I am Ravi Trivedi, and I am the founder of Couponrani.com, a top coupon site in India. Currently I am also involved in building PushEngage.com – a leading platform for Browser Push Notifications, live in 115+ countries. I am a growth marketer who has run Consumer Internet and SAAS businesses. As an active angel investor, I have made 7 investors in digital startups in India, and my investments include Explara, Mechmocha, Venturesity, Tookitaki etc. I hold an MBA from Duke University, Fuqua School of Business and a Masters in Computer Science from Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.
I started off my career as a software engineer at Hewlett-Packard and later worked in sales &marketing, consulting, product management & product development and merger integration. Then, post my MBA, I worked as an equity analyst with Bank of America where I had covered technology companies over $120B in market capitalization. Post that, I was a venture capitalist and had worked as Principal at Southeast Interactive Technology Funds. In my earlier years, I also co-authored the book Web Services Security, and have been part of Web Service standard bodies.
Where did the idea for (Your Business) come from?
When I moved back to India, from United States at the end of 2011, I found that E-commerce market was growing rapidly in India. Hence, I thought that a coupon site would be needed for customers looking for discounts and can benefit from this trend.
Why did you decide to start this business?
Having been a deal hunter in United States, a marketer running online businesses, I decided to bring my interest, my skills, and business opportunity together. Thus, I decided to launch CouponRani.com.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I usually plan my day in the morning, and contribute in hands-on manner in couple of different areas – marketing, product, and finance/analytics. I make a plan of few things I would do that day. I try to restrict to 1 or 2 areas per day. The rest depends on any critical or fire fighting issuesthat I face that day.
How does your business differ from your competitors?
There are a lot of players in this industry at present and so to stay relevantly is tough indeed. As far as CouponRani is concerned, there are some crucial factors that make my business stay unique from my competitors.
1. We are the no: 1 coupon site in India regarding coverage. We have 3300+ merchants/stores listed on our website, which we believe to be the maximum breadth among all sites in India.
2. We are the only site in India with Hindi coupons. (Hindi.couponrani.com)
3. We have 400+ Exclusive coupons listed on our website. We have exclusive coupons and partnership with several key websites like HealthKart, Zivame, Tolexo, etc.
4. We have been featured as one of the best 60 startups in Bangalore. [https://inc42.com/startups/bangalore-startups/]
5. We were selected by Owler as the 2016 HOT in Bangalore startup [ http://blog.owler.com/hot-in-bangalore/]
6. We get monthly traffic of 0.5 to 1Million visits each month.
7. We are expanding globally and present currently in Malaysia. [CouponBelanja.com]
Focus on building a business – funding will follow, and not the other way round.
What kind of new trends excites you?
Several trends are exciting to me. I am excited about how rapidly the advances in computer vision, and artificial intelligence, which is making self driving car a reality. Then, I like the advances in virtual reality that makes more immersive experiences in virtual classrooms, games, and a new virtual world. In marketing technology, the contextual knowledge of a person’s interest will lead to better targeting.
What part of your job do you personally find most interesting?
I enjoy identifying upcoming trends that will impact our businesses, and changing our business course according to them. I also enjoy working on creative marketing campaign ideas, and growth hacks personally.
Please describe one of your habit that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I am ready to take up risks and do not give up that easily. I think this has helped me a lot to move forward as a beginner.
If it isn’t a secret, could you please describe one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Our strategy is to make sure our customers who visit us find the coupons and deals they are looking for. We focus a lot on inward metrics and how our customers are satisfied with us. I believe that if you are able to make your customer happy, then you are sure to win the game no matter how tough the competitor is!
Just Do it – don’t overthink
From your perspective, what are the challenges that you have to face as an entrepreneur and how did you overcome them?
Having lived in United States for several years, and working as a venture capitalist, I have witnessed entrepreneurship very close to what it is in the West, and what it is in Asia. I believe each country is different when it comes to startup experience, but due to lack of infrastructure, favourable policies, etc. it is much harder to be an entrepreneur in Asia. So many things are smoother in the West making it easy for one to become an entrepreneur.
Do you have any advice/business idea for our readers before they decide to launch their business?
Few quick ones
1) Just Do it – don’t overthink
2) There are millions of business ideas, pick one that you feel you can execute well.
3) Don’t give up – ever!
4) Focus on building a business – funding will follow, and not the other way round.
What Tools/Apps do you use to growth your business on a daily basis?
Recently, we have been using PushEngage for re-engagement at CouponRani and have seen strong success. We have many tools for gathering analytics, and measuring performance of our campaigns. One needs to choose the right ones that will aid in getting him better results. We use Google Analytics, MixPanel, SEO Moz, Similar Web, and Ahrefs.
What is your opinion, which book is a must to read before starting a business and why?
A) Zero to One by Peter Thiel
B) Getting to Plan B by Komisar and Mullins
C) Founders at Work by Livingston