Alumni Ventures

“ You Live your Passion ”

Artzyme, an online platform giving wings to Indian craftsmen and artisans to showcase their talent –

Today, India’s art market is worth approximately Rs 1,200 crore. The handicrafts market, meanwhile, is approximately Rs 16,000crore, even after excluding garments and jewellery. The global market for art online is expected to grow year-on-year at the rate of 20 percent, from $2.6 billion in 2014 to $6.3 billion in 2019.

Artzyme has formally launched in January 2016.

Addressing this market opportunity, Himjal Pradipkumar decided to promote Indian arts and encourage the artisans and craftsmen of the country.Himjal says, “With the help of technology, we would like to take original and handmade arts, handicrafts and antique home decor to the global markets. This will offer an opportunity to the talented artisans and craftsmen from across India.”

Himjal says, “With the help of technology, we would like to take original and handmade arts, handicrafts and antique home decor to the global markets. This will offer an opportunity to the talented artisans and craftsmen from across India.”

Himjal Pradip (EEP 2011, an alumnus of IIMB) has worked in leading global and Indian MNCs and local consumer product companies. He was the Vice President – S&M in a major FMCG company before starting Artzyme. 

How does Artzyme help Indian craftsmen showcase their talent?

Artzyme is an online marketplace for arts – original paintings, genuine handicrafts and authentic home decor. They catalyze creations of skilled Indian artisans and craftsmen unveiling their finest works to the world. The showcase, market and deliver the same to art lovers across India.

Himjal says, “Being an online platform, our customers can buy art from other regions through just a click. The artist too gets a wider audience for displaying and marketing his arts. The customer also benefits as he pays less. The savings occur because the artisan saves the gallery/exhibition stall cost and we take care of pickup and drop of goods. The customer receives the delivery at his doorstep without having to bear any additional cost of shipping.”

What is the story behind the name “Artzyme”?

The name “Artzyme” is an amalgamation of the words ‘art’ and ‘enzyme’. Enzymes are catalysts/accelerators, and the company intends to serve that purpose in the world of arts.

What is the core service of this brand?

“Customers can sort through a variety of original paintings, handicrafts, antique home decor, nameplates, lamp shades and gift cards, among other things, according to budget and genre. They can find products for different occasions and are given access to art from locations across the country, like Warli from Maharashtra, Gond from MP, Tanjore from TN, and more. Customers can also find abstracts, landscapes, hyper-realistic modern art, Buddha collection and so on.”

When asked about the revenue growth and projections Himjal said, “Currently, Artzyme is bootstrapped. Being a startup, there is more money being put into the company that is coming out, which is the norm. And while the revenues are low, they are getting regular orders. Their focus will soon be, to establish a B2B model through tie-ups with architects and designers.”

How has the road till now been?

Neither a techie nor from the arts background, it’s been a difficult journey so far. To be an entrepreneur one has to be mentally strong and requires courage, it’s scary to leave your job and follow your passion since you do not receive your monthly salary and there are no fixed working hours. There have been times when the decisions taken have been completely wrong, but, that is not the end of the road. I had to restart from the point of failure and take it forward. At times, there is a feeling of leaving the venture and join a company again, but within a few days, as you read some motivating instances of successful entrepreneurs and meet some of the industry leaders, I refocus on the Artzyme road ahead. Currently, hurdle faced is that of funds.

I would advise any budding entrepreneur experience is very adventurous, and most talked about during weekends, but during the week on daily basis, it’s brutally exhaustive. You have to take risks and make it your routine. 

What are the side effects of Entrepreneurship?

The side effects are frustration, insecurity, self-worth issues, addiction of work, sleep disorders, the family relationship suffers, bad food habits and no social life.

He also tells us to focus on several factors before leaving the job! He suggests asking the following questions to oneself before ‘the quit’ –

Why do you want to quit?

Can I launch my dream venture while working? How long will it take to launch a viable product?

What are plans A and B? If they fail, do I have plan C and D?

How much do I spend monthly?

How much do I need to support the family in future?

How long can I survive without a salary? Plan double the time you feel the venture will start paying you back.

Most important question to ask yourself, if I quit the job and follow my passion only to have it fail miserably after 2-3 years of dedicated work, how will I feel? If you feel terrified, then think over your decision.

To visit his online marketplace for arts, click here

“In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.”

–  Bill Cosby

We introduce to you the successful entrepreneurial journey of Balaji Pasumarthy who likes to create “Joy at Work.” He believes that Work can be a pleasure when done right.

Balaji is an alumnus of IIT Madras and IIM Bangalore, PGP 1993, and is passionate about entrepreneurs and helping them live a liberated life. Balaji Mentors Entrepreneurs on how to create self organizing, engaged and productive teams. Balaji is the owner of Golden Square Business Centre which provides ready to use offices facilities, which are ideal for teams of up to 20. Golden Square’s Serviced and Virtual offices and Co working spaces has been used by more than 3000 companies including Dell Computers when they first started operations in Bangalore. Golden Square has 6 branches across Bangalore.

What was your reason to be an entrepreneur?

“Don’t study so much, go out and play” was what I remember my mother saying to me while I was preparing for my IIT- JEE exams. And I thought to myself, why is she interrupting. I think I was in flow, work was pleasure. I got a dream job at IIM-Bangalore at placements in 1993 and joined the Unilever Group. However very soon I just did not enjoy the work. I was wondering why? I soon figured that it was the way work was extracted from people. It was either a reward or a threat. Work was no more a pleasure. And I was in one of the best organizations to work in, known for its progressive HR practices and performance culture. So if this was what I felt like in the best of companies, I concluded this is how work is done in all organizations.

Then I heard a pep talk by a VP of the company “You must always keep your family life in mind, that is the reason why I make sure that I call my wife every day irrespective of where I am travelling.” This perspective of quality of life took me by surprise, here is the person whom we are aspiring to be by the end of our careers and the only time he gets to spend with his wife is on a phone call? There must be a better way to live? I thought. I was quite miserable in my job, not enjoying the present nor relishing the future.

So I decided to quit and start my own business, and I made a few ground rules. 1) Lifestyle is more important than making a living. 2) Create a business which runs on its own, so that I am not self employed. 3) Create an organization culture where people enjoy working.

What was the origin of Golden Square?

Golden Square Business Centers is what got created out of these rules. Since 1995 we have provided Serviced and Virtual office facilities to more than 3000 companies. In the last 21 years we have seen Bangalore Business History happen in our facilities. Companies like Dell, HDFC Standard Life started their India Operations with us when they were small teams. We have 6 branches in prime locations in Bangalore and are growing, and in an industry that is creating a buzz now.

But what gives me the most satisfaction is that we have created a culture around the philosophy of “Joy at work.” We all need to work, that is a given, why not totally enjoy it! To our Golden Square members (Clients) we provide an environment so that they can be in flow at work, whatever can be a distraction or upsets their flow is done by the Golden Square team. Be it follow up calls on payments, scheduling meetings, shortlisting vendors, introducing them to others in our network for collaborations. We have gone to the extent of helping with our member’s child’s homework, since our member had urgent work to be done.

How does your team work?

However to me personally it is Joy at Work for my team which is most important. My focus is on creating the right climate so that our team is totally engaged at work and they totally enjoy what they do. We have no retention issue in our organization. Out of the 45 team members we have, 8 of them joined Golden Square back because they did not want to work anywhere else. They had left due to higher studies, marriage, and in one case better salary package but they came back. Our teams work in a self organizing manner, with very little supervision, with a lot of autonomy. They decide who needs to be in the team, when and who needs to work and what their own salary should be. Me and my partner (my wife) focus on new opportunities, business models and expansion. On a day to day basis we are not required in the business, our teams do an amazing job of creating Joy at Work for everyone.

“For me personally Entrepreneurship was a lifestyle decision.”

Was it easy?

Well, depends on what we are referring to, yes cash was tight so many times. But I truly enjoyed the journey, was that not what it is all about?

What are your learnings during this journey?

I started and closed several businesses. But then all these are a part of an entrepreneur’s journey. What I in fact learnt was that every crisis is an opportunity.  In 2000 during the dotcom bust days, I was really concerned about falling occupancy in Golden Square. This was the pre google search days so the problem I faced was how do I get across to new companies planning to set up shop in Bangalore. The problem with Business Centre marketing is, you do not know where your prospect is. So I reversed the problem statement, Instead of us finding our prospects, let our prospects find us. We identified 90 ‘Watering Holes” places where new companies are likely to converge  in the process of exploring starting a new company or branch. Consulting Companies, Hotel Rooms, HR Recruitment companies etc. In all these locations we placed a dispenser with the “Businessgyan Business Handbooks.” The handbook contained useful information for new companies mainly classifieds. The inside cover always was reserved for Golden Square advertisement. We solved our marketing problem, at one point 60% of Golden Square enquiries used to come from Businessgyan. Businessgyan evolved to be a magazine but we had to shut it down in 2009, when we realized that advertising spends had moved online and Google Search had solved the problem of our prospects finding us.

Around 2006 our Businessgyan sales team started complaining about not getting advertiser leads. I was introduced to BNI through a reader of Businessgyan. When I attended a BNI meeting I saw something an entrepreneur would love to see, people standing up and saying “I have business for you”,  and I knew that with BNI I could solve the problem of my sales team. BNI is the world’s largest business network focused on generating referrals for its members. I along with some friends started BNI in Bangalore. Today we have 48 chapters with around 2000 members, several of whom get 100% of their business through BNI referrals. BNI has in turn impacted Golden Square tremendously, 3 of our Branches are BNI Referrals.

Balaji believes that “entrepreneurship is a choice one makes. It could be to make the world a better place, make a lot of money or simply as it was for me get Joy at work and do the same for others.”