Swati Bhargava is the Co-founder of CashKaro.com – India’s largest Cashback & Coupons site, backed by Mr. Ratan Tata & Kalaari Capital.
She is a graduate of London School of Economics (LSE) with a BSc in Mathematics and Economics. She then worked at Goldman Sachs London within the Investment Banking division and at the Executive Office. Swati is honored to be amongst the top 5 women trailblazers in Indian e-commerce industry by Economic Times and is also an acclaimed Social Media influencer. She was also nominated amongst the Top Young Business Women 2016 by CNBC-TV 18. In her current role at CashKaro, Swati leads the marketing activities, brand communication, customer and investor relations. She also spearheads the expansion of CashKaro.com into different verticals.
Tell us about yourself, your background and what you do currently
My journey began from Ambala; a small town north of Delhi where I studied at Convent of Jesus & Mary school till the age of 16; then got offered a scholarship to study in Singapore in 1999 to complete my high school. In 2002, I was again fortunate to get a scholarship to study at the prestigious London School of Economics. I graduated with an Honours Degree in Mathematics & Economics in 2005 and was offered to join the Investment Banking team at Goldman Sachs, UK. After my stint at Goldman Sachs for 5 years, Rohan (my husband & Co-founder of CashKaro) & I stumbled upon the concept of ‘cashback’ which was making a big buzz in the UK and we thought it would be an interesting venture to start off. We left our jobs, delved deeper in the cash-back market and did our research well.
Venturing into the world of entrepreneurship in 2011, we soon started with our first cashback venture PouringPounds.com, in London. In April 2013, with principally the same model that had been tried and tested in Pouring Pounds, we launched our brain child in India as CashKaro.com which is now India’s Largest Cashback & Coupons Site.
What has been your biggest challenge in achieving your success?
Apart from infrastructural and hiring the biggest challenge was – educating the market about this concept of earning Cashback on all online shopping. We went aggressive on PR and did many innovative campaigns coupled with extensive digital marketing. To build our retailer base, we solicited meetings with market leading e-commerce sites and explained how this concept is the best performance driven model for marketers globally.
What has been your greatest achievement personally?
Quitting a well-cushioned job for starting a business in an unfamiliar industry only to make it India’s Largest Cashback & Coupons Site can be tagged as my greatest achievement. I am happy that I treaded a path less travelled- fraught with risks, uncertainty and financial instability all to make it a success one day. Adding to it, the most significant milestone of our journey- Ratan Tata, Former Chairman Emeritus of Tata Sons, invested in CashKaro, giving a stamp of credibility and making it the strongest player in the Cashback space.
If you weren’t doing what you do now, what would you be doing?
Probably back at Goldman as an Investment Banker.
Who has been your biggest inspiration?
My biggest inspiration has been my husband, Rohan. I admire Rohan’s intellect and passion for our business. I have seen closely the sacrifices he makes for our business every day and the resolve with which he works – it inspires me every single day! He is also an incredible leader who leads by example, no matter how tough the part.
What does the future hold for you?
The e-commerce industry in India is expected to be $100 Billion industry by 2020 and similar progress is forecasted in the Cashback space. According to reports the affiliate sites such as ours contribute to 12-15% of total ecommerce sales in India today.
Over the next 3 years, our efforts will be towards solidifying and cementing our market leader position in India in the Cashback & Coupons space. Also, we will be looking at expanding our presence in South-East Asian countries.
In the near future we will primarily be working on extensions and derivatives of our MOBILE initiatives including launching the CashKaro app. We’ll continue to work in parallel to grow the recently launched product comparison ecosystem while creating more partnerships with various other online businesses to build great synergies.