C.R. Venkatesh has been called a “serial entrepreneur”, and his brainchild and two-decade-old company, Dot Com Infoway, is solid proof of this.
He has served as its CEO since its founding, and the company has received numerous awards and recognitions under his leadership. The most notable and recent is a Red Herring award and being recognized by Clutch as a leader in app marketing, app development, and among the top 1,000 B2B companies in 2022.
He is fondly known among his colleagues as a dedicated mentor, avid gamer, and for his interesting quote, “Everything is possible, especially the impossible.”
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So great to meet you! Please tell us a little about yourself and what business did you start?
I’m C.R. Venkatesh, an entrepreneur, investor, and writer, and I founded Dot Com Infoway in 2000. It’s basically an IT company that offers myriad digital solutions, but we’ve always been known for our mobile app development, web development, and digital marketing.
I’ve served as its CEO ever since. Many of my colleagues find me agreeable, jovial, and always reachable – pretty much what you would call a “people person” and a ready mentor. It’s no accident since I have a strong belief in Rotarian values.
I’m in love with technology as much as I adore traveling and meeting people. As for what greatly gratifies me as an entrepreneur, growing a business from the ground certainly does the trick.
What’s your backstory and how did you come up with the idea of “Dot Com Infoway”?
Even before I graduated from Anna University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, I was already mulling over the possibility of starting a business. I’ve already been quite the tech fanatic even back then, and this was in the late part of the 90s, and the dot-com bubble still hasn’t burst.
Still, this was a time when words like “websites” and the “Internet” would have been met by head scratches if you mention them to people in India. Even back then, I already saw plenty of potential in the Internet and how it can be a catalyst for growth for any country. I wanted my countrymen to see and enjoy the same potential.
That’s definitely one of the main factors that convinced me to ultimately go ahead in establishing the web development company that will then go on to become Dot Com Infoway. Besides my passion for innovation and tech, that is.
I guess you can say that it’s a rare, fortuitous marriage for a CEO, and I’m glad and proud to say that it’s a bonafide formula for success, considering the fact that we’ve lasted this long.
Describe the process of launching the business.
We started small, much like any modern startup. I remember the time when we were just composed of 5 people in a small office building. The majority of the money we used to buy the equipment and furnishings we needed was taken out of our own pockets.
We didn’t really need to have a large startup cost since we’re mainly focused on localized reach. Most of the early computers we used on our web development company, CRV Infotech, we just carried over to DCI. The stage is already set, in short – it only had to be refurbished for an even grander show.
We rebranded for the purpose of being more of an all-encompassing IT company. We wanted to be a one-stop shop for businesses looking for digital solutions so we had to offer more than just web development.
Hence, positioned ourselves in such a way that we can smoothly add mobile app development, internet marketing, and mobile app marketing services over time.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
At DCI, we regard everyone who works with us as not unlike a family member that you can comfortably and confidently work with. We believe in establishing this close relationship since we won’t be able to align our goals with that of our clients.
Adopting this attitude makes all the difference in the world since it’s what motivates us to take the extra steps to deliver results that will satisfy and exceed expectations.
This kind of experience has allowed us to enjoy word-of-mouth advertising and referrals. Of course, there’s also the fact that we offer far more affordable rates compared to Western companies.
That, combined with our dedication to achieve all of our customers’ goals, almost always results in quality that’s on-par and may even surpass the competition, regardless of where they’re based.
What is your main tactic when it comes to making more people aware of your brand and engaging your customers? How did your business stand out?
We capitalize on methods that have always worked like SEO, social media marketing, advertising, email marketing, etc. We make it a point to highlight the elements that make us stand out, like how we work with our clients and the quality-to-price ratio of our services, to cite a few.
More importantly, we always stay on top of the latest trends and look for ways that we can deliver new, more effective solutions to pressing challenges.
Ours is a field where you can get drowned in obsolescence before long, so you have to be always open to change. By doing so, you almost always automatically stand out from the crowd.
I guess we’re also fortunate in that mobile app development and internet marketing are themselves equally vast, ever-expanding fields. There’s opportunity to be had if you know where to look and how to seize and harness it to your advantage properly.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
Everything’s blowing hot and cold right now, so we can’t really blame a lot of people for being afraid. The fact that we’re bombarded by news of the possibility of a global recession doesn’t help as well.
Still, the optimist in me feels that we will manage to overcome this hump, however gargantuan it may appear. As I’ve said, the tech industry is and will always remain a field of gold when it comes to opportunities you can seize and tools you can use to address minor and major problems alike.
I believed in that even back when I was just starting out, and I’m quite confident in saying that that belief will never wane.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
Definitely. I’ve learned the value of networking, for instance, because without it, you won’t be able to expand or have a hard time doing it every time.
There’s also the lesson of never being confident about where your business stands at present. Many companies were swept under the rug because of that infinitely wrong notion, and I’m certainly thankful that it didn’t manage to topple my own company, nor has it impacted our resolve.
Lastly, I’ve also learned that reaching out to your colleagues pays off, and establishing strong relationships with them. It strengthens the beams, so to speak, that will allow you to weather almost any storm.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
For Native Android, we use Java, Kotlin, and AndroidNDK, while for Native iOS we usually rely on Swift and Objective-C. For databases, MySQL, Firebase, and mongoDB work well for most purposes.
We utilize web and hybrid development languages including HTML5, CSS3, and AngularJS. For cross platform, we use Flutter, ReactNative, and Xamarin, while cloud solutions that get the job done for us are typically Azure, Amazon Web Services, Digital Ocean, and Google Cloud
Designs are done with the help of Adobe software (Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects, etc.) and Sketch, Canva, and Invision. Last but not least is testing, for which we rely on Benchmark, Tsung, LoadRunner, Selenium, and Apache JMeter.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
I’m not a reader or podcast listener. I take my inspiration from people and TV shows mostly. Some shows such as Money Heist give me inspiration that anything can be done if meticulous planning is there.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting?
First of all, I wish you way more than luck. It will always be an uphill climb for everyone, so you have to anticipate from the start that you will be no exception. Once you decide to commit (and you should!), be sure that you’ll go all the way.
Doing business that happens to align with your passion does have its unique advantages. However, don’t be complacent that these perks will get you far. You have to learn to network, sell, communicate, etc. You will inevitably need to get out of your comfort zone to ensure growth.
Don’t be disappointed if you’re not seeing improvements and the results you want yet. Stick to your goals, take action, don’t chase more than one rabbit yet, and always look for fresh opportunities that will help achieve your present objectives.
Where can our readers keep up-to-date with you?
They can keep in touch with me on Linkedin. Here Is my LinkedIn profile.
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