The invention of the wheel among many other factors supercharged the evolution of humanity. For too long, humans had found themselves constrained to move more quantities of goods and people from one place to another owing to the limitations of transportation by foot. Fortunately, with the fortuitous taming of select animals, the wheel gave an impetus for humanity to move more, across unchartered lands, discovering more human settlements and valuable materials in the process to trade with one another, and conquer. The world’s first empires were built with the wheel.
The transportation revolution was built on the combustion engine, where a process of converting heat energy into movement enabled visionary industrialists to build locomotives, passenger automobiles and heavy commercial vehicles. Now, transportation became a service to be rendered for the good of the people. Think Taxis, now synonymous around the world with Uber, Didi Chuxing, Ola, Kareem and others.
Seeing as the advertising business is fundamentally built on harvesting an individual or a group’s attention towards media, the idea of taxis merely serving as a medium of transport has evolved, to become another avenue for brands and companies to showcase their products and services.
We spoke to one of the startups operating in this market – iCabMedia, to better understand the business from the founders’ point of view.
Founder: Kirtan N. Adiecha
Co-Founder: Nipul Parekh
Give a brief info about your startup?
Established in mid 2018, iCabMedia is a young and energetic startup with highly enthusiastic, tech savvy and business oriented individuals working together for this startup based in Mumbai – India. Started by two like minded individuals, Kirtan Adiecha and Nipul Parekh, iCabMedia is your one-stop shop for Complete Taxi Advertising, Entertainment & Infotainment Solutions with its varied products & solutions offered to the end clients and cab passengers.
What made you start your startup and what problem does it solve?
A two hour trip in an Uber back in 2018 from point A to point B gave the idea of why not have a digital screen in taxi’s which will not only showcase Ads but also some information and entertainment to its cab passengers while their journey in transit in a particular city. It benefits the advertisers and businesses to showcase their brands, offers, services, etc. to a targeted, captive and a variety of audience at a much more cheaper cost.
Tell us about yourself, your previous jobs/ventures? What were you doing before this startup?
An entrepreneur at heart, I completed my under graduation from Temple University – Philadelphia, US with a degree in Bachelors of Business Administration in Management Information Systems in 2005 soon after which I joined a Healthcare IT Company called eClinicalWorks in Massachusetts / New York. I moved to Mumbai – India in 2014 with the same company having their local office in Mumbai as a Director of Sales & Business Development Executive managing the companies Asia and India market. Back in 2012, I also started another startup called Chotu.co then changing its name to TaskMug but closed down the operations within a year. In 2017, I quit my corporate job with eClinicalWorks India and began to focus full time in building iCabMedia till date.
Where is your startup based out of? Why do you think that is the best place for you?
Our startup is based out of Mumbai as its the financial and corporate hub of India. The reason to be here is to get in connect with big corporate houses and Media Companies which can give us access to attract more clients easily.
As a startup founder, what are you paranoid about? What keeps you awake at night?
For every startup founder and its co-founders the biggest nightmare is to sustain in the startup market as all of them wear multiple hats to run the company, which means taking care of the finances, marketing, sales, business development, human resource, customer service, accounting, management, etc. When all of the worries come together thats like a nightmare for me and my relative team members.
Who are your competitions and how are you better than them?
We have quite a few players in this market now and we believe everyone is good in their own product but for us it boils down to great customer service which is the key to any successful business and that is what we believe we focus more on a day-to-day basis. Also we at iCabMedia offer “Complete Taxi Advertising Solutions” so that the client doesnt have to look outside when it comes to taxi media and advertising solutions.
How hard is it to have a work-life balance as a startup founder and how do you manage it?
Work-life balance for any startup business and its members is different than the usual 9-5 job or any other corporate job. We do not have fixed hours and fixed days of work, our work is 7 days a week. For e.g. this interview which is also related to our startup is being done at 9:00 pm so a fixed time to disconnect from work does not make any sense for us. But yes we do give ourselves a break from work so that the next day it’s a fresh start with fresh new ideas to keep on building and working to get closer to our goals.
Have you raised funding? If yes, then we would like to know the details. If no then please tell us if you are looking to raise.
As of right now, NO we haven’t raised any outside funding but yes we are open to the idea of funding.
What gets you excited about this company?
For both Nipul and myself, the excitement comes as we partner with corporates whether it be a client / customer or an agency or a cab aggregator such as Uber who sees the potential of our products and solutions to make a difference in the Taxi Media business.
Tell us how a day in your life looks like? Your schedule for a day right from the time you get up till you hit the bed at night.
Every day is different because there are many things we do as a Founder and Co-Founder of this startup but typically each morning we get on a call to plan what works needs to be completed. Nipul looks into the back end of the company and it operations with regards to the IT and its logistics of getting the products to work as required along with working in close connections with our vendor partners. Whereas I look into the front end of the business scheduling my meetings and calls with clients, agencies and customers to focus mainly on sales, business development and marketing of our products and solutions.
Tell us about your team and how did you meet each other?
Nipul and myself are the ones for this startup and we hire freelancers and interns to grow our startup. Both of us are close friends since the time we met in US and do share a common passion of converting ideas into viable business startups since years.