Meet Praveen Mishra, Founder and CEO of Ooumph 

Hi, I'm Praveen Mishra, Founder and CEO of Ooumph and ex-CEO of grainSMITH(brand name: MeriMandi). I did my engineering from BITS Pilani. After my college I became a Data Scientist and was involved with global predictive data analytics for big fortune 500 companies which gave me experience in Business Consulting. Instead of joining Amazon I joined an upcoming unicorn “InMobi'' where I headed META Countries in digital marketing for big br­ands. I have Worked with two of the coun­try’s unicorn compan­ies i.e., MUsigma and InMobi. They have inspired and enlightened me to the power of startups and how technology startups can solve people's problems and bring changes in society. So in 2017 after leaving InMobi instead of going for PGDM in IIM or joining a job opportunity at Goog­le I opened my own agrotech startup. Later in 2019 I sold my previous company (due to co-founder’s exit) to start Ooumph with Mansi Bajpai (gold medallist Economics, Ex- HCl) who sacrificed her MBA ad­mission in UCLA for our startup journey. 

About Ooumph

The word “Ooumph” is alliteration of the word “oomph”​ which means “degree of an emotion”. Ooumph was born from the ashes of an agrotech company grainsmith which had to be sold as one of the cofounders had to pursue higher studies. “It was in the darkest hours of despair that we found Ooumph” as Mansi states. Initially Ooumph was just a tech development and psychographic marketing agency for national, international and government clients but the deeper we got into digital media we started to unravel the bigger problems that were impacting everyone in the digital age, so we started creating a product that will solve these problems. This platform aims to be a unification and credibility tool in a bid to provide users with a one stop solution for all their complex social needs ranging from personal connections to professional connections and its USP is to use social/organisational reputational scores to qualify credibility for people, brands, communities and products. We are building digital safe spaces with “The world's first social credibility platform”.

About the Team

We are an eclectic group of storytellers, data scientists, filmmakers, artists, consultants and developers who are committed to creating a future of social credibility in the digital age. In our company we don’t believe in a team of experts, we believe in a team of passionate generalists. Founders lead a founding team and the founding team leads the whole organisation. So every team member is homegrown. We have created a culture where one can discover one’s passion, fulfil responsibilities and gain experience to become a leader. Our team helps our users to identify their passionate followers and the technologies to create long lasting and meaningful relationships with customers that change their core beliefs to drive value across content, communities, products and brands.​ 

How got the idea of business?

It was at the peak of my corporate career when I started feeling a void in my life because until this point all the life decisions were about getting a high paying job which gave me a lot of exposure but once you have achieved it you feel that your life needs to have a higher purpose to contribute back to society. With this intention, we opened an agrotech company so that we can increase farmer ROI in India. Once we connected to 700+ farmers and increased their ROI by more than 20% and sold more than 90,000 kgs of vegetables we entered scaling challenges because the problem required a higher level of disruption. It was then we started to look for a purpose in tech because tech is highly scalable and can create impact in a relatively short span of time. When we started to do marketing for close to 100+ businesses in totally different domains the problem gaps became clearer. We understood that the social platforms as we know it are not social platforms any more, they are behavioural platforms that encouraged a particular kind of behaviour (e.g., Clicking pics before eating food for insta, whatsapping a friend sitting next to you)

We orchestrated a solution which could drive user behaviour in the direction of depth of relationships created instead of engagements. It could also​ 1. Filter rumours from fake news 2. Create leader and value driven communities that are not just connected to users but also connected to each other to create regional, local, national and international level channels to voice the most important issues relevant to the community. 3. Filter online scams to give access to real products and brands that appreciated authentic feedback 4. Create business ecosystems that will not only help local businesses to get more customers but will also help big brands to organically manage their brand value and do social listening for their customers both at the same time. Post this we intercepted data signals for proof of concepts and with close to 300+ social experiments that ran on digital channels we were able to weave the solution into a user experience. Soon we figured out our long term and short term monetization channels and started developing the product. Quite a few VCs have shown interest to invest in the company so far but we are of the opinion that we would go for the funding when the time is right and we are ready to face the battle. Since making people’s lives better is the purpose, the idea generation is data driven and a continuous process for evolution.

The Role Model

I have never understood the concept of a single role model as no single individual can be good at everything. It is their stories that inspire us to be like them. For me the most important stories are with the people who have created maximum impact that I was able to witness first hand. To start with I am inspired by the courage of not just my parents but with the courage of the parents of my founding team who supported their children to pursue the startup journey because they are the ones who have to face the society that rarely knows about startups(hint: they are not businesses that have just started). I am inspired by other startups who are fighting relentlessly day after night to make this world a little better for everyone. I am inspired by Indian entrepreneurs like Naveen Tewari (CEO InMo­bi) who showed the world that India can have a global product footprint too and how to perfectly drive culture and growth in the Indian context. I am inspired by my BITSian seniors who have created an ecosystem for constant innovation and entrepreneurship which led to creation of RedBus, BigBasket, GreyOrange etc in the private sector and led initiatives like UP100(now 112), WPL­1090, StartupIndia etc in the government sector. I am also inspired by VC firms who instead of just chasing ROI invest in startups with a vision and help them in making that vision a reality.

How difficult is it for an entrepreneur to set up his/her journey?

I would say it’s quite difficult for an entrepreneur to even start his journey not only because of the lack of finances and uncertainty but also because of lack of support whether it's from family, society or from the system. So there you have to fight for your ideas and your beliefs which sometimes gives you self-doubt. Other than this there are operational challenges, Hiring challenges and financial challenges that we have to face on a day to day basis but that’s how an entr­epreneur's life works. You wake up, you fight, face your difficulties and make your way toward your goal. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose but as an entrepreneur growth is what we aim for. First you’ll have to win internal wars with yourself and sacrifice a comfortable paying job for a lot of financial, emotional and societal stress. Then you’ll have to motivate yourself and others and form a team. Next you’ll have to persevere day in and day out to create a product offering. Next you’ll have to get customers/users as proof of concept, at the same time you’ll have to connect with VCs and investors for fundraising. It is important to appreciate and cultivate a st­artup mindset because the real strength of a country comes from its economy and the economy is fuelled by startups. In the USA startups took 0.01% of GDP as investment and contributed 28% to the GDP in net value. This is crucial for a country like India where the service sector is the biggest one. It's crucial to understand that if you get a job, you can feed a family, but if you get a startup running you feed multiple families. Nonetheless, starting up is not easy.

About some clients

Our team members have worked with almost all top fortune 500 companies with the likes of Nissan, JLR, Kia Landrover in the Auto sector; Bloo­mberg, HSBC, Citibank in BFSI sector; Nok­ia, LG, Samsung, Sony, Google, Facebook in Tech and Media sector; Burger King, Unilever, KFC, Pizzahut in CPG & QSR ; Westfield, Coach, LVMH, Macys in Retail and Fashion sector ; Lufthansa, KLM, AirFrance, Emirates in Travel sector and​  WPL 1090(U.P. Police) in the Government sector to create digital chakravyuh. The "digital chakravyuh'' was created using techniques like predictive analysis, psychometric profiling, psychographic marketing through ad exchange and creating awareness among youngsters to prevent crimes against women. Our marketing awareness campaign against child porn went viral on the internet as​ “porn ban UP” and got coverage in 300+ local, regional, national and international media. We also led a joint collaboration with Facebook and UN Women for cyber safety awareness within the state.

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