Well, as you might have already figured out, I’m Asif Basheer. I’m a Kochi-based entrepreneur, foodie, digital marketer, recruiter, lazy blogger, and occasional podcaster.
Founder at Webvendere and Asta Ventures.
For the uninitiated, Webvendere is a full-stack digital marketing agency based out of Infopark TBC Kochi while Asta Ventures is an IT recruitment firm.
I, me , myself
To give an intro about myself, it is best to start right from the school days. I was fortunate enough to be sent to an amazing school with the best teachers one could ever get.
Right from my school days, I was the textbook definition of THE AVERAGE GUY. The problem with average guys is that when some unusual brilliant thing happens with them, that gets branded as the untapped brilliance and given the tag of Possessing untapped skills. Never been a bright student. Totally bad at math. Flunked consistently for Chemistry(except for the board exams).
After struggling through school, I managed to not get disqualified in the engineering entrance exam. With 61% in the Boards and just the bare minimum in Maths, I ended up at Al-Azhar college of engineering, Thodupuzha.
Man, that was a totally different world. That was when I discovered hostel life and other folks who were totally different from the environment I had been exposed to till then. The engineering life was short but cute. By the time I was in the second year, it occurred to me that I was continuously failing in all the exams despite working really hard and giving my 500% to my studies.
When the results of my third-semester exam were published, it became clear that I did not belong there.
Had to bid a teary farewell to that college, right after the 4th-semester exams.
After being done with engineering, the next destination was a college closer to home, for Bcom. Got a good friend there. who became more of a brother, Abraham aka Tarun. The second stint at college was monotonous, After a certain incident, I ran into debt. To clear the debt, had to figure out some way to raise money.
How did i become an entrepreneur?
At college, trying to figure out how to clear the debt, ran into a random guy who spoke to me, while waiting for a UPSC exam. He was just out of school and looking for colleges to join. Sold him to a senior at engineering college who used to handle college admissions.
That was the first income.
After that, came our opportunity, to start the first business, of selling textbooks in college. Abraham and I were the guys who sold books to the entire batch but had no books. Every semester, we had this gig going, till the final semester.
That got the process started.
One fine day, right outside the college gate, came across a poster with a number, for a part-time job.
Called them up and started working with them for a while.
Learned the ropes of event management from there.
Started finding all the folks required for each event. Became really good at it and it was earnings every weekend, with just my phone.
Every college day, Onam celebrations, commerce fest, and other events at college had to be missed since there would be a client event.
Worked with major brands in the local market.
Just like that, college was over with event management. In the 2 years, managed multiple weddings, brand promotions, corporate events, and more.
Right after college, I got my first job at Gencomtel, a UK-based VoIP service provider, at their India office in Kochi. There, I got introduced to actual work, unlike the hustles I had in college. At work, I discovered that I could sell stuff. After staying there for almost 8 months, came an opportunity for a long weekend/break since there was enough PTO to be taken before they lapsed. Went on a solo hike and atop Edakkal Caves in Wayanad, came the revelation that the job I had won’t take me to where I wanted.
Drafted the resignation email as the first task back in the office, and scheduled it to a day after the date my so-called agreement with them touched the one-year mark.
When the day came, happily added the date and sent it to my manager, something I was waiting to do for months.
BUSINESS 1 : ASTA VENTURES
Right after quitting my job, the plan was to take a short break and then get started with the work. Just when I was packing my bags for a weekend trip, got a call from my former manager asking if I knew someone who could man the NOC desk during the night shift.
That was my opportunity to convert my former employer to the first client.
Asta Ventures got its first client on day 1.
Quickly created a logo on Canva and sent a proposal. The name Asta was coined when we needed a name during the event management hustle days at college. (Thank you Tarun bro, for the name).
Revived the name and identity, and Asta Ventures was born.
Found the right person for client #1 and went on a client acquisition spree.
In 8 months, Asta Ventures went from my bedroom to having a presence in Kochi, Bengaluru, Coimbatore, and Chennai, serving clients across India, in the IT/ITes, BPO, Sales and Marketing, and other sectors. Bootstrapped and all alone.
Then came an incident that made me unavailable for about 2 months. Just when I planned to get back on track, came the 2018 Kerala floods. During the relief operations, a minor accident got me bedridden for a while.
Since it was a one-man operation till then, the clients obviously left me when I went radio silent.
I was back to level zero where I had just one client and zero savings. When I started the business, there was a cushion of the savings I had from the job(thanks to all the sales I did from there and crazy incentives). Now, all I had was the database collected and the drive to do it all again.
But something was amiss.
The speed with which I built Asta Ventures was gone.
Then came Tarun and other friends again.
To get back into the flow, started functioning as a recruitment consultant for startups on the side, while slowly building Asta again.
We are now a small team of 4 people, trying to bridge the right talent to the right employers, in the IT/ITes sector in India, the US, the UK, and the Middle East markets.
BUSINESS 2 : WEBVENDERE SOLUTIONS
When everything was going down, when everything I built from scratch came crashing down, I started looking for alternate streams of revenue. All I had was an inactive blog, a lot of friends, and a dormant digital services hustle I started during my college days.
What started out as Orkid Media in 2015, was rebranded as Webvendere Solutions in February 2019 and started providing digital marketing services, with whatever little I knew about digital marketing from my blogging days.
Started with experiments and on the path of self-learning, took a few mentors and a note to build a team as fast as I could.
An HR client who wanted to run Facebook ads was the first customer I got.
The agency started out small, from a solopreneur operation to a 16 member team in less than a year. Since we followed the remote work model right from day 1, cost-efficient operations helped us grow at a pace faster than expected(Starbucks at Koramangala used to be our first Bengaluru office).
The first overseas client from Oman paved way for a lot of projects from the Middle East and Africa (they are still with us).
Offering digital marketing, and web/mobile development as core services, Webvendere moved from a 150 sqft office to Infopark TBC Kochi on Christmas 2019.
Just when things were looking great, came COVID-19.
While we thought COVID could mess a lot of things up(it did deal a lot of damage to us), it proved to be a blessing in disguise. All the prospects who were previously digital averse, suddenly embraced digital and went online.
2020 and 2021 together gave their fair share of ups and downs, and we progress to the next goals we have set for ourselves.
Webvendere now serves both big and small businesses in India, Oman, UAE, USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Qatar, and the rest of Europe, offering 360-degree digital marketing, web and mobile development, eCommerce services, digital branding, and more. It is now among the best digital marketing agencies in Kochi.
I blog on multiple websites, on topics across digital marketing, travel, books, business, making money online, and more.
My newsletters hit inboxes once in a while, whenever I feel like writing. Subscribe to my newsletter here.
Looking for digital marketing help? Feel free to book your free consultation call with me.