Interview of Rohan Bhargava: Co-Founder of CashKaro

Interview of Rohan Bhargava: Co-Founder of CashKaro

He is the Co-Founder of CashKaro, India’s Largest Cashback & Coupons site. He is an alumnus of the London School of Economics and he started his career as a Fixed Income Trader at Washington Square Investment Management. He also completed his CFA along with his first job, post which he joined Aladdin Capital, a large US-based Hedge Fund company where he worked for nearly 3 years. Soon after that his Co-Founder Swati and he launched their first Cashback site Pouring Pounds in the UK. On the personal front, he is a techie at heart and he loves collecting gadgets. Other than this, he is a big-time foodie, bookworm, and love working out every morning. When he gets some time off work, he loves traveling to new places, discovering diverse cultures and experiencing local food there.

What inspired you to start this company?

Having a business of my own was always on my mind. But, the decision to start out came after Swati and I came across the concept of Cashback websites in the UK. We were looking for suitable flight options to the Maldives for our honeymoon and ended up discovering a few Cashback sites. Excited about how much money we saved on our booking, we started toying with the idea of launching a Cashback business of our own. After doing thorough research on the industry, we came up with something even better than existing sites. This is how we launched our first Cashback business, Pouring Pounds in the UK. Pouring Pounds saw immense popularity among online shoppers in the UK and from there we took this business to India. We knew Indians love to save money, so we decided to build an incredible offering. We launched CashKaro in India and it quickly became the go-to shopping destination for online shoppers across age groups. Today, we have 4 Million registered users and over 1,500 top retailers like Flipkart, Amazon, Myntra, etc. on board with us.

What are some of the new ideas you would implement in this company?

We are always looking for new strategies and ideas to employ. We want to make CashKaro a household name, so we are experimenting by working with micro-influencers across channels like YouTube, Helo, Instagram and more. We were among the first to open WhatsApp Marketing as a channel in our industry. Other than this, we are now exploring several new channels that are untapped but have huge potential.

What is the problem solved by your startup?

Shopping and saving are an inherent and indelible part of our culture. On the one hand, we want to shop more, on the other we wish to save more. CashKaro makes that possible. It enables users to find the best deal on everything across sites, brands, and categories. CashKaro users can shop on more than 1,500 brands across categories such as fashion, lifestyle, groceries and much more. Users not only get the best offers & discounts, but they also earn Cashback on top of these offers by shopping via CashKaro. This Cashback is real cash which can be transferred to the users’ bank account or redeemed as Amazon/Flipkart gift vouchers. In a country where people love to save, we are giving back users a part of their spending on every purchase made via CashKaro. This has enabled them to save more for themselves. Many of our regular users often reach out, thanking us for the extra savings kitty we have helped them create. Our users can save anything between Rs. 20,000 – 25,000 in a year simply by shopping via CashKaro.

What obstacles have you faced trying to reach your goals and what steps have you taken to overcome them?

Every new idea comes in with its fair share of obstacles. We went through all the issues a new business goes through. We were the first to establish the cashback industry in India. So, we had to go through a cycle of hits and misses while building everything from the ground up. In the end, we were successful in setting up processes, rules, and regulations for both – our retailer partners and users. It was challenging but the foundation we laid has paved way for the whole industry. Two things that it took on our part to succeed were – being focused on creating unmatched cashback experience and listening intently to what our users wanted from us. We also ensured that our retailer partners got real value by working with us. Today we have Amazon, Flipkart, Myntra, Dominos, and over 1500+ retailers onboard.

What according to you drive sales to a company?

Offering true value is what makes a business succeed. Whether you are a B2B or a B2C organization, your user should genuinely see the benefit of using your product or service. If a business can deliver what it has committed to its users, acquiring users/driving sales will happen naturally. By making a brand ambassador out of existing users, a company can scale new heights. This is the new normal, especially in a country like ours where word-of-mouth is among the strongest forms of publicity.

Who do you look to as a role model?

Undoubtedly, my wife Swati. I can proudly say that she is a wonder woman. From handling our home to standing shoulder to shoulder with me as an entrepreneur, she has donned multiple hats to perfection. Her perseverance and calmness are infectious. I always look up to her as someone I should learn from. Whenever I am stuck in a situation, I turn to her for advice. She is a solid pillar of support as my partner in life and at work.

Answer in one line:

Share a quote that inspires you the most?
“All big things come from small beginnings. The seed of every habit is a single, tiny decision. But as that decision is repeated, a habit sprouts and grows stronger. Roots entrench themselves and branches grow. The task of breaking a bad habit is like uprooting a powerful oak within us. And the task of building a good habit is like cultivating a delicate flower one day at a time.” – James Clear, Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones.

What is your life mantra? Share your original quote
If you can dream it, you can achieve it. Look back, but only to improve on what you did before. Just trust in your journey. So, give it your best, cross all the hurdles and keep going on.

How to be a leader according to you?
I believe, a leader is someone who leads from the front, by example and grows with his/her teammates.

How do you respond to constructive criticism?

As rightly termed this criticism is ‘constructive’ in nature and much needed for everyone. In my opinion, it is a crucial factor for self-improvement. Personally, when I face constructive criticism, I try to intently hear the person out and absorb what they are saying. If what’s being pointed out resonates with me, I will attempt to work towards it immediately. If ever, I don’t agree with what’s being said at that moment, I try to be conscious of my words and identify the pain point from where the criticism may have risen.

Any suggestions that you want to give to aspiring startups for raising funds?

One must focus on creating value for the end-users/brand partners that they are catering to. If a business can get this bit right, the funding part almost always falls in place sooner or later. Businesses that are most self-sufficient and not in need of raising funds see maximum inbound interest from the investors. This validates the fact that one must concentrate on getting the product/service right. This can help them convert the initial set of customers into brand loyalists. The rest will follow. Just do not stop in between anyhow. If you have an idea, work towards it, irrespective of whether your ship sails smoothly initially or not.

What do you think are the most important elements of successful business relationships?

Honesty and commitment are the base of every relationship, be it personal or work-related. They lay the foundation of the building and maintaining successful and sustainable business relations.

Share your experience of fundraising and how difficult was it?

Our fundraising process so far has been very seamless and to an extent quite amazing. We enjoyed the process thoroughly because it made us dig deep into our value propositions. This further helped us present a solid case for our vision, mission business and our plans for the future.

How would you like to utilize the funds?

So far, we have used our funds to build a robust end-to-end technology for CashKaro. Other than this we used them for building world-class Android & iOS Apps. These apps are seamlessly integrated with an in-app browser allowing users to shop across multiple sites from within the CashKaro App. At CashKaro, we believe that a good business can only thrive in the hands of a good team. So, we also invested in talent acquisition and retention. In the future, we aim to build our brand further and improve the product as we expand our team to meet the demands of an ever-growing user base.

What’s your opinion about Start-up Lanes?

StartupLanes is an informative platform that lets you catch up on recent developments in the Startup Industry. A great way to network and connect with entrepreneurs, investors, clients and more. StartupLanes is doing a great job in supporting Startups across the globe. And I wish them all the best for the future.