What is disruptive? Is it a groundbreaking idea? Is it an idea that merges various different fields in an innovative manner? Maybe yes, but to quote it in the words of Pallav Nadhani, a disruptive idea is one which has the ability to change humanity. He doesn’t only quote this definition but believes in implementing it. Founder of FusionCharts, Pallav, has been listed in Forbes achievers under 30.
Born in Bhagalpur in a Marwari family, the only treat he had access to was a computer, which his father used to maintain sewage water treatment project’s accounts. The availability of computer added to the social symbol of Pallav as a ‘cool’ boy in his friend circle who came to his place to play games. Back then having a computer was a great achievement.
Pallav was mesmerized by the presence of computer in his home. Every now and then he researched on the system with an intriguing curiosity. A number of his cousins came to learn computers with the similar zeal as him. This was in 1997 when his father started a computer training centre. Given his interest in device was soaring high he would wake in the night and read the books about computers that belonged to the centre and gulped all the information he could.
By 1999, the centre didn’t have much takes so the idea was dropped and senior Nadhani moved to Kolkata in search of better prospects. In Kolkata, Pallav was enrolled in La Martiniere where the creamy layer of students went for their education.
To be like them, walk like them, dress like them there was shortage of something – it was money. In mere pocket money of Rs 1,000 a month Pallav could not afford their lifestyle. He knew he had to work hard in order to be one of them. In the meantime, he came across a site that paid its writers for articles based on innovative ideas. He was paid $2,000 for his first two articles.
His third article was a game changer. It brought him a lot of appreciation from developers. It was the seed of FusionCharts. The idea spurted when Pallav was dissatisfied with Microsoft Excel’s charting technique in 2001, while doing his high school assignment. He wrote an article on Wrox Press’s ASPToday.com and was paid $1,500 and an applause.
The technique that used Macromedia Flashback then used for web banners and pop-up apps could be used to build interactive charting application for dashboards and reports. The money he earned through these articles was used as seed fund for FusionCharts.
In 2002, at the age of 17, Pallav founded Infosoft Global. Initially, the business was very tough. Most of the clients were not from India and convincing them to be a part of the business happened after various presentations, calls, and brainstorming.
The initial product had six charts and was built using ActionScript developed by Macromedia Inc. Pallav worked alone on the product, sales, marketing, designing and customer support for first three years. For an early bloomer this would have been a daunting task to take care of all the tasks alone but Pallav found it rather captivating as he learnt new techniques. This went on for two – three years before the business took a leap and he decided to hire a team of around 20 people.
The office was launched at Bangur in 2005. The business began to generate funds without any external influence. However, the pit hole was that Pallav didn’t have much idea about government regulations, banking, finance, etc. so he asked his father to step in. His father was more than ecstatic to be a part of his son’s venture. Today, he ranks as the CFO of FusionCharts.
Under the supervision of both father and son by 2009 the company had 50 employees and the business went on an incremental pace. He also had an application that paid employees without having Pallav to worry about it.
In 2011, FusionCharts opened its second office in Bengaluru. As the business grew so did the turnover. The client list started diverging and various new buyers stepped in. FusionCharts’ client list now has customers in 120 countries and business sector. This has drawn significant attention to the company. It has 23,000 customers and 5,00,000 users, including technology giants such as Apple, Google, ZOHO, Cisco, Facebook, Intel, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, EMC, Nokia, Tibco, as well as The Weather Channel, NASA, and the Federal Government of the United States.
The company was placed on the global platform following its 2010 selection by US President Barack Obama to design the digital dashboards for the federal administration, the Federal IT Dashboard. FusionCharts was the first Indian start-up to gain the attention of the Obama administration.
In its 14 years of business FusionCharts has grown from a child’s inquisitive mind to a full blooming Rs 47 crore revenue business without any fundraising. The company doesn’t believe in raising money. From day one the business has been profitable, and funded by Pallav himself.
He works along with his father who dabbles in various businesses to gain an insight of other businesses around and be on top of the game.
We can see that an inquisitive mind followed by a deep determination to succeed always finds a way. There are hard times but also times when one can rejoice the fruits earned. The mantra is to keep going. Like stagnant water starts stinking, so does the idle mind. To crawl towards the goal is always better than giving up.