Ankita Asai – From working for the world’s top most Oilfield Service Company to cofounding a Home Maintenance Service Company!

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Necessity is the mother of invention! Startups become companies real quick when the objective is to address a problem area that at least one of the co-founders has encountered personally. Well, that is exactly the origin of Gapoon. “The idea of Gapoon incepted out of frustration. When my co-founder, Apoorva moved to Bengaluru in August 2014 for a job change, being new to the city he couldn’t find a reliable way to get the basic plumbing and electrical jobs done at his new home. That’s when the discussion about the need for organized home maintenance services started. After a frustrating month, I along with friend Ankit Bindal and Apoorva Mishra decided to solve this problem of the disorganized market and provide people with an easy and reliable way to get these basic jobs done”, shares Ankita. After doing a thorough market research, understanding the dynamics of such consumer services domain and ideating a best-suited solution, they came up with Gapoon.

Where there is a quest, there is a strategy. Opening up about the journey from being a frustrated customer to co-founder of a service company, Ankita tells us “Before founding Gapoon, I was working as an oil-field engineer in Schlumberger. Although it was a fat pay-check job but the satisfaction of doing something about which I am passionate about was missing. When the idea of Gapoon was incepting, we all often discussed and were quite convinced with the existing problem prevalent in this industry but had different opinions on the solution. We decided not to jump on it directly but first, research the market, take feedback from both customers and vendors and then finally develop a system that would use technology to efficiently provide a solution of successfully connecting a customer with the best-suited vendor according to his requirement & that’s how Gapoon was born.”

So, how was Ankita’s life in the pre-Gapoon era? Born in Bhopal, M.P with her dad working under the state government, she moved a lot within the state. “I changed some 7 schools in different cities by the time I finished my schooling, but we finally settled down in Bhopal itself.” She completed her B. Tech from IIT Kanpur. After graduation, she worked as an oil-field engineer based out of Abu Dhabi & North-East India. “It was during my job at Schlumberger, that the idea of Gapoon was born. I soon moved to Bengaluru to pursue it further. There has been no turning back since then. I currently head Marketing at Gapoon” she tells us.image (2)

For somebody, who wished to work on her own ideas, Ankita has now realized that doing this, in reality, is much more challenging but nothing could be more gratifying. Every new day brings new challenges and opportunities. A totally organized person, she tells us about her style of working, “I personally work with set goals & I am a loyal believer in my to-do-list. With so many responsibilities in hand, often some things are missed on the go. A to-do list keeps me in focus to deal with the important or urgent matters first. I quickly recognize the problem, respond effectively & move to my next task. But in short, a day in start-up life never ends & you have to wake up to newer possibilities every day.”

Running Gapoon has been amazing but it also has brought its own share of challenges for the team. They have found that they really need to keep on improving every day and keep innovating to turn the start-up into a successful company. “Ultimately the success of your company depends on the stability of your business model and team. Therefore finding the perfect team that shares your vision is the most important thing in my opinion. I have been fortunate to be joined by my fellow graduates and closest friends, as it made having a good core team so much easier. Another challenge is marketing with such limited resources. At Gapoon we don’t believe in cash burning to acquire more customers rather rely on smart innovative ideas to market our product with the lowest acquisition rate possible” reveals Ankita.

As far as expanding the team goes, they always look for people who share the same passion for Gapoon as them because each team member in Gapoon is given a lot of responsibilities and it is important that they all understand the bigger picture together.

For every service based company, understanding and acquiring new clients is a key task that ultimately goes down to deciding their fate of survival. Team Gapoon seems to have understood this pretty well. “You need to find and focus on exactly what customers you want to target. In a vast consumer services industry like Gapoon’s, it is easy to be swayed away because wherever you look, everyone could be your potential client because everyone has a home and every home has maintenance problems. But we developed a strong consumer persona and came up with innovative marketing strategies that directly reached out to these target customers. When you have limited resources, I believe this is the best way to go forward” Ankita says.

With great responsibility, comes great power – we have all heard this time and again.  For Ankita, the same responsibility gave her the strength to push ahead through the difficult times. “When I took this decision of starting Gapoon, it was not just my sole decision but so many people like my parents, colleagues were relying on me. In such a situation, you simply cannot give up. This sense of responsibility provides me the strength to forget my own problems & focus solely on the benefit of my company.”

Ankita makes one brilliant statement: “Starting a company is easy but building a business is not!” We all need to understand this truly. Her favorite quote and advice to all the budding entrepreneurs are also as unique as this statement. “Success is nothing but a summation of all your failures. You won’t fail unless you try and you won’t succeed unless you fail. Therefore never be afraid of trying to pursue your goals. Never lose clarity of your long term vision in pursuit of some short-term comfort. I am sure your future self will thank you for that decision because each such experience brings so much learning & opportunity for self- growth that you wouldn’t repent trying.”

A strong believer in hard work and perseverance, Ankita gathers her inspiration from the people around her: her colleagues and her dad. Speaking of the support from her family, Ankita elaborates “My family has always been gender neutral. I have always felt an equal motivation and support from them in all aspects of life- be it personal goals or professional. My father feels very proud of all decisions I have taken from getting into a prestigious college like IIT Kanpur to quitting my ambitious job to pursue my entrepreneurial dreams and reach where I am today. I am really grateful for his constant support.”

Her parting lines are the same as her business philosophy – “Do what you love and keep pushing till you create your own pathway.”

Indeed inspiring! Team storified.me wishes her and Gapoon a great journey ahead.


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