Alumni Journey in Spotlight

Every Picture Tells a Story

Karumbaiah BK (Karum), former director, Strategic Initiatives, InMobi, and former Blackstone portfolio manager, took to entrepreneurship with Pixtory, which later merged with YourStory Media. He is now Chief Product Officer and heads product, tech, growth, and strategic initiatives at YourStory. He talks about his ISB journey and the crucial takeaway that became the crux of his success. Here are the excerpts.
Alumni Engagement: What was your ISB experience like and how has it helped you in your career progression?
Karum: I feel the stage at which you get into ISB is different for everyone. I got into ISB with little over two years of experience in Information Technology. My software background didn’t give me the experience of a broader view of how businesses operate. When I got into ISB, I realised I could not be a contender in the GPA race. I realised that most of my colleagues were smarter or had significantly more exposure. During that one-year I got immensely to learn from the people around me.  It was largely because they had done better work or had more work exposure and so on. Several meaningful relationships came out of ISB that helped me along the way. ISB was a balanced stint that had going to classes as well as building relationships. It gave a great insight into what the business world looked like.

It’s been ten years since I graduated and the two things that helped me are the platform ISB gave me from where I could shift and move to different exposures when it came to work. The second is that it gave me the opportunity to meet certain people.

How has ISB helped in altering your mindset?
The one thing I did differently was I chose a very unconventional path. Because I had worked closely with the founders of start-ups, it instilled the entrepreneurship thinking in me and gave me the confidence that I could also build something big. This is where I started Pixtory. Pixtory was a phenomenal life-changing story because in a start-up you are accountable for everything. It gave a completely new exposure from building the product to growing it to striking partnerships to fundraising and finally to being acquired by YourStory Media, India’s leading digital media platform for entrepreneurs and changemakers. For me it’s not a job but a partnership continued.

What excites you most and what has most influenced you?
I enjoy working with productive people. I have been very oriented towards people initiative, culture and building a product. Over a period of time you realise the incremental cost of money is not very high and then it really becomes a matter to build something and create an impact. This is something difficult to achieve, but it is what gives me a high every day now.
When I started at ISB, I realised I had so much more to learn. Now I feel I have been able to make a significant movement because of some experiences and the great people I have worked with especially with those who have accomplished so much in life. Having associated with people better than me has really been very rewarding.