Emerging Entrepreneurs

Rise and rise of a recession child

Sangeetha Chengappa | Updated on January 09, 2018 Published on November 13, 2017

Anil Kumar, CEO, RedSeer Consulting   -  Somashekar GRN

2009-born RedSeer Consulting is now eyeing $20 million in revenue

Put it down to sheer bravado or pure optimism. How else would you describe Anil Kumar’s act of starting RedSeer Management Consulting at the peak of the global recession in 2009, at a time when large, established organisations were shutting shop or struggling to stay afloat.

Admitting that it was possibly the worst time to start a company, Anil says, “having worked for two research and consulting start-ups in the area of IT and IT outsourcing after passing out of IIT Delhi in 2005, I decided to take the plunge and start a firm that addresses all industry verticals. At the back of my mind, I was convinced that if I could start up and survive the recession, there will be no looking back.”

He not only survived to tell the tale but now runs a flourishing consulting practice that employs 150 professionals, who serve 200 clients and have handled over 2,000 client engagements. Headquartered in Bengaluru, with offices in NCR, Mumbai and Dubai, RedSeer’s practice is focussed on private equity funds, internet firms and consumer-facing industries. Its services include growth consulting, investment advisory, digitisation and tracking the internet market.

In the last 12 months, RedSeer is growing its revenue at 50 per cent YoY.

Looking back, Anil remembers, the initial months went badly as most organisations that he approached were neck-deep in cost-cutting and optimising operations. Desperate for a break, Anil clinched an engagement with a BPO company that wanted to verticalise its business into telecom, healthcare and insurance as opposed to the voice and non-voice business.

“The company wanted me to train its employees on telecom, which I knew nothing about. It took me nine months of effort along with the expertise of two external consultants to put together a training programme with a deck of 900 slides. I received ₹2 lakh for the effort with which I had to pay the consultants and two part-time delivery executives that I had hired,” recalls Anil.

The biggest challenge

The next challenge was to bring in business, a daunting task for a young man with zero experience in sales. Through his alumni network, Anil got hold of the number of the founder of a ₹500-crore manufacturing company and called him almost every other day for four months, selling everything from research to growth strategy. “By then, I had received two lucrative offers from the big league management consulting firms and decided that if my financials did not turn positive by the end of FY 2010, I would shut shop and take up one of the offers,” he recalls.

Just then, Dame Luck smiled on him changing his fortunes. He clinched a $20,000 growth strategy engagement with an MNC, to add a new product line to its portfolio. Since he did not have a team in place, Kumar started calling various intern websites and recruited four high quality interns from IIM-Kolkata and IIM-Lucknow. “I called up eligible candidates and my first question to them was – do you have a laptop? Because, I didn’t have the money to buy laptops,” he says.

Anil’s persistence paid off and the manufacturing company awarded him a $30,000 organisational restructuring engagement, which would help the company transition from a family-run business to a professionally-run business. “What a relief it was. I made it, as per my targeted deadline, with two engagements worth $50,000,” he said.

“We are on track to garner $20 million in revenue by 2020,” said Anil.

Published on November 13, 2017
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