Ankush Aggarwal, Northern Planet LLC
In just four-years, Ankush Aggarwal has grown his two e-commerce sites significantly with an expected combined revenue of $1 million (USD) this year. His company, Northern Planet LLC has 25 full-time employees that work from India and one part-time employee in the U.S.
A product of The Graziadio School of Business, Pepperdine University in Malibu, California, Ankush received his MBA in International Business and is just one of many successful immigrant entrepreneurs that the U.S. has failed to retain.
“Immigration to the US was/is not something that I’ve tried yet,” said Ankush. “However, it would help me grow my business at a much faster pace if there is some visa that would allow me to create a proper business base in the U.S. It would allow me to stay longer in the U.S., hire people, seek funding and open physical locations.”
Currently, he lives in Chandigarh, India and regularly visits the U.S. on a B1/B2 business visa. His two sites, www.spicylegs.com and www.partybell.com, feature products that are sourced 100% from the U.S., directly from the manufacturers or from distributors. Approximately, 95% of his customers are in the U.S. with the remainder of the orders coming from Canada, Europe, Australia, and Japan.
“I come from a family of entrepreneurs. Both my father and my grandfather were successful entrepreneurs,” said Ankush. “And, in general, I’m very attracted towards technology; especially information technology which gives me a platform to express my creativity. The motivation behind starting these e-commerce ventures was the opportunity I saw & the fact that this opportunity was within my ‘grasp’. I could see that I can do much better than the competition.”
Ankush received his Bachelors of Engineering from the Punjab Engineering College and lived in the U.S. from 2001 to 2004 on a F1 student visa. He returned to India in 2004 on expiry of his student visa and joined the family business of edible oil manufacturing.
“The success that I experienced during the short stint that I had running an e-commerce store in the US motivated me to ultimately start my own e-commerce company,” said Ankush. “I would work on our family business during the day and then would work on my e-commerce business during nights or during my free time. I looked at it like an ‘experimental’ business that I’ll fully adopt once it reached a critical level.”
The initial phase of setting up his business was a very slow process having to leave the U.S. and to complete all of the business setup tasks remotely via the internet or phone. His funds were very limited; and, for the first two years all the tasks – technical, programming, designing, marketing & everything else – were completed by Ankush. In 2007, he saw sales of just $3,000 (USD) but by 2008 he saw sales jump to $36,000.
“We are now growing at a hefty pace, and I will achieve a million dollar sales this year. But, this could have come much earlier had I stayed longer in the U.S.,” commented Ankush.