Mangesh Panditrao - There Is No Dearth of Challenges in Every Entrepreneur’s Journey (Co-Founder and CEO - Shoptimize)



Formal education is an indicator of consistent efforts and focuses from an early age. The actual education itself is often redundant but the ability to think and work as a team is an important lesson that formal education imparts. Having said that, education alone is not enough to cut it. 


Tell us about your background, journey, and upbringing.

I grew up in Pune, Maharashtra, and was the elder one of two brothers. My mom was a teacher and my dad worked in an insurance firm. I was a sports enthusiast since my early days. 

I participated in soccer, hockey, and rowing at the national level. I completed my engineering degree and then moved to the US for further education at Purdue University and spent seven years in the US. 

I began my professional career as a software engineer at Infosys. I subsequently took up roles at Stanley Technologies, JDA Software Group, and Exact Software
before moving back to India for good.


When and how did you get clarity on what you wanted to do?

When I returned after working in the US for about 7 years, all the jobs I was getting in India wanted to send me back to the US. I had a valid H1 visa which was in short supply and that seemed to be my biggest asset for potential recruiters. 

While I waited to get an offer that would let me live in India, I had started my first company with a school friend, signed up for our first customer, and got our first cheque. I decided to give it 6 months to see if I can survive as an entrepreneur. 

It’s been 13 years now that I am on this journey. I always wanted to create value
and jobs for the immense talent in India. The best way to do that was through entrepreneurship.


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What does your typical workday look like?

A typical workday starts with some exercise in the morning followed by breakfast with the family. Work starts around 9 AM and continues till about 7 PM. On most nights, I catch up on emails, etc post-dinner and end up working another couple hours then. In the past year, travel has reduced considerably. Else I was out of town at least one day a week.


Several global companies have come out and thrown their support behind not needing a formal education. What is your opinion about this?

Formal education is an indicator of consistent efforts and focuses from an early age. The actual education itself is often redundant but the ability to think and work as a team is an important lesson that formal education imparts. Having said that, education alone is not enough to cut it.

Passion for value creation and the ability to continuously learn and improve oneself is far more important in today’s ever-changing times. So in my case, formal education is a marginal plus.


How do you handle someone who has lied on their resume?

It is an indicator of a person’s lack of belief in himself or herself. If they need to lie, they clearly think the truth is not good enough. That can be the biggest problem as they take on real-world assignments. I personally value ethics a lot and if this is the case, it is a no-go for me.





What are some of your typical challenges and how have they evolved over time?

There is no dearth of challenges in every entrepreneur’s journey. After all this time, the two biggest challenges continue to be the ability to build an A-class team and to raise sufficient capital to reach your goal as an organization. 

The biggest learnings for me have been to remain true to your capabilities and your vision. You will always get all sorts of advice. You need to factor it in and do what you think is right. Not doing that hurts you in the long run.


What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs looking for funding or those eyeing the top job?

There is no better time to start than today. Do not stress too much about the goal and the business plans. You will figure it out along the way. Also, be patient. Good things take time. Sometimes, lots of it.


Which is your favorite book and why?

To be honest, I am not much of a reader. I hope to change that someday.


Bio -

Mangesh Panditrao is the co-founder and CEO of Shoptimize. He has a total of 21 years of experience in India and the United States with extensive knowledge of technology and its role in business.

Mangesh was educated at Purdue University in the United States and spent seven years in the US in several consulting roles. He began his professional career as a software engineer at Infosys. 

He subsequently took up roles at Stanley Technologies, JDA Software Group and
Exact Software, assuming roles related to supply chain management and the implementation of software solutions. In 2007 he founded his first company, Niyuj, targeting mid-market companies to implement enterprise software solutions. 

He handled new market expansion, pre-sales, sales, project management, and IT strategy. The experience taught him what building and running a new business entailed and he carried those lessons into his next venture, which was starting Shoptimize in 2012 to cater to the increasing number of Indians doing their shopping online.

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