Gems of Joka : Shailvee Panjiyar – Entrepreneurship before MBA
This is a new series on InsideIIM.com where we profile interesting creatures on the Joka campus. This is the third story in this series where we meet Shailvee Panjiyar. She is another unique graduate who has experienced entrepreneurship before MBA. She still owns equity in her company. She co-founded an e-commerce portal focused on personal care and grooming products. She also started a not-for-profit portal. Her profile is among the best at Joka! Let’s meet her :
Tell us about your background
I was born and brought up in Bhopal. I graduated from IIT Kharagpur in 2009 post which I worked for JP Morgan as an Equity Research analyst from 2009-11. I am part of the founding team of an ecommerce company called Purplle.com which was launched in 2011. The company has secured its second round of funding within 1.5 years of its launch. I also founded an NGO called socialcoin.org. It is an online portal to bring together corporates, NGOs and individuals to raise and donate money for social causes, as well as garner support for them in the form of petitions.
Tell us about the experience of starting this site.
After almost 2 years for working with JP Morgan, I realized that I wanted to be an indispensable part of an organization where I had complete ownership of my work. In 2011, I was approached by my seniors who had an idea of starting up an e-commerce website focused on personal care and grooming products. This category had seen immense growth in developing countries like China and none of the Indian e-commerce companies were focusing on it. We did not want to join the ranks of another discount website but wanted to be an online store which was a one-stop shop for all the personal care needs of customers.
What kind of support did you get from your family, friends and mentors?
My friends and family were worried for me initially as I was leaving a comfortable job at JP Morgan to join a start up venture with uncertain future. Gradually as they saw my dedication to the venture and the enjoyment that I derived from my work they were really supportive and were as ecstatic as I was at each milestone that we achieved.
Are you still involved in your venture?
Yes I still own some equity in the venture but I am not longer involved in the day to day running of the firm.
So what brings you to MBA and IIM Calcutta?
The challenges of building an organization from ground-up and the satisfaction derived from leading it to success attracted me towards an entrepreneurial role where I learnt about different functions of a company at a smaller level. I would now like to work in different sectors where I solve the problems of large corporations to get a better understanding of factors that drive different companies. I believe that MBA at this point in my life would provide me with the right exposure, connections and credibility which would help me in achieving my goals and IIM Calcutta was an obvious choice for me.
What have your experiences at IIM Calcutta taught you vis-à-vis entrepreneurship?
Although I had worked across business development, sales, marketing, operations and customer relationship management in Purplle.com, I wanted to get a formal education in business management and strategy. In the four months that I have been here I have learnt a lot from the case based learning at IIM Calcutta which makes me aware of real life problems of corporations and how to go about solving them.
So what is next?
For the coming few years I would like to work on different projects across multiple sectors and verticals to get a better idea of with which industry I would like to associate myself for a long term.
Is there any message you want to pass on to people in b-schools who are considering entrepreneurship but are still “on-the-fence”?
If you are unsure and doubtful about being an entrepreneur then now is probably not the right time for you as it takes a lot of courage and patience to be one. You should probably wait for the time when you have a great idea and more importantly great conviction in your idea before jumping into entrepreneurship.
as told to Afzal Hussain
Afzal Hussain is a student at IIM Calcutta (Class of 2014). He did his BE degree from Birla Institute of Technology Mesra in Electrical and Electronic Engineering and worked as an IT Consultant in Deloitte for 2 years after that. He enjoys reading everything under the sun, listens to Apertura by Gustavo Santaolalla on loop and worships Fight Club.
Read everything about Entrepreneurship here