People, Product, & Then Profits: Ankur Warikoo, Co-Founder & CEO of Nearbuy

The journey of an entrepreneur is difficult and certainly not predictable. According to a study conducted by IBM Institute for Business Value and Oxford Economics, India is the third-largest startup ecosystem in the world, with 90% of startups failing within the first five years of inception. The journey to building a ‘successful startup’ is an uphill task for any entrepreneur and cannot be achieved by only the founding team in an organization. Building a ‘successful startup’ is a team effort and employees play the most important part to turn ideas into reality. Culturro’s team was in conversation with Ankur Warikoo, Co-Founder & CEO of Nearbuy, an online marketplace startup known for its culture and unique way of doing things in its organization.

Nearbuy is Ankur’s third venture and he definitely understands what it takes to build a successful organization. He says, “In the journey to build a successful organization the hardest part is not finding the customer or product-market fit but it is building a team that can translate your vision into reality”. Ankur’s biggest learning to date has been, people come first followed by product and then profits. He says, “Any other order does not work if you want to build a successful company.”

For Ankur Warikoo, the definition of the right team is the one that shares the same vision and commitment towards the idea. To build a team that is culturally attuned and adept, an organization needs to invest in its hiring process. At Nearbuy, the hiring starts with a culture fitment assessment where candidates are asked to answer scenario-based questions to understand their underlying value system. Following the culture assessment is the technical round, which is similar to a GMAT test. Ankur adds, “All people at Nearbuy have to take the technical test. Average and median scores are set for all functions and new hires need to be above the average company score. This is Nearbuy’s way of raising the bar.”

The right team is made up of the right talent. While selecting the right talent at Nearbuy, a prerequisite is the candidate’s willingness to learn or in simple terms his attitude. According to Ankur Warikoo, “We know a candidate is right for a team if has the right attitude, right experience, and right education. The order of attitude, experience and education is very important.” Nearbuy hires people from all diversities and backgrounds and even has chefs and doctors in their sales team.

Right talent has a positive impact on an organization’s workplace experience. The right workplace experience can really help an organization in tough times. Building the right workplace experience requires a willingness and strong mindset of the founding team in an organization. Ankur feels, “To create the right workplace experience in an organization, HR should not be treated as a function. In fact, HR is everyone’s responsibility and it starts with the founders”. Ankur believes three golden rules to build the right culture in an organization are

  • A great employee is 10 times better than a good employee
  • Great employees attract great employees but this is not necessarily true for good employees
  • The Head of HR is the CEO, it’s a founders job

Getting the workplace experience right in an organization is an iterative process. Ankur strongly advises young entrepreneurs to focus on building a good workplace experience for their employees. He says, “Do not try and create a workplace experience that you cannot abide by in the future. Don’t try and force-fit anything. Carve out the boundaries of your workplace experience and start figuring out who can fit within this boundary.”

In essence, startups are often the reflection of the founder’s personality. Young entrepreneurs should always keep in mind that their mindset will eventually become the company’s mindset and this is how knowingly or unknowingly a culture is set in an organization. Additionally, the right workplace experience starts with the right team, and the right team is attracted by the right workplace experience. Focusing on Workplace Experience and HR from the start of the journey is strategic to the success of any organization.

This article was first posted on the BW Businessworld platform on September 14, 2017, as part of Workplace Experience Ranking 2017 knowledge series

Comments are closed.