Interview of Amit Savargaonkar Founder & CEO of Pineapple Group
Interviewer - Can you provide me with a description of your business?
Amit Savargaonkar - At Pineapple Group, we transform businesses.
We help people craft their ideas to life on digital platform. We excel in providing complete web design and development (including static, dynamic and e-commerce), digital media and branding, software product as well as platform development, data analytics and mobile apps development. We have helped more than 1200 businesses across the world to have their outstanding presence on web. At Pineapple, we also provide helping hand to the businesses or products which are at concept level, where comes our Digital Consultancy. Currently we have our presence in India, Ireland, Malta and Thailand.
Recently we have also started Blockchain Development, as Blockchain is going to be the future of technology we do want to miss the chance of being ahead of the competition, which I believe will come in next few years. We are currently with few ICOs, Crypto Exchanges and Blockchain product companies across the globe. In Blockchain, our technology stack is Ethereum, Hyperledger and Full Stack.
Along with the services we also have few of our own products and packaged services as follows:
1. G Suite Desk: End-to-end managed services for G Suite. We manage your G Suite email solutions, security, logins, access rights, data migration and SSO, etc. We have Google certified dedicated team who does it all.
2. Pingo Pay: An automated plug and play payment gateway for Cryptocurrency payments. Just embed this gateway to your website and you are ready to accept your payments in Cryptocurrencies from your clients across the globe.
3. 21 Bit Desk: A dedicated support and community management services to resolve your customer issues faster and on time. We are working with few of the ICOs and Blockchain product companies, where we are managing their community communications.
4. Market Voice: Automated business intelligence and analytics reports to provide market insights. This enables your pre-sales team to design go-to-market strategy. This product uses machine learning and AI algorithms and can scrape data remotely from any social media and communications platform where we can access data.
5. My Rocket CTO: We provide a shared CTO for your company who will look after the complete Digital department of your company. We do provide consultancy as well as implementation for any digital related requirements.
6. Website on EMI: An innovative concept which has helped 100+ startups to launch their products and services on web without any upfront capital investment. Just swipe your credit card for EMI or do scheduled payment (like EMI) and your are done. Now you do not have to worry about that huge capital investment that occurs right at the start of your business.
Interviewer - How did you get started in this business?
Amit Savargaonkar - I am born and brought up in a typical middle - class family of Pune (in Maharashtra, India). In school days, I heated mathematics to the core and was moved with languages and history. The irony was still I wanted to be an engineer (don't know why) and the best mid-way was Computer Science, which I thought will take off the burden of Mathematics. Well I was wrong as you can not build logic with mathematics. Anyways, but during the process I started loving the maths with my buddy called Computer. But my creative instinct was still there...
After completing my Engineering in Computer Science in year 2008, I was working with one of the top most software company of India. Being a right-minded and hence a kind of creative person, I hated the idea of sitting in one chair and hitting keyboard 9 to 5 every day. I left my job after 2 years and came to my home town Pune thinking of how I can start of with something my own and that too with a creative touch. I love creating and crafting the things, which led me to get into web design. It was really difficult without former knowledge or hands on in this area. Being an average guy, took me bit of time to learn through domains, design layouts, web strategies, SEO and digital media. That was year 2010.
The biggest motivation was I was get paid to be able to fed my creative and conceptual mind. That's it. More and more enquiries started coming from clients and their references and we expanded as a team called "Pineapple Group" in early 2011. The best thing I learnt during my MNC job was the standardization and documentation part. From the day 1, we have standardize the processes. It may look simple if we think of any engineering company or even a software development company but when we talk about concept development, creative design, out-of-the-box digital strategies - believe me standardization is the pain in the ass. But we were able to achieve almost 75% standardization of the whole process, which allows us to maintain quick turn-around time for our web design projects.
In 2014, my passion of theatre got converted into profession. Since then we have been running a full media and production hub in the name of Pineapple Expressions Studio with my co-directors Swapnil and Shardul. Together with our associates, we have done more than 150 events, 70 stage shows, 20 short films and 8 feature films till date. In 2016, we kicked off one more venture by the name Pineapple Digital Studio with Anirudha Kelkar - Brand and Digital Media Guru,which takes care of the end-to-end digital media and social media services. In 2018, we started working in Blockchain technology and explored Crypto world. Currently we working on Blockchain Analytics along with product development. Since last 2 years have expanded our presence to Ireland, Malta and Thailand.
During this whole process, I got a chance to work on one of my product idea which got funded by an Angel Investor even before writing a single line of code. This in turn gave me an opportunity to be a speaker in B-Schools across India and it has become my passion too. Currently I am an International Speaker for Blockchain Use Cases, Cryptocurrency Education and Digital Entrepreneurship. I have taken almost 50+ sessions / workshops across the globe and have educated and inspired more than 6500 people. Though I have become an entrepreneur and a speaker today, learning have not stopped and will never. I have completed Advanced Responsive Web Design certification from University of Michigan, Innovation for Entrepreneurs certification from University of Maryland (College Park), Data Science & Analytics certification from John Hopkins University and Certified Bitcoin Professional (CBP) from Crypto Currency Certificate Consortium.
Interviewer- Why do your customers select you over your competitors?
Amit Savargaonkar - First thing is we provide extra-ordinary and creative concepts to clients which has been a game changer for us since the inception. Our concepts are easy to understand and implement, the most important part is they fetch revenue for you. Second is our simplicity of design and thinking. We really love to make things shamelessly simple and that's the whole point of going from manual to digital. This actually help us keeping quick turn around times for our projects. Moreover we have automated all our business processes right from CRM, chatboxes, support and helpdesk till project estimation and management. Our clients love that they are communicated at each and every moment of the project.
Interviewer- What are the biggest issues for running this business?
Amit Savargaonkar - We have been working in IT and software vertical since 8 years now and have been able to cater hundreds of clients. We can package the bundle of services and make it a Brand, but we would like to do more and more such packages. Now we would like to be more focused in few of the business domains and want to develop right fit product suites / packages to overcome the bottlenecks.
The next big challenge for us is on-boarding a kick-ass business development team who can expand the business across different countries. Secondly, we need to train and educate more and more people about the upcoming changes in the technology. For this we need educators and influencers who can actually help us create a buzz in market.
Interviewer- What suggestions would you like to give to the young budding entrepreneurs?
Amit Savargaonkar - Entrepreneurship is all about MIND and not about FINANCE. If you feel your setup is too low, remember NASA landed on the moon with using 4KB of RAM.
Be a Steve Jobs for your product idea or business, build a powerful brand people can remember for life time. Be humane, work hard, keep learning, have faith and celebrate even a smallest achievement in your life. Finally remember you are your greatest investment. Come what may but never ever underestimate yourself in any situation. After all Entrepreneurship is a journey, enjoy it to the fullest.