Be it life or business, Rohan Bhargava likes to make the most of both. An avid reader, fervent traveler and successful Indian entrepreneur, Rohan believes in pursuing everything with all his heart. He co-founded CashKaro.com in 2013 with his better-half, who he met while studying in London School of Economics. Cashkaro is one of the top online brands and offers cashbacks & vouchers of popular businesses like Yatra, Jabong, Myntra, Flipkart, dominos.
Rohan has had the opportunity of working with few investment companies like Aladdin Capital Management; Washington Square Capital Management, which enabled him to raise his business acumen as a strategist. He has completed BSc, Economics from London school of economics and earlier studied in US. As the co-founder, he plays various roles in branding, business development and portfolio management. Read in details about his business journey.
Please provide a brief overview of your product/ service.
CashKaro.com is India’s largest Cashback & Coupons site and works on the affiliate model. Members can get up to 60% Extra Cashback on partner sites including Amazon.in, Paytm, Snapdeal, Jabong etc. on their online shopping. All they need to do is visit the site from CashKaro and then shop. CashKaro receives a commission from retailers from which it pays Cashback. This cashback is in the form of REAL CASH. Best part is that Cashback is always paid over and above coupons, ongoing discounts and all other deals offered by retailers. This ‘EXTRA’ nature of Cashback is probably what makes CashKaro’s savings truly unique.
What inspired you to build the above product/service?
The success of Cashback sites in the West and the growth of ecommerce in India has been one of our biggest motivations for building CashKaro.com. In US, UK & Europe Cashback sites are very popular and have given savings worth billions of dollars to shoppers. CASHBACK is a recognized, tried & tested model and proliferates the idea of EXTRA EARNINGS – the innate trait of an Indian online shopper. Today, CashKaro.com is the market leader and manages over 5,500 transactions a day and has credited over Rs.15 crores of cashback to its valued members as REAL CASH.
What is your life mantra?
One mantra I believe in which is relevant to both business and life is that you have to work for everything in life, nothing comes easy! Also, I think its important to constantly evolve and never stop learning. CashKaro’s success can be largely be attributed to the fact that we ‘listen’ to our users and evolve accordingly. CashKaro began as a cashback site and today we act as a singular platform where one can SEARCH, COMPARE PRODUCTS & PRICES and EARN EXTRA CASHBACK across product categories and retailers.
What was the most challenging part of your journey till now?
Leaving a cushioned job and becoming an Entrepreneur has being one of the most challenging parts of my journey thus far. To leave a lucrative profession and put all your eggs in the entrepreneurship basket does raise eyebrows and comes with risks that you can’t ignore. Probably finding people who shared conviction and the same zeal was challenging too but we have been very lucky to have a team that shares our vision.
How did you overcome those challenges?
Having my wife Swati who is also the co-founder of CashKaro has helped me face the entrepreneurship hurdles at ease. Together we handpicked people who had the right skill set and also shared the same passion and vision as we do. Today we are a team of 50.
Share some details about the investments you have been able to fetch for the business till now.
In August 2013, we successfully raised $750,000 from a group of angel investors in the UK who are working in companies like Paypal, Gumtree, Investec & more.
How do you protect yourself from the problem of brain drain?
We as a company have never had a problem with brain drain. I feel that the relationship between an employer and employee is very symbiotic. While we are hiring the best talent it’s important that we give them quality assignments and an environment that they can thrive in.
According to you, what are the three qualities an individual must have to achieve success?
Perseverance is very important. Life in general comes with its ups and downs, it’s important to keep going even when the going gets tough. Being receptive to newer ideas always helps. Brushing away suggestions or opinions and ideas that people throw at you is never a good idea, you don’t know what gem is hidden among them. Most importantly you have to believe in yourself because if you don’t no one else will.
Which online tools/services/apps do you use the most and would like to recommend as well?
Since we are an online centric business, access to information and easy communication is critical. So for business Google Analytics is extremely useful. This is closely followed by Skype and LinkedIn for communication and networking.
Share any one habit you think makes you more productive?
I am an avid reader and always stay updated with everything that’s going on, not just in the start-up eco system but in the world at large. It’s useful because there’s inspiration everywhere and to stay ahead of the game you have to know what’s happening in the related fields. Also, I am an early riser. I think this habit has been very useful and definitely keeps me productive!
Share any one habit which you wish to change in yourself?
I am not as active on social media as Swati is but I definitely see the value in that. So perhaps that’s a habit I’d like to change in myself!
Answer in less than 50 words
One tip to success:-
If you want to do something, start now. Most people miss out on reaching their full potential because they never start. They are always preparing, planning and waiting for the best time to start. The truth is that you’ll never be entirely ready, start now and adapt along the way.
One mistake you believe every individual must avoid:-
Never do anything if your heart isn’t in it. I am a strong believer of doing something you love. Personally my biggest challenge in earlier job roles was not finding satisfaction. While financially rewarding, my heart was not in it, and that was really hard to cope with. I think the constant anxiety is what drove me initially to find my true calling in entrepreneurship.
One important lesson you have learnt till now:-
Agility is key. In our business we have to constantly be on our toes. Things in the digital market move very fast and the only way you can keep up with the trade is to have a robust and agile system.
What are your plans for the next 3 years?
Over the next 3 years, our efforts will be towards solidifying and cementing our market leader position in India in the Cashback & Coupons space. Also, we will be looking at expanding our presence in South Asia and a few other countries.
In the near future we will primarily be working on extensions and derivatives of our MOBILE initiatives including launching the CashKaro app. We’ll continue to work in parallel to grow the recently launched product comparison ecosystem while creating more partnerships with various other online businesses to build great synergies.
We expect to cross Rs 500 crores in GMV and credit more than Rs 25 crores as Cashback in the next 9 months.
If you get a chance to start your career again what would you do differently this time?
I don’t think there’s anything I’d do differently. I’m doing what I love and am loving every moment of it. It’s being a great learning experience and an exciting journey. I’m very lucky that Swati and I could do this together
What are your top 3 getaway destinations?
I love travelling and exploring new places. When I can take some time off work I’d love to visit South America and Galapagos Islands. Nearer to home Maldives has always been a favourite!
Share a quote that inspires you most
“Always deliver more than expected.” —Larry Page, co-founder of Google