The journey of Srikanth Iyer - entrepreneur, sports enthusiast and family man
09th, July 2017 - Featured entrepreneur
Srikanth Iyer is one of the most self-confident entrepreneurs I've ever met and I mean that in the best way possible. He is an involved, focused and intelligent man, who can literally top your list of the most successful men in the Indian startup scene. Here’s why.
Coming from a Iyer family, now Bangalore based, Srikanth's father was a first generation entrepreneur and he says that he always saw the benefits of working for himself. He holds a BE from RVCE, Bangalore and a post graduate diploma in Software Engineering from Harvard University and carries with him, 21 years of experience in IT entrepreneurship. Unlike other software engineer graduates who end up in white-collar jobs within four walls of an office, Srikanth chose to write his own future and in fact, his own salary. He started his first venture in 1993,Total Solutions, which manufactured computer hardware. He ran the business for seven years along with 15 team members. Moving from hardware, he started his software business (which was then booking in India) and subsequently, established two companies, Diksha Technologies and Edurite. He gave 14.5 years into these ventures.
(Edurite was taken up by TutorVista and later taken over by Pearson India Education services, where Iyer served as the CEO for a year-and-a-half. Recently Pearson India was acquired by BYJU's, the learning app)
Srikanth's next big thing is, HomeLane.com.After spending almost 15 years in the education sphere, he chose to establish a Startup in the modular furniture and interior design space. To know what HomeLane in a nutshell, I will give you a scenario. You have a homeyou need interiors — but finding the best person for the job in a market with a million options and your neighbourhood carpenter, can be very trying. Plus the unexplained costs, the delays and uncertainty about quality. HomeLaneis your answer. You can even customise what you want according to your preferance and budget, and the team gets it done for you in a maximum of 45 days or else, they pay you the rent.
"A business can't be good at everything, and you choose the focus areas to be good at. So, one must be good at one service rather than being bad at a variety of them.”
HomeLane may offer 50 colours rather than a 1000. We want to have time and quality in control", says Srikanth. The present status of HomeLane- an organisation with an employee count of 180 and has a marked presence in four metro cities, delivering two homes a day.
Latest Feature - SpaceCraft
The whole cycle from the first meeting with a designer to finalising the first draft of design took a lot of time — around 30-40 days — with plenty of back and forth. With SpaceCraft, a revolutionary virtual home design platform customers can watch their dream home come to life virtually within an hour. SpaceCraft offers a video conference between the home owner and the designer which reduces the time used up for designing from 45 days to 10 days. The customers get their home design and quotation immediately, which is a first for homeowners. This gives them room to iterate according to budget and revise the quote. Did we mention that all this can be done from the comfort of your home or office? No more traffic to navigate or appointments to rush to. Customer satisfactionis guaranteed with an innovation like this. The platform is barely two-months old but has recieved good feedback from customers and bagged orders worth Rs 1 Crore in a limited time frame.
Sailing through tough times
Srikanth mentions that his toughest decisions in business include- taking over as the CEO of Edurite when the company was facing high cash burn situation, running on 100 employees. Srikanth downsized the company in a single day, by letting go of 75 employees. Though he was not comfortable with the decision, he does not not regret it. At the time of merger with TutorVista, Edurite had more than 1500 employees.
Advice for young entrepreneurs.
"For those who wants to raise fund as soon as they start the company- don’t raise any for your first business or as soon as you start off. Bootstrapping is the better way to fund the business", his piece of advice to the younger generation that wishes to follow his path. "Understand what the problem of the customer is, know how big it is size, and wnsure you have the right skills to solve the problem and be passionate about what you do", he adds.
Srikanth likely to stay healthy - he he enjoys his walks and does yoga too. Apart from that, he has also represented Karnataka in table tennis match during his college days. He also says he spends quality time with his family, in spite of his busy schedules.
Srikanth has also proven that you don’t need to work in a particular field just because you ended up studying a course landing you in that field or let the bosses define stability and salary in the job. Srikanth sets an example of thinking through the road less chosen.Srikanth Iyer has proven to be an excellant addition to the Startup community.
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Pursuing Computer Science and Engineering in Mangalore. Loves to code and write about Startups. Favourite language C. Loves to read about science and life. Role model - Thomas Alva Edison.