Rohit Raj

Rohit Raj


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Co-Founder The Glitch & | Early Stage Investor

Are you solving the right problem? – Rohit Raj

“Ship it to 30%” because you will never be a hundred percent satisfied with your product”


Rohit Raj is an entrepreneur, investor, and advisor. He also makes a decent cocktail.

He is the co-founder of The Glitch (Acquired by WPP in 2018) & Chtrbox (Data powered influencer marketing platform), he loves working with entrepreneurs, start-ups, fresh ideas, and everything that makes him nervous.

Always on the lookout for entrepreneurs who can do what he cant.



Rohit Raj

The full #OPNAskAnAngel talk

Jeffery: Okay Rohit, maybe why don’t we start off by just sharing us where you are calling in from today and then we’ll jump into the meat potatoes of everything.

Rohit: Yes, hey! This is Rohit. I’m signing in from Bombay in India. It’s- yeah like I said, it’s about 1:30 in the morning today.

Jeffery: Perfect! All right. Well, Rohit we’re excited to get to dive into the conversation. I know we’ve chatted a few times before, but today we’re gonna dive into kind of anything and everything to do in this whole world of exciting, early-stage startup investing. So perhaps you can give us a little bit of a background, to start, where you came from, all the great things that you’ve kind of been doing over the years, where you’re at today, where you’re looking to go in the future. I know that sounds like a lot and then one thing about you that nobody will know.

Rohit: Okay, okay. Anyway, thanks JP for having me. Oh, I think we had some good conversations earlier and I think this is a good lead up to that. I’ll give you a quick run through of where I’ve come from and what’s next in around that front. so from a point of view, well I call myself- I entered, I’m actually from the advertising segment. So I’ve been working in advertising but again I’ve never really worked in advertising before. So that my first ever entrepreneurial venture was in advertising. So I’ve- I founded three different companies and first ventures in advertising, got in early in 2009 in the digital spectrum. This is when the word digital was still unknown in this country. It was just kind of picking up people who are confused about what social lead advertising was etcetera and that’s where we came in. So we were right place, right time. We scaled very fast, we grew to becoming one of the largest advertising agencies in the country. So this is the agency I co-founded with a friend of mine called Varun. It’s called Glitch, so we scaled quite quickly. So as anything that scales at some point the big guns came knocking, so we had about a few people knocking at our doors saying, “Hey, what’s next in line for you guys?” So- and we had to look at it we waited from that length saying, “That scale versus control, where do we look at?” So we decided that we want to scale further. So the best way to scale further was to align ourselves with a big network and that’s when WPP seemed like a great fit. WP is one of the largest advertising networks in the world, so we jumped on ship with them. We got acquired by WPP in about around 2017. Apparently, while the Glitch journey was on, I did start another company called Chtrbox. This is, I found this space that was booming called Influencer Creator, etcetera. So we said, “Hey, can technology come and disrupt this?” So that was another company that we started that’s still running on its own while I play a much smaller role there, more strategic investor in Chtrbox but that’s actually where the journey has been. Now, it’s been, well it’s been about 11 years that I’ve spent in advertising. I’ve been working with multiple brands, helping brand scale, find their footprint, both online, offline, etcetera. So I thought it’s a good way to now adapt and go and see how where else can I lend this to. So that’s when I started working with a bunch of startups who were- who I was mentoring, advising on that front and that space really excited me. So that’s when I said, “Hey, while I’m mentoring and advising you, how about I come on board because I also had access to capital because of an acquisition, right?” So okay how about I start investing in them. That’s the way where my investment journey started. So where if you ask me where I’m headed to now? I don’t know. I’m still with Glitch. I do have a daily job there with Glitch. I do actively invest, I end up meeting about 10 to 12 startups a month, chatting with them, try to see where synergies match, whether it sits in my theses and sometimes I end up investing. What’s next? I don’t know. It could be another- a new venture on its own or do I get into capital that’s something I left it largely open for me to decide that. So yeah that’s a quick gist of my journey so far.

Jeffery: I love it and one thing about you nobody would know.

Rohit: Oh, well that’s- so I have, one thing that nobody knows is that I have never worked in advertising before. So when we started an agency, both of us had never worked in advertising. So the good thing was that, that really helped me. When we started advertising agency, we didn’t because we didn’t work in advertising, we didn’t know the rules of advertising, so we wrote our own rules. So similarly, I think my next piece, if I look at venture capital or relocate investments, I have never studied finance before or I’ve never studied venture before. So it’s, I’m literally writing or learning the things on the go as I play around. So, yeah. That’s- I like to take a jump into things which are the unknown.

Jeffery: I love it. So it gives you a good way to challenge yourself.

Rohit: Yeah, absolutely.

Jeffery: So one of the things that I wanted to kind of go back to and this is just based on the conversations and your background, one of the things that I found interesting about you jumping into a space that you’ve never been in, built up a company, sell the company to the largest advertising platform, so you’re able to change the way people do things but inside of this there’s also another element which is part of marketing, which is your kind of self-marketing aspect and building a brand around yourself. And what I really enjoyed and liked about the things that you’ve done in your past experience, and I’m assuming you’ll take this going forward, was the things around TEDx, top 40 under 40, like all of these things that create impact around you which brings value back to your business. So if we were to go back and say, you know, is there something that really drove you to- was it because you were going into a new space or was it because what you were trying to show and prove was, “Hey, we’re doing something different and I got to use these other vehicles as a way to market myself so that all stand out. So that you’ll believe me then what we’re doing is great.” Because it’s kind of I wouldn’t say it’s abnormal but the great thing is that you’ve built up this really great persona and that makes a big difference when you’re trying to get investors to invest in you or with you. So can you give us a little bit about that journey because I think that makes a big difference for startups to be able to say, “I never thought I was worthy enough to get on a stage,” or “I wasn’t worthy enough to brand myself I didn’t think I knew enough.” But you took that reins and went right at it and blasted it all over the place with great content which is a total marketer’s dream. So how did you kind of start that journey and what got you interested in doing that?

Rohit: Well, I think a large part of what we do in advertising is: take brands and kind of literally brand and tell a story around it, right? So, we take a brand tell a story and market it in a certain way. Now, that same principle at some point has to apply to us as well saying- and the good thing is today, I wish hindsight was foresight, as I said, right? Because today, I can turn around and say, “Hey, I’ve never worked in advertising before,” so when we started an agency we managed to rewrite the rules. It could have gone south. It could have gone in a different direction. I could have turned around and said, “I wish I had worked advertising before for me.” So the thing is you always play to yours- play the right strengths that you seem to have a right usb that you have and then brand and work things around it and that’s something that we’ve gone ahead and done, so the minute we saw success we said, “Okay, how do we position ourselves differently from everybody else that exists in the market?” So if people are saying that, “Hey, listen be it we are the largest conglomerate, we’ve got 18 years of experience and 30 years of experience in the same- that’s how our companies are built.” We don’t say- no. We probably have no experience in building a company but we have experience in solving problems and we’ll find the fastest, easiest way to solve for whatever problem it is and that’s the position that we took. So it’s largely what I do for brands and I think it’s important to apply that to individuals, to startups, to invest in companies, etcetera. Build a brand around yourself: to have a thesis, to have a thing that people will identify you with, and then we can go from there. So that’s largely what it is.

Jeffery: So when you did this and you put together this branding around yourself, did you find like going in and doing the impact 40 under 40, that it bring- it brought you guys a lot of notoriety in a space or a business that you probably said to yourself when you started ‘why are we doing this? We’re not marketers’, and then you were able to just turn this into a real successful business? So what made you think ‘I need to do this’? Was it a mentor or like what got you to say, “I need to go and apply for these things. I need to be part of them because I got to create an image around myself. If I’m going to take this risk, I better be the damn good at it and be the best at this risk.”?

Rohit: Actually.. it’s actually the other way around and I really wish I could turn around and say that, “Hey, this was.. this is the idea that we had and we wanted to position ourselves.” It’s actually not that way. So what has happened is for the long, we’ve been really bad at talking about the kind of work we do of doing this. We were so busy doing the work and this somebody in the company once made this statement saying ‘the shoemaker’s son never has shoes’,