When a startup buyback comes from lessons of the sell

Hindustan Times, Pune | ByNamita Shibad
Feb 29, 2020 05:13 PM IST

Compulink is the firm he sold in 2012. It is now called Whizible, and Mahajan, in 2020 is buying it back

PUNE : In the startup world, packing it in is SOP, however, selling out and then, buying back in is a bit of Silicon Valley-Softbank type of financial game play that suggests an algorithim is driving the decision. (Algorithims are driving most major fiscal decisions at investor firms, but more on that in another article). Or, if you appreciate the football analogy, Manchester United let Paul Pogba, the club’s academy product, go in 2012 to Juventus, only to buy him back in 2016. That has not worked out for United, but in Pune, for Vishwas Mahajan, that journey has been a little different.

Vishwas Mahajan(HT FILE PHOTO)
Vishwas Mahajan(HT FILE PHOTO)

Compulink is the firm he sold in 2012. It is now called Whizible, and Mahajan, in 2020 is buying it back.

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Says Mahajan: “Whizible was not working for the owners. Whizible was one of many products in their basket and the time, effort and money a product needs to be relevant was not there.”

“Much like a startup, the first thing we did was to see if the need still existed in the market. We did a market survey and found out that the customers still wanted Whizible, albeit in a new avatar.”

“Technology had changed and AI, NLP, UX all made it mandatory that a product not only provide useful interface, but also help predict certain issues.

“With the need gap clearly understood, Mahajan bought back in The similarities are that we are trying to solve the same problem - how to get professional services organisations more efficient and provide visibility across the value chain.

“It’s like playing the second innings of a match. You start with the first over and first ball and go with the flow. That you have scored a century in the earlier inning does not give you any shortcut.”

“First of all, the market ecosystem around the product has dramatically changed.

“The users have got accustomed to a completely different user experience . If the product stayed with us, we would have innovated on a continual basis. But now, we need to take the leap.

We have the opportunity of turning the product from a ‘System of Record’ to ‘System of Insight’ to ‘System of Prediction’.

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