Be a sport

They claim ‘Indian is Shining’ – the youth is supposedly the future and the foundation of this Shining India.

While most of this Indian youth brigade is hanging out in clubs, coffee shops there is a miniscule population shining with its best foot forward. Cricket lovers have taken this country by storm since the turn of the 20th century, but the love for other sports has evolved only now. Slowly there has been a rise in followers for other sports in this cricket-crazy nation of ours.

The journey

After passing out of DPS Noida in 2002, Porush took up a rather unknown path when he opted for B Tech Mechatronics; a combination of mechanical and electronics. “We ended up making quite a few robots till 2006 when it ended,” quips Porush. A self-proclaimed die-hard sports fan it was when he worked with Infosys followed by a MBA in Marketing did the idea of Sportskeeda emerge. Porush elaborates on how it all began “The journey of a Sportskeeda (untitled then) kick started out of my hostel room in Symbiosis Bangalore. Initial hurdles were numerous. ‘Shall I attend the placement interviews or not, shall I opt out of placements or not’ is a question that hounded me for weeks. Eventually though my entrepreneurial bug won.”

He recounts how tight cash flow was in the first two years when he was forced to create websites for others as a freelancer to collect capital and also ending up taking five- month desk job under parental pressure. Now a B.Tech with an MBA – the six-figure offers must’ve come in hordes. Why then would a 25-year-old opt for the challenges of a business start-up rather than a cushy chair in the corporate world?

“My dad,” comes the pat reply “His success as a businessman was always my inspiration. Living in Bangalore I was fascinated by their startup culture and also web 2.0. With the burning desire to start my own company, I took the plunge.

My mindset being that even if my startup didn’t take off all I was going to lose was two years. I’d still have my educational qualifications to land a job after that if I wanted. Besides a two year entrepreneurial experience teaches you far more than a corporate one.”

The web

Ask Porush about why an online portal out of all the other business options especially a sports one at that because by 2009, there were already a few floating around and he explains, “Back in 2009 there were some 20 cricket websites, but none that catered to other sports; I saw a huge gap in the market and marked this as my business opportunity. The initial response was very encouraging and I think that happened mainly because our positioning was not that of a news site but of a voice for the fans.”

Now a website is only successful if you manage to bring visitors to your site, hold their attention and bring them back for more. How did a sports website manage to attract that? Porush emphasises how word of mouth is always the best marketing tactic. “Remember, people will talk about either because they love it or they hate it.

Social media and search follow a close second— I worked at promoting my site through all kinds of social media avenues. Being a geek + marketing professional helped me draw up promotion plans.”

The future keeda

Porush is currently working towards taking his keeda global this year, kind of to be the Facebook of sports; the largest networking portal for sports fans. Ask him to dish out some advice for youngsters wanting to take the entrepreneurial path and he replies, “Perseverance and hard work always pay. Ask for honest reviews from people you trust and always ask yourself ‘am I doing the right thing? If your answer is yes that’s all the validation you really. “Dream big!” Quoting Ajim Premji, he says, “If people are not laughing at your goals, your goals are too small” he signs off.”

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Printable version | May 10, 2021 12:57:07 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/nxg/be-a-sport/article4481658.ece

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