For the launch of YSProfiles, the repository for startups, investors, SMEs, and corporates to own their narratives and etch any milestone worth framing on the wall, we found it only fitting to invite startupreneurs to come forward and recount their tales, unplugged and with utmost candour.
Seventy-odd attendees gathered to witness 12 startup narrations in a space that is done up to be inspiring and electric yet easeful and warm, by our venue partners, Mumbai-based incubator thinQbate. Impassioned talks by previous Tech30 companies ACPAD and ProgressHive provided the expert voices of reason and hope to a productive afternoon with YourStory. Here are some of the most candid moments from the early-stage startupreneurs who were selected to take the stage and recite their stories.
Amaldev V of ACPAD Instruments: “Always say YES!” When you get an offer to speak somewhere, have a meeting, approach someone you have been meaning to speak with — just say yes. If the answer to the worst that can happen is not ‘death’, just say YES! I follow this saying from my favourite film: ‘You know, sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage. Just literally 20 seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it’,” said Amaldev V, Co-founder and Engineering Lead of ACPAD Instruments, who calls himself an introvert but an immensely hard worker. Amaldev and YS also go back a long way — in fact, his was one of the Tech30 companies at the latest edition of TechSparks.
Akshay Bhatia of Mutterfly:“The most liberally thrown around word in a startup conversation is ‘pivoting’, but it is one thing that I have benefited from the most in my journey. Don’t hold on to your ego. That’s the only way. If you and your conscience are true to your startup, it will be true to you,” said Akshay, who has founded Mutterfly, a peer-to-peer platform that lets you borrow items you need from people nearby and also helps you earn by renting your items.
Rayyan Sheikh of The Fatsmeagol Collective: “This is the age of the polymaths. We live in the digital renaissance, where truly autonomous individuals who can’t decide one thing to do, and who you don’t need to supervise, exist,” said Rayyan,a self-proclaimed true-blue polymath and one of the founders at The FatSmeagol Collective — nothing but a bunch of polymaths like him who’ve come together to wreak anarchy upon the existing structures of business.
NaveshDakdar of GetSetCamp: “We have changed our model thrice since we started our journey, all because we kept our eyes and minds open to gaps and had the courage to fill them when we found them,” said Navesh, one of the founders of GetSetCamp, on building one of India`s first aggregators for campsites.
N Sampathkumar of Jenext:“Unemployment is one of India’s gravest problems, second only to terrorism. So, for a revolution, we need to pull out all the stops, foster true inclusivity in the hiring process, and massify. True empowerment will come when everyone from a labourer to a technician to a CEO is put on the same pedestal, granted the same dignity, and provided the same opportunities,” opined N Sampathkumar, Founder and Managing Director at Jenext, a startup that wants to catalyse hiring by providing a transparent platform to cross-pollinate the resource base with companies seeking talent.
Ashish Dinkar of Retv:“For a mass product, when you think up your target audience, always keep in mind that they will most likely not be tech-savvy, and will not have access to the best internet connection. Envision a real person — if possible, find them, and keep them around for brutally honest opinions. My mom was my target, and I needed to keep her happy with my product. That was my validation,” saidAshish, one week ahead of the launch of their product ‘ReTV’, a streaming device for the TV, for everyone to enjoy the content of their choice at their convenience, using a device like a standard remote.
Shikhar Vaidya of Redesyn:“Fashion technology is only worth talking about if it provides a solution to the designer or the customer. Anything that doesn’t meet the standard isn’t a technology that needed to be created,” saidShikhar, Founder of Redesyn, a fashion tech platform that lets folks design, customise, and sell their own fashion products.
Ruchika Sharma of ProgressHive:“Read books, read stories. Talk to people. It’s not about success or failure, but about the experience,” said Ruchika, an engineer by passion and profession, who has developed IPs for organisations like Dell and Kronos Inc. Her company, ProgressHive, enables mobile-specific features into your website in just 15 minutes, with no coding required. She added, “As techies, we forget to market. Once you have MVP, go out there and talk to people. Focus on your marketing strategy. Identify three main marketing channels.”
Pranav Marwah of thinQbate: “I have a simple mantra: ‘Think of value creation, not valuation,’ said Pranav, co-founder of our venue partner, Mumbai-based incubator-accelerator thinQbate.
This was, after all, one of the only social situations where one was not only allowed but also encouraged to talk about themselves, for we at YourStory believe that every story is special, and there are lessons hiding in every retrospection — for the narrator as well as the listener.