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Doing the small things really well

| Updated on January 11, 2018 Published on May 24, 2017

Rohan Bhargava, Co-founder, Cashkaro.com

Decoding the secret sauce of start-up founders

In 2011, Rohan Bhargava, along with his wife Swati, started a B2B cashback business in the UK called Pouring Pounds. Two years later, the couple shifted to India and set up CashKaro and it’s been virtually raining rupees for them: their cashback and coupons site has caught the eye of investors like Kalaari Capital and Ratan Tata. Bhargava, 36, says Cashkaro.com is now India’s largest cashback site with 1.5 million customers and working with 1,500-plus e-commerce players, driving a Gross Merchandise Value of ₹75-100 crore. Here’s how the Gurgaon-based entrepreneur deals with…

Investor expectations

The only way to deal with investors is to be completely honest and transparent. Most investors have been entrepreneurs, so they understand the ups and downs of a start-up. We give a monthly feedback to our investors. But we are very close to our investors at Kalaari Capital, and can call up any time there is a need.

An employee who is older

Our CTO is probably older than me. There is perhaps an automatic sense of respect to somebody older, and the initial instincts may be to take their ideas more seriously. But some of the best ideas in our organisation have come from people who interned with us. There is really not a mass of difference in the way we treat people we work with, whatever the age.

Scaling up and keeping culture intact

Last year, we were sub-40 employees, now we are at 75. I think we did the small things really well when we were a small company. For instance, when we were just a five-member team, we would go on quarterly outings, and have frequent dinners together. We still do those. That way everybody knows everybody else.

When we moved to our new office, we created a massive cafeteria where everybody could eat together. The fact that everybody is eating together automatically gets people closer together. Swati and I also do not have separate cabins, but sit together with the teams that belong to our role.

Social networks

I am on all the networks, but I am super active on LinkedIn: 50-60 per cent of the new relationships I forge are through LinkedIn. If you look at some of our partnerships, ICICI, Jio or YES Bank, the initial contacts originated through LinkedIn. On other networks, I may not initiate conversations, but I am always there to answer questions.

Stress and pressure

When Steve Jobs once talked about entrepreneurship, he said you really need to enjoy it. Now that I am on this journey, I truly appreciate what he said. The only way to survive setting up a company is if you are excited and enjoy the challenges. I treat every day as a fun day. I also believe it’s important to stay physically fit and make time for the gym or a swim.

Husband and wife working together

The bad part is there is no line between business and personal talk. In the midst of a family event, we may start discussing work. But the upside is we understand each other well and draw on each other’s strengths at work. We know what situations each of us can handle. In many ways, it has brought us a lot closer to each other. I can’t imagine doing it any other way.

Published on May 24, 2017
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