Business Lessons from Udit Gupta, Entrepreneur and Former Head of Product at Zomato
Udit Gupta, is an engineer by education and product owner by profession. As head of product at Zomato, he oversaw the food delivery product, which involved acquiring new customers through non-traditional channels, launching new product lines, and improving the overall customer retention.
He was an early member of the Zomato team, joining them in 2013. Prior to food delivery, he also launched the Zomato Gold subscription product and led its growth to a million user customer base. Currently, Udit is in the process of starting a company focusing on making the lives of many small businesses better.
These are the lessons Udit shared with us about his entrepreneurial journey.
What were the biggest challenges you have faced and how did you learn to overcome them?
Initially, getting user feedback on our product was pretty challenging. We wanted to get feedback from small business owners but it was hard to find the right set of customers to get feedback from and even if we found them it was hard to get their attention for something which wasn’t of immediate use to them. To overcome this, we started looking for Facebook or Reddit groups of small business owners who were active on the internet.
From there we would reach out to each of them personally and ask them for their time. Sometimes if they were not very willing to give feedback, we would also pay them to talk to us.
Is there any advice that you wish someone had given you at the start of your career?
Disclaimer – I don’t think advice without context matters or has an impact, so even if there is something that I wish someone had told me earlier, it might not have influenced me because the context would have been very different. But to answer this question, my boss once told me – “You miss all the shots you don’t take.” I think this piece of advice has made me take bolder decisions that I usually wouldn’t have, so I wish I would’ve realized this sooner.
Who has influenced you the most and why?
I think the biggest influence on me was my colleague, Mr. Ashish Goel, ex-Head of Design at Zomato. Everything I know about how to understand what customers want, how to ship products, iterating quickly has directly or indirectly comes from him. I particularly admire him for the fact that he never compromises on user experience, irrespective of the constraints. His quality bar on products is very high and he never drops it for anything. To have that kind of conviction and focus is really hard. He’s built it over time and that’s what I admire the most about him.
Is there someone you’re grateful to for helping you get to where you are now?
There are a few people like that but this comes to mind. When I transitioned from the role of a developer to start owning the food delivery product at Zomato – I faced a lot of challenges. I didn’t completely know how to think holistically about a business, how to be in control of all the moving parts.
At that point in time, Mr. Mukund Kulashekaran, the then business head of the food delivery vertical helped me out a lot. He didn’t judge me on my incapabilities, rather he helped me hone my skills and overcome my weaknesses. He frequently sent me books to read and constantly gave me feedback about what I was building. He also gave me ample room to make mistakes and learn from them. Till today, I turn to him for advice whenever I’m not sure about anything.
What do you see as your greatest success in life?
I haven’t seen it yet. I’m chasing it right now. The company is still in a stealth mode but I’m looking forward to sharing it with you all soon!
Disclosure: This article includes a client of an Espacio portfolio company