StartupEd had an exclusive interview with Manoj Agarwal, one of the founders of Xoxoday. Xoxoday SaaS platforms helps enterprises to digitize and automate employee or channel engagement, rewards and recognition. Companies, big and small, use this SaaS platform to engage and reward their employees or channel partners like distributors, retailers or agents.
Read his story below:

Q: Tell me a little bit about your background and education?

I come from a small town in Rajasthan Haryana and I did my schooling from a residential school there. I have done my engineering in computer science from Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh and worked with companies like Yahoo and Flipkart. Post that, I did my MBA from IIM Kozhikode.

Q: What made you switch from the mainstream job to entrepreneurship? Was this a tough choice for you?

I belong to a family with a business background. I have seen entrepreneurs in my family, right from my young age which gave me a lot of convenience and comfort. Secondly, my job profile at Yahoo played a crucial role in helping me make this decision because in those days Yahoo used to be much bigger than Google and the culture was very entrepreneurial. All these things motivated me a lot, so, the decision wasn’t that tough for me.

Q: How did you come up with the idea of your venture and what was your “Eureka moment”?

When I was working with Flipkart, though I was responsible for marketing, I was also looking after their gift card vertical. I found that digital gifting was still an unsolved problem globally and not many companies were doing it. That was the trigger point which made me start a gifting company. I, along with the other co-founders, started this company with the name Giftxoxo. After working on it for a couple of months, we realized that gifting in B2C is largely through large e-commerce players and a vertical player only in regular gifting was a very small opportunity. Hence, we did a small pivot from gifting regular gift items to gifting experiences like adventures, wellness, hobbies etc. This was the “Eureka moment” for our venture. We started getting orders and we were able to build a strong customer base and the idea was liked by a lot of consumers and companies alike.

Q: What kind of experiences do you provide?

We provide a large variety of unique experiences like a village experience in a Metropolitan city. We have also got some very special dining options. There are a lot of categories in this. One of them is adventures like zip lining, Bungee jumping, hot air balloon, then there are experiences for kids, couples, newlyweds and a lot more. Earlier our company was exclusively for gifting and then we moved on to provide experiences.

Q: Can you Tell me a little bit about the business model of the company?

From somewhere around 2014, we started building a very robust technology platform for corporate that could assist them in handling their rewards and relationships with the employees. This software can be used by the companies to automate and digitize their entire work laws for rewarding.


Office

Q: What were the strategies that you used to build the traction and acquire customers?

Our website, Xoxoday gets a lot of attraction from the users. Then we use google ads and facebook ads for our website and we participate in a lot of conferences and events that are related to our industry. Apart from that, we use a little bit of PR. We have worked with almost 800-900 enterprises across the world. We have more than 20 lakh users on our platform. We close 7-8 Cr in revenue, every month. In March 2019 we should be able to close 80-90 crores.

Q: Can you tell me what is the biggest mistake you have made in your journey?

I think there was a delay in building the technology platform. During our initial days, we spent a lot of time in the operational stuff rather than building our software platform.

Q: What has been the toughest challenge that you have faced so far?

The toughest challenge that we are facing even today is how to make a good team and how to retain that team.

The work ethics have changed a lot over the last few years. Earlier, people used to stay with a company for a long tenure and be loyal to that company. Nowadays, there are a lot of choices available to everyone, so people switch their jobs. We have tried to change this situation and today we have around 40 members in our team, apart from the founders, who have been working with our company for a long time.

Q: Who are your biggest competitors according to you?

Most of our competition lies in the US market. We compete with companies like OC Tanner, BI Worldwide and a couple of other companies. These companies have a small presence in India also. Our Client base is around 80% for India and 20% for the USA.

Q: What is that one key advice you would like to give to all entrepreneurs out there?

I think one key advice for entrepreneurs would be, stay humble and stay grounded. In an entrepreneurial journey, you will get a lot of short-term successes but for a long-term success, one needs to be grounded.