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Wedding with the Business

Wedding with the Business

Mr. Murugavel, give us an idea of your early career, and what were the key influences that helped starting up Bharat Matrimony?

I started my career as a consultant in US, and had strong programming skills. It all happened as I was keen in observing the industry trends and the technological evolution happening around me in the year 1997, the enormous growth in e-commerce, Internet B2B and B2C portals, made me start a Tamil community portal, and I clearly avoided types of business that were already in boom.

Mine was a service based portal providing, Tamil daily calendar, a Tamil festival reminder, Tamil greeting cards and added value to services for the people in the US by launching Tamil discussion forums, matrimonial services, property, travel services all targeting the Tamil community abroad which was a one-man show as I was continuing my consulting job and was consistent in working on the portal during my leisure and weekend.

I launched this Tamil community portal on 14 April 1997 on the Tamil New Year day and it took nearly two and a half years for me to identify a potential opportunity in the matrimony space till I observed that many people were looking to marry someone speaking their mother tongue. Inspired by this data pool the first Tamil and Telugu matrimony sites were launched and I thought why not should this be replicated with other communities based on the languages and Bharat Matrimony was launched in the year 2000.

What made you go beyond your job in consulting to an entrepreneur? Is that a trait or passion that drove you?

I did not limit myself only to be a consultant, and have always been grabbing the opportunity that came within my scope and expertise. I had been making websites, portals and doing some projects for the people who required them, and made use of every minute that was available, and I enjoyed developing community websites. There was a point in time I had to think, it was when I was offered a huge sum for making a website similar to my concept but I dropped taking the project and thought instead of cutting the goose and getting no more eggs, nurture it and enjoy the fortune.

What would you say are the obvious business challenges going forward, and your expansion and scaling plans for the India Matrimony/ Property market?

Conceiving a start up might fall in line but implementing it has always its own challenges. Reading the consumers' pulse is vital to innovate and inject new ingredients into the business, and this day consumer usage pattern gives a clear picture about addressing this issue. As the business was progressing I also invented certain aspects to ensure security, privacy and convenience of the customers. All these innovations have helped the venture initially to be one of the choice of the consumers and now the primary choice of the masses thinking of getting married.

What were the challenges you faced in getting established in the Indian matrimony space which is totally different from that of abroad?

India is a nation of varied heritage and communal diversity, which I thought is an opportunity rather than a challenge, and started community specific websites within the matrimony space to help people meet people, based on their language, community, caste and religion 300+websites. Apart from these online ventures we have also opened 170 company-owned retail outlets across India to reach directly to the people.

What is your take on social media and opportunities in social media?

We embraced the social media as it was getting popular, and made the static information dynamic by updating it in the social media. We have developed mobile apps on all platforms and a variety of other strategies using the social media to make our consumers' profiles dynamic and help them stay connected and know better of their prospective partners through the social media.

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Do you see a difference or change in the attitudes of students of this generation from that of you?

Definitely there is a change to be appreciated. In our schooling days we were tested on memory, but these days students are tested on intelligence which is an appreciable change in the education ecosystem. But I feel, as children are exposed to a wide stack of knowledge, understanding becomes either deep or shallow. Focus in one particular aspect does not last for a good period of time. This should be eliminated and an ability to concentrate should be taken care and nurtured in the students of today, apart from which, they are very intelligent and shrewd.

What do you feel is the gap between industry and the academia, and where should it be addressed from?

Academia should be providing wide industry exposure to the students, align the curriculum to what is happening currently in the industry, which would equip them with the skills required by the industry. Industry should also involve in making their future work force out of the institutions. Students and teachers should avail the content online to keep themselves updated, as it is inevitable for a teacher to stay ahead of the students, and for students it is important to stay aligned with the changing trends.

What are the skills you expect to be in a candidate when you hire?

Much to skills, I believe attitude plays a vital role. I look for a winning attitude, confidence and energy in the candidates. Skills could be taught, but attitude sets the mind to learn a skill or adapt to an environment, and people with the right attitude could be productive. Any candidate who seeks to make a career should choose a profession that interests one, be a constant learner, without a complaining attitude and be a contributor beyond the demand. To put it simple, choose a profession that you like and you'll not be working anymore, what you would do is you will progress purely by passion and not by pressure.

What do you think should be the steps taken by the colleges to motivate and develop leaders?

India needs so many leaders, and teachers in the educational institutions be it a college or a school, it should inspire the students. I believe continuously inspiring the students is the only way to motivate and make them believe that they could achieve, rather than an advice. With all the inspiration, exposure, knowledge and the clarity to face the world, students of today could surely emerge to be the leaders of tomorrow. There are two kinds of inspiration, getting inspired of others and the other one is getting self-inspired. To add to this, I would like to state a personal example, the first taste of success in my life was aroused as I was participating and winning in various events and competitions during my college days.

What will be your suggestion to someone who wants to be an entrepreneur but doesn't know where to start?

Students shall take part in forums for incubating entrepreneurs, be a member in the entrepreneur development cells in the institutions, meet people and get exposed to the industry demands and position themselves or their ideas in such a way that they break grounds into business making fortune and contribute back to the society. To be specific, every aspirant entrepreneur should have the ability to identify a problem in the society for which the public will pay, should be able to identify how big the problem is, and should have an answer how he/she would be the better solution provider. Apart from these, ground working on a project and approaching the angel funding bodies that could invest in the projects of the aspirants should be done. Finally, and decisively an entrepreneur should be ready to take the right risk to have a major slice of the market.