Gozoop Is Doing Awesome Stuff For Web And Mobile. They ARE A Little Crazy After All.
If you’re a newbie to doing business online, you may be in for a huge shock. Social media monsters, web design dragons, PR piranhas all crowd the world wide web; in order to slay these Internet beasts, you’ll need some back-up. Gozoop, the all-things-to-succeed-with-your-online-business site, is a pretty excellent cohort.
We caught up with CEO Rohan Bhansali to talk Gozoop beginnings, tea time and how the team goes crazy on Saturday.
Tell us a little more about what inspired Gozoop
The idea was to start something. Anything. Ahmed and I brainstormed and researched ideas such as branded lemonade, Food delivery, online Gaming, etc. I still have the note book where we listed and made notes of our ideas.
The saying goes “Life is what happens to you while you are busy making plans.” Something like this happened with us too and laid the genesis of Gozoop.
Dushyant (now a partner at Gozoop), wanted a web solution for his internet startup. I discussed with Ahmed (who knew how to code) – Why not make it for him to get in some cash flows till we strike our big idea. So we took up this project. Within a few weeks a couple more friends requested us to develop websites and applications for them. Before we knew it we were in the business.
We became pretty good at what we did and built a good team of young enthusiastic guys around it. Hiring Kiran Seth, Rajesh Nagda and Shailesh Pathak really laid the foundation of the great culture and belongingness that you find in Gozoop today.
One incident I cannot forget is when Kiran and Rajesh decided to be with Gozoop despite getting offered more than double the salaries from big IT names. They knew they were a part of this.
We started looking at Digital Marketing seriously in 2010. This is when Dushyant, our first client, joined the team. Again we were lucky with getting the right people. PremKumar Iyer (now our Online Marketing Head) and Suprit Vaity (now our SEO Head) were a fortunate addition to our team. I don’t know how but one thing was obvious – The right people joined our team at the right time. We still continue to be very lucky in this respect.
We grew with the e-commerce industry in India and worked with all big players- Snapdeal, FashionandYou, DealsandYou, Quikr, Groupon India, Fetise, etc.
Simultaneously, we launched our initial Digital Products under the banner of Zozolo – Facebook Shop and Social Loyalty Program. Our Facebook Shop featured on Mashable’s Fast Pitch in 2010. This gave us good exposure and we started thinking internationally.
In 2011, Dushyant and I made a random business trip to Dubai to see the market there. E-commerce was evolving in the Middle East as it was in India 2 years back. We wanted to be a part of this metamorphosis and decided to set up an office and team in Dubai.
In a way, everything honestly happened on its own. Yes, we definitely worked hard, but I’ll say it again – we were very lucky, mainly with people. We have the best team. Today, we are 45 of us and our average age is 22 (I love mentioning this).
What’s a typical day at Gozoop look like?
I don’t know how to answer this in a paragraph so will highlight the daily activities:
- People working hard to deliver to clients
- A lot of laughter
- People eating food together
- Huge consumption of Tea / Coffee
- 1:30-2:30PM is Foosball time (Foosball has been an integral part of our culture for long now).
- Team Meetings
- HR Interviews (we have a lot of these since we are very selective about the people who join us)
How do you motivate yourself?
What motivates me the most is creating something out of nothing, basically a start up! At Gozoop we are always trying out new things. Failure or Success, we love starting new things. This is a part of our DNA. Zozolo.com, DecideBay.com and Gozoop Dubai are a derivative of this DNA.
Other things that help keep me motivated are:
- Seeing my team give its 100%. Working late nights and Sundays. Kiran, I literally have to beg him to stop working.
- Books on Entrepreneurship. Currently I am reading “Good to Great” by Jim Collins. I highly recommend to entrepreneurs.
- Defined Targets – We have well defined monthly targets that Dushyant, Ahmed and I agree to on a month to month basis.
Got any great bootstrapping tips for the lean startups out there?
In my experience the biggest expense for a business is losing its key people. Keep your team happy. Build a great culture. People will be part of the team for a longer time. This is great savings. It is expensive to find, train and retain people at critical roles.
Other tips: Work from home initially, don’t be shy of taking help from friends, Invest in Word of Mouth through good quality rather than spending on push marketing.
What entrepreneur do you admire?
I’ve read a lot of Richard Branson as a kid. Loved his lifestyle. Loved his appetite for risk. Now that I think of it, I think he has been a major influence on me, although I am still to develop a tenth of his risk taking abilities and flamboyance.
Also, I admire and learn a lot from the entrepreneurs I meet as a part of my work. There is so much to learn.
What would you be doing if you had one year off and $500,000 to spend?
- BackPacking for a year – US35,000
- Skydive over Mount Everest – US$20,000
- Invest in other startups (one of them has to be an ice cream parlour) – US$200,000
- Donate to SSRVM school IN Dharavi, Mumbai – US$50,000 (www.dharavischool.org – in case anyone wants to)
- Family, Friends & Team Gozoop – US$60,000
I guess I would invest the rest in a Fixed Deposits or maybe donate more. I am really not sure what I would do with so much money!
What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs struggling to get their business off the ground?
- Get the right people on the shop. Get the mismatched people off it.
- Work with time bound deadlines and numbers. I cant stress enough on the importance of this
- Build a good culture. Keep your team happy in a way beyond salaries
- Be crazy
- But also a bit realistic
Most importantly: Just take the plunge. Things will work out on their own. Let Miracles play their role.
Web App or site you couldn’t live without and why.
I really like the following apps / sites:
- FlipBoard – Great way to keep updated
- MapMyIndia GPS – I am terrible with roads
- Pluggd.in – They really heart start ups
- Facebook – Love the Newsfeed
- Gozoop.com – I just love our website
Where can our readers reach out to you?
Email: rohan (at) Gozoop.com
Fun stuff about Gozoop:
- Every Saturday morning we volunteer to teach English to the kids of SSRVM school
- The entire team gets together on Saturday to do something crazy – Drawing Competitions, Make A Sandwich for each other, Make an ice cream for each other, Ice Breaking session with the new joinees, Dumsherads, Passing the Parcel, Team Skits, etc.
- GZ Happies – We share any happy news – new client, a birthday, an engagement, etc. through an email subjected “GZ Happies”.
- Gozooper of the Week – Every Thursday an email is sent to the entire team mentioning one odd fact of a team member. The tem then has to guess who the person is. Great way to get to know each other.
- Our HR head Bansi Raja is the “Happiness Officer” at Gozoop.
- Our average age is just 22 (Did I already mention that? :p).
- We are looking at Singapore as our next international office. We love the whole international presence thing.
- Get to know our culture and team on our Facebook page and Blog Posts.
Thanks Rohan! Love that the team keeps the energy up with crazy activities. For those of you looking for an online business side-kick, get your bum over to Gozoop and get in touch.