Build a company to solve problems based on personal experience, says Dream11's Harsh Jain

Speaking at Techsparks Mumbai 2023, Harsh Jain, Co-founder and CEO of Dream11, emphasised that solving real problems based on personal experiences is better than simply jumping at opportunities.

Build a company to solve problems based on personal experience, says Dream11's Harsh Jain

Wednesday March 22, 2023,

3 min Read

Entrepreneurs must build companies to solve real problems based on personal experiences instead of just jumping at opportunities, said Harsh Jain, Co-founder and CEO of fantasy sports platform Dream11.

In a fireside chat with Shradha Sharma, Founder and CEO of YourStory, at the Mumbai edition of Techsparks, Jain emphasised the need to be obsessed with solving problems that would create a strong impact and value not only for investors but also for employees and customers.

"You have to be crazy to be an entrepreneur. Right from quitting a well-paying job and facing rejections, you just can't switch off. Every founder must do it the right way," he said.

Jain said it was critical to get the right talent to build a startup. Culture plays a vital role in building scalable businesses, he said and advised founders not to lose sight of company culture. "Some of our best hiring is A on culture but probably B on skills."

Jain said that every company can have a different culture that works for it. However, it is important to "write down what culture means to you," he said. He added that Dream11 focuses on five key points to better culture—data, ownership, perseverance, user-first approach, and transparency.

Employee retention is a reflection of the company's culture, he said. "The average churn in Bengaluru-based startups is 20-25% while Mumbai-based startups see attrition of 3-4%. Employees will stay if you make them feel valued."

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On treating employees fairly, Jain said Dream11 has rewarded its workforce, including office clerks and peons, with ESOPs for their commitment to the company. Some colleagues have ESOPs worth crores, he added.

Jain also advised early-stage founders to be more prudent while starting their businesses and not spend excessively on digital marketing or burn cash mindlessly.

Dream11, which has over 160 million users, raised $840 million, in November 2021, at a valuation of $8 billion from marquee investors such as Alpha Wave Global, ChrysCapital, Tiger Global, and Kalaari Capital.

Skill vs chance

Commenting on the debate of skill or chance in fantasy sports, Jain said, "Every sport and game will involve some element of skill and chance," and added that fantasy sports too have an element of chance.

He drew a parallel between stock trading and fantasy sports to illustrate this. "Just like traders decide to buy a stock based on its past and future performances, fantasy sports users select on players, keeping in mind their past and future performances."

Jain added that a lot of research goes into deciding what players should be chosen, right from track record of the player to pitch conditions.

(This is a developing story and will be updated.)

Edited by Affirunisa Kankudti