INT. (Indus Net Technologies) has been among very few companies in India that spotted an opportunity before anyone else could see it. Abhishek Rungta, started INT. in 1996 when the internet was still in its infancy in India.
Today INT. provides a gamut of services that includes product engineering, cloud infrastructure management, intelligent analytics, to mention a few. The company acquired Kolkata-based digital marketing firm TechShu in 2016 to provide performance marketing services to its clients.
INT. was ranked as one of the winners of Deloitte Technology Fast 50 India 2017. When we reached out to Abhishek for this interview, he was gracious to provide us his valuable time. Abhishek talks about the journey behind starting INT. (Indus Net Technologies), their recent rebranding exercise, and more in this interview.
1. How did you come up with the idea of setting up INT. (Indus Net Technologies)? Has the idea evolved from the time it was conceived?
In 1996, I came across the Internet for the first time. Being from a business family, I wanted to start something on my own. As the internet evolved my vision became clear as well and I knew I wanted to build an internet company for the rest of my life. Next year, I established INT. (Indus Net Technologies).
When I look back to the idea, it has completed many phases. INT. from becoming a web hosting provider to a software product engineering organization, it is still an ongoing evolution.
2. How has your journey been so far, and how has the market evolved from when the brand was set-up to becoming a Deloitte Technology Fast 500 company?
The journey has been super enriching. Let me share with you a small anecdote. I became active in the angel community a decade back and was attending a number of networking events. Raising funds was norm of the day and during one such event, I was asked who had funded your company. I took a minute and responded, INT. is a “customer funded company”. Yes, that’s what defines us from becoming a no brand to being recognized as one of the fastest growing organizations.
When I look at the market, I understand that has evolved as well. Though we are a born digital organization way before the word digital became a word for everyday use. Today, the market has evolved and is far more matured as the phases of the dotcom bubble are also in the past.
3. How do you see the marketing space evolving in India? Do you think India is an ROI obsessed market, or do you see the marketing community evolving?
Marketing is a dynamic space and marketing leaders always look to learn and unlearn quickly to meet newer customer requirements. With digital gradually taking the limelight, the rate of change has also amplified. Personally, I see the space evolving and becoming a lot more data driven in future as today’s measuring and getting measured has become super important.
When I look towards India alone, the community is now taking a wonderful leap in creating a community who are looking to challenge and create their own story. Young guns who are coming into the industry are looking to work at great speed which is fascinating to watch. It is expected of us not to lose our obsession with ROI as it has been a great push for us to keep growing. These are real data and we should never overlook it.
4. What has been the biggest challenge you faced as a company? Considering the market has seen various events like the tech bubble to multiple recessions in the last few decades.
To be honest, challenges are in front of us regularly. I may sound cliche but every time a new challenge has come, identifying the hidden opportunity has been INTian’s strength. During the dotcom bubble we pivoted and diversified in newer geographies. Today when this pandemic came we too were worried but was hopeful that digital adoption which might take decades to happen will actually happen in months. Fortunately, it became true.
However, I see the 2007 recession as one of the most difficult times for us as we were scaling up then. It did lower our growth rate but with the power of compounding we soon started doubling our growth in less than 5 years.
5. INT. recently underwent a rebranding exercise. Can you tell us more about the rebranding exercise rationale? We also see that the brand is reasonably active with ideas like the comic strip series labeled ‘CIO Series.’ What is your marketing approach as a brand?
We are moving towards the next phase of INT., where we are evolving as an enterprise-grade technology partner for enterprises, which will help them in value creation at the confluence of technology, analytics, and marketing. This is INT. Ver. 3.0 for you. An INT. that can match and surpass the best in digital. An INT. which is ambitious and bold.
The new INT. stands to define its core philosophy as:
“We seek and spread knowledge, practice brutal honesty, and create real sustainable value in a world plagued with bullsh*t, hype, and misinformation.”
At INT. We always believe in identifying the fun in simple things in life. We are a simple organization which is responsible to partner with fast-growing organizations for their growth. During these journeys we often come across some interesting situations and that is what we want to document with such efforts. Amidst the busy world, we aim to catch hold of such interesting conversations and share with the wonderful technology community.
6. How do you balance tech and creativity, considering INT. also has a reasonable presence in the tech development space?
INT. is primarily a Software Product Engineering partner for global and Indian enterprises, agencies and SMEs. If we look at the group we have INT. which leads the technology division and with TechShu led by Aji Issac responsible for driving marketing initiative. I understand there is a requirement of two different cultures to develop and this is why we have created two strategic teams to take care of each. However, we do work in tandem on multiple projects to provide a holistic experience for our clients.
7. Has the current pandemic changed your perspective on an aspect of marketing? Do you think we are moving into a contact-less future where digital consumption will increase?
The challenge we face today globally is one of its kind in the recent past. Health concerns will affect all kinds of resources and with days to come it will create an ever-lasting impact. Marketing is also about to change and it will be digital as we move forward. For me, it is not astonishing as the recent few years already started seeing a change in habits of consumers and organizations which denied it started to lose their share.
I personally see the era of contact-less consumption will be on rise. With digital products, we have already experienced the same in our industry and we soon will see that as the norm. I am extremely hopeful that the new world will be a lot more digital-friendly and will have minimal contact.
8. What qualities do you look for in potential hires, and how can prospective job seekers prepare for a role in marketing?
Marketing or Technology, we hire on the basis of talent rather than college degrees. For us what matters most is the go-getter attitude of the incumbent, the zeal to take up challenges and the absolute love for technology and innovation. If the candidates can prove their ability to bring in these qualities we don’t even care if he/she is a graduate. For us their knowledge and hunger for learning is the key.