Kochi: You have to be Rocky Balboa, Joseph Palathingal, founder and CEO of CarePact, exhorted aspiring entrepreneurs by referring to the iconic movie character.
“It is not about how you hit but how you can take the hit. And you will be constantly hit. Rejections will be the order of the day,” he said at the final session of Techspectations 2018.
His CarePact was the result of the shocking overpricing of stents in the country.
Aardra Chandra Mouli, MD of Aeka Biochemicals, said dealing with failure itself was her biggest challenge.
“I am the nerdy type, the front-bencher, and I had never liked to fail. This is quite the opposite of the crazy entrepreneur type. But here at Aeka there has been a mistake probably every week,” she revealed.
Aardra said the two main challenges have been the skill gap and the learning she needed to bridge to become an entrepreneur.
She was so environmentally conscious that she had once wrote to the Unilever CEO not to advertise with children washing their hands with the pipes turned on.
Her biotech venture Aeka is an all-women solar-powered zero-effluent facility.
Nishanth B Singh, founder CEO and CEO EduLanche Services Pvt Ltd., is unique in that he is a doctor whose entrepreneurial spirit had made him stray from his profession.
A rare breed, as Kiruba Shankar, the moderator of the panel discussion noted, his product essentially caters to the learning of students. “There is a world of content on what to learn but nothing much on how and why to learn. It is this we have attempted to provide,” Singh said. Edphone is his latest product, and it will allow students to both get instant notes and also feedback.
Asif Basheer, MD, Chillar Payment Solutions, based his product on 'small change', which means 'chillara' in Malayalam, 'silrey' in Tamil.
The idea was to create a parallel kind of modality for 'chillar' payments. He was so caught up by this common issue that he did not do much research before he launched his product. “I thought I would do research after I get some money. It will not work that way,” Asif said. Though he started in 2013, it was in 2017 he turned the corner.
Nishanth too said that an aspiring entrepreneur should have enough of domain expertise before starting out. “Instead of going ahead with a grand idea, and putting money into it, make sure the problem you have identified is valid. See whether the people facing the problem are willing to pay for it,” he said. “Ideally, the value you offer should be twice that the customer would have got without it,” he added.
All of these homegrown entrepreneurs were, as farmer and entrepreneur Nagaraja Prakasam said, those who had looked at the problems of the people.
They were not copycats who had googled to look up the problems of the country. “We are a poor country. 400 million do not have electricity. 350 million do not have anything to eat. Our problems cannot be solved by looking up a search engine,” Prakasam said.