Pallav Nadhani opened FusionCharts at the age of 16 years from Kolkata, India

Posted on:
tags: , , , , , ,

One day when I was surfing in internet, this TOI’s article came across to me which excite my interest.

Founder: Pallav Nadhani
Founded in 2001, in Kolkata, when Nadhani was 16

Business: Charting products. Nandhani had begun by writing a charting component using Macromedia Flash, which enabled animation and interactivity in charts. He also wrote articles detailing this work for a technology publication that got him $1,500. "That became the seed capital for my company," he says. His biggest learning has been that customers do not look for features, they look for benefits. The company has been profitable from day one. Barring some advertising in technology magazines in the US and Europe, marketing has been through free online options and customer recommendations.

Customers: 18,000 customers, including Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Intel, IBM

Revenue: $4.5 million in 2010-11. Winner of the Deloitte Fast 50 India 2009 award and Nasscom's emerging company 2009 award.

I have read many entrepreneurs’ story but this one excites and encourages me more. This FusionCharts is one of those rare success stories wherein a 16 year old Pallav Nadhani, bored of Microsoft Excel, thought creating a better charting solution and came up with FusionCharts.

 FusionCharts, a company that provides graphs and charts for over 18,000 customers and 375,000 developers across 110 countries including a majority of the Fortune 500 companies, including Google,, Facebook, and NASA. Now it is become a multimillion dollar company. And Pallav did all this from India and from within India; from Kolkata!
In order to know about Pallav(the founder of Fusionchart), I got this interview of Pallav with Joseph Ajilore( Founder of YHP | Your Hidden Potential) which acknowledge me about his background and how he started the company and also about some of the advantages/disadvantages to/not start a business at an early age, some excerpts are here:

Hi Pallav, thanks for taking the time to do this interview with me, how are you doing today?
Very well, thank you.

Can you give us some background information about yourself?
I am a techie who now dons the hat of a CEO and an angel investor. I was born in Bhagalpur, a small town in India and then shifted to Kolkata (a metro city) when I was almost 15. My father was running a web design business in Kolkata. I worked with him for few quarters and picked up valuable lessons in client interaction, web designing and tools of the trade. Later, I did my Masters in Computer Science from University of Edinburgh. We just opened another office in Bangalore, and now I’m based out of here.

Tell us about a bit about FusionCharts and how did the idea came about?
When I was working for my father’s web design company, I came across this site that used to pay a good amount of money to authors for writing innovative articles. That sparked in me the idea to write an article for them. During those days, I had to prepare charts in Microsoft Excel for my school work – and after doing web design, I found these charts very boring and dull. And since I had been working with Macromedia Flash (Adobe Flash now), I started exploring how to marry that to business data and to create better charts for web.

After a few weeks of coding, I made an animated and interactive charting system, which was very crude. But, in all naivety, I wrote an article on that and it got published. I got $1,500 from that (and another article that I subsequently wrote for itself). That was my seed capital for the business, and also the start of the entrepreneurial journey. Developers who read that article liked it and kept on asking for modifications and enhancements and this is when I realized that a product could be created out of it.
What were you doing before you started FusionCharts?
I was in high school.

Starting up the company, what would you say was your most difficult process and how did you overcome it?
Coming from technology background, dealing with people was the most difficult part. I had no hiring experience or expertise in HR policies. Plus, my expectations from employees were always over the board, as I expected them to work like me. Learning how to delegate important things also took me time. Gradually, I realized my follies and started working on it – and am still working.

Tell me about your experience in the University, did you think it helped prepare you for the real world or should i say corporate world? How would you describe your experience?
It was something that I wanted to do for a long time – more of a personal dream. I learned more about life in general than academics. For the first time, I was living all by myself – doing everything that is required. Living in India, you get used to a comfortable life with maids, helpers, chauffeurs and office boys. That period made me realize the importance of time management. Plus, the cultural experience was invaluable.

What do you do for fun?
Traveling, poker and a lot of reading.

Let’s go back a bit to when you were 17 starting a business, what would you say were the advantages and disadvantages of starting a business at such an early age?
Nothing to lose. If you start early and fail, you came out a much wiser person.
Others easily forgive mistakes that you make early.
Since you have never worked, you have no idea of baselines (or benchmarks). As such, you bring a fresh
perspective and always try and improvise it (because you always feel that what you’re doing is not up to the mark).
Early pocket money, that gives you freedom to do what you want.

Potential employees and customers might not take you very seriously. You’ve to be really good to prove otherwise to them.
Lack of people skills. Not having enough knowledge on how corporations work, people behave, policies & frameworks operate.

I have always seen Competition everywhere, it is a fight in which throats will be slit and blood will flow. Okay, you get the drift. We always had to be a step ahead and make sure they had no idea what we were up to. Then someone sensible wrote: sleep with your competition.

But one unique quality I have learn in search of about Fusionchart and Pallav which this company & Pallav had in their that is: You should respect your competitors, try to be friends with them outside of work, and look at ways of collaborating with them to increase the market rather than chipping away at each other's market share.
And this thoughts of them I gather from reading the following situation of them which occurs once in their journey.

At FusionCharts, they pioneered interactive charting in Adobe Flash. People loved the richness and fluid beauty of Adobe Flash and they got to 15,000 customers selling just that. Then the iPad came along and Steve Jobs decided it was not going to support Flash. JavaScript and HTML5 were the future.

Anyone who has ever built a product knows that a change of platform takes months, if not years. They thought they did not have that much time to spare. So they decided to collaborate with a new player (competitor of fusionchart) who offered them simple but effective JavaScript charting, and built on that. Since they (competitor of fusionchart) were new, they knew they could use the money that was offering by the company. And then they both win. And their JavaScript solution was much better and become much popular.
With this I can say that the competitor-cum-friend keeps us on our toes. Sleeping with your competition can do the same for you. It's safer than you imagine. 

 But he couldn’t have achieve this success without a supporting team and a ‘supporting team’, he did have! I got information about his 4 of the earliest employees and about their journey is following and they had all one strong thing in common: They all believed in Pallav and shared the same dream. This says a lot about the leader at the helm and the ideals of a company. Read on to find out from these ordinary men about their extra-ordinary journey with FusionCharts.

 Nilanjan Roy Chowdhary, Senior ActionScript Developer Nilanjan Nilanjan, the first employee of FusionCharts is a completely self-learnt programmer. Having no formal education in engineering, Nilanjan rented a computer to explore under the hood and from that, he assembled his own machine. Learning stuff on it, he started out with a job where he was trudging along but his true calling came when he read a mail from FusionCharts inviting him for an interview. He thought it’s an overseas company because for him the website had an international look so he  was thrilled to get a call. And he was even more surprised when he found out that the company was Indian, and that too, Kolkata. Pouncing on the opportunity, Nilanjan worked on the first thing FusionCharts had to offer- 3D Pie Charts. With FusionCharts for more than half a decade now, Nilanjan has been with Pallav throughout the journey and has seen the whole roller coaster journey. Now he advises people to join a startup, he believes ‘It’s tough but a startup job will open up immense opportunities. If you have the courage, attitude and will, join a startup and you’ll reap very sweet fruits.’

Shamasis Shamasis Bhattacharya, JavaScript Architect Post his graduation, Shamasis had a corporate offer on which he was pondering over. He also did freelancing jobs but at the right time, he landed up with an offer from FusionCharts. The year was 2008 and FusionCharts was just a 4 member team. This made him interested to work with them. In every interview of his he say “Pallav had this fanatic attention to detail which I shared with him,”, and this is what made Shamasis confident about FusionCharts and it has been the best decision he ever made he believes. Shamasis was responsible for bringing in JavaScript charting to FusionCharts as previously, it was all in Flash. Working in a startup he believes, ‘You can’t work in a startup if you think of it as a company. It is your company!’

Sudipto Choudhury, Head of Implementation Sudipto, an MA in literature, Sudipto is a glib computer geek. Fond of computers since school, he started playing around with codes since Grade 7 and the magazine PC Quest was his companion. As happens in many cases, he was studying something and his interest lay elsewhere. FusionCharts gave him the freedom to pursue his dream. Sudipto joined as a junior technical writer but having immense technical ability, FusionCharts found its perfect match. He developed the Google Gadget for FusionCharts and become the head of implementation. Sudipto indulges in a lot of research, exploring new horizons, manages content and does release management as well. Sudipto is also involved deeply in the hiring process at FusionCharts and the most important thing he looks for is passion. Now he also advises people to join a startup, he believes ‘Working for a startup will keep the flame burning in you. You’ll keep on learning and that is the best thing that can happen to a human.’

Sumantra Sengupta, Creative Head Sumantra Sumantra has been the one man creative army for FusionCharts ever since he joined back in 2006. Sumantra had a lot of experience in the ‘services’ side but this was the first time he delved into product. From a very small company with a functional site to something that has scaled globally with a great reputation, Sumantra has thoroughly enjoyed the journey. They use to work till 3 or 4 in the night to get the release out of a product. There is one specific moment Sumantra distinctly remembers and mention everywhere that FusionCharts had to demo in Germany and unfortunately but Sumantra couldn’t make it there but he designed all the creatives from Kolkata without having a look at the venue and at the end, it all worked out! Such and many more incidents is what keeps Sumantra going and is a huge protagonist of the sense of unity that the FusionChart team has and suggests every work culture to develop this.
This all want to share about the company, FUSIONCHART which I learn about them.

Official Site of FusionCharts

Source 1

Source 2

Source 3

Thanks To Rupanjali Jaiswal For This Post 


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. @InfoSky Solutions : That's great guys did good till now ... I wish All The Very Best


< >