NewsX was recently joined by Om Thoke, Serial Entrepreneur, Co-Founder, STM Doosra, Webfosys & Bloggers World for an exclusive conversation as a part of its special series, NewsX A-List where he spoke about his most recent venture, STM Doosra entering the Indian market, the needs of the Indian market and his journey till now.
Talking about his journey and how he reached the point of owning several companies and being an entrepreneur, Om said, “I hail from a middle-class family and lost my father during college. There was this josh to hustle and I tried my hand at multiple things, working at a call centre, started data entry, then started my handset blogging. During a time where there were no YouTube tutorials, I started trying my hand and slowly it evolved into multiple digital businesses. It’s been a good journey for the last 15years, I see that there is a gap in the Indian market and there is a small community of the so-called affiliated marketers and there is no resource out there which helps you achieve everything or provides the insights that are needed to succeed. So, the STM forum is the world’s largest paid affiliating marketing community and we have partnered with them and are bringing this to India. I see there are 1.3 billion people in India and there’s huge potential. That’s what the idea is about and we’re hoping to grab the Indian market”.
Speaking about STM Doosra and what it’s about, Om said, “STM forum is a global community and now they’re venturing into India. Indian audience has a different taste and also the needs are different. They want more webinars, more videos, more interactions. They don’t like reading all this stuff and also in 2021, voice searches and videos will be the next big thing, not that people will stop reading but it’s easier to communicate when you’re live. So, you have the opportunity to ask questions live and get the answers immediately, then you’re happy and feel that you’ve got value for money. So, STM is basically trying to address that gap in the market and provide the necessary help to digital marketers and affiliated marketers to get the know-how. Also, all the handholding and there are experts from all industries, they’ll be trying to help people who are trying blogging, SEO, Facebook marketing or any digital marketing for that matter and that’s the community that we’re trying to build here”.
Talking about what makes STM different and whether it is suitable for everybody or a particular segment, Mr. Thoke said, “There have been so many people who attempt this, every other guy wants to become the digital guy in India and now there’s a rat race. Everybody thinks they’re the digital expert, but unfortunately, that doesn’t do much good. What makes STM different, first of all, STM forum is the largest community, it’s been there for 10 years, globally. Events like Affiliate World Asia, Bangkok, Europe, Barcelona, these are now online events due to the pandemic, as they couldn’t conduct in-person meets, so they started something called, Ad World. I spoke last year and we formed a bond, a synergy and they wanted to tap into the Indian market. Like I said, our wants and needs are different, so what will make us different is that there will be live interactions, panel discussions and live help instantly. Second, we would go with all guns blazing during the pre-launch and then the launch. The core value I see in all this is, we would be building a community where it’s a win-win situation for all of us. It’s not that we’re trying to market a product to someone and it is for everyone. If you are into digital business and want to learn something, it’s for everyone but if you’re not into digital and want to explore, it’s a great opportunity for you to network with a lot of digital networks, which may be hard to find otherwise. You cannot reach out to thousands of people on Facebook, Instagram or email because it doesn’t work and 90% of the times there’s no response”.
Starting at a time when there were no social media platforms, Om talked about his journey till now. He said, “Earlier it was very different, there were no webinars, no shows, no events, no networking, so, it was all trial and error. I tried my hand at a bunch of things and I’m grateful to God that it worked out. It’s hasn’t been a bed full of roses, it’s been a journey of ups and downs, good days and bad days, but it worked out at the end so I’m thankful to the Almighty. It’s been mostly trial and error, they say fortune favours the brave and if you keep trying, eventually it’ll work out for you”.
Giving his message to the youth of the country and ‘aatmanirbharta’, Om opined, “I see a lot of people cribbing about what the government’s doing for them, what someone is doing for them, getting grants and benefits. My message to everyone is, you can hustle and earn your bread. I understand that a lot of people have been hit very hard during the pandemic, being a digital company, we weren’t affected that badly but we also have an E-comm wing which did get affected. So you can’t keep crying over things which didn’t work out for you, you have to evolve, so, I feel that if you truly become aatmanirbhar, you’ll find a way. To become aatmanirbhar, you have to find ways to do stuff for your life, you can’t just keep cribbing. We’re not getting political here, but my message to the youth is that there are multiple ways and digital horizons have expanded enormously and there’s no end to opportunities. You have seen the likes of Byju’s growing immensely, White Hat Jr., and other such companies have crazy valuations and growth in Ed-tech sector, Fintech sector. Anything technology-driven, you can do startups, if you are in the salaried category, you can enhance your skills, pick up some digital skills and be valuable to the company. There is something that you can do always instead of cribbing, self-help is the best help”.
Speaking about acquiring customers in 2021 and vision for the future, Om said, “We are hoping when we begin, we’ll have up to 10,000 takers this year and we will grow yearly. Like we said, it’s 1.3 billion people and there’s a huge gap, it’s not like there are thousands of companies doing this, so I see that there is a huge opportunity and even if we are able to tap into 1-2% market share, that’s a humongous opportunity. We are very hopeful about STM Doosra doing great in India”.