Branching out into his own entrepreneurial efforts, Vinay developed Perkle – an online network where people could recommend local businesses or restaurants to friends and both receive a discount. In a sense, it was a combination of affiliate marketing and social networking.
After spending six months building Perkle and moving to New York City, Vinay was accepted into the DreamIT Ventures accelerator. Unfortunately, Perkle was met with less demand than Vinay had expected, and the only customers he was able to draw in were non-profits – who, from a business standpoint, are not the ideal consumer (lots of regulations, limited budgets, etc.).
Rather than scrap Perkle altogether, Vinay gave the product to these non-profits and deducted his losses as donations. After 3 years, the site was shut down due to limited activity. Although it was a failed venture, Perkle served as a momentous learning experience for Vinay – reinforcing the importance of market research, user testing, and leadership.