About Sivaram Kuppachi–
Sivaram Kuppachi is an experienced strategist and a successful business leader, with demonstrated skills in developing business in new markets. He is a proactive executive with a passion to deliver and is exceptionally quick to identify, focus and execute priorities that are pivotal for enterprises.
Sivaram comes with an extensive global experience of working in more than 15 countries across 4 continents. He is currently the Founder & CEO/Quarterback of Zamstars, an organisation offering services and solutions in Marketing, Branding and Sales.
Founder of Visualemote
Investor Partner at Discovery Kids ScienceAdda
Investor and Mentor at Dialogues Cafe
Life must have been a bed of roses with a high paying job, so why did you step in rocky and risky roads of Startups?
It’s the way we take it. I don’t think Startups are “Rocky and Risky”. It’s the same feeling as when we started our careers years back.I have worked in different roles for about 15 years with L&T, Satyam, Oracle and then as a Director of Strategy & Services at UST Global. I felt it was high time to do something on my own. In this quest, I moved back to India in 2010. It wasn’t like I was not content with my job.Having developed certain skill sets by building and then growing businesses for companies I worked with, I wanted to deploy the same in enterprises albeit big or small.
The inquisitiveness of a child has always intrigued me, so partnering and investing in Science Adda was a natural progression. Soon, the collaboration with Discovery Kids, the channel happened. It’s been six years in the venture and I take pride in our contribution to this key sector. Till date, I have been an investor and mentor in four startups. Despite the challenges, the risk-taking ability has helped me work with a new enthusiasm every day.
How did the idea of starting Zamstars come up?
I noticed that there are different types of companies (startups, startedUps and established firms) where there is seldom any inter-departmental ‘business outcome’ interaction in the functions of Marketing, Branding and Sales. These key growth drivers should work together, and the silos need to be shattered. To tackle these issues, and to help companies grow their revenue by leveraging Branding, Marketing and Sales (MBS) services, Zamstars was born in November 2013. ‘Behaviour’, the cornerstone for growth, is the capsule that we, Zamstars, want to offer to business and enterprises. We offer a holistic view of the MBS offerings that can be measured on an Outcome Metrics. Our Behaviour enables us to create an “Aspirational Vision” for you, crafted by a “Thoughtful Strategy” and delivered through “Passionate Execution”.
How did Zamstars, along with other ventures, grow exponentially within a short span?
In the last three and a half years, Zamstars has served around 50 to 60 brands across industry verticals. It has been profitable from month one, and as an organisation in the services sector, our Human Capital has been the backbone of our growth. With about half a million dollars as revenue generated in the last financial year, our benchmark of a million dollars for the financial year 2017-18 injects the zeal in me to get to office each day. The dynamic workforce with right zeal and rich experience balances the relationship Zamstars builds as an associate, partner, investor or mentor. Through Zamstars, our clients reach the right consumer at the right time. The equation is simple! If the clients grow, then our growth is inevitable.
The growth streak continues with Visual Emote. Photography is my passion. My endeavour is to ‘Emote’ Visually. We shoot for corporate through this venture. Workshops are also conducted and amateur photographers get a hands-on experience of gliding into professional photography.
Recently, I have taken up an investment in Dialogues Café which is into collaborative spaces. At present, we have two centers in Bangalore. The idea is to expand to 4-5 centres by this financial year before we expand to other cities.
Tell us about three tough decisions taken after you forayed into various ventures?
In my opinion, nothing is difficult or tough. I’m a firm believer of Persistence and Perseverance. I never contemplate or keep thinking whether a decision is right or wrong. It’s based on my gut and to the best of my understanding. So frankly speaking, the thought of taking tough decisions and contemplating later, stands null and void for me.
Marketing has been your catchment area. The industry is moving at a fast pace. What do you foresee for it in the coming two years?
What I’ve understood working with Zamstars, is that most companies perceive digital marketing as the core of marketing. For me, marketing is done in the market and not in the office. Though all social media channels namely Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are strong influencers, many feel that mere knowledge of handling social media channels is enough to gamble with marketing. Business has been happening in India for about five thousand years now, and definitely, it was not social media driven. Unless you’re not in the market, you cannot connect with the customer. At Zamstars, we prioritise business first and then select the tool later.
Having said that, I don’t deny the power of right marketing- traditional and digital. Metrics and analytics are very important to track the performance. Digital is a promising platform- you can track the eye balls, it has an instant connect and a strong presence. Most businesses have already been advertising on social media, and the graph is going to increase from here.
India is a demand driven economy, and most organizations are looking forward to expand their businesses in our country. Hence, the demand for right channel marketing is on a splurge, for companies to set foot in India.
Do you also offer services for startups?
Yes, we have worked with a few startups. In fact, keeping in mind the financial health of a startup, we suggest a plan that accommodates the budget without compromising on the quality of work. We need to see the passion for the idea and the execution plan. If a startup is promising, we render our best services to make the brand grow. Like I said, our growth is completely dependent on our customers’ growth.
What best advice would you like to give to the young upcoming entrepreneurs?
The best way to earn an investment is by making little money at the onset from the business idea. Most entrepreneurs think that by putting up ideas in an excel sheet, their chances of getting funded increases. Well, the best thing towards funding is that one must have enough understanding backed by proper research and metrics before taking the plunge. I request all entrepreneurs to take a decision and make it Right. There is no Good or Bad Business Idea (but for very few exceptions). It is in your hands to make these ideas as Good Business or bad Business. The Power lies in your “EXECUTION”.