Horizons-2012- The Annual Management Conclave of IIM Kozhikode played host to various speakers from a host of domains. The final day of the event saw Mr. Mahesh Murthy, the current Managing Partner at Seedfund- India’s leading early-stage venture capital fund which has helped establish the likes of CarWale, EduSports, RedBus, RupeeTalk and Sportskeeda. Mr. Mahesh Murthy has impressive line of credentials in the field of digital marketing and communications experience with an experience of 26 years in the area. Mr. Murthy worked some of the best known advertising firms in the initial part of his career and eventually donned an entrepreneurial hat starting some of the best known venture capitalist firms in India including Pinstorm-The world’s leading pay-for-performance digital marketing firm and Passionfund-one of the few angel funds in the country. Besides these he has worked in various capacities with firms like Channel V-India’s leading youth and music channel, Ogilvy & Mather-Asia’s largest ad agency, iCat- a Seattle based start-up acquired by Intel, Grey Worldwide- one of India’s leading creative agencies and CKS Partners- one of the first interactive marketing firms ever which helped launch Yahoo, Amazon among others.
Mr. Murthy spoke in length about Entrepreneurship and subsequently about the new-age developments in the field of digital marketing. On the topic of Entrepreneurship, he drew upon his rich experience in the field to answer the “Why?-What?-Who?-Where?-How?” that would help every budding entrepreneur before he starts his own venture. The dominant theme in the talk was the importance of a novel business idea in starting and sustaining a successful business venture. Stressing the origins of companies like Philips, Skype and Linux from relatively unknown corners of the world, Mr. Murthy established the fact that a great idea can grow into a successful business from anywhere in the world, what matters is the quality of the idea and the quality of the efforts of the people running the business. On the topic of which industry sector to choose while thinking about starting a business, Mr. Murthy mentioned that the fact that a particular sector is being portrayed as a “hot” sector by the media implies the fact that the best opportunities in that sector have already been taken. He urged the audience not to be swayed by such reports but to be ready to venture into the new sectors since that’s where the money will come from in the future. While addressing the queries raised by the audience, he spoke in length about the process of attracting funding from the venture capital firms and also shared the perspective of a venture capitalist while evaluating whether or not to invest in a firm.
In the later part of the day, Mr. Murthy shared his insights on the area of digital marketing, more specifically on the new age developments that have been shaping the area of late. He talked about how the old conventions for a successful marketing are being continuously challenged with factors like social media growing at the speed of light and the ever-increasing importance of internet as a medium for marketing. This has meant that companies today can no longer afford to ignore internet as a medium of marketing and growing consumer awareness has meant that companies need to exercise extra caution while taking to internet as a medium of communication. Through examples of Sunsilk’s “Gang of Girls” campaign and promotion of “Pureit” by the FMCG major Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL), Mr. Murthy demonstrated the importance of and potential pitfalls while companies chose to go for digital marketing. He remarked that an entrepreneur should be able to spot fast changing trends even before they are out open in the world through any form of media. He concluded by saying that in his journey of life he has realized that there may be no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but walking on the rainbow itself is an enriching experience.