Rajeev Sharma set up his first Software development company in 1990 at the age of 21, armed with a degree in Chartered Accountancy and a strong inclination towards software automation and processes. This quick thinking entrepreneur turns the tide in his favour time and again to achieve what he set out for and content with what he has achieved he says, “I am happy with what God has given me so far”
Every entrepreneur, by default, takes the path less travelled and their personal experiences motivate others to make their dream a success. Some gets bitten by the entrepreneurial spirit at a ripe age but some like Rajeev Sharma Director, Osource India start young. Rajeev Sharma set up his first Software development company in 1990 at the age of 21. Though Sharma was armed with a degree in Chartered Accountancy, he had strong inclination in software automation and processes and that was an era of software boom.
With the capital of just Rs 5000 saved from working as a CA for few months Sharma started the company (he obtained the required expertise to run the software company as well) which employed 3 people initially including a developer. “We kept our overheads very low. We did not even take an office as we did all our work at the client site,” says Sharma. The company started generating profit within a year with big multinationals knocking on their door. Everything was going smooth with company clocking a turnover of Rs 2 crore with 100 developers within 10 years. “But in the year 2000 the world was hit by Y2K bug and it affected our business as well,” recalls Sharma. The year saw Sharma eventually merging his company with GTL Limited with a three year non-compete clause. “Under the agreement with GTL, I went to work for GTL as head of software enterprise delivery,” he says.
Though comfortable and doing well in the company the free spirited entrepreneur in Sharma soon became restless and was rearing to start on his own. “Corporate structure is very straight jacket. All your decisions need to be justified and questioned, that made me feel very restrictive,” says Sharma.
Sharma incorporated ‘Osource’ in January 2004 to focus on technology enabled outsourcing solutions focusing on domestic market. “It was a strategic decision to serve domestic sector, as we did not want to be another me too company serving overseas market,” explains Sharma.
The company which was started with an investment of Rs 25 lakhs - which was Sharma’s own money – started generating profit from the first year with a turnover of Rs 40-50 lakhs. “We never incurred losses,” he says.
Sharma explains that the mindset of companies has changed over the 10 years that he is doing business. “Earlier people never felt the need to hire external agencies for their back office work or HR work, but we proved to them the cost efficiency and confidentiality of our services and that had us rolling. Banks by nature of their processes were the first one to get us on board,” he adds.
With offshore BPO industry under pressure, the decision served right in the long run. According to Sharma the outsourcing industry has a high growth trajectory with around annual growth of 16-22%. “Osource is also growing at 18-20% annually with a turnover of Rs 30 crore,” informs Sharma. Osource is debt free company whose 30-35% business comes from BFSI segment. “Going forward I see more business coming from the banking and pharma segment,” he says. Other sectors like hospitality and media have great possibilities as well,” he feels.
Sharma’s next step is to foray into overseas market with its trusted and loyal client base. “The clients who worked with us in India also wants us to work with them for their companies overseas, that way we are being taken overseas by our clients,” says Sharma. “It is a logical organic expansion,” he says. Osource is looking to expand and tie up in the Australian, Singapore and US markets. The company is also looking at taking partners via stake sales in near future.
The 44 year old Sharma whose insightful mentoring and strategic guidance, has made Osource a formidable player in the outsourcing industry, is aiming to get Rs 100 crore turnover in the next 3 years.
When asked, how the journey to follow his dreams has changed him? “I am little less emotional now, people in the past have taken advantage of my emotional side,” says this man from Bhilai, Chattisgarh. “I made few mistakes but over all coming from middle class background, I am happy with what God has given me so far,” he adds.
You ask him whether he would have done things differently in his life if given a chance. “Not much,” comes the reply.