Scripting digital success: Gadget 360 CEO Bhawna Agarwal

CEO of NDTV's e-commerce venture Gadget 360 Bhawna Agarwal speaks about the power of digital and what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur

Ria Das
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Bhawna Agarwal CEO Gadget 360

An award-winning leader in the Digital space, Bhawna Agarwal's career reads like the history of the digital boom in India. A visionary with an experience of more than 16 years leading media houses, Internet companies and start-ups in India, she began her digital journey in 2000. Since then she has dabbled in areas as diverse as fashion, pharma and of course e-commerce. Having been on the founding teams of Times Internet,, and Seventymm, she was an active participant in setting up the start-up ecosystem in India. She also a member of various forums, where she is involved in mentoring digital start-ups & nurturing entrepreneurship. Currently her passion is NDTV's e-commerce venture Gadget 360, of which she is CEO. In an interview with SheThePeople.TV, Bhawna talks about her current role and the experience of scaling up leading brands.


Gadget 360: A digital transformation that was exciting

Over the years, NDTV group established a very strong leadership position in the tech & gadgets space through its successful programming of Gadget Guru shows. The shows have been very popular and very well respected amongst the tech community. Month on month, we have strengthened our leadership position in the gadgets category where we cover almost everything in the world of technology & gadgets through high quality content & expert reviews.

The business in its earlier model was already seeing very impressive growth year on year growth and had a very strong connect with the users. The opportunity to transition the brand from NDTV Gadgets to Gadgets 360 got me excited as the digital transformation of the brand to become India’s only true hybrid platform of content and commerce was very interesting and a game changer in the category and is absolutely poised for next level of growth. Our focus is clearly going to be on providing best user experience & empowering them to make the right choice.

Our vision is to become world’s most reliable source for everything tech with a platform that brings together all gadget lovers.

The challenge: Keeping up with technology

In this fast paced digital eco-system, technology is moving at an incredible speed and keeping up with these quick changes can be challenging especially for the teams. As a practice, we invest time to anticipate the next wave of major opportunities that can be created and new product innovations that can deliver true value for users. Time management becomes extremely crucial as one can get easily distracted by new projects, new ideas and competition, we try to stay ultra-focused to the core. A winning & agile team that is able to deliver results very fast in a high pressure environment makes all the difference.


Bhawna Agarwal on shethepeople Keeping up technology a must in the digital space: Gadget 360 CEO Bhawna Agarwal

When you believe the idea or the product is big enough to take on the market, nothing can stop you from convincing the person sitting on the other side of the table

Start-ups do face structural barriers

As startup ecosystem in India is evolving, a lot more people are becoming first generation entrepreneurs and facing newer challenges. Till some time ago, lack of market augmenting regulations used to serve as a big barrier to entrepreneurship.

A lot of first time entrepreneurs do face the heat due to insufficient capital as cash constraints can be the biggest factor limiting growth. And lack of strong cash flow becomes an issue to make ends meet. Since this has a direct impact on the ability to compete with other established & well-funded competitors and becomes a barrier to enter into certain markets.

Depending upon the nature of the business, many entrepreneurs also feel that the infrastructure is still in its nascent stages and lack of a robust system does not allow them to save time and costs in distribution.


Also watch: Madhu Trehan on the power of digital, setting up News Laundry 

The recipe for success for an entrepreneur 

Time management and ability to focus - Time is one of the least available resources for entrepreneurs. While it is tempting to get into everything to do all the work yourself, it is better to focus than to spread yourself thin and not being able to achieve anything out of it.

Hiring a team with the right attitude – While it is easier said than done but it is better to have lesser people in the team who have impeccable execution quality than build armies of people who will eat into your time and bandwidth with nonproductive work.

Adaptability & Decisiveness -As an entrepreneur, there is no room for indecision. Procrastination stalls progress & can cause you to miss opportunities. And even if you are the lucky one whose initial idea worked, the world will change around you sooner than you expected. To continue to be relevant, you will have to be able to adapt.

Persistence -Inevitably, you will encounter bumps in the road. You will need loyal customers & good employees. The policies or regulations for running the business could change making things more complex. To succeed, you will have to be willing to persist through difficult times.


Adequate Resources -Many entrepreneurs think they cannot launch without VC money. Actually, successful entrepreneurs use a host of other resources to get started. The important thing is to determine what you need to get started. You don’t necessarily need funding, but you do need resources.

The trick to raising funds: Pitching an idea convincingly

A recent research shows that woman-led businesses have got significantly lesser venture capital funding. While stats may give you a picture that being a woman trying to raise venture capital is like living in a man’s world, not every woman entrepreneur has had the same experience.

Raising funds for your business is more of a confidence issue that as a CEO of the company you must place in the idea while pitching. When you believe the idea or the product is big enough to take on the market, nothing can stop you from convincing the person sitting on the other side of the table. We tend to believe that it’s going to be a roadblock for women on the basis of past experiences. But times are changing, and with more and more women running successful businesses, the easier it gets for other women entrepreneur to raise funds.

Opportunities do exist for women and we need to continue to support and promote women in the limelight who have the ability and the right attitude to encourage others to come along for the ride.

Bhawna Agarwal on shethepeople The digital is empowering women: Bhawna Agarwal

We have to understand that gender equality cannot happen overnight and it’s only when we invest in aspects like a woman’s digital fluency, we speed up the process.

The digital boom has empowered women entrepreneurs

While India had its own share of women entrepreneurs before the digital era, it is only now so many women entrepreneurs are getting noticed. Thanks to the digital boom, women are finally being recognized as powerful leaders.

A lot of women running large companies successfully are garnering headlines and have popularized the image of women in high-level roles and opened the door for a conversation about the need for more female leadership. Fortunately, women outside of the spotlight are also excelling and being recognized for their outstanding leadership skills.  There are more women entrepreneurs supporting less-experienced female entrepreneurs today than ever before. For example, I’ve been mentoring a few female entrepreneurs who are extremely bright and have the passion to excel.

The corporate world and a lot of investors are also starting to notice that it pays to have a woman in charge. Considering it wasn’t very long ago that women were shunned from the boardroom, the timing of this shift couldn’t be better.

Also read: We need more women at the top: Twitter India Policy Head Mahima Kaul

Digital fluency is advantageous for women

Digital fluency, in this day and age, is a must irrespective of the fact that you may bear a male or a female tag. However, when it comes to women, technology plays a much broader role. Being digitally fluent is the key to find the work-life balance, which actually is the biggest challenge for any working woman in any part of the world. Other than being a major influencer of showing great potential at work, technology makes your everyday life stress-free. You can sit in part of the world and coordinate with your colleagues probably sitting thousands of miles away.

We have to understand that gender equality cannot happen overnight and it’s only when we invest in aspects like a woman’s digital fluency, we speed up the process.

Message for young entrepreneurs

Your ‘will’ shapes your future.


Bhawna Agarwal Digital boom in India Women in digital space Gadget 360