College dropout and entrepreneur Anand Naik walks the talk on defying expectations and starting up young
“Given my age and decision to drop out of college, no one could come to terms with what I had chosen to become. But I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I trudged on!”
Hailing from Hubli in Karnataka, Anand was in Kota preparing for his IIT entrance examinations. He was the quintessential bright kid, expected to study in the most elite of schools, become an engineer and lead what is generally perceived as the ‘good, happy life’. But he did exactly what was not expectedof him:he dropped out of college and went on to do something ‘even worse’. He returned back to his hometown and started his own venture at the age of 18.
Many awards and accolades later, he is one of the most sought-after entrepreneurs in the north Karnataka region today. Not the one to settle down too easily, Anand embarked on a new journey where he drove 10,000 km across 25 cities to inspire more than 30,000 students to experiment with entrepreneurship while they were still young.
We spoke to the young entrepreneur to find out what made him take the entrepreneurial plunge and what makes him so popular.
Starting up as a teenager
“I missed studying in one of India’s best engineering schools by a few marks. Although a lot of other great options stared at me, I listened to my inner voice and went back home,” Anand says. Amidst bewildered parents and disgraceful comments from those around him, Anand started BoredBees Tech Solutions in the commercial hub of Hubli in Karnataka. “Getting people to believe in what I was doing was the biggest obstacle when I first started operations. I also had no technological background,” he adds.So, what made him start up in the tech space in a city like Hubli? “I discovered the lack of players in the market that point in time. BoredBees was also one of the first tech starups in the entire region,” Anand says.
Talking of Hubli and the team
Popularly called ‘Chota Bombay’, Hubli is a buzzing commercial trade district in the heart of the north Karnataka region. But starting an IT solutions company in a land ruled by traditional businesses was a bittersweet experience. Anand chose the city of his birth because of the largely untapped market and absence of competition. However, getting traditional businesses to believe in the power of technology was not easy. “We were not paid for months. Traders used their clout to try and crack barter deals,” he recalls. But things gradually changed; more players emerged and Boredbees had the edge of being one of the first ones to startup in the space. .
On a regular Monday afternoon in the year 2013, just two years after he had started Boredbess, Anand received a phone call. Assuming it to be a client call, he explained the services Boredbees offers and silently hoped he had convinced the client enough as he hung up. Little did he know that this conversation would change his life and subsequently, his fortune. Before he knew it, Anand received another phone call, informing he had won ‘The Best Young Entrepreneur Award’ and that he would receive it fromRatan Tata. “This changed my life. Awards and accolades are important primarily because of the recognition and acceptance you get after receiving them,” he says.
A journey to inspire
Despite tasting success and Boredbees now being an established name in the region, Anand is not taking things easy. He wants to share his experiences with students, particularly teenagers, and encourage them to startup young. He has driven the length and breadth of the country and visited various colleges to interact with aspiring entrepreneurs as a part of a journey which he named ‘Eighteen but not teen.“The amount of criticism I received after I started up was immense. I remember how what I was doing was termed dangerous. I want to make sure that my experiences help youngsters to dream big and prepare themselves to embrace failure, very early in life,” he explains.
The road ahead
This young businessman has age working in his favour. Having tasted both success and failure pretty early in life has shaped Anand into a forward thinking businessman who has the right mix of energy and maturity. So what’s next?
“I want to expand to cities across the region. And now that I have a story on YourStory, my parents will be reassured of what am doing,” he laughs.