India's New Media Poster-boy

Date:   Tuesday , February 26, 2013

There are some who complain about the lack of opportunities and then there are those who create opportunities for themselves and are often referred to as the 'visionaries'. Vineet Bajpai, Founder & CEO, Magnon\TBWA and Magnon\DAN, is one such man. A sincere entrepreneur, he built a highly successful digital media company from the ground up with a starting capital of a mere Rs. 14,000 or $ 300. Without succumbing to the hardships on the way, he created his own opportunities and today is referred to as one of the finest young CEOs and entrepreneurs in India.

Magnon, a full service digital media company provides a host of web based services to over 1200 client organizations across 15 countries. Founded in 2000 as a pure-play entrepreneurial venture, Magnon today has reached a new epitome of success. TBWA, one of the world's largest advertising and media companies, has acquired a majority stake in the Magnon Group to bolster its digital capabilities. Magnon is now a part of the much esteemed Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE: OMC), a Fortune 500 global marketing and corporate communications giant. Magnon Solutions, the Indian arm of Magnon has now been rebranded as Magnon\TBWA, and Magnon International. The Group's specialized offshore digital delivery agency will now be rechristened as Magnon\DAN and will be a part of TBWA's Digital Arts Network.

The Magnon Story

Any budding entrepreneur's curiosity is bound to rise on hearing this 'rags to riches' story and would be curious to know how Bajpai managed to pull this feat of enormous measures. The story began when Bajpai was working for GE, after he finished his management degree from a reputed college. The job was great and so was the organization, but Bajpai always knew that something was amiss. He felt that his contribution to the mammoth organization was relatively minuscule. His undying desire of value creation made him feel like 'a small ball bearing in a huge steel plant' ie: insignificant. To satisfy his need to create real value and to personify his personality’s zest and zeal he decided to create an independent entity.

The problem facing the company then was the lack of any seed capital and financial backing. Not giving a second thought to the obstacles, he initiated the company in a tiny boiling generator room with two rented computers, one phone line and a vision to create an exceptional company. He braved all odds, be it the hostile outlook of prospective clients, their shoestring budget or the heat in the generator room. His hard work paid off well and soon Magnon started cracking deals and slowly and steadily grew their client list. "A major breakthrough in Magnon's journey came in 2003, when we bagged the critical contract to develop the Indian Finance Ministry's official website," says Bajpai. The agency maintained this website successfully for three years.

There was no looking back since and today the company has grown at nearly 100 percent year on year since its inception. The global recession only marginally slowed down the pace of their growth but irrespective of the slowdown they managed a growth rate close to 25 percent even in this year.

The swift growth and evolution of the Magnon companies has not only been an inspirational corporate growth story, but also a magnificent leadership fable. The company today is powering over 1200 large and SME client organizations to derive value from the Internet. Some of Magnon's clients are Hyundai, Schneider, Suzuki, Haier, Emaar MGF, Daikin and Hilton.

Bringing broad-spectrum Digital Services under a Unified Umbrella

An entrepreneur worth his salt knows that for a venture to be efficacious one needs an in depth understanding of the market’s exposed nerves to position their company as the sole solution provider. Bajpai, being a maverick entrepreneur inferred that the world has turned to digital media for consumer information, sharing thoughts about products and brands and most importantly, to make purchases. As a result most industries need to harness the internet, social media and mobile tools to build their brand image and increase sales.

In a world where visibility and branding decides the fate of a product, web services is a huge market. But this segment entails several different services such as website design, SEO, SMO, SEM and mobile among others. Clients usually end up hiring several vendors for their various needs which results in a fragmented internet strategy. Magnon gauged this as an unaddressed issue and thus decided to build one-stop-shop services for its clients.

"With Magnon\TBWA our customers get a single window service provider for all their digital media needs ranging from online retail to e-learning, from robust email solutions to specialized brand sites. This, clubbed with our deep international exposure, allows us to offer world class solutions to our clients from under a single roof," says Bajpai.

Bajpai strived to build Magnon into a full service digital media company with services including Web Consulting, Web Designing, Web based Technology Solutions, Internet Marketing, SEO, SMO, SEM, Rich Media Planning, Multimedia, Mobile Apps and Hosting Solutions. The innovative company operates as an amalgamation of an Advertising Agency and a Software Company. Their experienced team comprises creative visualizers, web designers, web developers, programmers, database specialists and internet marketing experts who work dedicatedly to create value for their customers.

The company's focus has always been on maximizing operational efficiencies thus they make use of process based delivery and workflow systems. Giving maximum priority to their clients the company has built a strong team of account directors and managers to bridge the gap between various functions and interact with clients for producing desired digital campaigns.

Symbolizing quality and compliance, Magnon\TBWA is ISO 9001:2008 certified and has been awarded this certification after PCMS found Magnon to conform to the Quality Management System standards as per Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand (JAS-ANZ), on the basis of audits and verifications. Giving importance to the Indian IT Services community Magnon\TBWA is a member of NASSCOM and Magnon\DAN is a member of the Electronics and Computer Software Export Promotion Council of India.

Tasting Sweet Success

Incorporating quality, dedication, efficiency and world class solutions did not come easy but Bajpai was hell bent on creating only the best and did not compromise on any aspect of his organization. His hard work has paid off by TBWA’s acquisition of Magnon Group which includes Magnon Solutions, the domestic digital agency, and Magnon International, a digital outsourcing agency that serves clients across five continents.

"Being a part of TBWA is an ambition fulfilled. TBWA’s global reach and excellence will provide Magnon with the right platform towards becoming a market-leading digital agency in India and the region. And TBWA's empowering culture allows us to retain our adaptability and entrepreneurial fabric," says a proud Bajpai.
This is the largest digital acquisition made by TBWA anywhere in the world. The company was highly impressed by Magnon's capabilities and services. "We have been extremely impressed with both their digital capabilities and the strength of their management team. Globally, TBWA is building a strong, integrated digital network and we are confident that Magnon Group will deliver the expertise and talent we need to deliver innovative work and added value for our clients in India," says a confident Keith Smith, President – international, TBWA Worldwide.

TBWA's confidence in Magnon's capabilities is a true testimony of the credibility Bajpai’s organization has accumulated over the short span of time that it has been in the market.

A Life of Purpose

A leader is known for the decisions he makes and Bajpai's choices have brought Magnon to reach dizzy heights of success. When faced with a choice between either moving his team to a plush and luxurious office or spending the same amount on expansion, he chose the second. With a singular focus on growth he continues to set examples and is also a mentor for budding entrepreneurs in Delhi, Mumbai and other major cities of India. His deep love for the sublime art of entrepreneurship is manifested in ways more than one.

Experience is the best teacher and by virtue of that Bajpai is armed with the best insight on how to build an organization from scratch and also how to sustain success. He manifested his experiences and knowledge in authoring two books based on entrepreneurship. His first tryst as an author resulted in 'Build from Scratch', an innovative book which provides expert advice on business start-ups. His second literary venture resulted in 'The Street to the Highway' which became an instant bestseller when all its copies were sold on the day of its release. This book shatters the myth that business success is a matter of destiny for a few chosen corporate barons.

With holding high respect for his alma matter Vineet acts as the President of the Lal Bahadur Shastri Institute of Management Alumnus Foundation (the institute is ranked as one of the top 20 B-Schools in India) where he represents nearly 3000 corporate managers.

Where excellence is, rewards follow and Bajpai has won many an accolades over the years. He has won the 'Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Award 2011', the 'Amity Award for Corporate Excellence 2012' and the 'CNBC TV Mercedes Benz Young Turks Award 2012'. He has also been featured twice by CNBC TV18 in their popular program 'Young Turks', where he was featured as being among the most successful young entrepreneurs of India. The Forbes magazine dubbed him as "…the Spiderman of the Web browser…".

Bajpai is a people and process catalyst and is capable of turning a bunch of people into a closely knit and high performance team. His toil resulted into the highly successful venture, Magnon Group and his story is a brilliant testimony to the shining 'India Story' and to the vibrant entrepreneurial powerhouse that is India. Defying every myth attached to entrepreneurship regarding age, time and capital he has emerged as a clear winner in his eternal quest for value creation.