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Bootstrapping with Services from London: Gurman Hundal, CEO of Media IQ (Part 4)

Posted on Thursday, Aug 18th 2016

Sramana Mitra: You said you have a team in India. How are you finding building a team in India at this point? Bangalore is a talent war economy.

Gurman Hundal: It’s a massively fun and exciting journey we’ve had in India. It’s one of the proudest journeys we’ve had. The best part of Media IQ is the culture and the real asset of this company is the people. A testament to that is we have staff of over 300 people now. In our six-year history, only about 15 people have left the firm. Our staff retention rate is well above 90%. It’s really difficult in India because there’s a lot of challenges. The fact that we managed to create a culture and environment that can, not only attract talent, but also retain talent is a success for us.

Sramana Mitra: When you talk about your differentiated culture, what is it about the culture that is differentiated? Why do people like it?

Gurman Hundal: We describe our culture in seven values. These are the behaviours that we exhibit as a company. The one big value that we have is community. We have processes designed in a way that multiple teams in different functions have to work together to get the end result. We made it a requirement that from a sales person to a data scientist, they have to have a dialogue and they have to be collectively involved. We’ve invested a lot in communication tools. One of our  biggest costs is in travel.

Nearly every employee in our sales office will make a trip to India each year. Our Indian team makes a trip to local markets and international end-of-year parties. That’s a big winning part of our culture. It’s hard to keep scaling, but we find that the staff really enjoys that. Especially in India, they don’t feel like they’re this back office cost saving center. They feel like they’re a part of the story and the end-to-end process of our clients. Building this community that has to work together is a big part of our culture.

The level of empowerment and autonomy we give our staff creates a lot of passion. We manage to create a team of very passionate people. If you go on to Facebook, there’s a hashtag of Media IQ to see people from different offices. We’ve a lot of passionate staff. A lot of it is in empowerment and trust. We give a lot of ownership to our staff. We don’t put a lot of rules, structures, and processes around them.

Sramana Mitra: What do you envision doing with the company? You have built a self-financed, bootstrapped business that is scaling well. Where do you want to take this company?

Gurman Hundal: I’m having the time of my life to be honest. When my business partner and I started this company, we really wanted to create a business that can run profitably and can be relevant over a sustained period of time. Every decision we make and everything we do is about that. We do recognize that there is a lot of M&A activity in our sector.

There’s a lot of people that are interested in our organisation as well. We listen to people but we want to remain independent and stay profitable. That’s why we keep ourselves independent so if we take a VC, it will force us to make a decision on what we want to do with the company in the end. We try to run it in an agile fashion reactive to what the market wants. If I”m still sitting here as founder and CEO of Media IQ, I see that as a huge success.

Sramana Mitra: Very interesting. Thank you for your time.

This segment is part 4 in the series : Bootstrapping with Services from London: Gurman Hundal, CEO of Media IQ
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