I had a lot of fun speaking with Rishav Agarwal, the Founder and CEO at Picxele. Picxele helps companies meet their on-demand work requirements through trained gig workers, where companies pay only for results delivered not merely for manpower.
Some of the topics we discussed:
- Learning about marketing, growth, and sales while doing his internships
- Rishav’s introduction to the startup ecosystem – there was so much he did not know!
- How his own experiences lead to the founding of Picxele
- The importance of cash management and reinvesting revenue back into the business
- Building a specialized platform and not being a jack-of-all-trades
Some other titles we considered for this episode:
- I Did 43 Internships
- Without Decent Revenue, I Can Not Fill My Stomach
- You Need to Have that Credibility in Place
- I Was Only Getting Pizza, I Was Not Getting the Toppings
Please note that I made a real-time calculation error of INR to USD in the midst of this conversation…:-(
Read the best-effort transcript below (This technology is still not as good as they say it is…):
Michael Waitze 0:00
Let’s rock and roll. We are on and let’s have some fun. Hi, this is Michael Waitze. And welcome back to India GameChanger. Today we are joined by Rishav Agarwal, the Founder and CEO of Picxele. I love the spelling. We’ll get back to that in a second. Thank you so much for doing this today. I mean, besides all the, as my grandfather would say, meshugas, which I can explain to you late…
Rishav Agarwal 0:26
Thank you so much for inviting me. Lovely speaking to you.
Michael Waitze 0:28
It’s great speaking to you, too. But I think this is actually indicative of something that we should talk about. We use all this technology in our lives, right to make it more efficient to make it more effective to make it easier to communicate. And yet, if we had done the whole thing manually, right, none of the stuff that happened today, between noon and like 2pm would have happened, because it would have been impossible for you to press the wrong button and cause all that confusion is that fair?
Rishav Agarwal 0:57
Technology can make disastrous things at times. Right? So…
Michael Waitze 1:03
I mean, luckily, luckily, you have a sense of humor, and I have at least enough humility. I didn’t say a lot of it. But enough humility to know like, I did that wrong tonight, I definitely to do that wrong. Anyway, before we get to the main part of this conversation, why don’t you give our listeners a little bit of your background for some context, see how we got to here.
Rishav Agarwal 1:23
So as you know, so I started my company in college, so I was doing a ug four years degree. I started my college in 2015. And in 2017, after doing a couple of internships remotely with a lot of startups and companies in India. So I did like 43 internships in like one year of my college, second year of my college. So from there, I figured out the problem. And then for one year, without building a product, I started doing some kind of work. And from there, I figured out yes, this can be converted into product, and cannot be scalable without the product, actually. So that’s what pixel was born
Michael Waitze 2:03
right? After this. So first of all, where did you go to school?
Rishav Agarwal 2:08
Yes, definitely. I completed my schooling in 2000. Class 12. Actually, in India, we had class two. And so in 2015, into Donald 15, I went to college, for engineering
Michael Waitze 2:18
for engineering. So yeah, how did you find the time to do 43 internships? And I guess the real question is, why not? 44? Or why not? 14? Do you know I mean, like, why so many different things?
Rishav Agarwal 2:30
What degree I ended up, I just ended up applying to intensives, after I did 43, actually. So it’s not it was not in mind that whatever you’re gonna do. So that is one thing. Second, obviously, while you do engineering, you do everything without doing engineering. So that’s
Michael Waitze 2:47
what is happening.
Rishav Agarwal 2:51
So that’s why I started doing an internship. So people used to roam around. So during my free time, actually, I used to apply for all random instances I used to saw in internet. And I just thought, let’s have some fun over there. So that’s where I figured out yes, these are some good things can happen from engineering to my entire skill set into marketing, growth, business, etc. So today, what I’m doing, I’m not doing what I have studied. So that is the irony of the fact. So that’s where the things got started. In May 2019, was the time I launched pixel, when I completed my college. And from then till now, I’ve been scaling pixel been three and a half years since I’m running this company. I also invest in companies, I invested in 50 Odd startups till now as an angel investor. Wow. And I’ve been doing a couple of other things along with
Michael Waitze 3:38
you did all these internships, you were going to university or going to college to study engineering, which for your generation, is just like the normal path, right? And whether you’re interested in marketing, or sales, or whatever, your parents and not just your parents, but your entire, like extended family, just like so Reshef is gonna go to school to be an engineer. Yeah. And you’re like, Yep, I definitely am. And then you get there. And you do it because you’re smart. But you’re interested in other things. And frankly, just being an engineer is not enough to build a business from scratch. It’s good. But it’s not sufficient. But what was the thing that you learned maybe that you didn’t expect when you were doing all these internships and not just doing the job itself? But when you’re trying to find them as well? Just run me through that. What was the process of stuff that you’ve learned?
Rishav Agarwal 4:24
What happened actually the first internship which I applied, I applied or randomly because I didn’t you what is the term marketing? Because everything was new to me, right? Everything to see, during that time, internet was booming, actually, like if I talk about India, internet was booming internet companies were booming a lot actually. It was a startup. So that was the time so I applied to the tandemly for the first 1520 days. I don’t know what was happening in the group. Some random tasks were coming around people were telling to do something and I kept on going from there I found it gets this is something which I’m loving it after. doing one year of engineering study for one year, I thought that let’s continue, then I started finding more internships in the same type of work. It came out to be content, it came out to be sales, it came out to be social media marketing everything apart from engineering. So that’s where it got started. And then I just learned a lot of things in terms of how the business works, or the startup works, how the team works, or the processes works, everything while doing this. Definitely all went in a good way, actually, by doing internships, some companies, were doing it very slowly. And some were doing it very rapidly, etc. So that’s when I was also delving in different different phases of the people actually understanding more about the people more about the ecosystem and more about the different regions of people in India. That’s where it helped me a lot.
Michael Waitze 5:47
Yeah, so that’s the other thing I want to ask you, right? Because like India is such a big country in a way, even though it’s a different shape. It’s very similar to United States, right? If you’ve never been to United States, not you personally. But if one’s never been there, and one just reads about it. I don’t think anybody really understands it. What’s happening in North Dakota is nothing like what’s happening in Texas, which is like nothing what’s happening in Boston or in San Diego. So it’s not one big market, per se. But the other thing, too, is that there’s an aspirational part of do I come from a small town and end up in New York? Or do I come from a smaller town and end up in Chicago? Or LA? Is it the same in India? And is that was that your experience to like?
Rishav Agarwal 6:30
Yeah, exactly. So we have metro cities, we are Taiwan cities tie two cities, three cities, actually. Yep. So I was belonging from Tyre three city, actually. Okay. If I talk about Uber, Ola, tomatoes wiki, these were not available, right. And in cities, these were the places where people used to travel by write on the mattress wiki, ordering foods, etc. But
Michael Waitze 6:54
did you know, but if you’re from a tier three city, because this is interesting to me, too, if you’re from a tier three city, you don’t have access to Uber or Ola, or some other services that you may, there may be there. But do you know they exist? Like do you? Are you there? You don’t even
Rishav Agarwal 7:10
know actually who they are actually. So I just learned about them in 2015 When I entered two different city action,
Michael Waitze 7:16
so you just got there and you’re like, What is this stuff?
Rishav Agarwal 7:19
What is happening? Like people are walking by the web application? Okay, but
Michael Waitze 7:23
it was cool. But that’s informative, isn’t it? Sorry. Go ahead.
Rishav Agarwal 7:27
So that’s what happened. Actually, when I moved to Chennai, in Tamil Nadu in India, it’s in southern part. So that’s where I moved from eastern part, which is not when vestment one Yep. To south. That’s where this all things came in. Obviously, mainly also, there’s a in different different parts of India, different languages, are there different cultures? Are there, different target markets are everything changes to nothing? So from there, I just saw that why people are booking like jobs, and people are coming directly in front of their houses. It was happening. So then I started learning this, this is happening. This is great, actually. So that’s what I figured out. Yeah, there’s something cool. Then slowly and steadily. I knew about Ecosystm There is something called a startup. I didn’t know what a startup. So that is one thing. Until then I used to know what is business? Because I come from a business background for my father as a family business. Okay, that what is business or the startup? I do?
Michael Waitze 8:20
What what kind of business in your was your dad running?
Rishav Agarwal 8:23
It’s an iron and steel business, actually. So okay, so not a small
Michael Waitze 8:27
man, and I’m still business, big business. Even if even if the revenue is not gigantic, it’s just, it almost has to be. But the business itself requires a decent amount of fiscal plant and infrastructure. Right? So it has to be a complicated business. It’s not like, you know, he’s not like selling widgets and stuff. He’s begging steel and iron. Sorry, go ahead.
Rishav Agarwal 8:47
Well, that is what actually from the background, I came down to that I know that what is business? I don’t know, what is fundraising, etc. What did you start up? What is cool? So that’s one.
Michael Waitze 8:58
Yeah, but in an interesting way, you couldn’t even ask your dad, right? Because if you were going to start another traditional business, you could go to your dad, your mom, your grandfather and stuff and ask those questions, right? Like, how do I do capital expenditure? What is capex? How much money should I reserve for my employees? In short, like all these regular business things, but if you say to your dad, like, how do I talk to a venture capitalist about seed stage funding? He’s just like, What language are you speaking? Dude? I thought I educated you kind of thing, right? No,
Rishav Agarwal 9:25
exactly. This is what I learned from my father also, right. He made money, he earned money, reinvested the money, invested the money back into the business. So as of now in pixel also, I never raised a single penny from an external investor. We are completely bootstrapped. We never raised a single payment from everyone, anyone actually, till now till date. So that’s where I thought the day when I started developing this actually, the first thing was in my mind, I still have a decrease in revenue. Because without that, I cannot fill my stomach. I cannot order pizza. So so that were actually
Michael Waitze 10:00
Okay, you’re gonna go there that you’re gonna go there already. Okay, go ahead, you’re making fun of me for pizza.
Rishav Agarwal 10:05
Thankfully, I thought that I need to answer money because I did not speak to the placement. So from day one, my focus was on revenue, on profits, etc. and I slowly and steadily, I thought that if you’re running a profitable business, whether it’s not going to 100 crores, but you are earning bread and butter, that’s where comes the most satisfaction. And that’s where it starts take to being bootstrapped and keep the business same way. And keep on reinvesting the money.
Michael Waitze 10:31
Yeah. So this is also a different way of thinking about building what I’ll put in quotes a startup business. Exactly. I’m guessing that when your family business started, that they didn’t go to venture capitalists, or the traditional investment route, that somehow there was either some family money or they borrowed money from some family and friends or, or who knows what, but somehow, the first idea wasn’t, let me get a million customers and see if I can figure out a way to make money from steel and iron. It was, okay, what’s the spread and margin on my business? And then how can I grow it fundamentally so that I can then grow that business to bigger, bigger, bigger? Maybe my margins shrink a little bit, but I can still feed my wife, my kids, my inlaws kind of thing, right. But if you do that today, because all of your peers are going out there and saying, how many clients can I get? How big can I get? How fast can I get that big, so that I can then go out and raise money. And although you didn’t use these exact terms, basically what you’re saying is I need to be profitable from day one, because I’m not because I can’t fund this any other way. If you do that, from the beginning, don’t you think there’s now a disincentive for business that has been built like you’re never to take investment, or just not to take it today kind of thing,
Rishav Agarwal 11:46
is not like not taking investment ever. It becomes indispensable People to People, the owner or the founder to form the connection. So obviously, for every business model, you cannot make money from day one. You cannot, it’s just as business, you cannot start generating revenue from day one, you need to build then you can slowly. So in my business model, it was completely evident enough that from day one, I can make money, right, we can generate revenue. So obviously, there will be different approaches, depending upon the scenarios, what market you are catering, what audience you’re catering, depending upon that you can define your skill set, etc. Let’s do an example if a person who is starting after 10 years of doing a job he has some money is putting into the business is building the product etc. Beats as business, he knows the skill to sell it, they can also become profitable from day one we have seen in India, companies like Zoho Serotta, etc. Yep, they have never raised money. So they have been growing like health. So being profitable. So there are different types of mindset we talk about, and it’s always okay. It’s completely an individual choice, which I see in the end of the day, how you want to grow your business, how do you want to scale your startup completely depends upon the scenarios, the markets and all the things?
Michael Waitze 12:58
Do you think that after running the business for a while, right, so lynda.com, which was a company that was acquired by LinkedIn, and you saw me just typing, just trying to look up to see what it was purchased for, but I think it was a couple of billion dollars, right. But the company lynda.com was started by this woman, Linda and her husband basis and education business or like an online ed tech business, and they just grew it and grew it and grew it. And then they sold it to LinkedIn. But I think in the interim, they raised 100 million bucks, but only 10 years after they were in, it just gives you so much more leverage and control. Right? Because if you raise during the seed round, then you have this kind of, I don’t want to say anchor, but this kind of heavy weight with you the whole time you’re trying to grow because you’re like, I think I want to go over there. And they’re like, I don’t think that’s the right place to go go over here and kind of thing. But But I want understand this too. You’re in college, you’re doing all these internships, you’re enjoying it. Right? So you’re doing things you didn’t even know existed before. What was the impetus? Like what did you want to solve? When you said, Okay, I can actually turn this into a business, what was the original idea?
Rishav Agarwal 14:03
Okay, so what happened actually, while I was doing internships, that companies used to hire interns in good numbers 50 Number 70 interns, 100 interns exit over all the work from home, okay. But again, there’s a challenge for company they used to have one particular person as a full time to manage all these people. Yeah, right for giving them the work reporting, allowing them work checking when ultimately giving them stipend and a particular thing, anything called product purchase, to complete allocation of resources over the former companies. And from there was one problem which I’ve witnessed second problem on the return side or as a student side, some of the companies might not replied, they will not apply in time, the stipends or the certificates were getting delayed, etc. So the problem is a student which I was missing. I thought, we can make a platform where we get the work from the companies and I will make a great group of people or students who are ready to do this work. Put that’s where this idea started to all the people who I got in touch during this one year, I made a group of 150 200 students all across India wanting work. But one thing I told them You did not worry about the payment or the payouts, whatever it is, it will be timely, this is the process etc. Similarly, I went to 10 companies from one, I made a good connection with them. I told them ultimately you will hire interns and then you will get your work done. Why to go to such a big pain? You can give me your work. So that’s where I explained them. So they given me the book, I started allotting the work to the people out there. overhead. The bigger benefit was I did not hire interns for different different companies for different different parts. Actually, the same group of people can do multiple kind of works. Yeah, that that allotting them work started working with them in the first year, that was third year of my college, we did around 20 lakhs of revenues from the money which I saved from that the 20 lakh if I talk in dollars, it wouldn’t be around.
Michael Waitze 15:56
Let’s look it up just so people can know. We have time 20 lakh Yeah. Actually 20 lakh is $58,000. Yeah.
Rishav Agarwal 16:03
So that’s where actually it will be coming. And from there, the money which I saved, actually, in terms of profit, that I reinvested again, in building the product, the technology, because it was not scalable. I cannot keep on running on WhatsApp, or Google Sites by just erasing stuff like Yeah, so I was testing the waters for one year, because obviously, if I’m doing something I had time, I had the entire college life on my left. So that’s where I thought that let’s experiment for earlier, I kept on experimenting. Once I had a decent saving for that I reinvested again, in order to build a product. And it happened to be built in six months, but this continuous offline process was in their place. We never stopped that. Because I need to have that revenue incoming. So that’s where I launched. Soon I graduated, college. And then we started scaling my app. Because
Michael Waitze 16:53
what were the biggest problems to scaling with, let’s say, before you built the platform, right? What was the biggest problems, you maybe the top three that you noticed, when you were trying to do this thing? Like the things that you were juggling, and you’re really afraid if I go to sleep, this thing is going to fall and hit the ground? And everything’s going to stop? What were those things that were scariest?
Rishav Agarwal 17:11
Yeah. So at the time, I could not manage more than five to six companies. So that was one problem. Okay, problem, it was very difficult in order to check the work on WhatsApp, because individual person was telling to send into me one on one, etc. Right? That is a tedious process for me. And the third, the entire process was manual. Actually, I used to keep a notebook and down. So these three problems with a motion at a time, then I thought that if this is a proven method, we can replace this with the help of application, where we’ll put the work, users will come and perform the work, they will submit over there in the backend, we will check and they will get the money simple process.
Michael Waitze 17:46
So I always wonder like what the first lines of code are? Do you know what I mean? Like you say, Okay, I want to build this platform. You okay, you three girls are high, you three girls are hired to do this, you guys are going to work with them stuff. Go like, Do you know what I mean? What are the first three lines of code besides like notes? You know, let’s simple stuff. What do they build first?
Rishav Agarwal 18:05
Was he actually we I personally, I didn’t read it out. Because I’m sure who I like to do to the members, my friends actually admit them and I got the app developed. So what kind of the first set of work if I talked about? Now, obviously, we used to list the work on the application with the steps and the requirements and the political sides. People who are interested in the users of the application, they will read the task, or the work or the project, they will go to it. If they’re interested, they will apply. And then as simple as that we don’t, we won’t be lapping against each other people who are interested in those particular kinds of work, they will apply to it, they will work around it,
Michael Waitze 18:41
but who approves it, does your platform or prove it? Or does the company Yeah, we
Rishav Agarwal 18:44
we on the back end will approve, because we have the entire process of checking it and all those things. And obviously, there’s some of the works, which company approves, then we approve on the back end.
Michael Waitze 18:55
But how do you know if someone’s actually like let’s say there’s this big project that you have you need 10 people to work on, I apply for one, because I’m like, I really want to work for this company. But in the end, you decide I’m just not qualified, like how does that process work?
Rishav Agarwal 19:09
They’re like 2212 Peter, two ways we’ll define the task for escaping, and one is semi skilled or unskilled, when we can just read the task, a layman can read and complete it. Right. So that’s not restricted to anyone so that anyone can do it completed. That is one way. Second, when we come into skilled, there’s a list of form involved actually without before applying. So they need to filled up the requests, etc. Based on that data out there when we when when the requirement is very small, that we need only three or four or five people to work on it. We speak them one on one, we make them understandable then they start working on it. That’s why we do the matchmaking in terms of skilled work where the training is also required because based on the work of a different different companies, it needs to be trained actually, we cannot get written by simply the set of documents
Michael Waitze 19:54
right so do you do training as well?
Rishav Agarwal 19:59
Right because For the specific work, it was,
Michael Waitze 20:02
yeah, you know what I mean? The right in other words, I can study all this great stuff in college. But even I studied economics, but you can’t look like graduate from college and become an economist. Right? You just, that’s just not the way it works the same way, even if you study computer science and engineering, most likely the problems, the engineering problems in the software development process you’re gonna be solving in a big company are likely different than what you learn specifically in school. But is there a way for you to make money as well from for training people to actually work for some of these big companies, right? So let’s say they’re going to work for Tata, they’re going to work for, you know, some big Indian company, or even a smaller startup company, like, let’s say they’re gonna go work for Abbey Road, or some other company like, okay, but before you do that, we need to train you to do this, do you do that as well? Or do you think about
Rishav Agarwal 20:43
it? No, we don’t do it at all that comes into different sector as a whole actually go ahead. Because the brain for a specific work, for example, if some company needs us to do data mining or data analytics, right, basically, company process, what the company requirement is, we train them on that particular task basis, we don’t train whatever is not required, and what the entire thing what a company is doing, etc, we tell the prerequisites, etc. And company helps us in doing that, obviously, they will be the best person in doing that particular thing along with us to be trained for a particular project or a task, we don’t have to do with the entire thing and typos, etc. So that’s what this is, if we go into the entire training part, as I told if a person is an economist, they want to enter into software development, that training is an entirely different training as a whole, that is a different market in India, which comes into training and placement, all those kinds of things. So we’re not into that.
Michael Waitze 21:35
The companies themselves have a relationship or creating relationships with these, I’ll put it in quotes gig workers that you’re supplying to them. And let’s say they just love this one lady who’s working for them, and they hire them in some way that’s going to make you happy.
Rishav Agarwal 21:53
No. So what happens actually, for us, we are there in between to manage the process, the quality, etc, everything. So we never get the good worker hired for any company. For example, if someone is getting trained, it will begin. Obviously, if someone is like, if some company likes the particular person, very much the work done by that person, they tell us that we need to have this particular person. So we definitely allow that it’s a very good thing that a person is getting job from our from our platform, it’s a very good use of feedback to get a good client feedback, etc. So that’s where the thing is happening. Obviously, it happens, like it happened in the past, it keeps on happening some of the other day, that keeps on happening. That’s a really good additional point, which we get, obviously from them.
Michael Waitze 22:38
And how does payment take place? Because one of the problems that you are addressing earlier was this idea that a gig worker does the work, but they’re not getting paid. Right? But how do you ensure because it’s not on you, right? In other words, the company is not necessarily hiring the gig worker, per se, they’re hiring pixel. Yeah, but pixel has to get paid first before they can pay the worker. So how do you manage that?
Rishav Agarwal 23:01
So what happens actually, so company pays us to keep our margin, and we pay to the people, right?
Michael Waitze 23:06
Yeah, they pay early enough for on time.
Rishav Agarwal 23:09
Yeah. So we keep a cycle of 15 days actually, for for gig workers. Also, we keep a cycle that in 15 days, we’ll get up. But there are some companies with whom we are working on regular basis. Now they have become more flexible, that they keep on releasing payment for us on a weekly basis, on a 15 day basis, etc. For the new year companies who are coming into place and working us for the first month. Let’s take an example. They started putting us in February 15, their work gets completed the 28th of February. So we tell them that by 15th of March, you need to make a supplement. So for them, actually, we try to make the payment to the worker by seven when the work gets approved when the invoice is yesterday’s, etc, right? So we need to maintain our cash cycle that work. That’s what I have learned from the beginning of the day, actually, to maintain the cash cycle, which is very important in this kind of business, because your payment might get stuck also 1520 30 days also, that possibility will always be there. And this happens some of the times. So that that’s where I like mostly focused on managing the cash cycle. So that if I’m not getting money from one and I get it from second data, so that this particular requirement, amount is getting pushed to
Michael Waitze 24:15
Yeah, so this brings up a lot of other questions, but also opportunities for a company like pixel. If company if big corporation A is hiring pixel to supply them with let’s say, 50 workers for certain tasks, whatever they are, you know, who’s getting paid, you know, who’s doing a good job at some level, you must keep track of like, who’s really good at x and who’s really good at why and who’s just bad at everything, and you just don’t offer them any more work. But with all the cash that’s going through your system, at some point, you can either consolidate it, you can offer financial services, you can offer insurance you can offer, you know, earn, earn early, get your pay later all these kinds of other financial services. Are you building that out as well? Right? I mean, the first thing is insurance. Because if you’ve got people all over the country, and they’re working for you, you could offer them health insurance, car insurance, everything, because you already have their money in a way Right?
Rishav Agarwal 25:13
Definitely. So, this is the right one. So people in India a lot, many company keepers approached us for this particular kind of services to integrate with, right. But as of now, it will be honored this morning for members to people that are in the operations, one in the tech and one me looking after business in the finance. So, we are now in 2023, we are implementing these changes, as you told we are trying to gamify the application that is first second, we are making more rewarding in terms of code base, we can give them by BNPL, insurance cards, etc, whatever it is actually, this three to four things we are trying to implement in 2023. As of now, the time when I launched, it was in the same version of the application, we never made any changes for past three and a half years, we scale to 750 K users all organically in India. So my focus was to build the product to get attention of the people. And to get that this is a simple application where you work, you get money, our positioning was like that. That’s where I tried focusing on to get more and more revenue based this particular thing once gets tabled, then you can make more changes, because you can make changes in time. But you need to know the what is the right time to make the changes.
Michael Waitze 26:27
Are you brand building as well. And I’ll tell you what I mean, Intel did this really smart thing where like nobody used to care what kind of chip was inside the computer until, until Intel worked with Microsoft and had those little stickers that said Intel inside. And then people started doing like powered by this and like supported by that? Do you do this with pixel as well, and also on the reverse? Or the employees that you have the workers proud of being sort of powered by pixel two, so that they walk around with a pixel t shirt, not for work or anything, but just like in their regular lives? And people just go What’s that? Like? I got my job through this? You don’t? I mean, are you doing that kind of brand building to
Rishav Agarwal 27:08
see what happens? Yeah, like some of the top users are there, definitely who are earning more, getting more, who are working with us directly, also some of the time because it’s not possible that we work directly with all the users of the platform, sure, there will be 300 400 people 200 people. So these people definitely put their particular status on like Instagram or can be London etc, that as a working as a good worker as a part time worker. So that happens actually, once a particular individual starts getting something from the platform or any kind of any particular product etc, they will cloud it happens for us, definitely not for all the users. That is first thing. Secondly, for the companies, I’d actually the people who love us that we are a go to person for them, whenever they are stuck somewhere, they will reach out to us whether it is today, whether there is tomorrow, they reach out to us so they also give us a shout out on a lot many platforms, etc. So that’s where this entire journey of mine since past three to four years actually it happened with people because this is more of networking you need to have that credibility in place you need to have that brand in place that people love love you people sell know about you. And people sell know that you this particular company is solving a problem.
Michael Waitze 28:24
It just my my brain is like on overdrive right now. Will because if we believe I know what you’re thinking too much pizza. Okay, fair enough. You got me again, but but if we believe that work is really changing, right, and the nature of the way people work in the places where people work is changing. You could create this community, right. So like, let’s say you hire a bunch of people in Bangalore, a bunch of people in Delhi, a bunch of people in Chennai, a bunch of people, you know, in Calcutta and all over the country, but in those particular towns, they want to do two things or cities. They want to work from home sometimes. Sometimes they want to work outside the home, they don’t want to go to a coffee shop, because there’s too much noise. Do you think it makes sense at some level to build kind of co working spaces that you build that are branded Pixal so that regular people can come in and work there. But also the people that work with pixel to get their other gigs and other jobs, have a quiet air condition nice place to work that feels like an office then they can walk around as well and just go hey, I’m working on this problem. What do you think about this from a software’s perspective denoted mister you’re really building a community that way? Does that make any sense?
Rishav Agarwal 29:31
Yeah, for us, the sector which we are the type of media which we are targeting, doesn’t mean that particular alignment because in Good work, good Army as a whole, there are three segments one is white collar gray color and the blue collar. So first of all, we are not getting the blue collar at all that comes into recruiting and outsourcing. Then comes into white and the color we are doing the semi white collared as a gray color board, which our end our target audience and the users as a whole We are mostly students in the age group of 19 to 24 Got it, okay, that’s where we are targeting now, these people are more comfortable working from their place by utilizing their free time getting some skill development, getting some paid money out of there. But that’s where the focus is. Now, for companies also it makes sense when the young generation or the youth of India are working on certain tasks for them, it can be promotions, it can be acquisitions, it can be content, etc, whatever it is, so like minded people can come on to them the type of work which you’re telling, it comes completely into freelancing, which is a different side of the business. Yeah, fair enough. People go to the co working cafes, etc, when people hire two to three peoples for development of a project, it can be data analytics, it can be graphic designing UI UX, etc, that is a whole new market for the freelancing sector. So we are not hiring that we are not targeting the DAT actually, the reason being is like that is completely clean to outsourcing the resources to a different company, the company will directly manage the freelancers and they will get them. But over here, we are there in between to gather the requirements for the company by the set of people we have.
Michael Waitze 31:11
So so if I wanted to hire someone to do like podcasts post production, could I go to pixel to do it, or should I go somewhere else to do it
Rishav Agarwal 31:17
now for post production. Now, for example, if you need video editing to be done, let’s take an example. You need this to be edited in a better way, or the transcript sent to be done. That’s a better way, if you want this transition. So we have people we will get that particular interface, you mean, you will be telling the requirements will be there in order to ensure that this particular person is doing the work. Let’s take an example if that particular person goes off by doing one video, suddenly, so you need not go and find the different person, we’ll be replacing the second person out there. So that is one there. That is second part. And third, the entire process, how it needs to be done, when it should be done. Signed by you and B intersection. So we work together on that particular part. So this we are done with the company and obviously transcription and translation, video editing. So we have designers in place when we do one on per translation of a video which are charged from a company we keep our margin we pass to them that sorry.
Michael Waitze 32:14
Can you say what your margins are?
Rishav Agarwal 32:17
So it’s specifically in between? 25 to 30%? Between?
Michael Waitze 32:20
Okay, good size margin. So right? How many people cuz you said it’s mostly students, you said between 18 or 19? To 2425? For people that aren’t familiar just with the scale of India? Can you just give them a sense for how many people that is?
Rishav Agarwal 32:38
Total user base as a whole, we have 7.5 lakh, which is the minimum degree and from them month on month active users, we have online 40,000 which are active on our application. Yeah, so 31 to 40,000 active users on our application, keep on working on different different tasks, people working on different different people applying. But we keep on filtering the best ones from our application in maker community for them. For example, the people who are put in designing people opening content, people could interest Listen, translate, some people put it tele calling, and these kinds of tasks, which require some kind of skills in place. It can be writing skills, it can be designing skills, it can be communication skills, those we keep on necessities, so that when we have a certain demand in place from a company, we can get it done straight away.
Michael Waitze 33:23
What is the biggest opportunity segment for you that you didn’t expect was going to be there?
Rishav Agarwal 33:32
I don’t want ponder upon upon this, actually. So they’re like so many sectors, obviously, they like opportunity. If I talk about the offline market, there’s a bigger market, actually. But that’s a lot of operational heavy. If I talk about the blue collar segment, yeah. Which is like document is cool. It’s an Uber drivers, are there any kinds of drivers or the delivery boys, etc. So that’s a bigger market in India, when we talk about the blue collar segment, but it’s a very ops heavy, and it’s nice to be completely outsourced and the deployed etc. But that’s a bigger market, which we are not expecting, but what I have seen people who are already there, like there are so many companies doing this in India, we wanted to specialize ourself in certain certain tasks or certain projects, actually, we become best of it so that whosoever requires this kind of work, they will come to us, right? So that’s where we want to place ourselves and become that particular expertise in the particular kind of work that people will come to you with for that particular setting.
Michael Waitze 34:27
Are you familiar with a company called Workmate that was recently acquired by Persol?
Rishav Agarwal 34:32
Let me Yeah, yeah.
Michael Waitze 34:35
Yeah, so mad Ward built this company, four or five, five or six years. I came over Time passes so fast now in the startup world, but also gig worker or, you know, independent worker focused and then just got acquired last year at some point. I’m just looking at this article. Yeah, October of last year. Okay. Do you think of being acquired you just want to grow this thing into like the biggest company in India?
Rishav Agarwal 34:55
Yeah, obviously, we look forward to getting merged with someone like people who are doing some Same kind of task, as I told it can be into the offline segment or the outsourcing segment, but they want foray into this particular segment, which we are in the online world actually. And then we are doing tasks. Some company defaults to get much we will be happy to do that. That is first thing we did got two offers of admission, but it was completely equity based equity is an offer so I was nodding No, thank
Michael Waitze 35:20
you. No, thank you. If it was if it was pizza base, you might have considered it.
Rishav Agarwal 35:28
So I was I was getting only pizza, I was not getting the toppings. So it was that…
Michael Waitze 35:37
Well said. So before I let you go, is there anything else you want to make fun of me for you done for today?
Rishav Agarwal 35:47
No. I don’t know why I can’t get pizza out of my mind….
Michael Waitze 35:49
You know why…Because I told you, that’s what I had for lunch. Okay, I’m gonna let you go. Rishav Agarwal…founder and CEO of Picixele. This was awesome. You got to come back. You got to come back and talk to me more about this as you continue to grow. Is that cool?
Rishav Agarwal 36:03
Michael Waitze 36:04
Rishav Agarwal 36:06
You’re welcome. Thanks for having me.
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