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Vicky Jain: India’s Economic Growth Has Been Exceptional in Recent Years. Buoyed by a Robust Democracy, Key Structural Reforms, Private Consumption, and a Rise in Government Investment

Vicky Jain of uKnowva.

Tell us about yourself?

I am one of the Founder of uKnowva, a cloud-based HRM software that happens to be the brainchild of Convergence IT Services.

I along with my co-founding members Abhay Talekar and Priyanka Jain have played an active role in the development of the software, which provides a 360-degree solution for HR Automation and People Management.

I have been responsible for the software’s exponential growth & operational excellence that has merited uKnowva the badge of a trusted brand. 

An engineer from Shah and Anchor Kutchhi Engineering College (Mumbai University) and an MBA from IBS, I feel constant innovation-led with creativity is the cornerstone for developing next-gen products.

The various products in the company are built on ingenuity that drives the way towards business excellence.

My ideologies for scaling products center towards an architectural roadmap that enable me to seize value in the long run.

My rich and diverse experience in the areas of Business Development and financial management has helped charter a sustainable growth path for uKnowva.

In December 2009, I was also conferred the prestigious Bharat Gaurav Award by IEDRA in New Delhi. My abiding love for reading and the need for an intellectual deep dive into books have played an important role in shaping his ideologies towards astute leadership.

What lessons has being an entrepreneur taught you? 

Here are some lessons I have learned through my entrepreneurial journey: You can achieve anything if you persevere. I never gave up. In front of me I had what I was passionate about and that mission sustained me.

I am always excited and motivated to go to work every morning because I know I can make a difference at the end of the day.

As I stayed true to my passion, I gradually learned some equally important things like: Gratitude Ethics Continuous improvement Managing failures and Hunting for every opportunity All these are essential if you wish to become a successful entrepreneur.

If you could go back in time to when you first started your business, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

I wish life could have a reverse button. These are some things I would advise younger me… Always keep a sales agenda from day one Hire and retain good talent even if it comes at higher cost and last but most importantly, innovation and learning needs to be a continuous process.

Without a continual process of learning, changes aren’t adopted and innovation doesn’t happen. Ultimately, businesses and employees lose out.

If organizations and individuals want to stay competitive in an ever-changing marketplace, they need to develop the skills needed to learn and innovate.

A lot of entrepreneurs find it difficult to balance their work and personal lives. How have you found that?

Yes, I agree with that totally. Especially when you start something, you need to give 200% of yourself which obviously is going to affect your personal life too.

But honestly, you reserve set times in your schedule for activities that allow you to recharge and that add value to your life.

Once you’ve established your business, you need to find a way to stay driven, while also making time for yourself, the things you enjoy and the people close to you.

Meditation can also help a lot here. I personally Practice Preksha Meditation for this and it has helped me a lot.

Give us a bit of an insight into the influences behind the company?

We actually started the company because of the recession in 2008 when we graduated.

The world was undergoing a recession and we had nothing to do, so to best use our time, we tried to do software and websites (mainly me and Priyanka Jain).

I made a software for my cousin and Priyanka Jain did the website and the story continued.

Honestly that software did not work that well, but the website we did for them worked very well and laid the foundation of our company.

What do you think is your magic sauce? What sets you apart from the competitors?

What sets us apart from our competitors are: Ease of use Flexibility offered by our HRMS and Intelligence

How have you found sales so far? Do you have any lessons you could pass on to other founders in the same market as you just starting out?

Sales are brutal and difficult at the start, but they are very sweet towards the end. It is the ultimate elixir of any business.

My advice would be to concentrate on sales from day one and if you are not good at it, find a better person who can do it for you and get him/her in the team.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced so far in your business, and how did you overcome it?

Most of us being engineers and techies, the biggest challenge was sales. However, we solved it by inducing technology in the entire sales process and by hiring better sales people than us in the team.

What do you consider are the main strengths of operating your business in India and the specific state you are in over other states in India?

India’s economic growth has been exceptional in recent years. Buoyed by a robust democracy, key structural reforms, private consumption, and a rise in government investment.

In addition to that, India has become a powerhouse in terms of technology innovation. India is now recognized as a major force in global technology innovation alongside the United States and China.

As far as the state of Maharashtra is concerned, there is availability of talent and increased exposure to target audience as well.

What (if any) are some weaknesses of operating your business within India and your state?

I believe in India the biggest challenge for startups is managing cash flows and the way the entire taxation and TDS returns are processed.

It just weakens the overall cash management process, for example: GST filings cannot go beyond a month for a company, but TDS returns processing to the same company by the government takes more than a year. I think this is one of the biggest weaknesses for businesses operating in India.

If you could operate your business in another state in India rather than the State you are in, which state would it be and why?

We might expand to Delhi or Bangalore for better business exposure and get hands on a vast talent pool.

India has an incredibly diverse population. How has the affected your consumer base and business?

Not much actually. We are a B2B software so finally what the enterprise decides, it has to be followed by all. B2B sales undoubtedly have complexities & challenges that aren’t as common in the B2C sector.

Infrastructure is really important to businesses. How have you seen India’s infrastructure improve recently? Do you see new opportunities opening up?

It has improved exponentially no doubt.

The government’s increased focus to create a digitally empowered economy is forecast to benefit all sectors, wherein core digital sectors such as information technology & business process management, digital communication services and electronics manufacturing are likely to double their GDPs to US$ 355-435 billion by 2025. In 2020, the Indian technology sector accounted for 8 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

In addition, the sector remained a net employer with emphasis on digital upskilling.

With the emergence of technologies such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of things (IoT), cloud computing, blockchains and robotics, the government can use these new avenues to further enable digital and technology growth in India.

What do you want to accomplish in the next 5 years with your business?

We want to become a global player and position ourselves as the SMARTEST HR platform available around the world.

And finally, if people want to get involved and learn more about your business, how should they do that?

No, it has not impacted as of now.

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