The real deal is relentless execution
The Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) have a global reputation for nurturing some of the best business talent. The better-known campuses (Ahmedabad, Calcutta and Bangalore) have acceptance ratios that surpass venerable institutions like Harvard and Wharton. It's no wonder that IIM graduates have leapt over gender and ethnic divides to head some of the world's largest companies.
Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo worldwide, is from IIM Calcutta and Ajay Banga, CEO of MasterCard Worldwide, is from IIM Ahmedabad. The IIM's newer campuses are also doing a stellar job of graduating equally talented and high-achieving business leaders.
Even in the UAE, IIM graduates head key functions in banks, exchange houses, FMCG companies, technology outfits and other industries. An important development is a growing trend towards entrepreneurship. Some of these executives are stepping outside the comfort zone of highly paid corporate careers to enter the world of tech-based start-ups.
Not very surprising considering that many IIM graduates have an engineering background. Today's article is about one of the rising numbers of such talent.
The UAE is supporting this trend with infrastructure and an ecosystem for entrepreneurship.
Digitisation appears to be a buzzword. Quite often, it is used almost flippantly. The deep impact of digitisation must be considered in the context of human expression, finance, authentication, automation and record-keeping. It took a very long time to change over from stone and clay as media to a paper-based world. The shift from paper towards digital is happening at warp speed. Business models are being transformed. Intellectual and not financial capital is the determinant of success.
What it's about
Clip the Deal is a start-up that capitalises on the shift away from paper in a hugely visible way. It replaces bulky tomes of coupons with an app. The customer experience is slick. Retail outlet counter-staff are seamlessly able to accept coupons without having to store them or bunch them up for record-keeping and reimbursement later. Coupon sponsors do not have to deal with production or wastage. What's more, customer relationship building is made possible for consumer product organisations.
Padam Chhabra, the CEO (Chief Everything Officer as he humorously calls himself) is the founder of Clip the Deal. Chhabra left a promising career in Citibank after 10 years in the workforce to pursue his entrepreneurial instinct. He is an alumnus of IIM Bangalore.
Launched in May 2016, the company has entered into arrangements with Choithrams to accept Clip the Deal coupons. He described how digital coupons from providers such as PepsiCo, Unilever, Weetabix, Aujan Coca Cola, Goodness Foods and more are immediately available in the Clip the Deal app. The app can be downloaded from the Apple Store or Google Playstore.
It translates the coupons into simple mobile barcodes that can be scanned at check-out. The scanning process applies the savings to the items automatically. The savings are fixed amounts, which makes it very easy for the consumer and the merchant to understand the value.
The simplicity and intuitiveness of the experience as well as the strength of the participating brands are a result of excellent homework. After visualising the concept, Chhabra took a year preparing for the plunge. He realised the importance of the right technological partner and took his time to find it. In the meantime, he prepared to cut himself away from the corporate world. He set up his company in the Dubai Technology Entrepreneur Centre in Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO).
With the support of DSO, Clip the Deal became a reality. Chhabra received seed funding from DSO. It has been recognised as one of the top 20 shopping apps in the UAE. What's more, Clip the Deal won the 'Start-up of the Year' at the Entrepreneur Day open-for-all event instituted by DSO.
The stats in terms of take-up and usage are encouraging. This is definitely a start-up to keep an eye on at a retailer next to you.
The writer is director at Vyashara and a digital banking and digital payments evangelist, practitioner, advisor and consultant. Views expressed are his own and do not reflect the newspaper's policy. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Padam Chhabra's recommended readings are Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead - there are people who have the vision to create and to lead and you should nurture them to do what they do best.
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand is the last of her four novels. Written in 1957, this classic is considered by many to be her magnum opus. For them, the sense of purpose and achievement of the main characters is inspiring. Ayn Rand does not paint one-dimensional characters but instead goes into their minds and motivations. Ayn Rand and this book in particular have always generated discussion and debate.
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