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Successful e-commerce venture from National Institute of Technology students

AT a time when the union government is providing thrust to cashless economy and e-commerce, a batch of enterprising students from prestigious National Institute of Technology (NIT) in Odisha’s Rourkela steel city have successfully launched the pennyindia.com, an entrepreneurial venture.

The pennyindia.com, the flagship entrepreneurial venture from National Institute of Technology Rourkela, has completed a year. Such venture comes under the technology innovation industry relations (TIIR) of NIT Rourkela, raised by the institute to promote innovation, entrepreneurship and incubation.

The one-year completion was organised at the main auditorium of the TIIR building. As per the two promoter of pennyindia it is India’s highest cashback, exclusive coupon and affiliate network site. It basically works in the e-commerce sector and tied up with over 200 online stores like Flipkart, Amazon, snapdeal oyo etc, providing the users a wide range of stores to choose from along with cashback, mobile recharge, gift coupons etc.

“We give back 95% of what we get as cashback to our customers making it the highest such site of the country and as of now we have more than 12000 registered users,” said perhaps one of the youngest COOs of the country Abhijeet Sahu. In fact the whole cashback site is a venture of two roommates Abhijeet  and Sarada Sahu, both second year students of Computer Science of NIT Rourkela.

“It was Sarada, who is the CEO of the company, actually started it and later on I joined as he invited and then came in the help for us,” said Abhijeet. They were grateful to two of the professors of NIT R, Rajeev Panda from the department of MBA and Bibhuti Bhusan Biswal, of department of Mechanical and presently heading the TIIR. “We are extremely obliged and grateful to Panda sir and Biswal sir,” said Sarada, the CEO, who is little introvert in comparison to Abhijeet.

After they struck the idea and started working on it they approached both Panda and Biswal for further help. “In fact we did nothing it was their determination, which really worked. And as a teacher of marketing I just gave them some insight into the working of an organisation” said Panda modestly. And Biswal added,

“TIIR is meant for it and we only facilitated rest is their hard work and willingness to work long hours for which they have been able to bring their baby to this level.”

During the first year celebration they launched their first ‘t’ shirt brand Ovotees and this can also be customised.

“As the business grew we grew in confidence and launched our own in house ‘t’ shirt brand,” said Sarada. They have got a place in the TIIR building for giving final touches to the apparel.

Speaking about the achievement of the duo Abhijeet said, “we were invited to the Make in  Odisha conclave of the state besides, we were also part of the India affiliate summit at Gurgaon from  28th to 30th August 2016 and were highly appreciated.”

 Today the two men company has 10 with them. “Some are working purely for fun like some of our batch mates and four have been hired for us doing marketing, e-commerce and other activities,” said the CEO. Now they have their NITian friends like Abhipsa Panigrahi doing the content writing; Biswajeet Kiro the chief of graphics; Gourav Panda, chief of HR. Shiv Shanka Sahoo a commerce graduate handling their off line marketing. Apart from Shiv rest all are in their second year of engineering in different branches.

It was the HR head Gourav who handled the entire annual day celebration yesterday at the TIIR auditorium.

He said “I am enjoying my work.” Similarly Abhipsa, who looks after the content said, “It is really challenging and I love it because my creativity is getting an exposure.” For Kiro, “I have the knowledge of graphics and have been given the freest possible hands so what better can I expect.”

In the last one year the venture has made a good turnover. Ask them they just smiled and kept quiet but they are now pay masters also for the five who are working for them, this does not include their NIT friends.

“They just need few treats to keep their interest going as true friends,” said Abhijeet. Both of them said, “We are the youngest start up in the state and second youngest in the country.”
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