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Rajat Berry, Director, Cross Section Interactive Private Limited (CSIPL)

Rajat S Berry set up Cross Section Interactive in 2001, a leading web development agency based out of New Delhi. Under Rajat’s mantle, the company has grown over 50 full-time employees with expertise in various web technologies. Core services include design, development, and maintenance. Rajat holds a Bachelors degree in Economics from Hindu College, Delhi University. His real passion, however, has always been in the realm of design and communication; the web and the technological prowess possible through it was the extension of this love for communication design. Rajat has had a firm grasp of the Internet right from his undergraduate days, and spent 2 years before founding CSIPL experimenting and learning via various web development and design based set ups. At the time, his interest lay in the realm of travel and tourism, also having previously spent time as a travel writer in his undergraduate days. With the web as a backdrop, Rajat honed his skills in online branding, strategy, communication and implementation, to grow his interest from the realm of travel to scope out the areas of real estate, education, retail. Rajat has also ensured that he is well versed and updated with the mammoth and new developments both in the world of design and the web, given that his company puts forth a product that must delicately balance one with the other. This includes attending an array of international and domestic conferences, seminars, and interactive workshops. He enjoys a reputation in the industry where the CSIPL product is highly regarded as professional, solid and clean cut. Rajat’s key strength lies in his team building and management skills, as much as in his understanding of the internet and web technologies, coupled with his natural sensibility towards good clean design. Most of the CSIPL staff have remained with him since its inception, a quality fairly rare in this trade. His role as a team manager and player, begins from the delegation process to his critical role in coding and user interface design. The technical skills he brings to the table, allow for him to communicate superbly with his programmers and this is immaculately balanced with his personal communication skills and the repertoire he shares with his clients primarily fueled by his ability to understand their needs and translate the same.

“Despite obstacles, there has been a consistent rise in the number of new start-ups in India”.

Rajat has also personally spearheaded the design development component of CSIPL’s growth. His design team are frequently put through vigorous creative training and given opportunities to expand their design sensibility via training. At a personal level, Rajat’s interest include home design, web browsing, and reading about the latest global developments in the realm of design. His work has truly provided the perfect interface for him to combine his love for design and communication in a web based medium; this coupled with his deep and long standing understanding of and experience in the web industry, and capacity to handle his dedicated team of designers and programmers is what has given CSIPL the edge that it enjoys today. Rajat’s primary role is the conceptualization of website design, form, and functionality. His primary role is project concept and structure. He is actively involved in sourcing new business for the company. He also spends considerable time in client liaison. His forte lies in understanding the client’s specific needs and translating these needs, across different industries and solutions, into a successful web-based platform. Rajat has a strong grasp of the Internet, having worked with over 1,000 web projects in various web related activities over the years. These include online branding, strategy, communication, and implementation. Rajat helps to communicate these objectives to his development team, by playing a crucial role in coding and UI design. His technical skills further allow him to communicate optimally with programmers. Given his vast experience in handling an extensive portfolio, fueled by his passion for the medium, and years of exposure to the internet, Rajat contributes to each of his projects personally.

Q: How has the Indian attitude changed towards entrepreneurship?

A: A few years ago, it was easy to sum up the typical Indian mindset–which was limited to getting a college degree for a decent job and then living a happy and contented life. However, change is the only permanent thing in this world and nowhere is this more true than in India. The mindset is changing, as youngsters are taking roads less travelled by shunning conventional jobs and giving shape to their out-of-the-box ideas. Furthermore, amidst talk about the aspirations of 1.2 billion people, India is emerging as a hot investment destination. Entrepreneurship has taken a center-stage as a panacea for India’s prominent economic issues.

Q: What are the reasons behind this trend?

A: It has taken a few decades and the notable efforts of incoming governments to bring about this change. After the dark days of the license raj, low purchasing power and a weak economy, the clouds have lifted. According to a NASSCOM report, the number of Indian start-ups is the fourth highest in the world, a clear indication of the tremendous growth being witnessed by start-ups. The recession of 2008-09 also fuelled the rise of the start-up culture in India, as fresh engineering graduates did not get good jobs in the US and their dreams of joining IT companies overseas came to naught. Many then felt the need to start something of their own, which led to the birth of start-up companies in India. Today, many of these ventures have become household names in the country.

Q: What are some of the challenges facing start-ups?

A: It is heartening to see that things have become a lot more conducive for start-ups in India. At the same time, challenges remain. It is still not easy to find funding in a new sector. Though, there are funds available, which have been specifically set aside for start-ups by private sector investors and the government, they can’t be availed of by all forms of businesses. The survival of a start-up depends on its team. A company is only as good and strong as its team. It is imperative to have a dedicated group of individuals in a start-up who can drive the business amidst challenging circumstances and ultimately help it achieve fruition. Likewise, mentors play a vital role in preparing the next breed of young entrepreneurs and helping them navigate through the right channels. Some efforts have been taken by the government and private organizations to bring successful entrepreneurs and budding ones on a same stage, where they can share their experiences. This is aimed at bolstering the start-up culture in India. However, this is still in a nascent stage and a lot more needs to be done. Other common challenges are location and legal constraints.

Q: What would you say is the road ahead?

A: Despite obstacles, there has been a consistent rise in the number of new start-ups in India. Every year, many IT professionals are returning back to India from the US to launch new start-ups. This trend has been catalyzing the start-up ecosystem in India, with the help of the government and investors.