By, Sayak Karmakar
Dhirendra Khandelwal- Esquare System & Technologies Pvt Ltd
Technology(Raging Passion for Technology) will rule the future. From managing currencies to implementing complex work, technology will have the most crucial role. While the world strives on technology, there are only a few pioneers to carry its legacy forward.
Interview Times had an opportunity to have an exclusive interview with one of the pioneers of computer technology, Mr Dhirendra Khandelwal.
The conversation was centred on his educational background, the way India is shaping up in the technology(Raging Passion for Technology) sector and how the pandemic is creating havoc for industries.
Tell us something about your childhood and schooling experience?
I was born and raised in Balasore, Odisha. I did my schooling from St Vincent Convent school and then pursued MCA- Master in Computer Application from NIT Rourkela.
One interesting fact about me is that I hated to be a mediocre student. Right from Standard 1, till my NIT days, I was always among the top 3 ranks of my class.
I(Raging Passion for Technology) also pursued an executive management program in XIMB for a year but later dropped out to venture in the field of technology as an entrepreneur.
Was your love for technology inspired by someone or immanent in you?
My passion for technology also has a story. When I was a child, I used to travel regularly with my parents. Once during the visits, I went to an office, where I found few people working with computers.
It was there when my fascination with computers and technology started. By the end of school life, I was all geared up to be an aspiring technical guy in the future. Technology is such a thing that comes to me naturally.
You see, I(Raging Passion for Technology) have a family that comes from a business background. My father is a renowned trader. However, family business never attracted me. I was a part of my business for 6 to 8 months but quickly realized the fact trading is not my cup of tea.
As stated earlier, I joined management classes as well but didn’t get the spark with it as well. Therefore, in the end, I decided to venture into the niche that I am passionate about.
Why has India seen the exodus of the best techies? What is its impact on the IT sector? Do you think this trend can be reversed?
To be very honest, I(Raging Passion for Technology) think the situation you are talking about was more prevalent a few decades back. Yes, we cannot deny the fact that even today many young IT professionals, desire to go out and make their career, but their numbers are very low as compared to say about three decades back.
The generation, which included people like us had nothing- there was zero motivation and support from the society as well as the Government. In fact, the Government was really regressive towards the individuals who wanted to become entrepreneurs, especially in the field of tech. So, many people went out and pursued their careers.
But today, we see the concept of Make in India. Many young individuals are coming up with great ideas and making their own start-ups and becoming successful.
Then, there are people like us who stayed in our country and fought hard for techie establishment who are there to guide these individuals. So, in short, our country is showing significant improvement when it comes to handling individual talents.
Can you share your experience with E- Square?
I started my career as an entrepreneur in 2000. At the initial stages, we built a software development company and worked with a few overseas countries such as Germany. However, due to my lack of business knowledge then, I couldn’t succeed for a long period. I had to stop the company.
Later, I(Raging Passion for Technology) tried to venture into my family business for almost a year, and as I said a few minutes back, I quickly realized that it was not my cup of tea. Then suddenly, I ventured into the management program at XIMB.
However, I was again quick to realize that management is not my forte. Later in 2003, I finally started E-Square in a small shop at Bhubaneshwar with a single entity proprietorship.
The initial six months to a year was a lot of struggle, as many start-ups go through. However, after that difficult period, our company started to see an upward curve in growth and development. In 2009, E- Square with a big reputation changed from single proprietorship to Private Limited.
My father was my biggest motivator. He always said, “If our forefathers can come from Rajasthan, settle and become successful in Odisha, why can’t you start a techie business in Odisha. It’s not your fate but your hard work, which will make you successful”.
What was your initial turnover and how has it grown?
In 2004, our first turnover was about Rs 2 Lakh. Today, in 2019, our turnover has soared to Rs 70 Crore.
As an entrepreneur/businessman, have you ever gone through a lean patch?
Yes, my company and I have faced a lot of failures. However, the best way to deal with it is to accept the truth, make decisions wisely, work spontaneously, and look forward to the next plan.
The first setback came in 2008-09 during the time of recession. Many bills were pending, so we had to face substantial financial losses. Therefore, we had to snap our ties with international clients in Germany, Australia and Netherlands and focus on local business for a few years.
The second setback came in 2012 when we were getting Government projects. Getting a Government Project is tough but the harder thing is to get bills passed from them. So again, we(Raging Passion for Technology) sunk into financial crises. Our turnover for the next couple of years stagnated to Rs 20 Crore.
However, since 2017 we have seen lots of development. We have started getting clients and building bases in foreign lands as well. Currently, we have built four offices in India- Balasore, Bhubaneshwar, Delhi and Kolkata. So, for the time being, everything is going well.
What steps have you taken to boost the credibility and morale of employees?
I always think, without our employees, E-Square cannot achieve anything. Our employees are our biggest strength. We treat them as families. We provide them with a good salary package, the best in our state.
We also provide them with the freedom to try out their own minds to create some innovative ideas and thoughts.
What has been the impact of the Covid pandemic on your company?
There is a huge impact. Not only for my company but for all the companies running on technologies! In fact, every industry and its owner will go through a significant crisis.
There are bills which clients are not able to pay. We also cannot force them as we know the current situation.
Also, we cannot cut the salaries of the employees as this is the time they need us the most. So, company funds are also at a decreasing curve.
Moreover, we have to pay the EMIs; we have to pay electricity bills. Shortly, the world will see its biggest recession.
Your advice to young techies and entrepreneurs…..
My biggest advice to young people is to work hard and have patience. But you always need a mentor who will guide you in the initial tough phases of work.
What are your hobbies?
I am a very social person. So, I love to interact with people.