Interview with Vittal Ramakrishna, serial entrepreneur, CEO and Founder of POD
Vittal Ramakrishna, a serial entrepreneur, is the CEO and Founder of POD. Over the span of his career, and now more than ever with POD, Vittal has been actively involved in redefining alternative funding and startup investments.
He is also a highly experienced strategic advisor with a wealth of knowledge in fundraising, business strategy and project management.
He has worked with companies like Bosch and KPMG, helping them to implement their strategies and manage their projects effectively.
Vittal is also the CEO of Kreate, a platform that drives visibility and sales for Indian creators. Additionally, Vittal was the Founder of Crowdpouch – a Crowdfunding startup headquartered in Germany.
He was also a member of the esteemed European Crowdfunding Network Council. Spearheading Crowdpouch was one of his biggest accomplishments as he was able to create an impact in the international Crowdfunding arena with over 300 campaigns – spanning causes, events and innovation among others. His success as an entrepreneur was marked by a noteworthy exit in the year 2019.
Vittal believes that being an entrepreneur means having relentless passion for one’s work and never giving up on one’s pursuits, even if it seems impossible at the first glance.
Having had the experience of his first crowdfunding campaign with HelpAge India at a tender age of 8, Vittal went on to raise over 3M$ in the Rewards, Preselling and Equity Crowdfunding space globally.
An Ambassador for GINSEP, (German Indian Startup Exchange Program), Vittal uses his rich industry experience of 14 years to strengthen the Indo-German partnership by facilitating and contributing to the growth of Indian startups in Germany, as well as their counterparts in India.
Besides, his flair for the German language acts as an added advantage in fostering these international ties.
Furthermore, Vittal is an excellent mentor and has coached several budding entrepreneurs and startup founders on nuances of the industry.
He was a mentor at the Changemakers program by IndiaGlocal where he trained and nurtured the next set of leaders and continues to address attendees in startup events across India. He was also featured in INC42 and YourStory, highlighting his contribution to the startup ecosystem.
Tell us a little about yourself
Vittal Ramakrishna: Born and raised in Bengaluru, I am an Electronics and Communications Engineer with a B.E degree from Visvesvaraya Technological University.
Professionally, I was bitten by the entrepreneurial bug early in life and had my first startup business up and running by 2008.
Over several years of my professional journey, I’ve been committed to redefining alternative funding and startup investments. More so, now with POD, scaling and reaching the untapped spaces of the market.
With what mission and objectives, the company was set up? In short, tell us about your journey since the inception of the company?
Vittal Ramakrishna: POD was started with the intention of creating a more even playing field for early-stage startup founders.
Every startup deserves a fair chance to present its ideas and get access to funding. Furthermore, the working class are also keen on exploring new asset classes for investments, and I believe that startups can offer a very good opportunity for these new and emerging Retail Investors.
POD first took shape in my head and then the idea came to life in January 2022. I am the Founder & CEO of POD and I also head operations. In addition, most of my time and efforts triage into analysis, strategy and fundraising.
What was the inspiration behind turning an entrepreneur?
Vittal Ramakrishna: There were things to be done and places to go to! The driving force behind any entrepreneurial feat is to create an impact. I aspire to do the same through my ventures.
What are the main features of your fundraising platform?
Vittal Ramakrishna: Quality startups, trustworthy and transparent operations backed by enhanced technology—coming together beautifully in one platform to create an investment experience par excellence. And that is what sets POD apart from other players in the industry.
Moreover, the startup gets a digital-first approach in the entire process of fundraising. And most importantly traditional fundraising usually takes up to 3 months or more. However, the end-to-end fundraising cycle on podworld.in is completed in as little as 3 weeks.
Also, there is a stellar Investment Relations team that extends support to both startups and investors throughout their association with POD.
All the while, ensuring that the entire process of fundraising is easy and is backed with updated information.
How does your company work in order to provide investment to the startup?
Vittal Ramakrishna: An early-stage startup can apply for fundraising on POD’s platform and it gets onboarded provided it clears the 10-pointer vetting process.
Post the initial screening, startups pitch their business to POD’s network of 4000+ investors. After the online pitch, the startup is showcased on the platform and the fundraising campaign kicks-off.
Once the campaign reaches its goal, compliance is completed followed by fund disbursal to startups and certificate issuance to investors.
How did you come up with the idea for your fundraising platform?
Vittal Ramakrishna: The conception of POD came into existence from personal experience. One, it was hard for me to raise funds in my early days.
And two – when I had funds that I wanted to put to good use – there was a lack of interesting asset class options.
My vision for POD is straightforward. I want to be a future-ready, full stack fundraising platform that would have enabled startup founders to get seamless access to investors on one end of the spectrum, while investors would have had access to exclusive, quality startup deals, on the other.
How does your fundraising platform benefit users?
Vittal Ramakrishna: POD is a full stack fundraising platform in the making and is working towards building an ecosystem that makes startup fundraising seamless and transparent, in addition to providing retail investors the opportunity to invest in promising startup deals.
I believe that startups are the future of India and that their success can only be achieved by combining technology, innovation and entrepreneurship.
Furthermore, there should be more people who are willing to invest in the success of startups instead of just going for profit sharing deals.
This is where POD comes into play by providing retail investors with an opportunity to invest in promising startups at affordable ticket sizes.
In addition to this, POD provides retail investors with all the necessary information about how their money is being used by startups through a live dashboard, ensuring that investors feel comfortable investing their money. Trustworthy and transparent operations are at the heart of POD’s core operations.
What are your future plans for the platform?
Vittal Ramakrishna: In 2023, POD’s goal is to enable 100+ early-stage startups to successfully raise funds through its platform.
Additionally, POD aspires to pioneer a fundraising stack that is set to redefine startup investments in India.
We are also in the process of releasing our first tool in the stack – a SaaS One-Pager tool that will empower startup founders to put their best foot forward and share everything that really counts with potential investors.
If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
Vittal Ramakrishna: A Quitter never Wins; A Winner never Quits. Don’t be afraid to fail – for in failure and flaws lie growth and success.
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