My Story (Entrepreneur/Founder)
Vidur Luthra is a Seattle based, successful, serial entrepreneur. The seeds of his entrepreneurial spirit were sown early when in 12th grade, he started a homegrown business of creating and selling advertisements to budding TV cable operators in New Delhi, India. After this brief entrepreneurial stint, Luthra followed a traditional academic path of earning a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Economics from BITS(Birla Institute of Technology and Science), Pilani, India. After graduating college, his first two job stints were India with Tata Steel and Andersen Consulting.
Aiming to learn more and to broaden his horizons, Luthra came to USA to attend MBA program at Cornell University where as part of his entrepreneurship class he pulled together a business plan for a shrimp farm in Belize, with 3 of his classmates. Whilst, Vidur didn’t ultimately join the farm, it is a thriving shrimp farm today. Soon after graduating from MBA, a job opportunity as a Product Manager in the mobile group at Microsoft brought Luthra to Seattle. During his 10 year stint at Microsoft, he worked on mostly new products and ventures within groups such as Windows CE, Windows, MSN/Windows Live.
By 2007, Luthra was starting to get disillusioned by the lack of speed and execution of new business niche in corporate world. As the 2008 economic downturn was hitting the US economy, Luthra took the unconventional step of letting go of a secure, traditional job and started his own pay-for-performance digital advertising venture, Resultrix. This new venture, Resultrix, achieved wide success and ended up having multiple regional headquarters in India, Singapore and Dubai and clients around the world. After sustained growth and success for more than 4 years, Resultrix was acquired in 2012 by Publicis Groupe, one of the world’s largest advertising and media companies.
In parallel with running Resultrix, Luthra also partnered with his wife Gunilla Luthra who was heading her own venture called Vega Consulting. Vega Consulting offered consulting and staffing services for marketing research, marketing and project management needs for Companies. Vega Consulting differentiated itself from big consulting firms by providing highly experienced consulting Professionals instead of freshly minted MBA graduates and lower fee structures by keeping overheads low compared to the big players in this space.
In 2014, Vega consulting was bought out by a large technology services and staffing company looking to expand into Marketing consulting
Resultrix won many creative advertising awards and was recognized as a top 10 best small companies to work for in Seattle. Vega Consulting was recognized for its fast growth in the state and in the US by Puget Sound Journal and Inc500 and was felicitated as a top 10 corporate citizen by Bellevue Chamber of Commerce.
Luthra’s Eureka moment came in 2007 when he realized that despite the trajectory Google was on with respect to Search advertising, big advertisers and their big agencies still did not understand how to best harness this revolution in advertising. The big agencies still persisted on using their antiquated “15% of media spend” fee models versus newer and more aligned business models which were now possible due to the capability for tracking and reporting in digital advertising. The big agencies were also too vested in TV and print to be able to handle digital advertising creating a big opportunity for new players to get in. Recognizing this opportunity, Vidur created a pay for performance digital advertising agency.
After launching Resultrix in 2008, Luthra was soon faced with self-doubt as the US economy suffered a huge setback. With corporate spending hitting record lows, it was a very stressful first year of business. Yet, in hindsight, Luthra believes that the economic downturn proved to a be silver lining for the budding Resultrix, as it attracted customers with its pay for performance model as they could better justify spending scarce marketing dollars.
Another side effect of running one’s own business was frequent 13 to 15 hour days because of global offices spread around the world. Often that meant working till 1-2AM every night. Quick business expansion brought with it the hidden overhead of lack of personal time – physically and mentally.
Luthra’s favorite inspirations are Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Tesla CEO, Elon Musk. He is inspired by both of their abilities to take on really big bets and visionary disruption of existing business models.
If I could do it again…
Luthra mentions two things he would consider doing differently if he could it all over again. First, he would consider scaling/growing the business internationally at a slower pace so as to maintain better balance of work and personal time.
The second advice that Luthra offers his earlier self is to not underestimate the time and effort needed in business integration after a buy-out. If he could do it again, he would take a lot of time to think through some of the aspects of integration before versus after the acquisition.
Definitely. Wish had done sooner.
The only thing Luthra wishes he had done sooner was to leave his corporate career. He feels that his maximum professional growth in the corporate job happened within the first 5 years. He wishes he had not waited for 10 years before launching his own venture.
What I’d like to share with other entrepreneurs
Luthra’s first advice to entrepreneurs is to not necessarily chase a technology idea and be obsessed with raising capital. There is a lot of value in service businesses as well and they also don’t require as much investment upfront. So, don’t discount a service business idea. It may have low valuation but the founder(s) will likely have much larger ownership and control. In any event, while it seems exciting to raise funds and get market valuations, It’s important to know it comes with losing control and having more masters.
What I’d like to share with investors
Luthra says that his learning as an investor has been to focus the most on the quality of the management team. Of course, the business idea, model and other factors are important too but all of that is most likely to change. In the event of change, strong operational and management teams are the ones with best have ability to make the required changes and keep refining till they succeed. He would also encourage fellow investors to check the tendency to give unsolicited “advice” to the companies they have invested in and not add any burden on the already stretched management teams for example by asking for more data/projections/reporting etc .
What I’d like to share with the youth
Luthra advices the youth is to align oneself professionally in an emerging and high growth industry. He believes that new high growth area businesses are great levelers and one can benefit professionally by riding the wave and reaching higher Professional heights sooner in their career. They will also learn a lot more by being in a new area as the companies in those areas will be smaller and therefore, they will have more exposure and responsibility. This advice is applicable for an entrepreneur as well, as they will have less competition and more interest from acquirers who will be late to the party.
Is there a point where TiE has helped or do you have suggestions for how TiE could have helped (optional)
Luthra is a supporter and fan of TiE. He feels TiE is a great forum for entrepreneurs to network as well as give back. He is very excited about the new TiE Catalyst investment fund. He feels TiE has a been a great catalyst for him to meet similar minded people for camaraderie as a well as mentors for brainstorming.