Short Story

I sold off my company and have now shifted to Australia for my Masters.

 

Long Story

Things started changing in May 2016. My company IZE Creative had reached a level of optimal stagnancy and I didn’t have the skills enough to scale it up to the next level. Moreover, I was dying for a change of atmosphere and felt the urge to uproot myself.

It was then that my friend Ajin and couple of my mentors – Suresh Sir and Mini Ma’am, coaxed me to try for pursuing my Masters abroad. For someone who took nearly 5 years to complete his engineering, higher studies was never on my list. But the thought of exploring a pristine culture and surrounding myself with the new and unexpected did feel like a challenge I wanted to face.

Thus began my journey of finding what exactly I wanted to study, “if” I actually would decide to pursue my higher studies. It took me almost 3 months to actually decide that and another 3 weeks to decide on the preference of colleges. For some reason, maybe intuition, I didn’t focus on US and instead started exploring Universities in Australia, especially Melbourne, which has been the top city in the world for students, for 6 years straight.

As this research was going on, I received a couple of offers for buying off my stake from the company. IZE Creative had been doing great for the past 5 years and was generating absolutely wonderful content and we had a client retention rate of over 90%.

By November 2nd Week I had decided on the buyer, who would be a friend of my existing partner and by December 2nd Week, I had received my offers from 3 Universities in Melbourne. As the last week of 2016 closed by, I decided on pursuing my Masters of Communication and Media Studies with Monash University, ranked 17th globally for the subject, and the procedures of clearing the financials of selling off my stake were also done with.

So, without taking a penny of loan from the bank or from home,  I paid off the First Semester fees of my University and confirmed my admission. Needless to say, from September 2011 when I started the company with just a laptop and internet connection, I was myself proud of having come a good deal of a way. Maybe not the best achievement you would see around you, but definitely an awesome one for me. And my dad’s smile said it all.

Yes, it did hurt like hell selling off my stake and disassociating myself with IZE Creative. It’s like giving up your own child for adoption. But one has to move on to move ahead and that’s all I have done, in the long run.

From our first office in the Store Room of a Dental Clinic to starting off offices in two cities. From best friends backstabbing to strangers acting like guardian angels. From the verge of bankruptcy to YoY profit of 285% at one time. From starting off as a lone man army to reaching our maximum strength of 8 at one time. From being expelled from my own home for not getting “a job” to seeing my dad’s eyes proud with happiness, I have seen it all.

And now, as I start off on my new innings, I request your wishes. Wishes not to make things easy for me; they never have been. But wishes that I maybe able to survive through the storm and come out unscathed.

As I have always said –

“Yesterday, I was tested. Today, I’ll rise. Tomorrow, I build my legacy.”

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It’s funny when I come to think of it. I never thought of becoming an entrepreneur until my startup was into it’s fourth month.

I actually never thought of becoming an entrepreneur. Steve Jobs wasn’t someone I idolized, Richard Branson wasn’t an icon I wanted to worship and Larry Page was just another hot-shot name I had heard somewhere.

For the sake of writing, it would be inspiring to say that the entrepreneurship bug bit me when I was 7 and then it never let me go. Bullshit. I can’t even imagine how a kid born in the 1990 era in a middle class Indian family could even think of the term entrepreneur other than the fact that it was difficult to spell it right.

Starting off IZE Creative in 2011 was purely a leap of faith. I knew not what I was doing but I was as carefree as any person could be. Having lived 21 years of my life with my decisions being taken by my parents, it was enriching to finally take a big step on my own. I didn’t care about failure or success. I just wanted to try.Continue reading

kerala budget 2015-15 for entrepreneurs and startups

Kerala has been seeing the entrepreneurship bandwagon go long and high over the past couple of years. With setup of Incubation Centres like Startup Village and support in setting up of other similar structures in Universities and Colleges, the hype related to Entrepreneurship is at an all time high.

Hence, it was clearly expected that the recent Kerala Budget 2015-16 would definitely include clauses focusing on the promotion of entrepreneurship. And as the Budget Presentation was full of drama, the budget itself didn’t disappoint in terms of being dramatic.

A total amount of more than Rs 150 Crores has been allotted for Entrepreneurship related development activities.Continue reading

The Startup Hype that killing entrepreneurship in kerala

There was a saying once in Kerala – You throw a stone and 90% of the time it’ll hit an engineer. Fast forward to today and you hear a modified version of the same – You throw a stone and 90% of the time it’ll hit a startup entrepreneur.

Kerala has seen a huge boost in the number of startups being formed and the number of entrepreneurs taking reins of their self-made career. While it is definitely a positive sign, the increased frequency of students turning to entrepreneurs is alarming. So much so that, the extra sweetness is rotting the teeth.

Here is what I mean.

When me and most of my entrepreneur friends started off with our respective startups, entrepreneurship was seen as voodoo and a career choice for people who “couldn’t secure another job”. Not to blow our own horn, but it did require balls of steel and nerves of iron to go ahead with the decision. While some of us were written off as failures by the extended family, some others like myself were thrown out of home for “being a rebel“. And even few others had to break-up with their girlfriends because they didn’t have a “secure future”.

From there, came a time mainly around 2012-2013, where entrepreneurship started getting the respect it deserved and entrepreneurs were no longer looked upon with as much contempt as compared to the years before – thanks to initiatives likes the Startup Village and other policies by the State Government. People started accepting the “heroism” associated with entrepreneurship and it became the new hype.Continue reading

Why The Plateau of Mediocrity Kills a Startup

Failures don’t kill a startup. Mediocrity does.

In this era of startup boom, majority of the startups have been entangled in the web of mediocrity. They neither fail, nor do they grow beyond a certain level. While failure delivers a definitive result and success is a state which lacks any definition, growth is the only positive option that remains.

For a startup to remain active, one either needs a slanted growth wave or a sine wave with its fair share of ups and downs. It’s the plateau’d wave that kills the lot.

Growth Stages of a StartupContinue reading