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iCubeswire - Providing a 360-Degree Environment to Leading Brands for Their Digital Marketing Needs

While all other industries are struggling with a growth rate of 5-10% whereas digital media industry is booming high with 40% growth rate and most importantly, this growth is not going to be stagnant in the coming years.

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Sahil Chopra, CEO and Founder, iCubeswire

iCubeswire is a leading Digital Marketing Solution and concept provider in India that provides a 360-degree environment to leading brands for their digital marketing needs. iCubeswire works with more than 400 brands ranging from Ecommerce, Automobile, Technology, Financial Institutes, Travel, Hospitality and many more. It affiliates more than 10,000 publishers across social, search, Email, Display, Rich Media and Videos, which is helping it deliver tailor made digital concepts to the brands they work with. The company was founded in May 2010 by Sahil Chopra.

In an interaction with Sujata Sangwan of BWDisrupt, Sahil Chopra, CEO and Founder, iCubeswire, shares his entrepreneurial journey and details about his venture.

Please share your background. Your education and whether entrepreneurship was something you always wanted to do?


I have done my engineering from PTU and pursued an MBA from Symbiosis with an eagerness to understand the way the world, especially that of business and technology, was built and loved the logic behind most things. Thereafter I started my career with NIIT – Global E-learning Services where I was exposed to the concept of digital marketing. I worked there for around 3 years and it was a great start as I learned how an organisation works and how people work in a process. After that I got a break with Hong Kong Tourism Board in the Digital Marketing Division. Worked there for a couple of years and got a very deep exposure into Digital Marketing and that is when the Entrepreneur bug bit me. Since then it’s been 6.5 years and have thoroughly enjoyed my stint with iCubesWire.

What are the key features of your company?

The key features are many but the biggest differentiator is the depth with which we step into the shoes of the customer and understand their end objectives. We are a 360-degree digital solution provider and we add value in all the digital requirements of our customers.

Customer Acquisition on the Web.
Customer Acquisition on the Mobile.
Video Rich Media ads.
Social Media marketing.
Online Reputation
Listening
Lead Generation
Creative concepts and designing

How did the entrepreneurial bug bite you?

I was working with Hong Kong Tourism Board in the Digital Marketing Division for a couple of years and acquired major exposure into Digital Marketing. That is when the Entrepreneurial bug bit me. In 2010 when I thought about iCubeswire, the entire Internet business in India was in a very nascent stage. Hardly anyone understood Digital Marketing. I had already seen a vision of the future and understood the potential so the substantial gap and therefore the need that existed was also fairly clear to me. Since then it’s been a long journey and now we are serving the who’s who of India in terms of both traditional and new generation companies.

How are you different from the existing ones? Is there a story behind your company name?

Technology and service is something which is gradually giving us an edge. We have competitors in all the product lines but our service levels and the use of data has helped us get the lead.

At its core iCubeswire is a digital marketing solutions and concept provider in India, providing a 360-degree environment to leading brands for their digital marketing needs. Also most importantly, whatever we do is performance based and measurable. That is where the ‘I’ standing for internet and Cubeswire is for measurement. We are about leveraging the Internet for specific business goals, in a concrete, measurable way.

Are you planning to raise funding?


Since our inception we have generated enough funds internally to grow at a very healthy rate. While so far we didn’t require outside funds, that might change in days to come. We could feel the need for exponential or inorganic growth, or even adding on other services or expanding our presence further. We are in touch with investors and will look at it at the appropriate time.

Challenges faced while setting up the business? The best and worst memories while setting up?

We stepped into the industry without any mentors and investors, so the initial stages were very challenging. We had to run from post to pillar to have office space and ended up settling down in a small village on the outskirts of Bangalore. We had a very shaky start, but did eventually start getting customers. The best as well as the worst memory is the same – We had received our first payment from Myntra.com and didn’t have a bank account to put the cheque into ☺

What is the business model of your company?

We at iCubeswire provide a 360-degree environment to leading brands for their digital marketing needs like customer Acquisition on the Web/Mobile, video rich media ads, social media marketing, online reputation, lead Generation, creative concepts and designing and so on.

Currently iCubeswire works with more than 400 brands ranging from Ecommerce, Automobile, Technology, Financial Institutes, Travel, Hospitality and many more. It affiliates more than 10,000 publishers across social, search, Email, Display, Rich Media and Videos, which is helping it deliver tailor made digital concepts to the brands they work with.

What is the market size and market opportunity?

According to a recent Digital Marketing Industry Report 2016 by social beat, there is an enormous rise in digital marketing, though brands continue to use television and print mediums to have a 360-degree approach. It is encouraging to see that 87% of the brands leverage digital marketing. While brand awareness and lead generation/sales seem to be the primary goals set by the CMOs, digital marketing is increasingly being leveraged for Customer Engagement (46%) and Customer Service (35%) too.

Around 10% brands spend more than Rs. 1 crore annually on digital marketing while around 50% brands spend more than Rs. 6 Lakhs annually. Overall, 20% brands plan to increase their digital marketing spends by 25% in the next financial year. This is important in the context of growing internet and digital penetration in India – brands understand that digital is the way forward. With an Expected 500 Million Internet Users in India by 2017, brands understand the massive opportunity to reach out to their consumers.

Team size and office culture?

The total team size is 80 people now and we work together like a family. The office culture is really informal with a very young team, as is natural for our nature of business.

Traction details till date

iCubeswire works with more than 400 brands ranging from Ecommerce, Automobile, Technology, Financial Institutes, Travel, Hospitality and many more. It affiliates more than 10,000 publishers across social, search, Email, Display, Rich Media and Videos, which is helping it deliver tailor made digital concepts to the brands they work with.

Your advice to the new entrants in this space? Any interesting quote about your venture?

My advice is plain and simple – Have a business model when you launch – Don’t wait for funds to come and don’t start companies hoping for a golden exit. Create businesses which make economic sense and don’t be afraid of losing. You never loose – You either win or learn.

How do you see growth scenario in this business? Future scale-up plans?

While all other industries are struggling with a growth rate of 5-10% whereas digital media industry is booming high with 40% growth rate and most importantly, this growth is not going to be stagnant in the coming years. Digital marketing is the most active and the fastest growing marketing technique and the growth can be attributed to global digitalization trend. The industry is worth $68 billion! Also, according to e-marketer, last year advertising via mobile phones and tablets rose 200 percent, to $6 billion. This market is estimated to touch $7.8 billion soon.

We are focusing more on going mobile and working towards making effective mobile strategies as the world is becoming increasingly more digital and more mobile. We are investing heavily in technology. Our ability to capture big data and apply analytics to throw out useful insights for our customers will be at the core of our value proposition. We continue to build a business that delivers value to customers and to turn them into high-value lifetime customers who keep coming back and support us, in order to reap the long-term benefits of customer retention and loyalty.


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