Manoj Agarwal: Changing the Trend of Gifting

The journey started when Manoj Agarwal and Sumit Khandelwal discussed some ideas which were shaping well in early 2012. At that time, Manoj was handling gifting category as part of his marketing role at Flipkart. He found some good ideas working well in ‘gifting,’ internationally. Sumit also observed some interesting trends in gifting industry globally. Both of them iterated on a couple of ideas and finally started with Giftxoxo. Abhishek and Kushal joined along in their journey within a month.

When Manoj, Co-founder of Giftxoxo, looked at gifting consumer patterns in India, he realized that people were fed up with the regular products which were exchanged as a gift. These gifts were either recycled and passed on or remained unused for a long period. The whole concept of gifting was taking a hit, as the basic premise behind gifting is to delight the receiver and it was not happening. Then he came up with the concept of Experiences.

Experiences are conceptualized with a basic thought that everyone wants their special occasions like anniversary, birthday, first date, etc. to be unforgettable affair and pine for an exclusive treatment. People want to try different things like flying a plane, becoming a DJ, learning cocktail mixing, golfing, horse riding, etc. but to do these things they have to invest so much time and energy to arrange every bit of it and still get an unsatisfactory show. There were also no means of gifting these activities to anyone. Manoj and his team solved this problem through their concept of Experiences and today Giftxoxo has the largest collection of such extraordinary experiences.

Each Experience is hand-picked from the best and most trusted brands. Curation of Experiences is done very meticulously with a lot of background research and analysis. Various factors like place prominence, people perception, safety, uniqueness, exclusivity, value for money etc. are taken into consideration while creating Experiences.

Challenges

Manoj Agarwal is responsible for product strategy, marketing, quality and operational excellence within the company. He has faced some major challenges because of his young team (which generally a well experienced team might handle better) and building the right team with the right culture in the company was very difficult because these were the things which were going to define the company’s fortune in future. Getting the right technology, in ever changing scenario also needed very special efforts from the team. However, with time they overcame these challenges with the help of mentors, friends, and senior team members.

Company Which Creates Memory

They started as a gifting company. However, over last 4 years they became much more beyond gifting. Giftxoxo is a company which believes in creating memories and moments in the form of unique experiences that users can cherish for a lifetime. It provides exclusive, curated WOW experiences across India in various categories including Gourmet Food, Adventure, Tours and Getaways, Health and Wellness, Arts and Learning and Philanthropy.

They work with a lot of corporates globally to handle their rewards, recognition, channel incentives, etc. through a robust SaaS platform. They sell curated experiences and activities through their mobile app Frogo. This mobile app is a geo-based app and helps a consumer to discover and book amazing experiences around. These experiences are also sold to corporates and individuals as gifts for various occasions. They are the only company in India who does curate experiential gifting.

Playing in a Team

Initially, Manoj’s biggest worry was whether to trust the team completely regarding the work. Over the time, he realized that as one scales, one has to trust the team and focus on the key metrics. This has helped him a lot in terms of improving his own productivity, the team confidence and happiness, and above all has helped build a culture of trust and ownership within the company. Hence, one of the biggest lessons Manoj learned is to trust the team and allow the team to handle some of the work, assuming they’ll be handled well.

Family, Friends and Team

In Manoj’s journey family, friends and his team always stood like pillars and supported him in every situation. His family has been very supportive and ensured his well-being in a stressed business life. His friends have helped him recruit the right people, funds and lots of good wishes. And his team has played a fantastic role and he is proud to have such wonderful young bunch of people who are focused on converting dreams into reality.

Manoj’s Advice

Manoj thinks that high commitment and discipline, wisdom, good leadership and team skills, focus and confidence, and decision taking abilities are the key quality one must possess to be an entrepreneur.

Manoj personally advises the aspirant entrepreneurs to –

  1. Start something after proper due diligence and research. Speak to as many people as possible relevant to your idea. Primary research helps a lot. Refine, refine and refine your idea to suit the consumer need.
  2. Get your basics right in terms of creating a real value for all stakeholders. Build the right product and focus on profitability along with scale etc.
  3. Spend wisely and raise funds as per need only. You start a company to build a sustainable business and not just raise funds.