I became an engineer because it was hot trend ten years ago. I joined top MNC and started developing telecom software. It was a good life, but I was not satisfied with my work. My company promoted me as a technical leader but excel sheets sucked the life out of me.
Life was suffocating like never before. I decided to jump the wall and resigned to start my company.
I co-founded startup with my friend to solve pain points of schools. We developed lightweight SaaS ERP system to streamline school communication with parents & faculty. Our long-term goals were to collect student behavior data, analyze using big data technology and prepare meaningful reports for parents. Well, these plans were just on papers but we wanted to fly high.
We started selling our product; that was a cloud-based solution for managing daily operations of the school. In just three months after launch, we had 5-7 schools including two paying customers.
Hurdles on the Road
We stuck there; we were not able to achieve further growth despite having a good pipeline of customers. I think there were two major reasons. First, sales sucked a lot of blood, and we were not professional salesmen. Second, my co-founder wanted quick results by tapping big clients so his focus shifted to collaborating with political influencers.
Living on the edge
There were few more twists & turns. We were running out of money, and we failed to pivot fast enough. We were directionless without any mentor. Both co-founders were running on different paths. The end result was painful; we lost the battle, which could have won. We shut down our business before even celebrating the first anniversary.
Depression, frustration but I bounced back
I lost my savings in my first venture. I lost my confidence. I had seen many failures in past. I knew how to bounce back. My co-founder joined a job, but I was determined to stay in startups.
I started attending startup events and meeting startup enthusiasts. I happen to meet with Sameer, the founder of The Morpheus accelerator known as Y-combinator of India.
I sold my startup story to him. I convinced him that I was serious about joining another startup. He connected me with his portfolio companies. I had talked to many founders before I joined one of the company as a co-founder.
I was happy that we were developing mobile app for Science students in India. We were making science learning fun exercise by converting science concepts into word games like Anagram & Crosswords. I learned digital marketing, content writing, integral education and a lot of life lessons from my co-founder & Morpheus Gang members.
We hit targets of app download that investors wanted to see. We were a strong team with experience in product development, marketing, and execution, but we were not able to monetize our app. A lot of other mobile startups struggle for monetization in India.
One way of hyper growth & monetization was to position our product that can help in getting more marks in exams. But that was against our vision. We had pitched to a couple of VCs before we decided to stop working on app development and find something else to pursue our passions.
Shutdown but not failed
I was not depressed or frustrated this time. I was happy that we helped so many students by our mobile app. I learned life lessons from my team, investors and mentors. The mobile app was just an expression of what we wanted to achieve; education startup is still alive within us.
My co-founder joined integral education school as a facilitator. I found my passion in writing & marketing. One of my love is to learn finance. I love to read topics like banking, stocks, taxation, credit cards and loans. I started investing in stocks soon after getting my first job. Since then I am learning value investing. I have learned about financial planning, and my friends come to me for advice.
I found my true self
Recently, I have started a personal finance blog, CashOverflow. I am learning finance, writing & marketing through my blog. I have some software ideas in mind to simplify finance management that I will implement and launch.
I earn little by writing about entrepreneurship & finance for some clients, but that is sufficient for sustaining my life. I am happy to call myself freelance writer & marketer. I am one of few lucky people who get a chance to work on what they love.
I would love to listen from you about your experience in startups.