Defying an Indian Penal Code Law in Supreme Court and win? Done. Pioneering in building a review site? Done. Replacing an existing way to distribute deals and coupons? Done. Initiating a new method of advertising? Done.
It is safe to say Faisal Farooqui is an underrated entrepreneur of recent times. He may not be as famous as the typical Indian household names such as Vijay Shekhar Sharma or Sachin Bansal, but when one finds out about the amount of laurel he has to his name, one can just simply admire the amount of struggle and success he has achieved.
Faisal graduated from Binghamton University, New York, with a degree in Information Systems and Finance. He always knew entrepreneurship was what he was made for and he could never survive working for someone else. It was while studying here he had an idea for Mouthshut.com, a review site for consumers and potential buyers to check before they buy for various products and services in tech and other industries.
In 2000, he came back to India and hit the ground running and established his company. He even got “Best Portal Award 2009” in Indian Digital Media Awards.
As they say, once an entrepreneur always an entrepreneur. Once setup, Faisal wanted to advertise his brand in an unique way and that’s when he saw the empty external space in auto-rickshaws in his city. He painted their exteriors with his brand’s name and logo and pioneered into an unique way of advertisements. Just like his website, even this method of advertisement caught everyone’s eyeballs. Website got huge hits and he got back his ROI in no time. But, this wasn’t enough to stop Faisal and make him sit back and relax, so he started looking for the next best thing.
He wanted to find a way to distribute deals and coupons to customers in a digital way rather than those paper cuttings. That’s how his next venture ‘Dealface’ came into existence. Just like his other two approaches, Faisal was the first in this field. Dealface provided customers with coupons for goods and services in exchange of coupons and discount codes that they received in SMS.
Being the first in the market is an advantage. But, it comes with its own set of struggles. He remembers, how being a first-generation entrepreneur in a field with no one to look upto made him anxious at times. But, that never deterred him from his path. He always knew he had to fight his own battles and one of the biggest battle of his life came as IPC Section 66A, which had strict rules and regulations against citizens rights. Faisal took it upon himself to fight against the government and to bring changes to this. As fate would have it, after a long struggle of battle, he won the case in Supreme Court.
Mouthshut is more than a decade old now and there are many companies trying to copy their business model, but Faisal says it doesn’t bother him. In fact, he feels he is happy to have paved a way for others to follow through to make a business venture in this field. He is working on making the site a full-fledged buying guide. If one wants to measure his innovative approach and expertise to this field just remember, Mouthshut.com came into existence four years before the famous review website, Yelp.com!