Farooq Haque, Founder and CEO of Taxolawgy recently joined NewsX for an insightful chat as part of our special series NewsX India A-List. In conversation with NewsX, Mr Farooq not only gave us an insight into hisjourney from being a CA to a successful entrepreneur but also on how businesses can thrive in the new normal.
Speaking about his journey so far and how it all led to Taxolawgy, Mr Farooq said, “The journey has been a very big rollercoaster ride for me. When I was doing my CA, it was quite difficult but that experience taught me a few lessons such as being resilient and to stand up and fight again. I think these two lessons that I learned as a student helped me throughout my career. In 1998, when I cleared my CA exams, I followed my passion rather than the norms of the industry. I started my own coaching business. Although at that time, it was not called a startup but it was a startup for sure. Soon in 2-3 years, I became a top coach in Nagpur. Then I faced with dilemma, i.e what to do next?!, because if you reach the top of the mountain what should one do. You can do two things- either sit there and enjoy and let the money come in or you can dream of something bigger.”
“I dreamt for something big, came down that mountain, left Nagpur and went to Mumbai, which was a bigger market. This led to another phase in my life, which was again difficult. To set up your own business is not that easy so I struggled for almost 2 years. Then, I moved to Pune and found myself again at the top of the game. Somewhere in 2013, when I was leading a very busy life, I was taking classes in Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur and many other cities; I realized this is not the thing for the future. There has to be something better than this. There has to be a way in which I can reach multiple places at the same time. That’s when I came up with the idea of video classes. In 2013, I left the business of face to face classes and started an ed tech company called Yo EduTech Solutions Pvt Ltd. We were the pioneers of CA online classes in India. That journey started in 2014 and continued till 2019. By 2019, I realised that there are still much better oceans out there. When GST came in, we realised that we need to have a global knowledge base, especially for taxation. So, we started building a knowledge platform where we can share knowledge. During this phase, my colleague Divya Varma came up with an idea that why don’t we have a freelancing portal, wherein we can give opportunities to chartered accountants and lawyers of this country. That’s how Taxolawgy came into existence and she is right now the chief operating officer of the company as well as co-founder, “ he added.
Sharing with us the concept of Taxolawgy and his vision for the company, Mr Farooq expressed, “When we built Taxolawgy, we built it as a platform where we can collect all the domain experts such as legal experts, financial experts, website developers, digital marketers, cost accountants and so many people who work in a business environment, who give services to businesses on a global scale. We wanted all of them to come on our platform Taxolawgy.com and provide services on a global scale. It is called Taxolawgy because it started as financial domain, tax and law are the main aspects of it, but slowly we expanded it on a much bigger scale and now we have more than 3000 experts on-board, all experts of different domains from India, Australia, Philippines, US and many other countries. “
Along with Taxolawgy, Farooq Haque is also the man behind successful online portals like BookMyWizard, YoWorkPlace. Giving us an insight into those projects, he shared, “We started with Taxolawgy in 2017 after GST came in. While working on this portal, we realised that there are a lot of other opportunities out there. Artificial Intelligence, as you know, is coming in a big way and into everything. However, when it comes to sharing of real knowledge, based on experience and wisdom, there is nothing better than human interaction. The way one human can communicate the real knowledge, understanding and lessons to another person, is through human communication. Therefore, we built ‘BookMyWizard’, which is based on human intelligence and transfer of human knowledge through human connection. We are using technology for that. What we want is that people who are experts in their domain, who are wizards of their domain, they should share their knowledge with people out there and we need this on a very big scale today. The world is moving so fast that people want to learn fast. They cannot attend huge number of lectures and classes to gain knowledge. If I am stuck somewhere in my venture, my coding then I need help instantly. The way to do that is to connect to a domain expert. That’s what we are trying to build in ‘BookMyWizard’. There will be experts on one side, who are wizards and are experienced in their fields. They can help these guys out there through mentoring, training or consulting.”
When asked about YoWorkPlace, Mr Farooq added, “When the pandemic striked, everyone was working from home. Even today most of the people are working from home and big companies have said that they will continue working from home till the end of 2021. During this stage, when people realised the benefits of work from home and lot of research was done, I had an intuition that the world is going to move in a permanent way. The way people work is going to change in the future and remote working is going to be the thing in the future. With YoWorkPlace, we are building a complete ecosystem around that. We realised that people who are hired for a job in an office are suddenly shifted to work from home so they face a lot of problems because they were not meant to work from home. You need a complete ecosystem to survive.”
On a parting note, when asked if the pandemic has been an opportunity for all his businesses, Mr Farooq responded, “Definitely. I think we were at the right place at the right time. Remote working needs lot of things to come in. One is job. What is happening right now is that people are hired to work from office but they are working from home. The companies who hire these people hired them because they were living in that place. The location was most important but in future, it is going to become redundant. Talent will kill. We want to make that shift. We should not hire someone on his or her location but on the basis on his or her talent. Secondly, since people are working from home, they feel a lot of loneliness. To overcome that, we are building a robust community and a network, which will give them lots of activities and events for skill development. We are also working towards building a robust network of co-working spaces because if you are not able to work from home, you can go to a nearby co-working space, hire it and work from there. “