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VSS MANI, Founder, Just dial

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“I asked myself a simple question, and the idea of Just Dial clicked!”

JustDial describes itself as India’s no.1 local search destination. The company caters to over 57 million unique users. It is accessible from across 2000 towns and cities in India on phone. JustDial employs a 4000 strong work force and has more than 1,35,000 paid advertisers.

VSS MANI, Founder, just dial
These figures look even more impressive when you learn that VSS Mani, the man behind Just Dial, could not afford even the Rs 15,000 needed for buying a phone line when he started out.

His ‘aha moment’ struck while working for a yellow pages company called United Database India (UDI) in 1987. “Why not put this information on phone,” he thought, while pitching the directory to a client.

The thought trilled in his mind like a persistent ring. “I just used to dream of numbers, and millions of people using my services,” he recollects.

In 1996, Mani came across 888 8888, a number that belonged to Mumbai’s Kandivili Exchange. He persuaded the  GM to let him have it. “It was difficult in those days, but it happened,” says Mani. “Sometimes when you dream and you are really desperate to get something, you get it.”

The path wasn’t easy—Mani faced multiple failures and much discouragement from well-wishers who felt his idea was a blunder. But when passion propels you, the universe itself becomes your driving force. Mani started Just Dial with some borrowed furniture, rented PCs, a 3x5 feet garage on hire, a seed capital of Rs 50,000, and a dream!

Soon, his efforts rang in the sweet sound of success.

Are you a startup or a biggie with an ‘aha moment’ to share? Tell us about it on with ‘Aha Moment’ in the subject line.
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