Kulbhushan Kalia, also famously known as ‘KK’, is the all-round business professional, Founder, CEO and the driving force behind Avejana.
Avejana connects brands, retailers and consumers in the ecommerce space that thrive on user generated content marketing and management, to attain exhilarating solutions such as: review generation, on-site, marketing, SEO, network, etc. They assist and empower the brands to control all the consumer dialogue that happens around their products.
KK began his career with Essar Steel Limited as a Deputy Manager (Economic and Strategic Analysis Unit), soon after completing his Masters of Business Administration (MBA) in Marketing from the KJ Somaiya Institute of Management Studies and Research (Mumbai) in 2005.
He has also worked with companies like Fidelity International as an Industry Specialist – Metals and Mining, and as Asst. Fund Manager (Equities) with Canara HSBC Life in his past.
A much sought after investment process consultant, KK also was the founder member and Asst. Fund Manager while at HSBC’s India Life Insurance JV, where he co-managed US$250 million. He invested actively in sectors such as FMCG, Consumer Durables, Fashion & Retail, Logistics, Metals & Mining, Cement and Power.
A visionary that he is – KK is on a mission is to enable companies to come up with better customer propositions, and also aims to transform himself into a Catalyst to the growth of businesses by helping them manage and understand consumer expectations better.
Please provide a brief overview of your product/ service.
aveJana helps online stores automate their review collection, generate more reviews, market the best reviews, drive qualified traffic, increase conversions and boost sales. It helps users get more reviews as our exclusive Inmail technology ensures almost 2x reviews than most other solutions out there. Our 3SEO technology helps search engines easily crawl reviews on product pages and potentially opens up online stores using avejana to thousands of long tail keywords. This brings in more qualified traffic and leads to higher conversions and sales. aveJana also comes integrated with social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter which help ensure a wider reach for the best reviews of our clients.
What inspired you to build the above product/ service?
As a former Asst. fund manager with HSBC’s India Life insurance JV, I met a lot of start ups. I realized that they have a huge problem in terms of cost of customer acquisition (CAC). I set out to find ways of bring CACs down and that is where the idea for aveJana started.
What is your life mantra?
Make each day count! Live life to the full, give back to society wherever you can and go to sleep with a clear conscience each day.
What was the most challenging part of your journey till now?
Managing resources. Being a small firm adds a lot of agility to our business. But that agility also means that we are constantly trying new things and quickly changing course. It puts a lot of stress on resources and managing them effectively does become some what of a challenge.
How did you overcome those challenges?
The mindset was always there to start something of my own. In fact when I had met my wife for the first time ever, this is the first thing I had told her. I was in a cushy job at the time, but I wanted her to know that this was not the path I would be on forever. And so most things in life were planned around this move. When I finally took the plunge I was very lucky that everyone from my parents to my colleagues to my ex-boss and even the CEO of my ex-company were so supportive. Of course nothing would have been possible had it not been for the support of my wife.
Share some details about the investments that you have been able to fetch for the business till now.
aveJana is currently bootstrapped.
According to you, what are the three qualities an individual must have to achieve success?
Positive attitude, Perseverance and Humility.
Which online tools/ services/ apps do you use the most and would like to recommend as well?
I think Leadin is a great free resource that can help start ups capture leads. The other that I have just started using is Zarget. Its an Indian SaaS startup just like us and is a live example of how great businesses are getting built in India in this space.
Share any one habit which you think makes you more productive.
There are two actually that make the most difference to my productivity each day. One is that I get up at 5 AM everyday (Now targeting for 4:30 AM). This gives me 2.5 hours of a completely peaceful work environment where I can concentrate without any distractions. The second is regular workouts. I am avid swimmer during the summers and play a lot of tennis during winters. A workout always helps clear the head and keeps one fit to do more.
Share any one habit which you wish to change in yourself.
Ha ha ha. Oh I sometimes overthink things. I need to go with the flow more I think.
Answer in less than 50 words
One tip to success:
When you do something, do it to ace it otherwise don’t do it at all.
One mistake you believe every individual must avoid:
Not believing in himself and waiting for things to fall in place.
One most important lesson that you have learnt till now:
As a CEO you realize that resources are never enough. It is important that you learn prioritize things well.
What are your plans for next 3 years?
We will make aveJana’s the world’s best User Generated Content Marketing solution. Next we will move towards making aveJana a multi product SaaS company.
If you get a chance to start your career again what would you do differently this time?
I would definitely start up a business early. May be couple of years of working in a large organization and the straight away jumping to my own start up.
What are your top three getaway destinations?
Kasauli Kasauli and Kasauli. I absolutely love the place. Its my dream to have a cottage nested in the hills of Kasauli.
Share a quote that inspires you the most.
I am a very spiritual person and I really love this quote “Teri rehmaton mein koi kami nahi, meri ehtiyat mai dheel hai.” When translated in English it means “There is no dearth in His generosity, its me who’s the careless..”. I live by the philosophy.