Start-up success stories-Gupshup-Mobile social messaging service
Can you invest Crores of rupees in a business and wait for years to be successful without earning any money. Do you have the guts to do that? Beerud Sheth has done it. The kingdom he built is expected to cross Rs 100 Crores in this financial year (FY 2013-14).
Who is Beerud Sheth?
Beerud Sheth is the founder of Gupshup.me which provides mobile social messaging service. Beerud Sheth is a computer science graduate from IIT, Mumbai from 1990 batch. After completing his engineering graduation, he moved to Boston, US to do master degree. Sheth believes that to do business, one should have to gain experience and should have funding. With this aim, he joined Merrill Lynch and worked for 5 years. After gaining some experience, he quit the company.
First venture eLancer
Sheth along with one of his friend, has started his first venture eLancer which is a keyword combination from electronic and Freelancer. eLancer provides platform for freelancers to show their talent. This California based company has become world’s largest market place for online services for freelancers.
What inspired Sheth to start Gupshup
Aspiring to do something more, Sheth has observed the mobile phone boom in 2004. He wanted to start his new venture something around mobile phones. People were depending too much on SMS. What if a social messaging happens through mobile phone? This thought has created an idea in Sheth mind to start Gupshup.
What exactly Gupshup.me does?
Users can share content with other users and also view information about banking, stocks, mutual funds etc. Gupshup would check geographical user’s behavior on what they are viewing and sharing so that the data can be used and shared with companies where they can do targeted advertising. Gupshup would gather this data from their database about users, by upfront declaring in terms and conditions so that the data is legally used. Gupshup is formed in 2005 with initial seed capital of Rs 5 Crores.
How Beerud Sheth got funding for Gupshup?
Beerud has used his savings, sourced funds from family members, friends and other investors to the tune of Rs 5 Crores. These funds have been used to hire employees and to develop software for Gupshup.
What are the challenges faced?
This is a new idea and was not tested in India. There are high chances that it would fail. It is a high risk venture. However, Sheth has not concerned about this. He started this venture. After one month of starting the business he got only 1,000 users. Within 18 months, the users increased to 30,000. There was no revenue for more than one year. More money required to grow the business. Gupshup got additional funding of $ 10 Mn (Rs 50 Crores) from a group of investors. Sheth feel that every entrepreneur should factor such time lag before they get revenues. The revenues started flowing and it made revenue of Rs 5 Crores in 2008-09.
Currently Gupshup has 150 employees with 6 Crore users. It also caters the needs of 500 brands of companies and 25,000 small business owners. Sheth expects that Gupshup would do a turnover of Rs 100 Crores in the financial year 2013-14.
Let us wish Gupshup team to achieve their targets and provide innovative services to the users.
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