Profile: Madan Sanglikar: New Beginnings

By Nisha Menon , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Digital | March 21, 2012
Madan Sanglikar, who recently took charge as CEO of the digital start-up AD2C after a stint in Mindshare, takes afaqs! through his advertising journey.

Ask Madan Sanglikar to describe himself and pat comes the reply - "Weird." But the words focused, determined and sharp probably describe him better. He says he has an extremely dry sense of humour, which his friends call 'maddyism'.

Madan Sanglikar

Sanglikar was on the verge of accepting an overseas assignment at Mindshare (where he was the principal partner of Mindshare Innovations) when the opportunity to lead a start-up came up. He decided that taking a few risks was what he wanted and took the 'plunge'. For Sanglikar, the thrill of setting up a company in the digital space from scratch was a bit too much to resist. And he has his job cut out for him as the CEO of the new digital media start-up company AD2C, set to launch by March 2012/03.

Sanglikar believes that the foundations of his persona and career were probably laid during his school days at the Atomic Energy Central School in Mumbai. Recalls Sanglikar, "The good part about school was that it made me realise that if you are not competitive, you are not going to move ahead. A major part of school was concentrated on figuring out what I wanted to do." When he finally figured that out, Sanglikar chose engineering and joined Sardar Patel College and pursued civil engineering. Holidays would find him pitching in as sales activation executive at supermarkets. This proved to be the turning point as Sanglikar realized that he loved talking to people and enjoyed the sheer experience of being involved with selling.

One day, in 1996, he opened the Times of India and saw an ad inviting youngsters for its Response team. Seeing the ad, which also featured TOI's best ad sales executives, Sanglikar decided that if there was an ad next year, his picture should be there. With this determination he joined as a Response executive. The stint proved to one of the 'most cherished' as he had people like Bhaskar Das and L S Krishnan grooming him.

In January 2000, Sanglikar quit the Times Group to join as account manager, where he learned the basics of the online medium. In August that year, he quit Sify to join Mediaturf, a start-up online agency as a consultant. Sanglikar describes the experience at Mediaturf as one of the best in his career. He avers, "The special thing about Mediaturf was that we were a group of people from different backgrounds. But as a team we put in extremely high standards of performance."

In December 2001, he got a call from Atul Phadnis of Starcom. "#One call from Atul and I left everything and joined Starcom. Now when I look back, I feel that this decision was a bit premature as Atul quit a week after I joined."# With Phadnis quitting Starcom, the picture Sanglikar had imagined was never complete and this was probably the reason he was looking for reasons to quit. After a year at Starcom, he quit in December 2002 and joined GroupM.

At that time, it was setting up a digital arm and had just brought Tushar Vyas on the team. Sanglikar was the second. It went on to become one of the biggest digital teams, with over 200 digital specialists. He credits Vyas for giving him space to manage the business. "By the time Tushar quit, the exposure I got prepared me to take over as Mindshare's digital head in 2007."

Sanglikar describes his time at Mindshare as exciting and fruitful. "#People at Mindshare taught me how to take risks That was probably what prompted him to take up an entrepreneurial role. So where does he see himself 10 years from now? He says, "#I see myself in a training or consultancy role for individuals, companies and students. Given a chance, I would like to set up a training academy focusing on soft skills and of course the digital medium."

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