For as long as we can remember, the success of any startup has depended on birthing a game-changing idea and executing it to perfection.
India is one of the most conducive nations in the world for startups and budding ventures. This has helped give birth to hundreds of entrepreneurs, who have not only been successful in establishing their startups but also at using them as a pedestal for the promotion of Indian culture.
One startup founder from the Northeast India region, in particular, that has all it takes to break the glass ceiling and is steadily seizing the moment as it comes is Pankaj Mazumder. He is the co-founder of two notable startups; telecom startup WisTech and health-tech startup Oxyfind.
His entrepreneurial journey didn’t just blossom overnight. He describes his journey as one filled with ups and downs. He says, “My journey began in my B. Tech final year days. I made a website called Wikibuy. It was a basic website where students could exchange, buy and sell books. After some days, I realised it was not taking off. I almost lost hope and thought of just looking for a job. I was too immature to realise that it’s very normal to fail at the beginning. I tried another venture at the time, but it failed as well. The only thing I realised is that it’s cool to fail but not cool to give up; every time we fail, we get more experienced, and we need to embrace the rejection.”
He began the WisTech startup with Litan Roy and currently serves as the chief technology officer (CTO). The startup is aimed at providing high-speed Internet to residents of North East India irrespective of the remoteness of their communities. “When we began, we had the 3G network, and high-speed Internet was very costly and not easily accessible. My partner and I thought about solving this problem. It gave birth to our venture, WisTech. As a result of this startup, the person who lives at the remotest corner has the same access to information as Elon Musk. During the early days of WisTech, it was not smooth. Initially, we had many projects that failed badly,” he says.
The market for telecommunications in India is a large one. Speaking about how they have managed to navigate through the competition and stand out, he says they do not have direct competition. “We offer full package solutions starting from scratch to full project setup. If you want to start a broadband Internet distribution business in your area, we will assist you with the technology, training, support, device consultation. After that, we will hand over the project to you once everything is live and running,” he says.
Continuing, Pankaj underscored the need to keep the startup and running cost as low as possible, so as not to overburden the client. “We try to use minimum resources to make sure that you break even if the project will last for less than ten months. Assuming you have 60 users in your village or town, we will make the project cash positive, and at the end of the month it will generate Rs 15,000 to Rs 25,000 for you, and that’s our USP,” he adds.
The health tech startup he co-founded with fellow entrepreneurs Nabajyoti Das and Bapan Biswas is another successful venture that is changing lives in no small way. Called Oxyfind, it aims to improve the experiences of patients using artificial intelligence (AI). With grants from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and IIM Calcutta Innovation Park (IIMCIP), Oxyfind is set to take over the health-tech sector and provide patients with the much-needed convenience which conventional hospitals lack.
According to Pankaj, they began this startup as a way to solve the problems that exist in the health sector. “While brainstorming with Nabajyoti and Bapan, we realised the common problem we encounter while visiting any clinic or hospital is the crowded waiting rooms which are very tiresome and thus makes the patient’s experience a bitter one. Today, we can track our order from Amazon or Flipkart, our cab arrival time and even track our online food, so why not the patient’s consultation slot? This gave birth to the idea of Oxyfind.
“The sole purpose is to make sure that patients can track their consultation slot with a doctor in real-time from their phone which will make the patient’s experience smooth as they optimise the existing resources of clinics and hospitals,” he notes.
With the success of his startups, Pankaj describes their revenue model and turn over. “The revenue model for WisTech is a form of revenue sharing. We split the revenue in certain percentages where we look at the backend technologies, bandwidth and servers, while our WisTech channel partner looks after the last mile connectivity to end customers. I remember during the early days of WisTech, I had to put my M.Tech scholarship into it. The turnover for last fiscal year was Rs 20 lacs. In Oxyfind, since we developed the product in-house, the investment was very minimal. Last year we got a grant of Rs 4 lakh from MeitY and IIMCIP which helped us a lot,” he says.
This young entrepreneur is inspired to change the world, one startup at a time. By proffering solutions that will make lives easier, Pankaj is relentless in his service to humanity.