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Transformation is an on-going process, never complete: RD&X Network founder Rajiv Dingra

Former WATConsult CEO talks about his new entrepreneurial venture.

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NEW DELHI: Like most people around us, serial entrepreneur Rajiv Dingra counts himself among those who polished their cooking skills during the Covid-2019 lockdown. Now he can now make two mean recipes to perfection: masala paneer and masala chicken. However, unlike most people, that’s not his only achievement. He also happened to work on his new entrepreneurial venture, RD&X Network – a unique deep-tech network to drive brand, business, media, and data transformation that he launched on 27 October 202o. In a recent candid conversation with Indiantelevision.com’s Mansi Sharma, he spilled the beans about his new company, the culture he is expecting to create, and how his creator instincts prompted him to develop something dynamic. 

On his exit from WatConsult 

Dingra, who was associated with Dentsu International (then Dentsu Aegis Network) as the chief mentor and advisor for  WATConsult till January 2020, a company that he had founded 13-years back, said that resigning from the agency was certainly not a very easy decision, but he was willing to take the entrepreneur’s seat again. 

He said, “I had given up my complete stake in WatConsult in December 2019 and within a few days I knew that I did not want to continue as another employee. I do not mean to say that the status of a CEO is anywhere lesser than an entrepreneur but it was more about who I really am. I see myself as a creator, someone who can bring different ideas to life. Also, I was very sure that we had created a brilliant team at WATConsult and nothing would go wrong even if I leave.”

Another reason that contributed to his exit was the internal transformation that is actively happening across Dentsu offices globally. “I am a person who can’t do three things at a time. I have to disconnect completely from one thing to focus on another and that’s why I preferred to move out.” 

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On starting RD&X

However, when he had put down his papers almost a year ago, he had no idea what his next step would be. But the Covid-2019 pandemic gave him the opportunity to dive deeper into the data and tech space and create RD&X. 

“I had no idea what I would be doing when I resigned from WATConsult, I just knew that I wanted to create something new, transformative, and disruptive. My last day there was in January this year when Covid-2019 pandemic had just started spreading, but it was nowhere in India. At that time, I realised that deep tech is going to be the next big thing, so I started exploring it. In another era, I would have taken more time to launch something of this stature and vision, but with the pandemic, I knew the time was just right and along with our core team, we worked intensively to put it together.”

With RD&X, Dingra plans to create a global network of data and technology companies that are aiming to lead the next leg of development. He is already in advanced-level talks with a number of small and mid-sized companies in the US, SEA, and EMEA markets to grow the network and is expecting to make some big announcements in the coming six months. 

“I'm open to investing in, acquiring, and even buying out some early-stage companies to fit in our larger vision. We are right now investing right now for skill and not for scale, so the core idea right now is to aid our inorganic growth and create strong teams across geographies and then focus on the organic part of it. At the same time, we are creating in-house flagship solutions and looking forward to expanding our India team.” 

On offerings of RD&X

For Dingra, the term RD&X is the amalgamation of three things; real-time data, disruptive technologies, and exponential growth and that’s what is on offer at his new entrepreneurial venture. 

“We bifurcate our core services in four key areas: structured brand transformation, business transformation, media transformation (across buying, planning, and selling spaces), and data transformation. As we go along, we will further fine tune these areas and introduce better tools and technologies to achieve exponential growth for our clients,” he elaborated. 

“We are going to leverage technology to create and aid new business models. The examples of these are companies like Urban Clap and TikTok. While the former used the latest technology to transform how business is done at salons or home cleaning services, etc., TikTok based on real-time data and technology, did social media in a completely new and unique way.” 

On the brand identity of RD&X

While RD&X stands for the exponential growth driven by real-time data and disruptive technologies, the brand name also signifies his own initials, and X stands for the x-factor of all entrepreneurs who are investing in the venture, quipped Dingra. 

“The brand name signifies an entrepreneurial network which is transformist in nature, which has the attitude of constantly learning, evolving, and making new mistakes,” he explained. 

The logo, designed by Dingra, hints at the constant juggle between market profits and losses. “If you look at our logo, it has three colours: red, black, and white. Black and red colours have a great significance in the business world; they reflex the profit and loss situations. For me, profit and loss are a unique matrix-- for example, Kodak was in the black when it suddenly vanished, and Instagram had been in the red for the longest time but today it is one of the most popular social media platforms. So, it is all very volatile and it comes to the spirit of the team to take none of this seriously. The white stands for the canvas in which these other colours stand; means that no matter where you are today, you will always be on a blank canvas and have the opportunity to transform yourself for better.”

He continued, “The infinity sign on our logo is not connected completely. It signifies that transformation is never complete, it’s ever going.” 

On the geo-agnostic, remote-first culture of RD&X

Dingra is excited to create a unique geo-agnostic work-culture at RD&X, something that has been made immensely easy by the pandemic-induced lockdown and the evolved work-culture. He foresees the firm as a completely employee-first organisation and has created a massive culture and people manifesto for it. “To me, being employee-first means giving up the blanket rules and regulations that we have for all the employees. We need to stop seeing them as another resource but rather as individuals and that is what is going to be our core focus at RD&X,” he said.

Additionally, he’s willing to create a hybrid work model for the employees. “We will be investing in physical spaces, definitely, so that people have a place to get together and discuss ideas and work together, but we want to be remote-first. That means, people can work from anywhere they want; if they are comfortable at their own homes, they can choose to work from there, but if there are people who are more productive and comfortable in office-spaces, they can come and work from the office. There is going to be no compulsion of any sort for anyone.” 

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