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Pankaj Umrania
Pankaj Umrania

Pankaj Umrania




Pankaj Umrania is a member of:

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Brief about company, offerings and foundation of the company

is a digital marketing agency head quartered in Gurgaon (India) offering an array
of services like Strategy, Mobile Solutions, Creative, Technology & Digital
Marketing.Strategy: We
assist clients in Brand Communication and Planning, Behavioral Research and
Digital Media Strategy. Mobile
: iPhone, iPad, Windows 7, Microsoft Surface (Metro
Style Apps) Blackberry, Android Applications, Hybrid (Cross OS Compatible)
Apps, Mobile SEO and Mobile Marketing. Creatives:
Brand Experience Assessment & Development, Interaction Design, Content
Creation, Website Audits. Technology:
Ecommerce, Content Management System, HTML 5 Development, Website Design & Development,
Open Source Development, Facebook Apps Development, Rich Internet Application
Development (Adobe Flex, Air, etc.) Digital
: Social Media Marketing, Search Engine Optimization,
Pay Per Click, E-mail Marketing, Site Usability & Optimization. Two55am
works with brands across the globe to help strategize ideas and bring them to
reality. Two55am’s clients include – Aircel, PWC, Microsoft, CK Birla Group,
Nokia, Ford, Orra Diamonds, xBHP, IILM, Rosy Blue, Sprint, Collage Group and
Federal Bank, among others. Currently Two55am is offering its services to
India, US, UK, APAC & Middle East.
Two55am thrives on innovation and acquires the latest trends and
technologies to give the best of the services to their clients and help them
stay ahead of their competitors. For instance, Microsoft Surface is yet to
launch (in Oct/Nov 2012) and we are already working on some solutions for
Surface, with our partners.We have been
delivering projects for Fortune 500 brands.
Two55am was founded in June
2010. Since its inception Two55am has come a long way. From its headquarters in
New Delhi/Gurgaon (India) we are serving companies of all sizes ranging from
startups to large enterprises allowing them to achieve their business objective
in a timely and cost-effective manner.

Best company I admire globally

Undoubtedly it is Apple for me. I am a big fan of sublime designs and
their technology. I remember buying iPod classic, it was my first product from
Apple. Then and now, I have been crazily spending money on their products – be
it the iPhone 2G, iPhone 4S, MacBook Air, iPad 2, etc. I commend the way they
make ‘out of the world’ designs & their unparalleled technology that the
consumer falls in love with and buys it within a blink of an eye.

Most critical decision

The thought of bootstrapping a company from scratch in turn of a fat
salary in itself was a horrifying thought. In order to make the company
profitable from Day 1, I did not opt to go through the VC route.
I bootstrapped this venture with 2 team members by taking a
shared space in an office and then with in six months we rocketed and took over
the entire office. We have been fortunate enough to be a profitable startup
from the beginning and we continue to invest in the amazing talent that helps in
our growth.

Three big lessons/ mistakes encountered while building company

lessons -1)
Know what you offer / sell: Be the buyer
yourself or the user of what you sell to make it believable for others – eat, sleep
and breathe it before you go out and sell.2)Be honest with your client - Always
be honest with your client, if there is something that’s not working out; don’t
fool around - stand up, convey it to the client. Trust me he will be the one on
your side to support you.3)Business is people & talent driven – Give
respect / be humble to your team, they are the driving force, it’s a collective
effort. Trust them.

Different actions if I rebuild my company from scratch all over again

Right now there is nothing that comes to my mind, which I would have
done differently, we are where we are today because our each step was measured.
May be if you ask this question in another 5 years, I can answer it differently
but I will still hope that we tread our path as cautiously & confidently as
we have done till date.

Motivation and Drives factor

The fact that now I am not just earning for myself, I have the
responsibility of my team. I feel responsible, thus drive myself. On every new
win I feel super motivated – be it a new business win or any challenges we may
have thrashed out. I am charged to do something that is unusual, it is yet to happen.
I will be motivated to the core until I achieve it.

Unique about my way of motivating troops

We have some amazing talent and rock stars who are
contributing to the growth of the company.
good belongs to them and all bad is mine, is what I tell them. I explain to them
how entrepreneur works, the challenges, the opportunity and the profitability. Every
action is directly equivalent to the profitability and success of the company. I
give them a free hand and don’t step on their toes to micro manage them. We
want them to grow themselves and grow the company with them.
We do not consider any of our team members as mere
resources; our people are our strength.

Way of choosing my people

I ensure that the new prospective member goes through a final round of
personal discussion with me once he has cleared all other tests &
discussions. I trust my intuition; I ask random questions related to their education,
their aim in life, personal life, past career, background, etc.It helps me
gauge the vision and attitude of a person. I generally don’t hire people with a
negative attitude, a person has to be positive and grounded to earth.We look
for people who are dynamic, confident and an Entrepreneur at heart.We are in
the process of building an environment where innovation thrives and this
translates into the best-in-class services. At Two55am their nationality,
religion, gender, sexual orientation, dressing habits and even their
Educational Background does not matter. 

The challenges and lessons learnt to get first customer

Our first client wanted an Ecommerce solution along with the online
marketing strategy, it was very crucial to them for the growth of their
business not just in India but they were looking to foray into the international
market as well – US, Europe, Middle East, Singapore & Australia. I was
alone that point in time, I paid a visit to them with a formal proposal and the
marketing plan. My past credentials in the industry helped me crack that
business for us.

Experience of reaching out to potential investors

Our clients are spread across various geographies in India
and in Overseas. We plan to expand to have the local presence in Mumbai,
Bangalore and US very soon. Some companies are approaching us for JVs,
Alliances, Investments, etc. We haven’t taken any decision yet but we’d soon
like to adopt one of these routes to expand and cater to a wider market.

Risks involved in business and way of addressing
Many brands still spend a majority of their marketing
budgets on traditional media; investment on digital media is gradually increasing
so we build up by educating the clients, the business impact and the ROI that digital
media has. Time was changing earlier and
now it has changed a lot.
The digital advertising ecosystem has evolved in
mature markets around the world at an accelerated pace over the last 2 years,
both in terms of volume of digital ad spend, as well as complexity of the value
chain. We are facing similar challenges in mobile solutions as well.
As the Indian mobile industry is growing as
compared to other leading markets, clients in India are not very open to invest
in mobile innovation as new & upcoming medium for brands to leverage the
audience. Some times we really need to enlighten the client on the long term
ROI factors and immense opportunities the medium has. Technology plays a vital
role in our business; I call it the building block.
Change is inevitable,
so is technology, it changes every minute - for good. Our R&D team
continuously strives towards acquiring most recent trends & technologies,
we invest huge – both on time & money to evolve and delight the clients.
My role at different dimensions as the company evolved

When we started out, my primary role was to Sell and Deliver, soon as
we grew, I had to take on several roles like HR, Admin & Finance as well. Your
role is never limited; you need to set everything right, it is very crucial to
lay out the foundation of the company right. Gradually we appointed heads to
each units and now I just mentor & help them in strategic decisions.
Currently my primary role revolves around – Sales Strategy & Business
planning, Business Development, Relationship Management.

As a leader how I make sure that I am connecting the right dots

As a leader and driver of the company, it is very important to do the
long term planning and set your goals right. Share it with your team, take
their opinion. Assess the risk, smell it in the air and act swiftly. Look at
your growth data, perform a check if it is going too slow or too fast, dive
into the numbers and assess mistakes timely.

My thoughts related to entrepreneurship/ leadership and management

People buy your product / services because it helps fill in the
narrative gaps in their lives. You can either be the cheapest or the best. A Client
knows which one they prefer.


Some of the difficulties faced while building product/ solution

Before starting out any company it is very important to set the
positioning right, that is what sets a company and it’s offerings apart, in my
opinion. Everything comes secondary; business plan, revenue model, scalability,
I was working with IT and Digital media companies in my
career before Two55am and I saw a clear gap and an opportunity in the way that these
companies are operating which leads to the client needed the support from 2
separate companies – IT & Creative. IT companies are generally very strong
in technology, which is their focus area. But they generally lack in User
Interfaces, Social thinking and Marketing ideas, which is where Digital
agencies come into play but with digital agencies the challenge is strong
technical expertise to service enterprise level requirements, they have good
user experience expertise and brand guys.
We have bridged the gap between an IT company and a Creative
agency by bringing together 2 expertise - Technology and Creative.
It was very crucial for us to do the right positioning in
terms of our brand image and the offerings.
It gives us an edge over others and sets us apart as the
leaders in our end-to-end approach.

Advice for fellow entrepreneurs

of people ask me the ‘mantra’ (that’s what they call it) to build a company overnight,
I tell them let’s start the topic all over again when you are in senses.It
requires a rigorous effort to build a successful company, it can’t be built
overnight. We ourselves are growing the organization organically and still are
in the making of a successful billion-dollar company. There is no right time to
start out, the day you lose the fear of losing what you have and decide to
start the journey from ground zero, it will be a day to start the new innings
of an unstoppable journey. Have faith!
Go forward!

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