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Vipool Prajapati
Vipool Prajapati

Vipool Prajapati

Founder

Xoom Solutions

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Vipool Prajapati is a member of:

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Vipool Prajapati's Advice

Believe in yourself

Believe. In yourself, in your product and your vision. Your energy and passion will inspire confidence and will attract the right set of people and circumstances.  And don’t do something that you don’t believe in. Entrepreneurship can be tough with unexpected setbacks. It may not be your first, second, third or fourth product idea that clicks but it may be your fifth product iteration that finally takes off.  
Brief about company, offerings and foundation of the company

Xoom Solutions is a mobile development
partner. We have a unique model where we work with entrepreneurs in the mobile
space. We provide not only technical expertise but also provide feedback on
their business models and product design. We offer flexible payment options
like deferred payments, revenue share and equity. The company was found in June
2011. 

Motivation and Drives factor


I am motivated by the fact that I am making
a difference. In 2008, Sramana Mitra wrote a controversial article,
Death of Indian Outsourcing and
she followed it up with several recommendations, including one about
 expanding into the tier
2 and tier 3 cities
.
I felt the
recommendations made sense and we opened a development center in Ahmedabad. I
am happy that I am able to provide a unique opportunity to talented local youth
to contribute to and learn from some of the best entrepreneurial minds in
mobile industry. At the same time I am helping entrepreneurs transform their
visions into reality.


Three big lessons/ mistakes encountered while building company

The biggest lesson
that I had to learn was to spot the serious clients from those just playing
around with ideas. We initially wasted time with clients who were just throwing
around ideas but were never serious about taking the idea to the next level
Another lesson was to know our own limitations and not attempt to bite more
than we could chew. And finally, another important lesson we learned was to
wait for the right candidates instead of rushing in to hire employees.

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

Everyone makes mistakes but we, as a team,
make sure we learn from our past mistakes. The real key is to keep our crisis
small. I encourage my team to actively communicate, criticize and voice their
opinions. 

The challenges and lessons learnt to get first customer


When we were talking to our first customer
we went above and beyond what the customer was looking for and provided our
input on additional functionality that would complement what they already had
in mind. What we did learn was customers have an idea but may not necessarily
have grasp on the technical possibilities.  Some of our most successful
engagements have been where we have provided significant input on product
design.


Most critical decision

When we started we had to take a decision
on whether should embrace this new model of collaboration with entrepreneurs or
to be a regular outsourcing company.  We reminded ourselves that we really
wanted to make a difference and not merely make money and that
money is a side effect. We had previously started a mobile venture and we knew
first hand the challenges faced by entrepreneurs and we felt we could provide a
valuable service to the entrepreneurs. 

Some of the difficulties faced while building product/ solution
Getting qualified
people interested and excited about the company during the initial period was a
challenge. Mobile expertise is a hot commodity and there is some good talent
available. However, we needed people who believed in our model and not just
join us to get that next increment.
Risks involved in business and way of addressing

The risk in our model of business is that
payment is not guaranteed. Essentially we only get payment if the client is
able to raise money or their mobile application makes significant revenues. We
balance this by also taking on paid projects where we get a milestones based
payments. 

My role at different dimensions as the company evolved

Initially I was involved in all aspects of
an engagement from scoping the projects, user interface design and development.
However, now my role has become less hands-on. More time is spent working with
the entrepreneurs to refine their ideas and to provide my learning from working
with other entrepreneurs. I also spend a lot of time in coaching my team.

Unique about my way of motivating troops

I instill a sense of ownership in my
employees. They interface directly with the clients and learn a lot through the
inevitable cycle of constantly evolving tasks and product iterations. I
encourage them to think about the technical possibilities and provide their
inputs to clients. This provides them with a well-rounded professional growth
that very few companies can provide.



 

Way of choosing my people

We look for more than just technical
expertise. Our hires need to have an entrepreneurial attitude and should be
able to roll up their sleeves and take up any work. I am also impressed by
extra-curricular activities they have done. Between two given candidates with
comparable technical capabilities we usually go with the candidate who may have
won, say, an essay competition.

Advice for fellow entrepreneurs

Believe. In yourself, in your product and
your vision. Your energy and passion will inspire confidence and will attract
the right set of people and circumstances.  And don’t do something that
you don’t believe in. Entrepreneurship can be tough with unexpected setbacks.
It may not be your first, second, third or fourth product idea that clicks but
it may be your fifth product iteration that finally takes off.  

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


I would focus more on building a unique
product rather than a services organization.


Experience of reaching out to potential investors

Our model is to work with entrepreneurs as
their partners and in the process we have also gone out to investor meetings to
help them raise money. Investors investing at the seed stage are usually
looking for a strong team that complements and works well together. Having a
working prototype is definitely an advantage when talking to investors however
what seems to impress investors the most is if you already have users and you
are able to show how well you understand your users.

Best company I admire globally

Apple continuously impresses me. Apple has
single-handedly transformed the state of mobile landscape. I think Steve Jobs,
was a fantastic visionary and a leader. His leadership style may not have been
the most congenial but he has deeply imbibed a culture of innovation and
ingenuity in the company. Apple’s fanatical focus on the user and on product
design has inspired other companies to do the same.

My thoughts related to entrepreneurship/ leadership and management

For an entrepreneur, leader and manager, I
cannot stress enough the importance of having the right team in place.

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