Five years ago, Pratik Gupta, Paritosh Ajmera, Suveer Bajaj and Harshil Karia were the regular 19-year-olds, living it up and planning a trip to Goa. Then the quartet did something unexpected—they decided to cancel the holiday and use the money to start their own venture. “We had borrowed Rs 16,000 each from our parents to bankroll the trip, but then we realised that Rs 64,000 was a lot of money. Around this time, we had also been toying with the idea of starting an enterprise, so we figured we would use the money as seed capital,” says 24-year-old Gupta.
Today, Foxymoron is a Rs 15 crore company and one of India’s leading independent digital agencies.
They began by becoming service providers, handling everything from data entry jobs to providing content for websites. Karia offered a spare room at his south Mumbai home as the group’s headquarters. “We were attending college in south Mumbai, so it was convenient for all of us to operate from there,” explains Karia. “Next, we advertised on the social media and freelance websites,” says Karia.
Finally, in May 2008, Foxymoron launched operations and landed their first customer a month later. A mutual friend helped them bag a big order for printing customized logos on T-shirts. “We were to design and print 1,500-2,000 tees, but the opportunity turned into a setback. The customer refused to accept the order and we ended up with losses of nearly Rs 1.3 lakh,” says Gupta.
The four were compelled to take an additional loan of Rs 25,000 each from their parents. “Though we were disappointed, we decided to hang on. Our parents, too, were supportive because we were trying to do something productive instead of wasting time,” says Karia. They figured that since they were only 19 at the time, they could easily explore other options after bagging their degrees, if things did not work out. Three months later, they landed a job to create a digital video for a friend’s father. “We put in a lot of effort and the client was very happy with our work,” says Gupta.
A big break came in September that year, when the head of PVR Pictures got in touch with them after seeing their profile on one of the freelance sites. They landed the job of designing the movie poster for the film Ghost Ghost Na Raha, which opened the floodgates for more work. In February 2009, the quartet decided to shift to a small office at Church gate, which belonged to one of their friends.
“We redid the 250 sq ft space to save on the costs,” explains Bajaj. Their hard work paid off, and by the end of the first year of operations, Foxymoron had grown to a 15-member team with 20-25 clients and a turnover of Rs 10 lakhs. “Initially, we weren’t even paying our employees properly, handing out pen drives to most. We thought it was a fair enough payment, given the high price tags in 2009,” says Ajmera.
By March 2010, the venture was making enough money to be able to rent a bigger office at Lower Parel. Today, the 150-employee company provides end-to-end digital solutions, be it website design and development, video production, search engine optimization or social media services. Its 250 clients include brands like L’Oreal Group, AXN, Castrol, Star Sports and Rajasthan Royals. Foxymoron was also the first Indian digital agency to bag the international annual Shorty industry award earlier this year for a campaign for Maybelline.
The company posted a turnover of nearly Rs 15 crore in the previous financial year and has recently opened an office in Delhi. The co-founders are now eyeing a target of Rs 25 crore by the end of this financial year.
Courtesy: The Economic Times
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