Nikhil Sreedhar, an Indian-Australian Bringing E-Commerce Back Into India

Do you live in India or want to outsource some of your company abroad? Nikhil Sreedhar founded ProAdviser (proadviser.com.au) late this year, a website where people can meet virtually for business, financial or legal purposes.

Sreedhar posed interesting points in our interview about the state of IT business around the world and information that may help you in founding your own business. Read on…

Many people in India earn about US $200-500 a month. Yet, India produces the most innovative ideas in technology. What is wrong here with most of the wealth from Indians’ work going elsewhere?

In a way I think this it is good for India to export its ideas offshore. Unlike countries such as Australia, where the biggest export is resources, India has a massive pool of educated, literate and trainable citizens. This make it very easy and economically sound for India to “export” its creative labour. It can also be seen as a way to bring wealth into India, rather than wealth going elsewhere. Foreign IT firms are benefiting from exporting their IT development to India, but more importantly the IT industry is contributing greatly to the overall wealth of Indians. Foreign money goes a long way in India, and one project for a multinational IT firm can keep hundreds of Indian families alive.

At your business in Australia, how much of your business comes from Indian driven entrepreneurs or companies?

The cost of labour is incredibly high in Australia, including IT development. ProAdviser has therefore contracted with an IT firm in Delhi to look after all matters related to IT development. This accounts for 40 percent of the business. From a business perspective, it just made sense to use Indian IT resources. There is a greater pool of talent to choose from, and the quality is the same or even better than any Australian based IT firm.

What is your story with how you founded your own web-based business?

I previously worked in accounting, stockbroking and then financial planning before establishing ProAdviser. From my experiences in these industries, I realised that there was no central place for Australian consumers to go to seek professional advice. Whether it was a financial matter, accounting matter or legal matter, many Australians relied on referrals from friends or spent a lot of time manually searching for an adviser. I decided to create ProAdviser in response. ProAdviser is Australia’s first online marketplace featuring professional advisers. We provide a platform for Australians’ to get quotes, compare and contact a financial adviser, accountant, lawyer or broker.

Did you come up with your idea from all of these dating sites out there?

ProAdviser is an amalgamation of a traditional online classifieds and a dating website. We match clients up to their perfect adviser and advisers to their perfect clients. We did not grow ProAdviser from a dating website idea. But we did refer to the models and algorithms of a few dating websites to build ProAdviser.

I hate using this example because so many dating websites use relationship successes in ads…but what are some success stories of people meeting on ProAdviser in terms of work relationships?

ProAdviser is a very new website and only launched in December this year. We still do not have enough data to answer this question. However, the feedback from advisers and clients are positive.

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How is the web a powerful thing, whether your business is a rock band or promoting your legal expertise?

3It is a must in this day and age. Every part of our lives is being influenced by the web or through web based products. It is now much more easier and relevant for a company to use the web to target its product directly to its market.

What web marketing or blogging strategies are effective no matter where one is based in the world?

From our experience at ProAdviser, educational marketing/blogging is imperative. It is effective because you are giving something back to the user when they read your article or blog. It allows you to educate them but also build your brand as one that is credible and reputable. At the end of the day, it really does depend on your product and your target market. The strategy should be one that makes them “happy.”

Yes, you are Australian and probably act like any other average Australian through most of your private life just like we Americans are like everyone else if we grow up here. But aside from that, how has having an Indian ancestry positively influenced you? How has it made you different at work and away from it so you stand out from the crowd?

Having an Indian ancestry has influenced my work ethic, drive to succeed and ambitions. My parents grew up in very ordinary households in India and as a child, I would hear stories of everyday struggle for books, medicine, clothes and so many little things the western world can take for granted. Considering my parents have come from that background to what they are now, I feel it would be an injustice for me to stay the way that I am. They have sacrificed to raise me the way that I am and give my the lifestyle that I have, that I feel it is mandatory for me to take the family to the next level of prosperity.

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