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An Ex-merchant Navy Officer's Journey of Entrepreneurship – Entrepreneur

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By Mohit Sabharwal
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Thirty-seven-year-old Vikas Jha, an ex-merchant navy officer-turned-venture capitalist-turned entrepreneur, always found himself drawn toward product design. As he led a glamorous life of a VC in Europe — analyzing around 100 proposals and meeting 30-40 startups a week, he often found himself helping startups tweak and tinker their models to scale faster, apart from sanctioning their funds.
Thus, after realizing that his true calling is entrepreneurship, Vikas quit his job in 2013 and moved back to India. He built a Flipboard like a mobile app and zoomed in to a million downloads within nine months of its launch. But, owing to poor monetization and lack of spending on mobile ads back then, Vikas pivoted his business into a digital marketing agency.
He says, “The business boomed. In a short span, we got clients like Ford, W for Women, etc. But soon, despite the outward success, internally, things were hitting a plateau for us.” To combat these growing internal challenges like culture issues and process destabilization, the company subscribed to eight to ten different tools to automate varied sales processes such as email campaigns, maintaining databases etc.
“While we brought automation to enhance productivity and scale the business further, we eventually realized that it was slowing down the whole process,” he says. Moreover, as the team’s size grew to 40, the tools’ cost per employee was offsetting the company’s profits. This is when Vikas decided to decrypt the entire chain of processes that a sales deal goes through.
“Usually, the work on a deal is initiated by finding prospective clients on LinkedIn, AngelList and Twitter. Then, personalized emails are scheduled, post which, real-time analytics is done to track clients’ engagement with emails. On figuring that out, calls are made from the CRM and each client’s status with respect to the deal is tracked.
Further, the sales data is maintained at an individual and team level to gauge the performance of everyone.” Since all of this was handled via different tools, a real-time 360-degree picture of a client was not coming through. “The data often had leakages, which posed a continuous risk to deals,” he adds. Thus, he built an in-house, single, dedicated and integrated tool to get the functionality of all the ten tools combined into a single platform.
Launched in June 2016 and named Alore, the tool has helped Vikas scale his business at an exorbitant pace and cut costs massively. Vikas says that the company at present is catering to more than 3400 clients with just a team size of eight, including him. With Alore having proven its mettle within the company, in 2018, Vikas launched Alore CRM — an AI-powered sales tool — for businesses to help them automate sales as well as hack growth, bring productivity revolution at minimal costs.
(This article was first published in the May issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)
Former Senior Correspondent, Entrepreneur India Magazine
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