Gozoop Is Doing Awesome Stuff For Web And Mobile. They ARE A LittleCrazy After All.By Holly Hutton July 24, 2012 Rising Startup StarsIf you’re a newbie to doing business online, you may be in for a huge shock. Social media monsters, webdesign dragons, PR piranhas all crowd the world wide web; in order to slay these Internet beasts, you’ll needsome 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 onSaturday.Tell us a little more about what inspired GozoopThe idea was to start something. Anything. Ahmed and I brainstormed and researched ideas such as brandedlemonade, Food delivery, online Gaming, etc. I still have the note book where we listed and made notes of ourideas.The saying goes “Life is what happens to you while you are busy making plans.” Something likethis 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 wetook up this project. Within a few weeks a couple more friends requested us to develop websites andapplications 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 andbelongingness that you find in Gozoop today.One incident I cannot forget is when Kiran and Rajesh decided to be with Gozoop despite getting offered morethan 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 theteam. Again we were lucky with getting the right people. PremKumar Iyer (now our Online MarketingHead) and Suprit Vaity (now our SEO Head) were a fortunate addition to our team. I don’t know how butone thing was obvious – The right people joined our team at the right time. We still continue to bevery 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 andSocial Loyalty Program. Our Facebook Shop featured on Mashable’sFast Pitch in 2010. This gave us goodexposure and we started thinking internationally.In 2011, Dushyant and I made a random business trip to Dubai to see the market there. E-commerce wasevolving in the Middle East as it was in India 2 years back. We wanted to be a part of this metamorphosis anddecided 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 – wewere 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 arealways trying out new things. Failure or Success, we love starting new things. This is a part of ourDNA. 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 agreat culture. People will be part of the team for a longer time. This is great savings. It is expensive to find, trainand retain people at critical roles.
Other tips: Work from home initially, don’t be shy of taking help from friends, Invest in Word of Mouththrough 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 andflamboyance.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$60,000I guess I would invest the rest in a Fixed Deposits or maybe donate more. I am really not sure what I would dowith 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 realisticMost importantly: Just take the plunge. Things will work out on their own. Let Miracles play theirrole.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 websiteWhere 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 anonline business side-kick, get your bum over to Gozoop and get in touch.Photo CreditsGoZoop.com / Zozolo.comABOUT THE AUTHORBorn in the Big Easy and raised in the Sunshine State, Holly has spent the last five years brunching in the BigApple and boozing with Big Ben. As a wandering writer, techy-in-training, and avid alliterator, Holly haswritten everything from educational policy and political newsbriefs to web content and travel blogs. She isthrilled to be joining the KS team and working with a community of smart, savvy, entrepreneurs on all thingsstartup!