Entrepreneurship is all about having the never-say-die attitude, amply demonstrated by the founders of Ideacts Innovations.
As college students in Pune, Rudrajeet Desai, Maninder Gill and Sourabh Khullar came up with a concept of making money through cyber cafes, a new phenomenon back in 1999. They developed an application which replaced the normal desktop with custom software that shows advertising content on one half and provides user utilities on the other to make surfing more user-friendly.
It seemed the founders had hit the bull’s eye. And to their credit, without any professional experience, they roped in advertisers like Yahoo!, Hungama and Kinetic Honda.
But then came the dotcom bust that nipped their dreams in the bud. “We then moved on to gain professional experience in the IT domain,” recalls Desai, CEO, Ideacts.
In 2007, with internet penetration rising, the trio decided to relive their dreams and launched Ideacts Innovations. The market was growing and with an initial investment of Rs 10 lakh, they developed an application called Clinck, which is basically a combination of a desktop application backed by an ad-serving network.
Clinck works like a normal desktop, but the only difference is that it has shortcuts for icons like My Network Place, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Talk, etc with an search engine bar. It also acts as a cyber cafe management and security application.
There were quite a few people who doubted the credibility of these young entrepreneurs. “But the application was such that they believed in us and knew it could work very well for them,” says Desai. It was then they thought that the concept was a hit and advertisers as well as cyber cafe owners realised its potential.
Ideacts has worked with over 100 advertisers, including Nokia, Pepsi, Intel and Yamaha, and has its operations in over 50 cities with a Clinck installation base of 3,500-4,000. They partner over 400 cyber cafes. According to Neeti Malhotra, marketing head, Ideacts, advertisers come back to them as their application helps them in tracking each and every click on their ad. “What Clinck does is that it helps in creating advertising inventory right on the desktop,” she adds. Besides, Ideacts shares its revenue with cyber cafes.
The trio got a massive boost when they raised $5 million from venture capital firm Sequoia Capital India in 2007. The company successfully raised the series B funding from Sequoia and Silicon Valley Bank.
Ideacts is now offering a new service to cyber cafes in the form of an accounting software which works as a digital manager and also keeps record of consumers and their usage.