TechI: MobiKwik CEO Unplugged

TechI is new initiative of Malliks where we will be interviewing the celebrities from technology world. Today we have Bipin Singh, CEO of MobiKwik (Review here). Bipin is IIT Delhi Alumni with around 7 years of work experience in semiconductors space before starting with his own venture.
Good Morning Bipin, Its pleasure to have you on TechI@Malliks.

Mallik: Bipin, you are from semiconductors background and why a sudden shift towards a startup in mobile/web space? How did the idea of mobikwik come to your mind?
Bipin: The idea of mobikwik came to me in 2008 when I had to run to retailer for recharging my mobile. I have always been a prepaid user since it helps me get the best out of my mobile. Though I am from semiconductors background, I am an avid web user. In my past roles, I have dealt with mobile phone architectures and got a sense of mobile web and mobile apps.

Mobikwik is an interesting name that captures essence of your business. There is story behind every name, so how did you arrive at this name?
Bipin: Well, I recall I did go through many options to name this company/brand. Mobikwik , as you rightly said, captures the essence of our business. We want users to get their job done fast as far as mobiles are concerned. Mobikwik is the kwikest way to mobile freedom.

Mallik: How much did your earlier experience with helped you in building Mobikwik? What are major challenges faced while building MobiKwik?
Bipin: Frankly, my earlier technical experience did not help much since I had not worked on the web. However, you learn project management and people skills while working for a few years. These are sometimes more important than direct technical experience. I faced many challenges in building mobikwik, foremost being putting a team together. I now understand why VCs give so much emphasis on team and less on idea. An A-star team can accomplish anything. I also faced financial constraints but thankfully having worked a few years, it was less of a problem.

Mallik: While building the team, how did you convince the employees to join your startup?
Bipin: It was tough but I had done my analysis on market opportunity which I explained to them. Also, I explained how we were together a very good team. It took close to a week to convince on average.

Mallik: What is your role in Mobikwik and what is the role of Sunali aggarwal (Co-Founder)?
Bipin: I run the day to day mobikwik operations and I am the CEO/COO. Sunali is a co-founder and leads the design, usability and marketing aspects of mobikwik.

Mallik: What do you think is one thing that makes a startup successful and why?
Bipin: Well, we have just started so I cannot answer that question yet. Hope to answer it next time we talk :)

Mallik: Many Indian startups don't have long term vision and end up in deadpool or get acquired by bigger companies. What is your vision for Mobikwik?
Bipin: We have a really strong vision for mobikwik and we are prepared to slog it out. We aim to be India's number 1 web and mobile destination for buying mobile services across voice/data/apps for leading mobile operators in the country. We use technology to make technology simpler. We are not looking at getting acquired anytime soon.

Mallik: You said that you are not looking at getting acquired anytime soon. So is it still one of exit plans for MobiKwik?
Bipin:No, we have just started and want to build some traction in the market first. Acquisition is too far away.

Mallik: Unlike, many web startups which solely depend on ads for revenue, you have better revenue model where you get commissions from mobile operators. Do you have any alternate revenue models as well? Is MobiKwik looking for any funding?
Bipin: Yes, we don’t depend on ads for revenue. However, we are constructing a unique model to I cannot disclose our business plan to you except saying that you will hear of us in the same breath as the Apple Store. :)

Mallik: Do you have any competitors in India? If yes, what is the one thing that distinguishes MobiKwik from Others?
Bipin: There have been attempts to do this (mobile recharge), but our core business is mobile services which is not limited to recharge. This is reflected in our approach to this problem. Our motto is kwikest way to mobile freedom.

Mallik: What is current headcount at MobiKwik? Is Mobikwik hiring?
Bipin: We are currently 5. And yes, we are hiring. Please email at

Mallik: Are you looking for funding?
Bipin: Yes, we are looking at funding for our future products.

Mallik: You may have left stable high paying job for starting Mobikwik? So how did your family and friends react to your decision?
Bipin: I had been working on mobikwik while I was working on a day time job as well. Increasingly it became clear that my heart was not in the job, but in the money that came from it. :) So, I decided to do mobikwik full time. Now, my heart is in the work I do. And hopefully, the money will come too.

Mallik: Hard work, Fun, Night outs, Junk food all happens in a startup.. So how do you manage time between your personal life and Mobikwik?
Bipin: Our team (we are all of same age) enjoys going out together to have a drink, listen to rock music or fight over features. We do regular drinks nights every other Friday at our office in Kalkaji, New Delhi to meet new people, make friends. It is a lot of fun!

It was nice to talking to you Bipin and all the best!

No comments:

Post a Comment