My Year in review as an Entrepreneur
Disclaimer — this is going to be a long and descriptive so if you have no interest in others life, are not concerned about the ups and downs faced by an entrepreneur and don't want to bothered by funny and awesome incidences which happen every day in a startup… I suggest you bounce :)
Why am I writing this on medium?
Simply because this year has been a hell of a ride and I don't think a "simple Facebook year review"(No offences) can justify my 2015.
Lets start at the beginning…
How did I manage to break 2 glass vases of my potential investor and then spilled ink on another's shirt
The year started with me resigning my job at Airtel and joining my friend Shantanu as a full time Co Founder in our startup HappyBatua. We were trying to build a B2C grocery company which we then pivoted to B2B e-commerce in grocery (renamed to Proqurare) as a backend supplies organiser for restaurants (more margins and easier to execute on ground). We really believed in our idea and in the excitement while pitching to investors -
I broke two vases of an investor trying to tell him with animated hand actions how do the supplies move from the wholesale market to a restaurant
In another meeting, Shantanu, while explaining the same on a notebook could not get his pen to work. He ended up throwing ink from my shirt across the table on to the investors shirt, trying to get the ink to flow….. It did not work!
It was an amazing first 5 months of 2015 trying our intellectual and executional best, to get our startup to work. But we totally missed out on the fact a strong tech backbone was required to scale and sustain our business. We knew what we wanted to build, but could not get together a technology team to do it in time. We had revenues, positive operating margins, repeat customers, but still no strong differentiation. We felt in May'15 that because of lack of finances, sustaining, till a tech backbone could be built was not feasible. We decided to shut down operations, not disheartened but wiser and not before understanding the relevance of involving technology from scratch to build a scalable, sustainable, differentiated business.
Is it possible to ship 1000 Kgs of food 700 kms for free ?
One of the best things we managed to do at Proqurare was "Operation Sehyog". When the earthquake struck Nepal in May, they required food as relief material. It was required in a packed and a good condition and uncooked. We collaborated with local startups in Gurgaon and managed to ship 1000 Kgs of food material to Nepal (Not all the way if some of your are thinking… only till the Nepal Embassy). All the food was brought from wholesale market using the money contributed by people to Operation Sehyog with a 0% profit margin.
"Not a penny was earned and not a penny was spent to execute the above"
In May 2015 happened… The Biggest Irony of my life
HappyBatua or Proqurare shut down because of lack of finances and not having a strong tech backbone in place on 15 May. In 5 days i.e. on 20 May I started DIKY or Do I Know You which is a pure tech based startup and with the same amount of money I had when we shut down the e commerce startup. The only thing I realised from this was -
"When the going gets tough, really really tough (because it kinda does) and if it is not what you truly want to do, you will… leave it midway"
"Ok Google show me a funny and intelligent girl around me who likes travelling and is a big time foodie"
Lol, what a stupid request right!
Well this is what we are trying to build at DIKY or Do I Know You, where you can discover people around you basis crowd sourced personality tags from their friends and family. And I do not want to bore you further with it, just in case you want to download and try it here is the link PS we really can crowd source your personality and tell you what your friends and family think about you.
What can you get done for Free in a startup?
Entire front end for Android and iOS
All customer acquisition — 2000 users in beta
All social media accounts — Twitter 5000 followers, Pinterest — 7000 followers, Facebook 900
UI/UX of the app
I am not kidding when I say this people want to work, you just have to figure out a way of getting it without spending too much money on it. The best investment and the only person who gets a salary in DIKY is our cook "Subodh" who cooks god damn amazing food for us 6 days a week from 12 pm to 6 pm.
Apparently it is really easy to shoot a video with a black background for free. This is how you do it.
How to motivate intelligent people to work with you for Free
First find intelligent and awesome people in your network who have an interest in working for a startup, but don't want to do it full time and have a stable income resource.
The only things which excite such people are -
Intelligent counterparts to work with
An exciting concept to use their intelligence in the way they like to
A crazy and electrifying atmosphere to work and contribute
I ensured the first 3 and Subodh Bhaiya the last one (This is why he is so important)
I also came in the newspapers this year !!
This was the part I really enjoyed :)
My friends and Family
The year review would not be over without mentioning about the people who were with me in 2015. I seriously could not have asked for better friends and family. You supported me through every moment of 2015 by
Liking my statuses
Downloading the apps I built
Paying for my drinks when we go out to party :)
Encouraging me to follow my dreams
The only reason I had an awesome 2015, was that I had an amazing set of friends and family members to enjoy it with. Also because I got a chance to work on 2 crazy concepts - B2B grocery e-commerce and then building a social network, which I could have never done otherwise.
FYI — I am doing a crowd funding campaign for DIKY and I expect all of you to contribute…. and this is totally not the reason for giving you guys so much importance in this post :P you all are genuinely awesome.
2015 has been a long and tiring year where I experimented, failed, learnt, celebrated, reflected, enjoyed and tried to set up for myself an amazing 2016.
I just hope 2016 is all about money, Yacht parties and DIKY.
Yo 2016 lets kill it together this year !!
This is why I said a Facebook year review for 2015 was just not possible.