Sramana: Have you built this company organically, or have you taken on investors?
Abhishek Rungta: I have built this entire company from my initial 1,500 [~$27] rupee investment. All of the growth has come from our own efforts and sales.
Sramana: Services companies have the ability to bootstrap and grow well organically. You can get to 15 million without outside financing.
Abhishek Rungta: I agree. I don’t think financing is important for my growth. I think market access is key for me, along with defining processes.
Sramana: You have hired a lot of people and have a sizeable team of 400 in Kolkata. What has that experience been like?
Abhishek Rungta: The good thing about Kolkata is that people are generally content. People are not going to change jobs for the sake of changing jobs. Kolkata also gives you an under-the-radar area in which to build the business. You don’t have to be visible to the entire world if you don’t want to be, which means your competitors are probably going to overlook you for a while. It is possible to become a market leader fairly quickly in Kolkata. That is a big advantage because once you gain that status, people start to look for you.
People in Kolkata are very smart and sharp. The work ethic [can be] a bit poor, so that can be a challenge. People here have a hard time relating to entrepreneurs. You need entrepreneurial-minded people to get a startup going, so it can be a bit difficult to find those people.
I had a friend who moved to Bangalore because he could not find enough people who knew how to do product. There might only be two people in Kolkata who know how to do product work, but then again there is probably only one company that is able to hire them. In Bangalore there are going to be 800 top quality people who are product experts, but there are 400 companies, all of them larger, who are ready to hire them. Overall, it requires balancing. Kolkata has enough talent simply because there are not enough companies to hire that talent.
Sramana: Are there other entrepreneurs who have built $5 million IT companies in Kolkata?
Abhishek Rungta: There is one other company of interest called Pinnacle. They make CAD designs for the construction industry. They are based in Kolkata and they are market leaders in their own area.
Sramana: It is exciting to see the growth of entrepreneurship in Kolkata. Thank you for sharing your story. I look forward to following your continued success.