Internet penetration rates, but Indian companies have been increasingly receptive to the idea of Internet marketing. The company believes that the market in both India and abroad is practically without limits, and it aims to educate Indian companies about Internet marketing. Clearpath’s market share in the industry is very small, close to 1%, and growth is the company’s current focus.
Bansal said that when he started with SEO, no one company dominated the Internet marketing industry. Search engine algorithms were not as advanced as they are today, and general awareness about Internet marketing was not as high. People have become more educated in the past decade, which has resulted in increased competition. Clearpath aim s to compete by providing high-quality service at a low cost. Partnerships with Web design and advertising companies are the main drivers of growth. The company has traditionally focused on industries such as wedding portals and travel websites. Clearpath aims to broaden its presence in these verticals and establish itself as a benchmark. Not surprisingly, it, relies on search engines for its own marketing, and over 80% of its traffic comes through search engines.
Starting with the personal investment of a desktop computer, Bansal has grown Clearpath from scratch to a company with over 300 employees in four years. All growth phases were self-sponsored, and no external funding was sought. The company has been approached by a number of investors from India and abroad, but Clearpath has not engaged in any deal thus far. The biggest challenge Clearpath has faced in its journey is getting the right people in the right jobs. To counter this issue, the company has turned to quality training to create SEO professionals. Bansal believes that employees should think very highly of their company in order to stay motivated and deliver excellent work. As a result of Bansal’s efforts, the company reached $1.5 million revenues in the most recent financial year and is confident of doubling this figure in the year ending March 2010. Clearpath now does seek external funding to expedite its growth. Partnerships with outsourcing companies are the key to its growth strategy, and Bansal wishes to eventually launch an IPO and usher the company into a new period of success.
Having no work experience apart from Clearpath, Bansal is an active entrepreneur and envisions developing a platform to help other entrepreneurs achieve their goals. He plans to open a foundation to guide emerging startups. He is watchful of the entrepreneurial environment in India and wary of its increasing competitiveness. “Believe in yourself” is the mantra of this young entrepreneur.
A note from Sramana to readers: Readers, I would like to hear from you if you are an Indian startup and have hit the $1 million milestone. Please email Shailesh Otari [shaileshotari.mba AT gmail.com] with your information. Shailesh is working with me with a specific focus on Indian startups.
This segment is a part in the series : Deal Radar 2009