About Me

 Rakesh Pal I started my professional life as an entrepreneur. With the inception of Campusguru.com, I and one of my friend Nikhil, tried to plug in the loop holes that we felt during our engineering career. But we just didn’t want to limit campusguru.com to Engineering student problems. We expanded it to cover all aspects of a career. In our engineering days we always hunted for information from college/university and always landed up in rumors. This was more frustration. Campusguru.com was primarily meant to provide authentic information to students. Information and news from your own campus and university as it happened, delivered right to your cellphone and inbox. We covered courses from Science, Commerce, Arts, Medical, Engineering, Law or rather whatever courses that Mumbai University provided, it was there on our list. We initially focussed on Mumbai university and had planned to expand as we grew.

We built college search engine on our portal, with un-official homepage from every college. Serious reviews about college and courses written by students themselves. We wanted to be a complete reference for moulding career of students. We built online tests for CAT & CET where students could keep a track of their preparation and compare how they are performing with respect to other registered users taking the tests. A separate section of study abroad provided all the information you need to get the dream university you wanted.

It was more of a community portal, where students helped each other to get through. In the first month of the launch of the site, we had a strong 5000 registered users base, with no publicity. The students themselves became the primary advertisers of the website.

In campusguru.com, I was primarily responsible for building up the whole portal alone. We didn’t have employees or resources. So it was me who was working day and night to build that website. I was the graphic designer, I was the programmer and I was the DBA. Nikhil took on the responsibility of funding the site and creating links in the market to channel information. He went on field hunting for info. To expand our reach we came up with the concept of Campus Associate, where any student can become a respresentative and can get some money for authentic information that he gives to us about his campus.

The services that we offered were for free. But our revenue model was to generate income by providing software services to corporates and carrying out seminars and publishing magazines. However things exactly didn’t go our way. Our expenses were shooting up and with no strong financial backing it became impossible for us to sustain the costs of expensive VSNL hosting. It was a hard decision, but we had to pull off the plug of our dream.

I then moved to work with Shrapnel Infotech Inc, managing their India operations. During my college days I had done a few freelancing projects for Shrapnel and they felt I was the best guy for them in India. It was like building a company from scratch with a very low capital, a challenging task indeed. But sheer family pressure to get a  streamline job, made me move off Shrapnel. I joined Netcore where I fell in love with Linux. I joined them initially as a customer support executive. Answering phone calls, rushing to clients place with CDs to fix their server issues and getting abuses from them became a part of my life. However a lust of programming and writing innovative softwares, kept me late in office. My company management noticed my flair and presented me with the opportunity to build a new anti-spam software for them. But it had one major challenge. I was all alone in this project. It was kind of an R&D project, and I was very new to programming on Linux.

Designing the anti-spam software was the biggest challenge I had ever faced. Even writing campusguru.com was very simple. I spent sleepless nights designing the architecture, writing code and installing servers. Finally on the day when I released the software, my pains had paid up. It was a staggering success. Netcore branded the software-service as “Emergic CleanMail” and I came to be called as the “Father of Emergic Cleanmail”.

I spent 3 and half years with Netcore doing R&D over there and learnt atleast 4 new languages on Linux. Then I moved on to cherish the remaining part of my dreams. I joined Accenture in early May 2007 as Analyst Programmer.

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Comments
  1. Hi Rakesh,

    I really like your blog as well as your move in Life toward Tech. from own company—netCore—Accenture.

    I also worked in netCore which gives me real interest in Linux & learned many many things in Linux world.

    Regards,
    Tushar Jambhekar

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