In a world that’s constantly turning from its traditional ways towards the arena of 0s and 1s, switching to the trend of going ‘digital’, the average level of awareness and know-how largely lags behind the desirable requisite. To bridge this gap between what should be, and what is, Digital Defynd was founded in late 2015, providing an excellent platform, not only for aspiring entrepreneurs, but for every link in the entrepreneurial chain.
Our team interviewed the founder Prateek Shah to gain further insight into his venture.
1. Tell us about your background before Digital Defynd. Share with us briefly about your entrepreneurial journey and inception of Digital Defynd.
My journey started as a digital marketing trainer and consultant and I have been an entrepreneur for 5 years now. Having worked as a PR professional and a social media team lead before starting up, I was always inclined towards communication. The journey then moved to the creation of Green Smyles, a holistic creative agency under which we offered marketing services.
Along with these, I was conducting digital marketing training in association with Digital Vidya and also got selected by Google as a trainer, under their partner trainer program for India.
2. What is Digital Defynd all about? Tell us in detail about the services offered and target segment.
Digital Defynd is an off-beat media website, which in fact, doesn’t report news. What we do instead, is try to educate and help our audience by demystifying ‘digital’ for them. Our team of guest authors share their most valuable insights about the digital industry through the medium, which serve as an extremely resourceful guide for our readers.
We don’t offer any services under the banner and intend to primarily serve the digital industry, helping it grow bigger and better. We feel there is a void between what people know and what they should know in the digital field and are trying our best to fill it up. Our target segment includes all digital professionals from India, and we have started by catering to the digital marketing community first.
We also conduct offline events and online chat shows & webinars to further help the community.
3. Can you share your views on digital marketing? How important is it for any start up?
Essentially, a lot of marketing is shifting towards digital, simply because of the pace and precision at which the medium allows an organisation to reach out to its prospects. Since at present most startups are digital in nature, digital marketing is at the very core of their existence. While one can have multiple people work on it, one of the co-founders should definitely have a fair amount of knowledge on the subject to be able to execute ideas well and make them work.
Having said that, a lot of startups seem to be spending unnecessary money on different aspects of digital marketing, something they should be careful about. Digital marketing does require a lot of trial and error, but startups should focus on bringing costs down with experimentation.
4. What is your competition in the market? What is it that sets you apart from your competition?
Incidentally and ironically, there has never been a learning and sharing portal dedicated to digital marketing so far in the country. As much surprised as we were to hear that, we were glad to see that nobody has done enough in this space, giving us a green field to work in.
What sets us apart from some of the marketing portals out there is the fact that while they largely focus on campaigns or social media, our focus is to go in depth, share more learning-based articles, along with insights, which add tremendous value to the reader experience over a long period.
5. What is the business model of Digital Defynd? Can you briefly summarize the growth achieved in both volume and value from the day1 till now?
Presently, the business model of Digital Defynd revolves around banner advertisements, sponsored stories and event sponsorships. Over the 8 months of our existence, we have reached out to about 80,000 digital professionals and are cash positive.
6. How has been your beginner’s journey? What were the challenges you faced in setting up and scaling up your enterprise? Any hurdle that you faced or are still facing?
I think challenges are an everyday part of every founder’s journey and we are no exception. Even though most media portals are simply built on WordPress, there are immense amount of technical issues and glitches one faces on a regular basis and you slowly learn to work your way around them. Since we are largely a crowd sourced content platform, the next major issue was constantly looking for great stories, good content and brilliant authors. We are very fortunate to have scored well in all these domains, thanks to our expanding organic reach and growing authority.
7. Can you tell us about your other founders/core team, their background and rich experience?
I am the sole founder of Digital Defynd, but the community has been built and curated with the help of many passionate digital professionals who have contributed in multiple ways in making it grow and scale up. Among other notable personalities, Octane Marketing’s Co-Founder Punit Modhgil has played an instrumental role in initiating Digital Defynd and continues to mentor us to the present day.
8. How is Digital Defynd funded? Any early stage money/seed stage experience that you would like to share with us?
We are bootstrapped and have raised no funds so far. That is also because we have been able to manage with our funds presently and haven’t felt the pressing need to seek external investments. However, we may seek that route if our ideas of expansion demand it in the future.
9. Any other areas or initiatives that you plan to venture into in future?
We have already started organising our community meets and an online video series termed ‘Wisdom Wednesdays’ dedicated to the digital domain. Instead of offering our own services, we wish to become the go to digital marketplace for companies who wish to influence the digital community in India.
10. What will Digital Defynd look like in 10 years from now? All perspectives – people, business, revenue, team, size or anything you foresee for the venture.
I think that’s really a long way to go from now. We are doing and trying a lot of things, and will take a firmer shape in the time to come.
11. Any school/ campus-connect initiatives that you are pursuing or plan to pursue?
None right now, but we may soon look at digital marketing schools and colleges for interns who would like to learn nuances of this space by working with us on short term basis.
12. Any experience or advice you would like to share with soon to be start-up founders out there?
I think passion is over-rated, and entrepreneurship is far more about persistence and patience. I personally love to say, ‘Peeche pad jaao, kuch kar ke dikhaao’ (get behind something, make something happen).
We wish Prateek good luck and hope he is successful in this unique endeavour.