Startup founders turn social to get business rolling

Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma, with more than 3 lakh followers, is also a prolific Twitter user.
BENGALURU: If politicians, film stars, law enforcement agencies make direct connect with the people on Twitter, new-age entrepreneurs can’t wait to hitch a ride.

Twitter is the best way to get the most constructive feedback at the earliest, according to entrepreneurs who use the microblogging site to the hilt when it comes to matters around tech innovations, product launches, fund-raising and policy initiatives.

Freecharge founder Kunal Shah, one of the most prominent faces in the startup world, led the promotion for his second venture on Twitter. “It is always good to announce first to people who know you and follow you. That helps create excitement and invites reviews from them,” said Shah. “I received close to 400 feedback messages on the product in the early stages and Cred is technically still in beta.”

Many such announcements like Swiggy Stores and their super programme, Zomato’s Zomaland, were also announced on Twitter.


ET spoke to a bunch of top entrepreneurs to understand what defines their social media behaviour and what makes them diligently take time out on the platform. The most common answer was quick and constructive responses. Twitter, the way it is designed, usually offers unformatted genuine response, they said.

“Twitter has proven to be very effective for sharing information to a large audience, share my thoughts directly with everyone, leaving little scope for misinterpretation,” said Deepinder Goyal, chief executive of Zomato. “It also helps me interact with users about our products that is irreplaceable when it comes to running a consumer internet business.” He has almost 4 lakh followers on Twitter.

Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma, with more than 3 lakh followers, is also a prolific Twitter user. Besides promoting many initiatives of the company, Sharma shares news pieces as well. Starting from pieces around privacy issues to trend stories around technology, Sharma’s timeline remains busy with hectic activity.

Sampad Swain, who cofounded Instamojo, feels Twitter has a pool of potential investors and glimpses of the company’s financials shared on the platform often helps draw their attention. “Twitter helps connect with other players in the ecosystem and in a few cases, even potential investors have reached out to me after reading our numbers on Twitter,” he told ET.

Another powerful tool often used by entrepreneurs to gauge market sentiments is Twitter polls. Much before launching Cred, Shah consistently organised polls on Twitter. ET dug out a few of those old tweets and some of the problems he was posing turned out to be the ones he was trying to solve through Cred.

Shah, for instance, asked if people ever checked their credit card statements properly and 69% of the close to 1,900 respondents said ‘no’. This was the exact problem that credit card bill payment app Cred is trying to solve. “Polls are a great way to break myths and learn new things for me and for all who follow the polls,” said Shah.

Amrish Rau, chief executive of PayU India, looks at Twitter as his own space. “I have a no-holds-barred attitude on Twitter, use it as my personal space, follow what is being said about issues that interest me and express what I feel about them,” he said.

Raja Ganapathy who has cofounded Spring Marketing Capital said that Twitter helps to bring the human face of a brand. “People follow founders and not only the companies, which is a great way of connecting to them.