On Father’s Day, 5 Indian entrepreneurs open up about fatherhood, and the advice they would give their children
Dads hold a special place in our hearts as they help shape our world view and give us all the encouragement we need to slay our demons, be it at the playground, during exams, or at our first job.
But what if your father is also an entrepreneur? A startup, especially in the initial years, is like a child to the founders, and there are a lot of sacrifices made along the way to get it on its feet. But as they juggle PTA meetings and annual day performances along with their startup, these entrepreneur-dads remain committed to their responsibilities as a father.
So, on Father’s Day, YourStory speaks to five entrepreneurs, not about the startup ecosystem, investor pitches or tech trends in their industry. Rather, we ask these dads what fatherhood means to them, and what lessons they impart to their kids.
Mobikwik’s Bipin Preet Singh - 'Be brave, be good'
Bipin Preet Singh, CEO and Co-founder of Gurugram-based mobile payments startup Mobikwik, wishes to pass on to his kids all the pearls of wisdom his father gave him.
“I recently lost my father. I’ve since then thought about the role he played in making me ambitious, hardworking, and with the right set of values. I want to pass down the same advice to my son - be brave, be good (to yourself and others) and put your 100 percent into whatever you do! It’s the recipe to a life well-lived,” he says.
But Bipin adds that the learning goes both ways: this startup founder learns aplenty from his son as well!
“The biggest lesson I learn every day from my son is that no failure is permanent and it’s very easy to go from being upset to being happy - all it takes is to train your mind to be like a child. Always looking for the next game, the next thrill,” adds Bipin.
MoneyTap’s Bala Parthasarathy - 'Stay humble and lean into change'
Bala Parthasarathy, CEO and Co-founder of app-based credit provider MoneyTap, says his children bring out in him his fun and caring side when he views the world through their eyes. And the proud father ranks the accomplishments of his three children (two daughters and a son), much higher than his own.
“When people ask me what I am most proud of, they usually expect me to talk about some of the successful startups I’ve done, like Snapfish or MoneyTap, which are worth hundreds of millions of dollars. But in my mind, being a father to three terrific children and having a good relationship with them as they grew up is far more significant than anything else I have ever done,” he adds.
Bala adds that fatherhood has brought out a more compassionate and empathetic side to him as well, since children today face a set of new challenges. “It is important to be able to see the world through their eyes. For their needs and challenges are so different, it is like living another set of life, albeit vicariously, through them,” Bala notes.
He is quick to acknowledge that times are different, and children must be given the freedom to figure out new avenues that suit their interests. Addressing his kids, he says,
“The advice our parents gave us - ‘get a good college degree, good stable job and settle down with a good partner’ - worked well for us. But these most likely will not work for you. You are entering a world of Artificial Intelligence, radical genetic engineering, and a new world order with India and China taking centre stage. Into exciting innovations and solving an entirely new set of challenges.”
And in all this, Bala’s advice to his children is to stay humble and grounded always.
“What we can tell you is this: stay humble, stay grounded, and see the world for what it is. Lean into the change, for your world is going to change at a dizzying speed. Be a life-long learner because knowledge is changing much faster than we can print books, and don’t be afraid to take risks. In a world of such astonishing advancement, the risk-taker always gets the last word,” adds Bala.
Simplilearn’s Krishna Kumar - 'Grow holistically'
Simplilearn's Krishna Kumar with his two sons
For Krishna Kumar, CEO and Founder of online edutech startup Simplilearn, the advice for his sons continues to be on ‘growing holistically’ and having a wholesome development - something that his father drilled into him as well.
“I was a very studious kid. When I was going to engineering college, my father advised me that focusing on overall personality is more important. My advice to my son is consistent with my belief that one needs to have an well-rounded and balanced personality to lead a holistic meaningful life. So, focusing on academic, sports, and music are equally important.”
Instamojo’s Sampad Swain - 'Believe in yourself, come what may'
Sampad Swain, Instamojo’s Co-founder and CEO, and father to twins, has always told his boys that they should never stop believing in themselves.
“This was the same advice that my father gave me. Every individual will face ups and downs in life, and my boys will too. Just like how my father's words guided me, I believe my boys will benefit too (with the same advice),” he adds.
Colive’s Suresh Rangarajan - 'My kids, my teachers'
Colive's Suresh Rangarajan with his family.
For Suresh Rangarajan, Founder of co-living and home rental platform Colive, a lot of learnings and insights on what the market wanted came from his very own son, 20-year-old Rishi.
“Entrepreneurs learn and experience from all corners of life. It is the same for me as well, but the more blissful experience is when my kids are around. I have gained invaluable lessons from my son Rishi. When I started Colive, I had an opportunity to understand his and his friends’ thought process and expectations when they choose to move out of their homes and start living on their own. Rishi, being an analyst and curious by nature, has deep thinking capabilities, and the clarity in his thinking process is something I aspire to learn from him always,” the proud dad adds.
His 15-year-old daughter, Rhea, on the other hand, has taught him not to settle for anything but the best.
“My daughter Rhea is different from my elder child. She taught me the art of perfectionism. She helped me understand and reinforced it by stating that if I am not satisfied with a service that I pay for and do not feel good about it, then I need to understand and respect customer’s preferences with my startup as well. Today’s kids are into experiment and experiences and I wish that my kids experiment, innovate, and build memories with their experiences,” Suresh says.