Entrepreneurship is more sexy now because… ..people relate entrepreneurship with funding… ..with sexy looking offices and all… so that is the good side of it that is has created a good image for all of us.. that we are entrepreneurs which is not the case earlier We want to create something which fundamentally changes a few things in the world Everyday…everyday I hear of.. 3-4 new guys doing something different I think today I am hoping like father in laws are slightly more.. “Theek hai, it’s a good thing…yeh bhi startup karega.. Kya pata Sachin Bansal ban jaye” I think..now is the best time …ever… ..to be out there in the digital segment Several tech enabled companies are making large impact outside this cocoon called Bangalore We are going to create an Operating System which can help people build on top of it We are into home services Trying to redefine the way women travel Social media marketing tools Accounts receivable management software Best of himalayas to the dogs Empower home based entrepreneurs Language should not be a barrier Live virtual classrooms Just in time stocking Uses artificial intelligence Things that give character to your home No city should be a stranger Creating a subscription economy in India To sign documents from your phone and tablet So, we are a marketplace for activities and activity tours Digitize lending Self drive car rentals So, we power lot of startups and we are building a spacecraft that can land on the moon Am I nuts? Now..now the question has to come What was I thinking when I started this? There were lot of questions..lot of blogs.. ..I used to read. Should I start the company? There will be hundreds of results Why you should not start..Why you should start? Should I just go for it? So…We went for it I actually ended up starting..you know. lot of people are bitten by startup bug I was probably bitten up by..may be.. ..startup Polar bear or something so I started 2 things at the same time One day I got up and said, “Oh God I have to go to office today” and that day I resigned We met through Facebook So one day I got a message from him asking if I can help him out with the content It was kind of an unusual message I…talked to him more and more about it.. and.. we got around to meeting and then he explained his entire journey and what he aims to do and it kind of really stuck to me Entrepreneurs when they start something they are not motivated by money, they are motivated by.. the personal meaning, to solve that problem Because people denied Jeetu a home, when Jitu became a house owner he told I’ll get back to the world I’ll only give to bachelors I was very angry. I started Instamojo because I was.. ..bloody angry that.. I cannot use payments the way it is in the country Why not? I was pissed! I think.. ..for every company where there is a large company there will be some degree of.. ..anger It’s like the…. ..”Revenge of the nerds” in some level, right? So it started in a.. ..literally above a garage. So we took space from a friend who was running another startup Oh..the ceiling fell off.. ..that’s when we decided to move No..No..I think for me the trigger was when the… ..landlord turned off our electricity.. as punishment for something And it still feels nostalgic to go there on that road.. and then say “Hey that was the 1BHK where we started” It started with Wikipedia, that I can tell you for sure! I think in a lot of ways we got it right given the growth we had and where we are today I think the time has come and I think we started at the right time we were lucky on that..but.. ..where we have to go, I think that now is no more luck there’s a lot of effort going into it Luck plays that initial part… ..after that comes, the sweat. Hard core execution So when this incident happened that brokers attacked our office we were to be displaced we faced lot of trouble. So while we were struggling, one of our investor told us.. came, saw this and told us “This is going to do us good in the long term” So, we were not able to understand as to what’s the meaning of this when so much trouble is going on Because we were struggling that.. Wifi router is not taking the load of more than 10 people, and somebody is standing “Very Good” This is going to do wonders for you. But that is true, because.. this basically..when there’s a trouble… then you can really find out that people really are behind a cause.. and it doesn’t matter whether the external good facilities are there or not We don’t think we have .. ..70 employees We think we have 70 Co-founders And to attract somebody to an unknown company, and convince them that it’s good work and.. we are not going to go bust next month.. ..kind of thing is a very very challenging task. Based on whoever I was able to make a Bakra, I think So..First Bakra was Eeshwar Second Bakra was Sid and those two people are my cofounders now Somebody calls me for interview, I’ll say… “You know it’s lot of traffic, I’ll come over to your place” The real fact was we didn’t have an office at that point. I used to visit places and interview people. Home delivery of interview, pretty much See..most of the skillsets can be acquired just a matter of time. Even if I don’t know photography, I don’t know videography probably it might take like 6 months to get into it. But, if I don’t have the passion… ..you give me even a 2 lakh Rupees camera I’ll…just do what I do with my phone A number of people in the team… ..started out as Scripbox customers including our CEO who came in later We are all geeks, right? So, if you look at this company even our accountant team is made of engineers So..everybody… Chief marketing is done by engineers Sales is done by engineers Accounting is done by engineers Fortunately…the guy who gave you coffee is not an engineer but that’s about all Now what we have seen is that.. Even a developer….is now an expert in food So he will be able to tell that “isme …2 gram jeera hain” In our case, the problem never is that “Man, the market is very hard right? You have to pay top dollar to get these guys.” “Man, in the market, like there are.. ..3 people who you can get.” Right? So, make sure you convince one of them, otherwise you are not getting anybody in this country. I was interviewing these people who were like.. atleast 4 to 5 years elder to me. and.. I kinda had that thing..mentally that “Ok, at one point of time I would have to tell them their whatever they did is crap and they need to you know…redo it.” How am I going to tell them that? Are they just going to tell me to shut up, because I’m a kid Good developers will get picked up..like mad. If somebody is applying to you desperately that typically means that he is possibly not able to find a good job through the network. That already reduces that… ..benchmark to a certain level. So It’s like the.. ..best girl in college or school right? So everybody is vying for that best girl You want the best girl in the college You don’t want a girl who is not able to find a .. ..guy … ..who is just settling for you because… ..there is no other option When you are 2 or 3 people, you know.. You can just decide I wanna do something today But it takes a little bit of planning when you are in 10 cities, right? You need to build that in.. you need to build a team which can take decisions and all that As a founder, you have a vision… of building a world class product, multi billion dollar, unicorn, blah blah You go talk to the employee.. “We have listened 2-3 times..big..big things!” Lot of times as entrepreneurs we sell.. a lot about our ideas. But what I realised is more than idea, I have to sell myself. The guy on the other side is evaluating me… Am I the guy he wants to work with? We actually work seven days. We work for seven days So there’s no Monday So…we do a lot of drinking together. I think drinking bonds us. As you start off… ..every other first thing that happens.. ..is very very beautiful. The first customer that you get The first appraise that you get The first funding that you get All those are very, very… ….memorable The first customer… definitely is a milestone we will never forget his name as Lizzie mentioned It will be embedded somewhere. Tattooed! Tattooed, yeah possibly! We’re all going to name our first children after him. We made it live on JustEat with a pseudo name, we didn’t launch under the Petoo name. We used a pseudo name to launch the product and we launched it. And in the evening we are sitting in the kitchen waiting for orders to come, and suddenly an order came And there’s no one to deliver! So..now what do to? Then Abhishek took the chance He went to deliver the food and first delivery he got the tip also! For a nice delivery We freaking didn’t have a laptop to code. We didn’t have a MAC. You know? So we go to Keshav, “Hey Keshav, you know uhh.. We are getting into iOS app development, but, yaar MAC nahi hain…” So, Keshav ka response aata hain, “Come home and take it” So… So, we go over there this is Thursday So Thursday we go over there, we take his MAC You know Friday Roshit takes a back up of all his data and everything Saturday morning he shows up, You know, Sunday night we’ve got a demo ready, Monday Night we’ve spoke to the client we got our first project The single biggest thing that you will hear from.. customers is they will all say “It’s not working.” Its for you to decipher what “Its not working” means. So we say the world needs this, and then we decide and hence we should build this product. Unfortunately, product purchase decisions are not made at the level of the world needs this. Its made at the level of an individual and the individual cares…nada about the world. Consumers don’t care whether you are funded..you are bootstrapped. All they want is quality service, good product And that market You know, I mean Nobody can crack that market You can’t buy consumers with money. Temporarily yes, but fundamentally no. Lot of times, people come and ask that “You have not raised funding?” “You have raised only a small round.. ..so…you are not doing well?” But that isn’t the case right? So funding is never the benchmark for a success which is very difficult for us to explain to people. So we have stopped explaining that, so we don’t care what you think. So, I come across a lot of entrepreneurs who want to do a startup because they think that money can be raised there. Any startup has a Catch 22, where do you find the money to make the progress, without the progress how do you find the money? We have a catch 222, which is.. Other than these 2 questions we’ve been also asked, “Are you nuts?” We were in talks with the top VC firms in India. We were very close to our…..term sheet. That is when… the richest man in India called us and that told us that come and visit us and you will not need to talk to anyone. I am 24 and we were really overwhelmed. The way we were called to this restaurant at night. Where, As soon as his car arrives, everyone was just thrown out of the restaurant. It was really dramatic. We were sitting next to him and he’s saying “Now you don’t need anything, Just tell me how much money you need” One day we got a call. And… We were at JP Nagar .. we had to go to JC road. He said, Anand is in my office. He has 15 mins if you want to come and pitch. So it took us almost 15 mins to reach there, despite driving crazily. And we got about 5 mins to pitch First time somebody said that we would be interested in investing into YD, we ourselves didn’t know what does YD stand for! We were googling, at least I was googling and Puneet came to me he’s like, “are you so dumb?” “And you don’t know what is YD?” Overall I think we just met more than 100 investors and we didn’t get any. So that’s a different part And then I tried, I won’t lie I tried for like and… tried for like 3 weeks, spoke to a few people really good people..got a few Yes’s. But…the whole thing is just… It’s just too much work man…I don’t know! Sitting on someone else’s money and managing it is a bigger game, takes the stress to a different level. The failure also becomes bigger. So… “I have an idea and want an investor” No…does not work. If you still ask 1000 entrepreneurs put into a room and saying that they will still talk funding, funding, funding… So then, don’t raise funds because you can say so at a cocktail party or something. Right? But some business cannot function without …the capital getting infused like, NOW. As an entrepreneur you are always ..always..thinking big and say “Hey, we’ll do this, this, this and this. And we’ll build this. But probably the investor will say, forget about all this, just do this and just do this well. Everyone who has raised funding, says “Oh..don’t raise funds” Everyone who has not raised funds says are like.. “Ok.. try if you can” When I raised money, suddenly everyone woke up most people woke up and said “Oh My God, Congratulations!” You are building something. Abhi tak, 7 saal se kya kar rahi thi? Like… how come the validation only happened when there was money? Suddenly people noticed. Typically, startup life is full of great challenges. So, what you normally remember are those few incidents where the happiness actually is… better than challenges The cost of building the spacecraft was about.. ..40 odd lakh Rupees. But the cost of test which was gonna be conducted over 2 weeks was.. ..55 lakh Rupees I didn’t realize how important having a power backup was and I was quite stubborn about it for…couple of months We even suffered throughout the summer like sweating our butts off It was extremely treacherous getting.. our own operating license and just figuring out those modalities to figure out who to partner with and how we can actually start the business and run it without getting shutdown That was.. ..a huge huge..huge triumph I would say It’s definitely a much much more interesting problem than we thought initially it is But..I think we understood what the problem is.. We knew that we are signing up for something messy This messy?…..No we din’t know that You have to ask all the right questions and then you have to answer them as well Here..Failure is a fatal error Fatal error with which a program just stops working Because..If you make a mistake and you are not able to raise follow on funding then..it’s a fatal error for the company and you have to lay off all the employees and you can’t actually move forward We have good… ..good mechanism to sort out differences.. It goes on..from logical to physical..everywhere How many hats we expect entrepreneur to wear? It is literally quite difficult right because… one person cannot become literally like 5-6 person kind of a thing Today, I just want to be nobody..I just want to be me Where is that space an entrepreneur is having today? It’s so damn hard.. ..every step of the way… You just want to cry! Go…complain and rant to so many different people and they are all there All my friends at HeadStart have played a very crucial role in in the growth of F5 I’m very grateful to HeadStart for that Everyday if you don’t get 20 issues, there is an issue There must be an issue if you don’t get 20 issues a day The interesting thing is that at each point it feels like.. this kind of challenge I haven’t handled before this is slightly new, I don’t know if I’ll be able to overcome it and then each time we have ended up overcoming it You…pretty much do everything related to.. ..the startup Even if there are some tables need to be lifted and shifted and all of this Hands on!! I mean that’s pretty much what I’ve come across Lot of learning..lot of learning When you are in a startup actually.. there is nothing like work-life balance work is your life..more or less and since you are passionate about it you don’t…feel that “I’m working” It’s like you are doing what you love The first thing when somebody picks up the phone they say “Hey Amit, Busy?” And I so hate it! These are some of things that end up happening like this is not the kind of a guy I wanted to be really My wife was asking me about these things like.. tough things like unit value economics and..we couldn’t..explain her what it is My in-laws were wondering.. ..their daughter’s decision to marry an idiot like me So..thankfully..I din’t miss any daughter’s birthday and stuff like that But certainly..in the first 4 months..I felt pretty guilty because my daughter was in Chennai and I would go there every weekend So..Saturday and Sunday So my wife could keep sending photos from Chennai You know..those 4 months were a lot of guilt because.. after the first week I was back here So that would have certainly been.. Because we were missing the first literally 3 months of So..I then..finally decided… Please come here to Bangalore and we’ll take care of the ecosystem and stuff My girlfriend left me.. My ex-girlfriend left me because of my Girlfriend mat bolna What personal life? Life? What life? This is it What personal life? What? I’ve not seen..really much of any other life other than startup life My wife has been a cofounder with me in most of the ventures So we talk startup at home I find this entire concept of de-markation between personal and professional life very difficult.. to understand We are not human beings or not machines You can’t switch off … saying that at office you switch is on and in the home your switch is off You don’t care about what your mamas and chachas and everybody else says you mainly care about what your near and dear ones say My parents ofcourse were… not to keen..of me starting but.. they would ask me “Why I became a taxi driver..or a taxi operator?” For about a year after I started i think they hadn’t yet told anybody in the family that I had started So they would keep saying I’m working at Jones Lang LaSalle With all due respect to soldiers of our country I think their family probably has to think of it as Look our son or husband or daughter or wife or whoever has gone off to battle So you have to be ready for that But she’ll be there to help you She’ll be like “Yeah go do your…practice” You have to run that marathon and once you run that marathon and come back she’ll be happy that you did that So there’s an element of that in entrepreneurship and family kind of rallies behind you because it’s a big undertaking and they are also equally proud of it on some level The amount of chemical reactions that go on in your mind will.. fundamentally alter the way you look at the world and the way you are as a person First day i quit the job i’m already scared worried about what’s going on So you suddenly become..you know one man who has to do everything ..show up, open the shutters clean up the front which is like full of filth outside somebody has dumped something and then make it attractive enough to recruit people give them the facilities When i go and meet a.. vendor or a customer he’ll make me wait for 5 hours for no reason and when i’m sitting in front of his office doing nothing waiting for him to give me five minutes of his time That’s actually very humbling and..we are brought on the ground you may be an IITian.. but that was.. some years back but now you are a businessman so you have to.. keep your ego aside when you are actually working Before starting I had read and I heard that you have to manage your toilets and all those things So still..somebody says “arre toilet mein flush kam nahi kar raha hain” So..so these are the kinds of problems and what do you say? You say “OK, we will get it fixed” One thing that one one talks about in entrepreneurship is the emotional crisis that entrepreneurs go through You might be talking logic and rationale and numbers Ultimately, entrepreneurship is an emotional decision But, you will take out time- He..he has fewer hair fewer hair, more white coming up you can look at my hair..it’s more grey That’s what my wife complains right The constant rejection and failure really humbles you as an individual and i think that has definitely happened with me Has it been humiliating, lonely? Yes, yes and yes You certainly empathize with other entrpreneurs you know, any time I see an entrepreneur I immediately.. you feel like a..kinship like a brotherhood kind of thing where…its like you know how hard it is and you know what he’s been through The last four years, the amount of learning that i have gone through just professionally, personally behaviorally, leadership-wise ..that’s all like you know.. probably 15-20 years of experience elsewhere So you just get into those things where.. you’re …first emotions are like this and this and then your emotions are like, pretty much like this How do you keep a sane brain, you know? because..you’re going to be making so many decisions all the time, it can become a bit.. fatigued You see so much.. bad that you start thinking that nothing worse can happen So.. it changes your perspective of life For me its fun..it’s fun You..you get live multiple lives in one life Except my mother I think that the other thing that has influenced me as a person more is probably the company that.. that i’m running right now I think So many life lessons that I’ve learnt We need people who are willing to experiment we need early adopters in large numbers What better place than Bangalore in India In Bangalore, the culture is “Oh yeah, this new thing has come up let’s..let me give it a shot” At least they will give you a first chance Technology here is crazy.. like tech savvies like all over you would bump into ten people while walking on a footpath and all would be tech savvies and I wouldn’t be surprised! There’s a reason why it’s known as the Silicon valley of India So you go to this Coffee Day and there will be three startups, discussing some startup ideas and you can go and just announce loudly that i’m a VC then all of them would come and pitch you And I guess also the talent right? The..the there is just no place in rest of the country where you can tech talent and design talent as rapidly.. And as.. and the quality as well.. I think is really high around here And in general, the quality of talks.. like.. I mean if you go to any coffee shop You do hear people talking about machine learning right? People talking about AI & VR So i think there’s a lot of good stuff that happens in Bangalore We love the traffic.. so..that’s why we’re missing it So that’s why Bangalore is one of the reasons I like the.. heterogeneity in Bangalore a lot more I get to meet a lot of different kind of people and hopefully they will all tell me a few things that that I don’t already know I can imagine if you were in Bombay, trying to build this..this same startup out but based out of Bombay it would have been.. I think at some point we would have to have made the decision to move to Bangalore To build something of any consequence Here you also see a lot of your own friends working in different start-ups We’ve got a lot of..kind of queries from other.. friends Like if this is to be done, how do we actually do it? So, in that case the conversation becomes very.. short You spend less time taking bigger decisions And there are other people also that will just help you They’ll just.. they will not ask you for money or..nothing maximum a beer or.. some 5 minutes of their sadness That’s it But then they will actually tell you things which can actually make a lot of difference I said “listen, there’s this company and I need you to talk to them” He’s like “OK, Sunday lunch? You know i’m very busy today..Sunday lunch?” And then Sunday lunch he turns up! He spent three and a half hours with this company Its Sunday! you’re a busy person, i’m a busy person I get one Sunday to just chill at home with my dog But its OK! I mean can we help in that Sunday can we take a 3 hrs ..help somebody that’s trying to do something and do it better than we did it Because they don’t need to face the challenges we faced We’ll give it back Wont happen in a Bombay, Delhi Sorry That’s our Bangalore ecosystem If you look at the pace at which.. Bangalore is catching up.. It’s not going to take fifty years to catch up.. to Silicon valley Right? It’s going to take far far less time In the valley, every product which you see.. is not engineered You won’t feel like the product is made by an enginneer Here you have raw talent which is superb Like in terms of ability to just, learn and get things done But there’s a little bit of learning by doing also right? Meaning, you do and then you learn and then you realise Oh shit… That has to happen a little bit more I think the valley is full of early adopters unlike India India lacks early adopters, we..we are.. the moment we see something good we try to bring it down So you know, its a typical Indian thing right? I mean, there are enough people that want to see Flipkart die, then Amazon Then they are questioning Amazon right? So starting from mindset, i think that there are a lot less averse to failures Here you fail, then there are ten people who now sort of trying coming and giving you advice On the basis of what, I don’t know! ..So everybody seems to know what to do but nobody is doing it There’s a reason why SnapChat never came out of India Its because investors like.. they wouldn’t be able to think that way right? they wouldn’t be able to.. expand their horizons and.. say like..”this product can actually go and take off I think we should learn from their success We should learn from their excess And we’ll be able to build a technology that.. will be used by the world rather than us adopting technology that is used by the world You need to have people who.. you need to have more entrepreneurs as investors so right now the investors set in India.. is..is dominated by consultants, ex-bankers ex-private equity guys But i’m very bullish and positive that .. gotten on this particular start especially in a city like Bangalore We will get there Once you start a company and sold it then.. You become pretty useless.. you can’t really go and work for somebody else Its almost like an addiction.. Now why I start is because i’m addicted to it I need the fix..of trying to.. start something new trying to imagine something new get the first order get the first employee to see whether it is working and suddenly you find that.. it becomes a household name and that gives you enormous kick which no amount of.. drugs or alcohol can give you If..if you start having a plan B then.. the only thing that works out is plan B The plan A is already off.. if you start thinking of plan B So it was far more parallel processing.. far more sort of a.. fighting to survive everyday ..making sure that we..we have a right to live tomorrow It is actually very surprising that.. companies even exist ..I think it is a miracle that you put a few hundreds and thousands of people in one organisation And they all work together to actually create something that is larger than themselves If you just go one line down there are a lot of dark stories that entrepreneurs go through very dark times when.. you feel miserable you feel like, i’ll just give up Because..you know.. we need to salute that entrepreneur spirit Because they wanted to solve some problem which others are OK to go about And these people come out and say “hey I have the guts to go about and solve that problem” It’s like.. If you won’t give up.. ..You just keep carrying on what is the worst that can happen funding will go away right? Find a way to become profitable.. Yahi karna padega na….Karenge What doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger today when I look back i’m like “Wow! Did I go through all of that? My dad is like.. “Finally you’ve done something that’s useful to me” right? So that’s.. it’s the dream of every technologist to do something that impacts the lives of people around him Everyone thinks that “oh i’ll be… able to raise a lot of funds and then you know.. It’ll be all same, it’s not all the same It’s very different So I will only say that “Hey, It’s hard “It’s going to be probably the hardest thing you’ll ever do in your life..” But if you are really that sadistic you might have a a lot of fun doing it When I was building this product I had this accident and my hand was broken and then again people started asking me this.. “why the hell are you doing this?” for a year my hand was in a cast and they are like”what the hell are you doing?” “Why are you writing code with your left and” “Why do you still want to do this?” kind of shit And the moment you say startup, people think about cool office.. and some people coding and something happening It is not like that! Suddenly you find yourself alone.. in your own bedroom.. sitting in front of a computer And nobody around you The moment you declare you’re going to do a startup ten friends will come and will congratulate you Saying how they wished they could have also done a start-up and how they are stuck in their old job But the fact of the matter is that, they also know that it’s not easy! And has they are not in the plunge and then you find yourself alone.. basically doing this and you have to keep on preserving that for a long, long time Often times.. Entrepreneurs say “Do you think this idea will work?” I don’t know if this idea will work or not I’m betting on you.. Right? So.. I think you need to.. you need to work on ideas that you feel so passionate about That you are not influenced by believers and non believers You’ve tried.. you’ve experienced and hopefull you’ve learned from that Which should make you.. better the next time around.. Just do it! Just do it! The only way to learn swimming is by being in the water There is no point sitting and reading about it I’ll die tomorrow i know I’ve tried something to change I could not, great But i would not have died thinking “Oh.. ..I wish i had a tech co-founder” Don’t give up Just stay there for some while Good will happen Success and yeh wo pata nahin kya hai kabhi milega nahi milega but.. Happines toh.. hamare hath me hain If these bunch of people could start from..from nowhere and..and go all the way to the moon There is no excuse for anybody else to say that they can’t follow their dream they can’t take their own moonshots I think.. a determined couple of two people ..trying to do something can perhaps achieve it..after all You fall.. you will wallow in it…self pity for two days But get up and get going There’s only so much you can fall down but.. Rise!! It’s OK to fail.. but even if you fail, you should fail spectacularly! Do something really large.. and then fail Rather than doing small and succeed.. Can I do it? I don’t know Is it worth trying? Hell YES!