I have loved computers since I was 8 but didn’t think of doing anything exceptional with it, except for getting a job. I used to read technology magazines since my childhood. There I got to know about Steve Jobs launching iPhones and iPad from national tech magazine – Digit.
(Disclosure: To this day I read this amazing magazine and I highly recommend anyone young who wants to venture into tech to subscribe to it. Not a promotion, just a piece of advice from a fellow founder.)
Steve Jobs completely revolutionized the tech industry. I was fascinated. That’s when I decided that I will start my own startup.
During my middle school, I had some summer projects and need a color printer for it. So, since I knew, relatively, a lot about computers at that time (Built a custom PC for gaming and creative work), I started selling pirated games and Softwares online. I must mention here that I was fortunate enough for getting such amazing parents who got me acquainted with computers and helped me in every step of my upcoming startup journey. From there I got a sufficient amount of money to get the printer and got A++ in every project.
I was a relatively intelligent kid at that time and wasn’t very much aware of hard-work as everything in studies came easy to me. But, when I was preparing for my college admissions, I got to know that “hard work beats talent if talent doesn’t work hard.”
After getting into a good enough school (UPES – Dehradun) with a CS degree, I found out about online courses where anyone can learn almost anything for free or fraction of the cost of college tuition. Then, I thought if I could get everything online then why am I wasting my productive years and parent’s hard-earned money studying redundant things. I started taking online courses during the 1st year of my college itself, and when I got good at it. I learned computer science, business, entrepreneurship, strategy form top institutions online like Wharton, Harvard, MIT, CBS, Google. I dropped out of my school to learn how to create startups by actually creating it at an early age instead of wasting time in college.
Now, dropping out of college is a taboo in India. However, my parents supported me in every step of this journey, gave me a safety-net so that I can focus on building great things without worrying about money, home, and other necessities. That helped me build an entrepreneurial mindset at a much faster rate and got me into this path of building startups.
You can have an idea but you need some programming knowledge to make it into reality. That’s why I self-learned coding so that I can at least build the initial MVP to garner the first thousand users. I started looking for people that are as equally passionate about building tech startups as me and invited to join an entrepreneurship school in India, where people went to find a startup success route. There I met a lot of people from different industries and pedigrees. I was the youngest kid there so I got a lot of opportunities to speak in public with students about my journey. I also got into trial and error with multiple tech projects/startups in Modular tech, IoT and Blockchain. There I learned the single most important thing to build a startup. Network and Learning from failure.
Now being a college dropout with very little cash and network in hand, I decided to shoot 3 birds with one stone. I wasn’t engaged in any ideas full-time at that time. But, to kickstart my entrepreneurship career, I decided to network with people from the startup community. Now, startup conferences are exclusive and expensive. However, they provide serious benefits to CEOs of startups. So, I printed 100 business cards with a cool-sounding startup name, having a vague idea which I’ll virtually be implementing. I got a tuxedo from my father and start searching for big startup events in the city. Found one. Went there boldly, espousing “I’m the Founder and CEO of <insert a cool startup name here>. We do this and that. I got to network with amazing people there. The food was extremely good there and also free so that was a bonus. I keep going to different events and conferences for months. Learned plenty of things. Until I actually founded a company.
I kept on doing trial-and-test on different tech ideas from modular tech to IoT. I finally found my passion when I encountered Bitcoin and Blockchain in 2017. I read almost 500+ articles and books on blockchain and learned almost everything I need to know about the tech to build a startup on top of it. Then, I decided to apply some of that knowledge. I started Cointify – Blockchain research and investment community with one of my friends, where at the peak we had 10000+ members all across the globe. We also created an algorithm to identify high RoI blockchain projects. Cumulatively we helped invest close to $2M+ in crypto assets. We made amazing profits.
I also got my hands dirty in crypto-trading where I learned one of the most important things while building startups. Patience. I got some funds from my dad which I invested in crypto and gotten good enough returns. This helped me getting a good source of money through which I can later build startups.
Then, The great crypto crash happened. This is my first time seeing a crash of this scale happening in a global market. Most of the member’s motivation to work and continue the community faded with the crash. I later had to pause the project. And, then started looking for new opportunities to tackle. However, I could’ve let this community go on if I delegated the control to someone else from the community.
Then, one of my batchmates from back in the entrepreneurship school got some funds from investors and was starting an e-commerce project of reselling used products and asked me to join as CTO. Since I didn’t have anything to do that time, I thought let’s try working in a funded non-tech startup. Initially, everything was good, we made $100k in revenue in 6 months, which in India, is a lot. But, due to certain ethical and management differences, I left the project.
After that, I decided to enter into my lifelong passion once again – Blockchain. Then I met some guys who were trying to build some kinds of game rewards platform over Quora. I started having discussion with those guys and loved the way they were accepting of new ideas and open to new opportunities. I then came on board as a part-time co-founder and started the blockchain implementations and product design to get a better product that customers want. We launched the beta phase 1 in February (just 2 months of building the product), got a great response.
But, then COVID happened. Most of the clients who were piloting with us went cold. We, however, started working on Phase-2. During COVID, I considered seeing this as an opportunity than a crisis. I decided to help the world reduce the impact of COVID. Then, I started creating an app – SoloCoin to gamify social-distancing. A geo-fencing app to reward people to engage in social-distancing. (All the things I’ve learned from my previous startups I applied here.) I entered many hackathons. Got 20+ open-source collaborators from around the world (100% remote). Built an amazing community of 300+ people. Later we won India’s Largest and World’s largest COVID hackathon. Received grants to build the app from Motwani Jadeja Foundation. Launched the beta on Play Store within a month.
Now, being a huge proponent of education I currently am working on a vision to help the kids find their passion at the early stages of their life. The product is in stealth mode. We are currently validating it as we speak, talking to tutors, parents, and their needs to build a product that can change the way kids learn.
I’m looking for passionate people to join our journey in making a world a better place and to get this product into the hands of the next billion kids.