Umang Bedi: The Corporate Dapper of the Start-up Industry
While many entrepreneurs have this strict idea of how they see the world and a pattern to follow, Umang does not bind his life by any preconceived notions. He is free spirited yet focused towards his goals.
Meeting new people every day is an important part of my job as a journalist. However, few leave an impact. Umang Bedi was definitely one individual who has had the strongest influence so far.
My first interaction with him was on a phone call. I wanted to invite him for a conference at Goa. We connected and his only instruction to me was not to call him Sir! Completely unlike many other CEO’s I have met.
He agreed to travel and there he was in Goa. All set to light the stage on fire with a fantastic story about his journey into Dailyhunt.
Umang Bedi -A passionate man with the perfect combination of dignity, charm and chivalry. He is known for his humble demeanour, someone who can carry a tailored suit or a polo t-shirt with equal grace. An approachable gentleman he is an influencer known for empowering those around him. An institution builder of a very different kind.
During our conversation offline he opened about his free spirited nature, obsession with fitness, penchant for travelling and exploring. He also expressed his dedication and love towards his family.
While many entrepreneurs have this strict idea of how they see the world and a pattern to follow, Umang does not bind his life by any preconceived notions. He is free spirited yet focused towards his goals. After two decades of working at the helm, his hunger and energy to keep exploring new horizons and opportunities is indeed inspiring and very infectious.
Umang started his leadership journey early on in his career. He was one of the youngest Managing Director’s for a global multinational brand at Intuit India. A feat that was achieved at a young age of 27. This was followed by his tenure as the Managing Director at Adobe for the India and South Asia region. He was responsible for growing the business in India - a task that was successfully attained resulting in India emerging as one of the leading markets for Adobe globally. Umang then took on the mantle as the Managing Director of Facebook which resulted in the platform witnessing record growth in the subcontinent.
At 40, Umang has embarked on an entrepreneurial journey with his brother in arms Virendra Gupta, at Dailyhunt – India’s largest digital media platform serving over 106 million monthly active users (MAUs) with news and entertainment across 15 different local languages.
In other words, Dailyhunt is an app focused on Bharat and is a true personification of an app that is Made in India, by Indians for Indians in local Indian languages.
Dailyhunt has emerged as the fastest growing app in India in terms of absolute numbers of new customers being added every month. The number of users on Dailyhunt have grown 25 percent month on month, and 145 percent year on year. At this rate, Dailyhunt will comfortably cross 150 million MAUs by March 2019, and over 200 million by June 2019.
Call it fate or the perfect timing or his keen instincts, Umang left Facebook right before the hue and cry of the Cambridge Analytica controversy.
Naturally the first question I asked him was how is Facebook as a workplace. To which he had a very simple reply.
“My 18-month journey at Facebook was exhilarating as we grew the user base from 100 million to 262 million users making India the largest country in the world for Facebook. In addition, we doubled the time spent on the platform and built a massive revenue business in the country. Having said that, the success at Facebook provided the impetus to pursue my entrepreneurial dream and this has been the best decision of my life. “
So when everything was going great what would have prompted him to leave the company. To which he responded as follows -
“Everything was going great, but then somewhere I was questioning myself. I had this realisation that nobody had really built a large multi-billion-dollar digital media business in India or Asia. I was constantly asking myself as to what it would take to create this history in the country. I was convinced this is a question to answer. Around the same time, I witnessed the internet pivoting and the single biggest opportunity that emerged was that of local languages. The amalgamation of the above was the catalyst for pursuing my entrepreneurial journey at Dailyhunt.”
Umang, explains the difference between Social media platforms and Dailyhunt very simply.
“Social media platforms are built on user generated content (UGC) and drive personalization at scale basis a ‘Social Graph’ that they create for each user with the personal information that they have. This makes social platforms a powerful engine but opens them up to the risk of privacy, regulation and objectionable UGC content.”
“On the other hand, Dailyhunt is built on organisation generated content (OGC) and professionally generated content (PGC). We further drive personalisation at scale basis a ‘Content Graph’ for the user that is created using high end artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms. Dailyhunt is unique as we don’t ask for your personal information or identity and don’t monetise customer data. Our goal is to create India’s largest digital media platform for content creators, consumers and advertisers that is safe and respects privacy.”
Umang is a born leader, through his collaborative leadership style he has quite a following. He believes that a leader should always empower people and guide them by providing solutions. He encourages millennials to follow their heart, do what excites them and create a legacy of their own for this world to follow.
He says, “There will be temptations that are monetary in nature but one must always give priority to passion. Follow your heart, do what you want, don’t be bound by short term targets or a job that you don’t enjoy, set a vision for your life. Get up, dream big, think big, follow your passions and be the change you want to see. The right time is Now”.
Meeting Umang is a life changing experience. It has had a profound impact on me. He is humble yet inspiring with his thoughtful elegant conduct. His simplicity is his ultimate sophistication and this truly makes him an inspiration for many.
The youth must take a note here to study pages from his life that could very well help them to write their own success story. His spirit is truly fodder for the new age corporate and has all the elements to spark the much needed ‘Corporate Dapper’ revolution in the start-up world.