Synopsis – One of the greatest barriers Shaadi.com and Mittal faced were cultural. People would often raise questions like “Why should we go online to find a suitable mate?” and “What if there is a bot on the other side and not a real person?”
Anupam Mittal’s entrepreneurial journey is all about having an educational stint abroad, realizing the potential of an idea and returning back to India to execute it. Back in 1990, Mittal was studying in USA and working with Microstrategy, a business intelligence software firm. The internet had just began booming in US and he realized this was going to change the world sooner or later. Once a year, would return to India.
In 1997, when he visited India, he started doing some web development for some companies from his father’s office. A traditional matchmaker once approached him with bio data’s et al. of prospective brides for him. This is when the idea to take the entire matchmaking experience online struck him. Without thinking much, in the same year he launched sagaai.com. It was one of his first entrepreneurial experiments. They were focused on web development as opposed to making money. He did all this and continued working in the US.
In 2001, he quit his job and moved to India and changed the name of the venture to shaadi.com. Mittal invested all his money into the business as initial capital. It was only in 2006, when they chose to raise external capital. He knew he had built a decent brand and the business was good. He created a mobile application company called mauj.com. He raised capital from Sequoia, Silicon Valley Bank and Intel. In total they raised USD 20 million in between shaadi and mauj.
One of the greatest barriers Shaadi.com and Mittal faced were cultural. People would often raise questions like “Why should we go online to find a suitable mate?” and “What if there is a bot on the other side and not a real person?” Mittal had to find answers to it all. He truly believed that there would always be doubters and haters but to be an entrepreneur, one has to take everything with a pinch of salt. Close to ten years back, many did not understand the concept behind shaadi.com. Buying advertising was difficult too.
From being a simpleton who was studying and working abroad to one to being voted as one of India’s 50 most powerful people by BusinessWeek, Mittal has come a long way. Apart from being an entrepreneur, he is an investor too. His investments comprise of companies like Ola Cabs, Druva, Pretty Secrets, Café Zoe and several others. Today Mittal is founder and CEO of People Group, which owns businesses such as Shaadi.com, the world’s most successful matrimonial site, Makaan.com, Mauj Mobile and People Pictures.
He truly believes that India is witnessing a big change and is embracing entrepreneurship with open arms. He stated “If you go back seven to ten years, there was a stigma of failure. So everybody used to take up jobs as engineers, doctors and so on. Now it is easier, people are accepted even if they fail.”