How We Started Our $10K/Month Virtual Assistant Marketplace Platform In India

Published: May 24th, 2023
Neelesh Rangwani
Founder, wishup
from New Delhi, Delhi, India
started January 2017
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Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

Hi, I am Neelesh Rangwani. With a track record of success in B2B services, I cofounded Wishup, a virtual assistant marketplace that connects business owners and entrepreneurs with a pool of talented people.

Wishup is a steadily expanding remote staffing solution. Our leading service offers virtual assistants, bookkeeping assistants, and remote developers to SMB owners and entrepreneurs. Anyone who needs assistance at their disposal can reach out to us, and we will be happy to help.

Wishup is designed to accommodate the growing needs of remote workers worldwide. We are considering further scalability of our service categories to meet the skill needs of the healthcare, legal, real estate, and financial services sectors.

Wishup recently launched a podcast series to assist start-ups and business owners grow their businesses. Additionally, we have created an affiliate program to assist bloggers, publishers, social media users, and affiliate marketers in promoting our virtual assistant services and earning $500 for each signup.

Wishup is now running strong with year-on-year revenue growth of 300% and user growth of approximately 200%. Our VAs have grown from 6 to 200+ now, and we are serving 500+ happy clients.

What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

When Vivek Gupta and I first met in 2015 while attending IIT Madras, we decided to use technology to investigate the personal, high-end concierge space.

The idea initially succeeded independently, and we gradually grew through customer recommendations. However, as our clientele increased, we also observed a decline in the volume of tasks delegated to us. We understood that our clients were business owners and start-ups who required extra help managing their tasks to concentrate on expanding their companies.

To meet this expanding demand, we relaunched our services to offer competent and professional assistants to freelancers and small businesses.

The freedom to pursue our vision and make our own decisions has led us to greater satisfaction and accomplishment.

Take us through the process of building the first version of your product.

Our first offering was support for Indian businessmen. Vivek and I reasoned that it makes sense to connect business owners with readily available intelligent assistants who could assist them online without becoming a liability.

Vivek had experience in operations, setting up procedures, and team-building across retail and procurement from his time working as a management consultant at BCG. We brainstormed together and developed Wishup in 2015. After a few changes, we finally launched it fully in April 2017.

In the initial days, there was no tech stack or a common database to take employee reports or user feedback. So we used to ask our VAs to make their reports in Excel and share them with the clients.

To get user feedback, we used to ask the assistants to schedule meetings with their respective clients. We made an in-house app based on our learnings with this initial set of customers and moved away from Excel sheets. This vastly increased the efficiency, accuracy and gave us the power to scale up fast.

Our inital website used to look something like this in 2017:


Our personal savings of Rs 10 lakh was used to bootstrap the startup when it was established in New Delhi. It was a team of four when we started out – I, Vivek, Anirudh, and Asad. Anirudh and Asad were just two college graduates but with brilliant minds and amazing operations skills!

We hired 6 virtual assistants initially to get started. I and Vivek used to text business owners that we will be taking their businesses sky-high, and since I had a heavy three years of experience in Facebook ads, we leveraged that as well.

Wishup's mission is to grant wishes by completing business owners' professional tasks, hence the name.

Describe the process of launching the business.

In March 2017, Wishup changed from being a chat-based concierge to a virtual assistant service. When this idea gained traction, we experienced exponential growth because of the huge amount of recommendations and client referrals.

We were expanding so quickly that we outgrew the office space we were using in a matter of weeks. Additionally, just getting to the office took up much time that could have been spent working.

We decided to use the remote working concept to solve these issues. We were well-prepared – thanks to the lessons from earlier years. It assisted us in streamlining our procedures and establishing SOPs for hiring, training, communicating with clients, completing tasks effectively, and submitting EOD reports.

We received funding from Inflection Point Ventures earlier in 2017 during a Pre-Series A round. So the story goes like this – when Wishup was operating in India, business tycoons Sumit Kapoor and Vinay Bansal were already our clients. They used our services and were absolutely in love with them, so, they decided to back us up. Wishup was also backed by 500 Startups, Mato Peric – the former managing director of Rocket Internet, and TracxnLabs in March 2016.

Wishup's business strategy has changed significantly over time, and in April 2019, we decided to completely focus on the US markets. The reasons were pretty obvious. After talking to our customers we realized that India had a higher demand for workforce, but lower arbitrage. The US, however, had higher demand and good arbitrage, along with a higher growth rate (despite the small numbers). We also realized that the US has a much bigger market size as compared to India.

As a result of how well this move went, we decided to broaden the range of services we provide, moving beyond personal virtual assistants to virtual bookkeepers and remote developers.

In the next three-four years, we want to create enough jobs for a million people while assisting businesses in setting up a remote team in less than 30 minutes.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

We have been very thorough and stringent with our hiring process. We always try to create a solid onboarding experience by assigning dedicated managers and finishing the process in less than a day. We also aim to provide our customers with a personalized customer experience.

We have implemented a customer feedback loop through which we consistently follow up with our customers and ensure they get a seamless VA experience. We have also always aimed to educate our customers about each and every process so that they are never left hanging midway.

Wishup tries to fit into the customers’ lifestyles and understands their pain points. Not just that, but we use gamification and referral programs to attract more like-minded entrepreneurs who require assistance with tedious tasks.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

One of the most significant advantages of starting a business is the opportunity to learn and grow as an individual. We faced several challenges that forced us to develop new skills and strategies to overcome obstacles. These challenges helped us build resilience, creativity, problem-solving abilities, and adaptability.

Additionally, starting this business gave us a greater understanding of this industry, competition, and customers. This knowledge proved incredibly advantageous in making strategic decisions, developing new services, and identifying new opportunities for growth.

Finally, we got a greater sense of purpose and fulfillment. Building something from scratch can be incredibly rewarding. The freedom to pursue our vision and make our own decisions has led us to greater satisfaction and accomplishment.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

Since we are a complete remote setup, communication is our foremost priority. To stay connected with our internal employees and virtual assistants, we prefer using Slack and GMeet. These tools help us to stay updated on business operations and even help us know how active an employee is during work hours.

We have our own in-house application - to keep a check on productivity. Furthermore, our fully remote team's quality and security are our top priorities, so we mandate that all employees use a time-tracking app. This promotes their products and guarantees clients' transparency.

There are many other tools and applications that we use to run our operations, including Pipedrive, Aircall, Active Campaign, Zoom, Recruiter Flow, Canva, Semrush, Userguiding, Calendly, Apollo.Io, Otter.Ai, Zapier, Chatgpt.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

Some podcasts that mean a great deal to me are:

The Tim Ferriss Show: Hosted by author and entrepreneur Tim Ferriss, this podcast features interviews with successful entrepreneurs, investors, and performers. Ferriss is known for his insightful questions and ability to extract actionable advice from his guests.

How I Built This: This NPR podcast is hosted by Guy Raz and features interviews with entrepreneurs who have built successful businesses. The show provides insights into the challenges, setbacks, and successes that these entrepreneurs experienced along the way.

Some books that I have loved reading and learned a lot from are as follows:

Zero to One by Peter Thiel: In this book, entrepreneur and investor Peter Thiel provides insights into what it takes to build a successful startup. Thiel argues that true innovation involves going from zero to one, rather than simply improving upon existing products or ideas.

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries: This book provides a framework for startups to build and grow their businesses in a lean and efficient manner. Ries' approach emphasizes constant iteration, testing, and learning to create a sustainable business model.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

Businesses frequently approach freelancers under the assumption that they are a less expensive resource, but the reality is quite different. Businesses should not waste the time required for searching, shortlisting, and hiring freelancers because doing so will ultimately increase costs.

Additionally, every business needs dependability and continuity, which are qualities that independent contractors lack. They might only be available for a few days or weeks, in which case businesses would have to restart the hiring process from scratch.

Virtual assistant services like Wishup are the solution if you want reliable, trustworthy work done at a high standard.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

As you already know, we are constantly growing. Consequently, we are in constant need of talented people. We are currently looking for Online Business Managers from India and USA and OAMs. People can directly share their details to [email protected] along with their CVs.

Where can we go to learn more?

You can connect with me on LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter and my email ID.

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!