C.R. Venkatesh talks about how his IT firm is surging ahead offering reliable technology and simple solutions to millions of customers the world over
Inside a large hall of a commercial building in Anna Nagar, 200-odd youths aged between 19 and 25 years silently tap away on computer keyboards. You will never guess that they are actually transacting business worth millions of dollars by equipping people from all over the world with comprehensive access to information and integrated solutions.
From technical improvement to web management and enhancement, Internet marketing to IT outsourcing , scalable and secure applications developing to synchronizing business operations and even ordering pizzas from neighborhood to downloading music – mute help goes out across millions of miles from desktops and laptops under this single air-conditioned roof.
At the helm “watching, monitoring and controlling” is 36 years young, friendly and “no airs” tech-savvy boss, C.R.Venkatesh.
The ‘other’ side
This Madurai-based IT entrepreneur has an interesting ‘other’ side too. He is a palmist, dream interpreter, amateur magician, movie buff, Rotarian, ardent blogger, has 800 friends on facebook, another 2,000 follow him on twitter, a travel maniac (has been to 64 countries and 132 cities), a voracious reader (from online magazines to business, economics and trade journals).
While these could be counted as his hobbies, what he unfailingly does is to constantly motivate and provide leadership to his youthful and talented team of executives. “We all have to stay strategically focused and relevant, keep things simple but not simplistic, unitedly and actively address challenging industry dynamics,” he shares his work formula.
One quote on, I tell him I am not a technical person and would rather hear him in lay man’s terms. And out rolls an interesting story of the Managing Director and CEO of Dot Com Infoway (DCI) Ltd., a leading custom software and mobile application developer headquartered in Chennai with development centre in Madurai, and its subsidiary movie portal, Galatta.com.
Embracing humility he starts not without mentioning, “I am where I am today because of my management team that strives to understand customers’ requirements and through innovative, ethical and strategically effective internet solutions makes them only winners.”
“Passion, determination and the desire to learn is all that I look for,” declares this mechanical engineer from Anna University, who incidentally has not hired professionals but local ordinary graduates with a drive.
For, he himself was one such soul. With Rs.1,50,000 as a loan from his parents and a dream in his heart, he set off on an unusual journey, breaking free from his family’s decades old textiles business.
From small town Madurai when he set foot in America after Graduation in 1995, he experienced the “most defining moment” of his life. He discovered the magic of internet and the power of e-mail and websites, something barely heard of back home.
Upon return, he started convincing people the advantages of sending emails than post cards and aerograms. Soon he set up shop with two computers and four staffers and became Temple Town’s first “Internet provider”. For young C.R.Venkatesh, also getting his own website more than 10 years ago was like walking on the moon.
His maiden venture “CRV Infotech” took off in ’96 summer and for the next four years he helped people send and receive e-mails at nominal cost. “Then internet using charges were high and equivalent to STD charges of Rs.30/minute. We were the first to get the ISDN node in the city and that made it faster,” he recalls.
CRV, as he is fondly called, was quick to realise the growing potential of his chosen field and also became the President of Internet User’s Community of India (Madurai Chapter). While internet cast its spell over the globe and the web established itself as a mass market media channel, there were still few IT companies in India. But
the then 26 years old youth sensed a gigantic opportunity in “dotcoms” – started first in 1985 in the US and somewhat becoming a proxy for the Internet.
Platform for success
“Globally dotcoms were fast becoming a part of lexicon, way of life, communication, interaction and online business. This technological revolution of all times is ‘the platform’ for business, entertainment, sports, finance, culture and how people connect with each other,” he describes.
Venkatesh took the plunge and started DCI in 2000 (after merging his CRV Infotech with his friend’s GNG Internet in Chennai) just when the dot com busted elsewhere. “I felt software development will still move and picked an industry that was really ready to grow and expand dramatically. Fortunately we have been in growth mode. Though main changes in internet access happened in the last five years, the massive Indian market is changing rapidly, mainstreaming professionals and smart marketeers. It has become an essential part of offices and homes today,” he says.
For the last 10 years, this 100 per cent export-oriented unit has been enabling visitors find their way to the required links and helping global enterprises execute their business strategies more effectively and efficiently by automating the cumbersome operations of an organization. With CRV’s business acumen and keen interest in new web technologies, the company has been credited for innovation and performance enhancement capabilities in worldwide markets.
Unique delivery model
“Every delivery model is unique and fuelled by passion to achieve higher levels of client satisfaction through cost-effective and innovative IT solutions. Today’s challenging business scenarios demand flexible, agile applications to meet new imperatives and accelerate core business processes,” asserts CRV, who cannot tear himself away from his laptop.
“It is always by my side. I even took it on my honeymoon shocking my wife,” he laughs, adding, “I receive at least 300 mails a day and if I skip checking, I may miss a business opportunity.”
With memory, negotiation skills, deep analysis and strategic business planning, CRV scores over others in the industry. “I want to create a strong IT base in Madurai and make DCI a Multi National Corporation,” says this social media enthusiast and a passionate Search Engine marketeer with all earnesty.
*DCI is a leading multi-disciplined professional IT service firm with ISO 9001:2000 certification.
*With its multi-lingual, multi-cultural clientele spread across America, Australia, Europe and Far East countries, it’s annual turnover now is 2.5 million dollars.
*It is a Microsoft Gold certified partner having built extensive competency in providing Microsoft.Net solutions and .Net application development services.
*It is a proud member of the prestigious NASSCOM.
*DCI has been consistently listed among the fastest growing companies in India and ranked as one of the top five Mobile development companies in India.
*In the last four years, it has become top three content aggregators and providers for Yahoo, msn and aol after these were launched India.
*DCI, with 300 employees in Madurai and Chennai offices, plans to set up base soon in The Netherlands, San Francisco, Dubai and China.
*It’s spectrum of services includes Custom Software Development, Mobile Application Development, Content Management Systems Development, e-Commerce solutions development and other complex software development projects, enhancing the business growth of its customers.
* DCI’s iPad and iPhone Application Developers have good expertise on developing business apps, location-based apps, entertainment apps, online audio/video streaming calendar & address book apps, healthcare applications, GPS applications, LBS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth applications and encryption-based apps.
*DCI designs and builds mobile applications that are customer-friendly and facilitate easy and quick data processing.
*Recently, it struck two big deals, with Android and Blackberry and tied up with the IPL T20 event, for developing mobile applications.
The iPhone Apps developed by them help fans stay informed of the scores, team-standing and even schedules. New advanced app including include video highlights, scorecards, commentary and other rich features are first time in the world.
* DCI’s music apps allow music lovers an all-inclusive legal access to the songs they love. It has signed a four movie contract with Sony Music and the apps for A.R. Rahman's compositions in the film 'Vinnaithandi Varuvaya' was developed by them.
* It has also developed the first-ever iPhone app for a movie in India.
* Galatta.com, a subsidiary of Dot Com Infoway Ltd, is popular movie portal offering information about South Indian Cinema with channels for Hindi, English and Bhojpuri. Live interviews, online chats with film personalities, trailers, song downloads, ring tone downloads, and live TV, etc add flavor to this portal.
* ‘Galatta Cinema’ is Galatta.com’s official monthly magazine issued with a lifestyle supplement called ‘G3′.
* DCI organized 75 years of Tamil cinema and a charity auction of celebrity memorabilia.
*DCI recently hosted Madurai’s first-ever ‘Twitter Camp’ and plans several such events in the future.