Mr. Vineet Jain talks about his journey from being a successful corporate professional to an entrepreneur, battling challenges along the way.
Mr. Vineet Jain, Goa Institute of Management alum, has two mantras in life: “Always be ready to step out of your comfort zone” and “Always leave things on a high”. He seemed to have combined the two when he chose to become an entrepreneur with his new venture Home and Loan. After all, he was just offered the Product Head Role for Home Loans at Bajaj Finserv. That would have been another notch in his 11-year corporate career that included highly successful stints with ICICI Bank and HSBC (Home loan). But he decided to follow his greater vision, which he now talks about as he looks back on his journey so far.
“I have always changed jobs and moved to more challenging positions,” Mr. Jain tells us. And, outlining his strengths, he says, “My VP stint at HSBC gave me fantastic exposure to the industry because we built the external distribution system for Assets Business from scratch. I was pretty good at Distribution Management and Sales Leadership”. He was offered a handsome salary and cushy lifestyle. Naturally, Mr. Jain found difficult to give up for the struggles of an entrepreneur. What drove him was a “vision for something bigger; to have my vision imprinted on something huge.”
It was this vision that made him turn away from what could have been a CEO position on the corporate ladder in a couple of years. But Mr. Jain is of the opinion that many senior professionals in the corporate world want to start something of their own. “They are just waiting to get through with their liabilities”, he explains. “That was the turning point for me; I thought if I wait for my EMIs to get over, I would never do this. I believe if we keep asking God to grant us a billion dollar lottery, he says, ‘At least buy the ticket’”. Mr. Jain definitely bought his and that’s how Home and Loan came into being.
According to him, a goal of Entrepreneurship is also to engineer an entity from day one. He stresses the fact that all responsibilities are one’s own and getting the right people to embark on the journey together is tough. For him, falling flat on his face and restarting is a must-have attribute for all entrepreneurs. With this understanding, and with capital invested with a former colleague, Mr. Jain started Home and Loan. About the initial period he says, “For the first six months, we did not make any money. But it’s become a profitable venture in a year and we have created a name for ourselves in the Assets Distribution Space in Mumbai.”
Home and Loan is a Neutral Market Place with an intelligent Loan Origination System that recommends the right financer to the customer and gives a customized reward for choosing the platform. Today, the company has grown into FINSTREET, a bigger entity with Pan India Presence. Mr. Jain adds further, “We have our Angel Investment in place and are well capitalized for expansion across various Geographies such as Delhi, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Pune and Ahemadabad. We are hiring from B schools in Mumbai, and are seeing people joining us readily as they all want to work in a start up. Learning is preferred over earning.”
From being a corporate professional to an employer at a successful venture, Mr. Jain has gone through a full spectrum of positions. So, we have to ask him, what’s the toughest part of being an employer? “Being an employer is easy when you yourself act like an employee”, he reveals. “If people see you living the Dream as much as they do, they feel a part of the journey and contribute better. To get the right people is the biggest challenge. Once they are on board, we believe in complete freedom in working style. Half of our employees work from home and their productivity is at least double the Industry standard.”
It’s often side that for any start-up company, the first three years are crucial in terms of shaping the future. Home and Loan is a year old, but Mr. Jain has a plan in place for his company for years to come. “We have generated interest from a couple of marquee India-based VC funds and see us going an early valuation and funding way in next six months or so”, he says. “We are building a B2C platform in a very rapidly growing market. This coupled with our ability to accurately recommend the right product to the customer is going to ensure that we generate High Revenue per Transaction and scale up our geographical footprint across India”.
When Mr. Jain rattles off his plans for the future, you can see he has come a long way from the time when he took the entrepreneurial plunge and had his mother wondering if he had been sacked. He has also left the insecurities of not having a pay check at the end of the month far behind. No flights, no weekend getaways and five star stays was another adjustment he had to make. But for his entrepreneurial dreams it was a small price to pay. There are many from GIM who have been down the same road, which makes you wonder if it has anything to do with the philosophies imbibed at the institute.
Mention of GIM makes Mr. Jain reflect on all the great times at the institute: “GIM was a super point in my life. It was unlike anything else I had done in my life before. It gave me an exposure to so many things; even the simple methodologies of group exercises built my confidence. Presentation skills and Leadership qualities are two important attributes I picked up from the institute.” And does he have any advice for today’s students at the institute? “Damn your job, free your soul. Do not let anything bog you down; be fearless and full of integrity”. Surely, students and future entrepreneurs will heed those words as they chart their own paths to success.