Business Tycoon Interview At Tycoonindia
Venkatesh Krishnamurthy, fondly called KV by his friends, has been a true Bangalorean! He was born and brought up in Bangalore. He has traveled to many countries from Cambodia on the east to the US on the West. He has stayed abroad for short durations numerous times. He says that Bangalore definitely played a very significant role in being where he is today. For example, gaining admission to Indian Institute of Management Bangalore became an obvious goal for him to set! He thinks Bangalore is a connected place and people in the networks can be reached easily. When Tycoon India spoke with him he was at his eloquent best. With his excellent credentials, deep knowledge and fine business skills, it is no wonder that he has taught courses at 9 campuses of 7 Indian Institutes of Management in India and abroad!.
Tycoon India: How much education do you have (college degree, high school diploma, etc.)?
Venkatesh: I have a Bachelors degree in Electronics Engineering from Bangalore University, a Post Graduate Diploma from the Indian Institute of Management and a Certificate in French from the Alliance Francaise de Bangalore.
Tycoon India: Do you think “Street Smarts” are important in how successful you have become?
Venkatesh: To an extent, yes. Being street smart comes in handy while pricing one’s products and services. I am finding this increasingly useful with my FinTech venture Fee Plaza, as merchant decision makers are very well wired up in their brains on money matters.
Tycoon India: Did you invent or make another product better? Or did you start a service?
Venkatesh: Fee Plaza platform is an invention. It is the first merchant-white-labeled, plug’n’play, no hassle non-financial-data-reconciliation platform. So Fee Plaza does not have any competitors in this space. There are other services offered by Fee Plaza and those have competitors.
Tycoon India: How important do you think knowing the “right people” is when doing business? Do you have a lot of friends?
Venkatesh: There are two aspects that are related. It is very important to know the right people as well as it is important to be trustworthy. Trust is gained from living up to the promises, being reliable and legally correct, especially in FinTech business. I do have quite a big circle of friends that are highly capable and many of my friends are better than me in a plethora of matters.
Tycoon India: How did you get where you are now?
Venkatesh: It now seems that my FinTech company Fee Plaza was just waiting to happen anyway. That is because I am very comfortable with Information Technology and have been in it since 1995. I have studied Finance & Law, as parts of my post-graduation. So FinTech entrepreneurship was a natural progression. When I incorporated Fee Plaza, many of my close friends said it was long overdue and was the correct step I had taken! Only the market will judge whether Fee Plaza will be a success. The Product Management expertise I gained from working in world class companies was very useful. That’s a strong factor which helped Fee Plaza’s to launch its service within 3 months of the incorporation.
Tycoon India: Did you fail a lot? If you did, give us 2 examples
Venkatesh: I did fail a few times and failures can be unnerving. Initially Fee Plaza’s service was marketed to the education sector, but I probably had overestimated the traction. Also, there are instances where I could have priced Fee Plaza’s services slightly higher. I think a very important way to overcome failure is to innovate and focus all the resources to come out of failure.
Tycoon India: Where was your first job? Did you help lead you to who you are now?
Venkatesh: I began my career with the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) – the supercomputer company of the Government of India. Though I joined their office in Bangalore, probably because I topped in their selection process, they posted me to the Head Office in Pune. I did live in Pune for a few months in 95-96, but felt a network void there, things may have improved there now… C-DAC was my first teacher in Marketing and Sales. I did very well, earned a few million rupees for C-DAC in sales and recovered way more from its earlier sales. C-DAC gave the freedom to try, explore and to succeed.
Tycoon India: What would be your ideal job?
Venkatesh: Ideal job will have no politics, no long daily travel to & from work, brings in positive benefits to the customers.
Tycoon India: What made your business successful?
Venkatesh: Solving a few real problems experienced by merchants and payers during online payment collection
Simplicity of the service (easiest to subscribe and use); trust I had gained with my mentors, networks, merchants and others; fiscal discipline; focus on the work; discipline in legal and regulatory compliance.
Tycoon India: Who was your role model?
Venkatesh: Many role models for many reasons – parents, uncle (fiscal discipline), JRD Tata, Ratan N Tata, Warren Buffett – all for their achievements and humility.
Tycoon India: Is being famous important?
Venkatesh: It is! The product or service is god and that has perform excellently in the market, to become famous. Entrepreneurs are only its priests, can be happy with its success and can celebrate quietly!
Tycoon India: Has your company won any awards or participated in conferences or been nominated as best in industry? Have you received any appreciation from the industry?
Venkatesh: Fee Plaza is one of the very few Indian companies that qualified to the final round of FinTechASEAN (hosted by the Government of Singapore) in 2017. Many of our Merchants keep sending us their emails, appreciating Fee Plaza. ! I am glad and fortunate for Fee Plaza has found acceptance in the market.