In 2008, when Zishaan Hayath (35) co-founded his first entrepreneurial venture Chaupati Bazaar — which allowed people to buy gadgets, books and other products through phone calls — he quickly realised he was an early entrant in the space. Within two years, he had sold Chaupati to Future Group and taken up the position of vice-president (product) in the group.
In 2013, Hayath quit the Future Group to float yet another start-up — Toppr, an online learning platform in the edutech sector. Hayath is one in a league of entrepreneurs from the city’s ‘Powai Valley’ that is unfazed by failure.
Last year, two major start-ups from the Powai Valley, Housing.com and Tinyowl, folded along with many others, hinting at the vulnerability and high risk of the start-up ecosystem. And yet, young entrepreneurs are looking at it only as a lesson for their next venture.
Take Rashi Menda for instance. She worked as an analyst at Bengaluru-based online kidswear brand Unamia, which had difficulty in sustaining and shut operations. But Menda took her learnings during her time there to start Zapyle in 2015. While her website started off as a space for selling premium fashion hand-me-downs, today, an entire section has been added for fresh products from foreign brands.
“My experience at Unamia helped me understand my market better. I was able to do exhaustive research prior to launching Zapyle,” said Menda. Research is the pillar to build a robust business, say the entrepreneurs.
“If you want to venture on the entrepreneurial path, always take the maximum time in planning and doing ground work/research for the idea. Once you have done enough research, take the plunge and give the idea twice the time you spent for research,” said Shubh Bansal, co-founder of Truebil.com. Five of the seven founders of Truebil, an online marketplace for used vehicles, were with Housing.com earlier.
For Hayath, tenacity is what matters the most. “You cannot give up on an idea. One needs to keep working to improve the product. That’s what is necessary,” said Hayath, who also mentors budding entrepreneurs in Powai. Failure is only a perspective, say the entrepreneurs.
“A failure for me might not be a failure for you. It is all relative. A failure today might have been an achievement in my past. Life is like a stock market, in the long term, it always follows an upward trend but in the short term, the flow is like a roller coaster,” said Bansal. “The biggest learning for us has come from 2015, when we saw so many awesome star-ups losing tracks. We call ourselves very frugal when we conduct business. We have learned that the end goal of a business is to create value and make money out of the value,” said Bansal.