Sanjiv Bikhchandani- Success Behind Naukri

As Bikchandani buttressed his core competencies with his flagship company Naukri.com, he ventured into other areas by establishing Quadrangle-an offline company offering recruitment services. He took over the matrimonial website, Jeevansathi.com in 1995 and started a real estate portal 99acres.com. He also went to establish naukrigulf.com to tap the West Asian job market. His Shiksha.com is a one stop portal for the higher education student community of India. Mr Bikchandani strongly believes that you should do all you can to realize your goals and live out your dream as you’ve only one life to live.      


Sanjeev Bikchandani is the pin up boy of the dot.com era


Sanjeev Bikchandani, the man and the brains behind India’s first Internet job portal has another first to his credit. He is foremost amongst the nation’s favourite pin-up boys in this dot.com era. When the website Naukri.com was commercially launched in 1997, there were just about 14,000 online users in India. Today Info Edge India Ltd-the holding company for Naukri.com and other websites like 99acres.com, jeevansathi.com-founded by Sanjeev Bikchandani is charting its course as India’s premier internet company.


What makes him excel is his perseverance and missionary doggedness to stay the course even when the going gets tough and rough. Info Edge has been consistently and cumulatively increasing its revenues and posting profits year after year since it was incorporated in 1995. The company’s annual revenues grew by 33% even during the acute recessionary period that lasted from 2006-2011.


He’s been in business for nearly 22 years now and in these two decades he has experienced wide swings of fortune. It also goes to his credit that he has handled the rough with the smooth with extraordinary equanimity. Initially, he started off as a small time businessman and remained one for nearly six years honing his entrepreneurial skills. The subsequent four years were crucial when he was focussed on laying the foundations for Naukri.com. It is what he did in the next decade that propelled him to the vanguard of the Internet industry in India. When Info Edge came out with its IPO in 2006, the assets of the company were valued at 722 crores.


Reviewing Sanjeev Bikchandani’s growing up years


Mr. Bikchandani was born in 1964 to middleclass parents. His father was employed as a doctor in a government hospital and his mother was a housewife. He did his schooling from St. Columba’s School in New Delhi and successfully passed his secondary exams in 1980. He graduated from St. Stephen’s College (affiliated to Delhi University) in 1984 with a major in Economics. He went on to complete his MBA from IIM, Ahmedabad in the year 1989.


He worked as an accounts executive in Lintas (an advertising concern and an affiliate company of the Bajaj Group) for three years.  He got a break as a marketing executive in GlaxoSmithKline (formerly HMM) promoting ‘Horlicks’-a popular brand of nutritious health drink. But disillusionment came early on as he was not content with being tied to a run-off-the-mill job. He frankly admits to this day that he did not study so laboriously just to canvass products for other companies. He entered into a partnership with one acquaintance and established two firms, Info Edge and Indmark in 1990.


 Mr. Bikchandani’s coming of age with the creation of Naukri.com and its entrenchment


Mr. Bikchandani’s partnership with his associate did not last long as they parted ways in 1993. Mr. Sanjeev Bikchandani regained full control of Info Edge. He still clearly remembers the struggle he had to put up with and the obstacles he faced in the first decade of his founding Naukri.com. Money was always in short supply.


He recollects having lived off his wife Surabhi’s salary for three years and rejecting plum job offers. Info Edge was similar to Google as a start up venture in that both the companies started off in a small nook. In Google’s case it was a garage and in Info Edge’s case it was the quarters meant for a servant in his father’s home. He practically had no income for months on end during the early phase but worked with his nose to the grindstone. He had to make do with used computers, furniture, and office equipment. It was his indefatigable zeal and passion to stand out that made him go from one day to the other. Or, how else would one justify his going without a salary for years to transforming a humble and innocuous internet job portal into an INR 3,000 crore enterprise?   


He also fondly remembers taking classes in management institutes for earning spare cash to pay for that rare dinner or drink. He was also able to effectively sharpen his skills in PR by helping out Mr. Chandan Mitra with his takeover of The Pioneer in 1996. He successfully handled the managerial and editorial responsibilities of the publication. Mr. Mitra was quite enamoured of Mr. Bikchandani’s infectious enthusiasm although he frankly admits to having paid him a very low stipend.


In the year 1997, he founded Naukri.com that was stationed on an US server which was financed by his brother. The Internet industry was in its infancy then and there were hardly 15, 000 online users in a country with a population of nearly 90 crores. The original Naukri.com page was completely textual as there were no graphics. The graphical edition which was launched later on, was not worth it which Mr. Bikchandani himself admits. He remembers receiving numerous hate mails from USA because of the site’s poor layout. Back in the mid nineties of the last century, Mr. Bikchandani observed that his workmates and friends would scour the business magazines for job advertisements.


Actually, they’d start reading the business magazines from the back as the classifieds for jobs appeared in the closing pages. He logically inferred that a single source or platform which would list all sorts of job vacancies was non-existent. So, in the April of 1997, he pooled together 1,000 ads for various job positions from different sources and officially started Naukri.com by listing those ads in this website. He was very optimistic that his newly launched site would gradually attract enough traffic that’d encourage companies and employment agencies to advertise directly on his portal.


Apart from being tenacious, Bikchandani during his stints with Hindustan Milkfood Marketing (HMM) and Pioneer demonstrated his uncanny knack of recognizing talent and retaining the same. The co-promoters of Info Edge, Mr. Hitesh Oberoi and Mr. Ambarish Raghuvanshi, the Chief Operating Officer and the Chief Financial Officer respectively have been with him since long. Bikchandani is very forthcoming in mentioning that his co-promoters are the real eyes and ears of the company. Mr Oberoi is presently the managing director and CEO of Info Edge whereas Mr. Bikchandani is the executive vice-chairman. Mr. Sanjeev started Naukri.com practically without any funds so to speak of. However, he was sort of compelled to take funds from ICICI in 2000 owing to cut-throat competition from Jobsahead.com that went public in 1999.


Hardly had a month passed after ICICI Venture had pumped in INR 7 crores in Info Edge, that the dotcom bust happened which led to many online start-ups going out of business. However, Info Edge not only managed to survive the crisis but emerged stronger. Bikchandani attributes his success to Lady Luck and to the other lady in his life, Surabhi his wife. He also strongly feels that his working at HMM as a marketing officer helped him gain entrepreneurial insight that he capitalized later on.


Salary of Mr. Sanjeev Bikchandani


We have not found salary data of Founder and Executive Vice Chairman of Info Edge (India) Limited Mr Sanjeev Bikhchandani from any reliable sources like ToI, Forbes, ET and other reputed news papers and Media houses, but the investing section of businessweek magazine has published the salary of Mr. Sanjeev Bikhchandani is 16,071,250 INR, it includes Short Term Compensation of INR 15,517,360 and Long term Compensation 553,890 INR

Last Updated: July 1, 2013

Tags : Sanjiv Bikhchandani, info edge india ltd, info edge india, naukri.com, 99acres.com,

About Kanika

I have been writing for almost 3 years now for various clients