Akshay V Jain Khanter, Founder, GuruMantras™Team YS
Why did you decide to become an entrepreneur? Why did you not pursue a regular job?
I belong to a family of business persons. Apart from assisting in my family's business, I have also been associated with companies like Kotak Wealth Management, Kotak Securities, ICICI Priority Circle. Yet, there was a gnawing desire to be financially independent and do something on my own – that is exactly what I did by founding GuruMantras™ in 2006 and later GuruMantras™ Incubation Center.
Can you tell us something about the initial years- what kind of challenges, struggles did you face?
Despite choosing a field where my hobbies and interests lie, it has not been smooth sailing. The shifting dynamics of the finance industry are difficult to keep pace with.
What was the turning point in your business /career?
The turning points in my career have been the recognitions – both at personal and organizational levels.
Did you at any point feel like giving up and getting back to a regular job or doing something different?
An entrepreneur does not give up on his dreams just like a parent never give up on their child. In fact, I have always tried to explore the possibility of expanding and doing something new and challenging – even if it lies outside the core competencies of GuruMantras™™.
In my life, I set a great store by personal benchmarks of achievement. Everyday, in every project, I set goals which challenge me and enthuse me to excel. With the achievement of these goals comes recognition and a nagging need to stay ahead of my competitors. The desire to be recognized as a leader and represent the youth of today drives me in my work.
Could you please elaborate on business – the operating model, the differentiators of your business, plans to scale up etc?
GuruMantras™ started as a small financial services company but soon moved more towards educational services which include training, development and consultancy.
The beginning of our new venture GuruMantras™™ Incubation Centre (GIC) marks a milestone in our ascent to a new league and level. We have already incubated a few companies including www.searchaguru.com, which is a job portal for people working in the fields of education and teaching.
What is your vision for GuruMantras™™?
Despite the global recession and the uncertainty of the times, GuruMantras™™ has already spread its wings into multiple sectors and spaces. We wish to grow more in the lucrative educational services space.
Do you have any sterling tips for budding entrepreneurs?
My GuruMantra would be to take up entrepreneurial activities during the period of your education because it gives you the luxury of time, youth, and familial support.
What does GuruMantras™ do? How does it benefit/service people?
GuruMantras™ provides the services like Financial Planning, Investment Advisory, Portfolio Management, Training & Development & Consultancy. A lot of people struggle with planning their finance/taxes, we help them out with that. We also train students for a smooth transition from "Campus to Corporate."
The offerings are totally different, if GuruMantras™ was a dream, then incubation was a desire. At GuruMantras™ Incubation Center, we work on the concept of 'Giving wings to your ideas'. Despite being much smaller than incubation centers such as Venture Caps, Private Equity and Angel Funds, we incubate companies which the bigger firms would have never entertained.
What have been the biggest achievement in the growth of GuruMantras™?
Every step that we have taken in building GuruMantras™ has been an achievement, we have a long way to go especially in the current scenario where only the fittest can survive.
Which are the sectors which GuruMantras™ has expanded its wings in?
Financial and educational services are vast sectors where there are ample opportunities to grow. We are working on introducing our training modules on a CD platform. We are also exploring the possibility of publishing the modules in a series of titles/books on finance and investments.
The most prestigious awards you have received? And the awards which meant the most to you?
I have been awarded several awards - The Best CEO Award, Manipal University and The Best Manager Award, Bangalore University are the ones I am most proud of. These are awarded after intensive grueling and simulation.
What is the biggest mistake you made as an amateur entrepreneur?
In a very short period, I have seen the whole financial cycle – from boom to bust, from bull to bear. That's a lot for an amateur entrepreneur.