Medlanama Launch mixer
The launch of Medianama, the digital media news site run by former Contentsutra.com editor Nikhil Pahwa, centred around the sombre theme of “Surviving a downturn”. About 200 people attended the seminar, which was based on the premise that current market conditions are forcing some start-ups to consider shutting down and forcing employees to look for jobs elsewhere.
Two survivors of the dotcom bust—Info Edge (India) Ltd (Naukri.com) founder Sanjeev Bikhchandani and Consim Info Pvt. Ltd (Bharatmatrimony.com) founder Murugavel Janakiraman— featured on the panel that discussed the impact of inflation and market slowdown on digital media firms and if they signalled a downturn in the near future. “To some extent, there has been a slowdown in growth, but it is not a serious downturn yet,” said Bikhchandani, though he conceded some sectors, such as online travel, may be in trouble due to specific conditions, such as fuel hikes. Sidharth Rao, chief executive and co-founder of online interactive marketing agency Webchutney Studio Pvt. Ltd, said the firm had seen delays in marketing budgets of firms towards digital media, especially in sectors such as financial services and online travel.
The panel offered some interesting tips for start-ups on getting through lean times. Smile Interactive Technologies Group chief mentor Mahendra Swarup advised companies to “look at alternative revenue streams instead of looking only at venture funding”, as venture capitalists turn cautious and valuations are lowered in a downturn. An alternative, according to him, could be a merger between companies in complementary sectors, such as Naukri and Bharatmatrimony. Bikhchandani immediately turned to Janakiraman and quipped, “2% of my company for yours”. He also advised start-ups to cut costs and double the sales team, a strategy Naukri.com successfully used to grow in the days following the bust.