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Community > Sumesh Menon
Sumesh Menon

Sumesh Menon

CEO & Co-Founder

U2opia Mobile

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Sumesh Menon is a member of:

startupcity - Expert
Brief about company, offerings and foundation of the company
Founded in October 2010, U2opia Mobile is a global provider of mobile applications that enables the access and monetisation of internet on mobile. We are a new entrant in a dynamic and rapidly growing Industry. Our business monetizes opportunities in converging services from global internet giants with telecom carriers across the globe addressing a clear need in a multibillion dollar industry. We provide a USSD based platform called Fonetwish. This unique service helps users access content on the internet even when they are not connected. Our most popular implementation of the technology is to access Facebook on your phone. Because USSD provides ubiquitous access, you can login to your Facebook account and chat with your Facebook
friends using any phone, any time.
Risks involved in business and way of addressing
Technology is constantly in transition. Consumers , markets and trends move and change at a much faster pace than it probably did a decade ago. It is vital to have foresight and plan for these changes and developments.
Most critical decision
For every start up, hiring good talent is and always will remain the biggest challenge. We introduced an employee referral system that helps build a common culture. We work with some very committed recruiters who understand our business well and can speak on our behalf with great authority. Finally, we have invested in building a solid HR team that constantly manages expectations and morale of our current team and the new talent coming in. This can also be addressed by the right kind of structuring and KPI’s in the teams.
Some of the difficulties faced while building product/ solution
The most difficult part in delivering any product is in its constant innovation. Our most popular implementation of the technology is to access Facebook on your phone. This unique service helps user’s access content on the internet even when they are not connected. In bringing this solution to market we had to work with external dependencies. We had to get a complete buy from the teams at Facebook as well as a green light from the various global carriers. The real success is in the final execution and go live implementation. This is something we constantly get better at.
Three big lessons/ mistakes encountered while building company
First, finding good people and then hiring them is a tremendous challenge when you are starting off. Without a blue chip rep and bank load of cash, it’s not easy to get the best to jump on board. With success comes more opportunities and options to grow. owever, this is not necessarily good. If you do have the Disciplined ursuit of Less you can find yourself drowning in a sea of opportunity. Scaling is not just about hiring more people of setting up more offices. It's really about that, plus learning the fine art of divesting total control. Making allowance for new ways of doing things and being open to ideas from the team is a lesson in itself.
Different actions if I rebuild my company from scratch all over again
I wouldn't change a thing.
Motivation and Drives factor
Nothing motivates me more than a challenge. I'm driven by making things happen even when the odds a stacked against you. I like taking up things where others have given up.
Unique about my way of motivating troops
I try to be as inclusive in setting goals with people. I want everyone to put their heart into what they do and feel passionate about the company they work in. Most of all I want everyone to challenge their own limits and win.
Way of choosing my people
In an interview or discussion, you can easily make out if people are looking for a job or they are looking for a role. In a job, they look for what they can get out of the company and in a role they look for what they can do for the company. It's quite simple actually. Do your role well and the company will take care of you.
The challenges and lessons learnt to get first customer
Our first customer was not the obvious choice. I had not expected things to work out like that. We were fortunate. However, you need to be razor focused to convert an opportunity when it opens up. When you are small, relatively unknown and untested you have a lot to prove. You cannot afford the slightest error.
Experience of reaching out to potential investors
We were fortunate to get associated with the right set of people who were as driven and passionate as us. We gained more from their energy level than from the financial backing alone.
My role at different dimensions as the company evolved
After a point the role is never defined. You need to re-caliberate every week and play multiple parts. At the initial stage, you have to make every decision. At a later stage, you have to focus on the important decisions.
As a leader how I make sure that I am connecting the right dots
It's important not to over think the situation. They might lead to no outcome/ decision which is even worse. Clarity and Communication at a 360 degree level is important to avoid mistakes.
Best company I admire globally
Google, Apple, IBM, Microsoft, Facebook-Because they are constantly challenging themselves to do better and open to change.
Advice for fellow entrepreneurs
Hire people better than you. Always, focus a few important milestones. Keep an ear to the ground and listen to your customers. Measure everything
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