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Two Young’uns Built Rs 335-Crore Firm That Gives Free Internet

Abhishek Shankar (left) with Co-founder Kundan Kumar

What if someone told you that whatever data you used on apps will be credited back to your phone every month end? That would be incredible, right? That is exactly what Abhishek and Kundan thought when they met in the mid of 2011. Five years later, their concept is acquiring an average of 20,000 customers daily and boasts over 150 clients from 120 countries. Adstuck is valued at Rs 335 crore currently and things are only looking better for them.

The tech genius from IIT Madras Abhishek Shankar (32) and Engineer-MBA Kundan Kumar (37), from Delhi College of Engineering and Faculty of Management Studies respectively, were happily doing their job until the start-up bug bit them. They had half-baked ideas and some savings; but took the entrepreneurial leap anyway. Betting big on apps and augmented reality, they teamed up with their first client – media giant The Times of India – to develop the app Alive. Taking the industry by storm, the app saw 2,50,000 downloads on its very first day. After this success, the company worked with a lot of media houses across the world and had crossed many milestones.

“By this time, we were well-aware of the massive potential and also our biggest hurdle. They knew that large-scale expansion was coming their way but only if every smart phone user had enough (free) data too,” explained Abhishek, co-founder of Adstuck, over a phone call to KenFolios.

Initially, some would have thought that the concept of giving free internet was a foolish idea but an entrepreneur believes in getting the job done – even if that means getting someone else dot for them.

Soon, the duo were joining hands with the biggies like Amazon, Flipkart, Makemytrip, Facebook lite, Hotstar, Vodafone , Ola, Gaana and 150+ other clients; you name it. They had convinced the companies that it will be profitable if they gave back users the data used on their respective apps. This concept of reverse-data is very similar to cash-back offers. With free data bait, the users came back and became more frequent customers. A win-win for all – that security guard who earlier used the smartphone without data, the e-mart and Adstuck.

“The concept quickly caught on and we started getting more, bigger clients. Starting from a small, rented office in Noida, we have now shifted base to Gurgaon with an electric team of 32 employees who have made us what we are today,” Abhishek said.

Coming from humble government service class families, both from Bihar, Abhishek and Kundan are quite an inspiration for all those who want to work for themselves and make it big. Towards the end of the conversation, Abhishek said, “We are using auto-scaling technology which basically means we are ready to handle every crazy traffic that comes our way.” Pretty sure he was smiling and beaming with confidence as he said this. We give a big shout to Abhishek, Kundan and their team for being sharing their motivational story with us.

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