Odimax enables users to monitor, measure, engage and manage all their social media marketing from one single platform. The social media intelligence system was created by Atal Malviya, who will be hoping to make Odimax his third successful exit.
Hi Atal, How are you doing, great to have you on YHP?
Hi, thanks for getting in touch with me.
Could you quickly give us some background information about yourself? Tell me about yourself growing up?
I was born and raised in India. I initially studied for a BSc. in Geology but decided to pursue a Masters in Computer Applications (MCA) from India and more recently in 2010 i achieved an MBA from Ashridge Business School in the UK.
I have always been involved in entrepreneurial activities since a very young age, I earned my first business dollar (rupee in India) when I was 12 years old.
I have worked with a number of global corporations such as Oracle Corporation and SAP etc. I have exited 2 businesses; I am currently on my 3rd start-up with ‘Odimax Limited’ which is an extension of my final year MBA project. I like to help other startups and entrepreneurs.
How did you get into business? Were you exposed to entrepreneurship as a child?
I had been exposed to many types of businesses while I was growing up, this gave me a great grounding and understanding of ‘what to do’ or rather what ‘NOT TO DO’ when you are trying to carve out a successful business. My family used to own a stationary manufacturing and retail business; this gave me first-hand experience from sales and marketing right down to the workshop.
I was always very keen to start my own business after I had commenced my studies, I was one of a handful of students in my class who were very clear about their career path towards entrepreneurship.
Who was your inspiration growing up and why?
In all honesty, no particular person stands out. I believe I am the way I am because I never followed one person, this may have been positive or negative but so far it turned out to be good for me.
What was the inspiration behind ODiMaX? How did the idea come about?
After exiting my second business, I realised the need for a formal business education (it was also a nice career break). The MBA gave me time and space to develop a new concept or idea. I was keeping a track on the fast growing Social Media Industry and realised some of the issues and problems for the marketers with the current monitoring tools available. I started working on the idea in September 2010 and registered Odimax Limited in March 2011.
So Atal, what is ODiMaX? What are you guys are trying to solve?
Odimax is most concise end-to-end social media intelligence system that allows companies to measure and manage their social media marketing campaigns from one place.
There are key issues with social media marketers where they are failing to get actionable intelligence from social media and unable to manage situations like social media crisis.
We solve their problems, more effectively than ever before.
What were you doing before you founded ODiMaX?
As I mentioned I worked with big ERP houses like Oracle Corporation and SAP in the past before starting my first business. I have a strong business intelligence background with data analysis and artificial intelligence. Before Odimax, I co-founded an IT & Immigration consulting company and a match making portal.
What was your biggest challenge during the starting up phase?
I have faced challenges with bringing the right team together; initially I started by myself with outsourced partners and freelancers, but soon was joined by two MBA colleagues to get the right balance and mix. We are working as a team since then and growing steadily and strategically.
How have you been able to fund the business?
I raised an initial investment from a close friend in the beginning (Friends & family round).
After sometime we managed to raise investment from some angels and some institutional investors.
What are the most crucial things you have done to grow your business?
I believe the most crucial thing is to have a very strong team, we have managed to achieve this team but it will continue to grow strategically.
If you could point out unique features that set ODiMaX apart from other social media platforms? What would it be?
We have developed an ‘End-to-end’ comprehensive solution, Smart crisis management and Intelligent & actionable analytics.
Would you say the business has changed from the first initial idea?
Yes, very much so. We have been developing Odimax in close association with PR and marketing companies who are the users of the system; obviously there have been many iterations and changes in the system.
On the business side as well, we have also gone through many constructive changes. I would say that if you want to build a successful business you should be ready for the RIGHT changes, because irrespective of you or your product the market will continuously change, if you do not consider them then you will be out of the market very soon.
What would you say has been the highlight of your entrepreneurial journey so far?
For Odimax, without a doubt I would say our selection for Ignite100. As you are aware Ignite100 is startup accelerator program based in Newcastle, 10 businesses were chosen from more than 150 applications from all over the world in 2011, we were selected as one of the successful 10.
We were also one of the teams that successfully made it through Ignite100 and finally secured the funding from the North East.
By the way the 2012 Ignite100 application process has begun, so fellow entrepreneurs can apply.
What can we be expecting from your company in 2012?
We have many new and exciting developments on both the business and technology side. I do not want to give away too much here, but I am sure you will be surprised soon.
What three pieces of advice would you offer entrepreneurs starting out today?
1) Right team is the key to success – always find and build relationships with right guys. A Team can either make or break the business.
2) Follow the 3Ps – Preparation, presentation and persistence.
3) Don’t start a business for the wrong reasons – if you want to make big and quick money go do a 9-5 job, only one day matters in an entrepreneur’s life and that is a successful Exit, unfortunately not many reaches to this point.