Thirty-year-old Bharat Ahirwar started a service for expats called At Your Service in 2010, but the venture had to be shut in 2012 since it didn’t address the right audience and was ahead of time. He then experimented with an errand service with different brand names and models before finally tasting success.
In 2011, Vivek Shah, along with others, launched a men’s fashion portal, Fetise, which was valued on par with other e-commerce giants such as Flipkart, but soon shut shop because of competition and wrong metrix. Arvind Singh ( 35) founded a cloud-based campus management platform for colleges called Vrixx in 2008 which shut down in 2010 because he expanded too fast and added too many features which didn’t appeal the audience.
Ahirwar, Shah and Singh are not ashamed of these failures, they celebrate it. In fact, they love sharing their failed stories publicly and getting roasted for it too. Providing a platform for this one-of-a-kind informal meet-up laced with humour and anecdotes, over beer and food is Epic Fail Nights, an event curated by Bombay Connect, a co-working space.
Organised once in a month in restaurants and pubs in the city, people with failed businesses, ideas and projects get together, discuss their journey and share their experiments with blunders through the night. Apart from tales of failure and an opportunity to network, the highlight of the event is a comedy show, a hysterical performance to further roast the sporting participants and speakers who decided to sit back and share their epic failures.
Ironically, the nights also help people find potential business partners to try out new ventures.
The event starts around 7 pm and goes on till late night. Ashish Goenka, founder of Bombay Connect, says, “I am defined by a series of failures. I have tried my hands on many things and goofed up. Sharing failed business stories with other people is a global concept and I thought I am a perfect candidate to bring it in the country since I’m no stranger to failures. In the city, I make it a very casual and fun-filled night. We invite people, book a space in a popular pub or eatery and celebrate our setbacks over great food and beverages.”
He said these informal meet-ups help people learn from each other’s mistakes and by sharing the disappointments of the past, they feel lighter and motivated to keep trying. “The idea is to change the perception around failures. It’s not the end of the world. We have budding entrepreneurs, students and failed entrepreneurs sharing their stories and funny life experiences in their journey. The best part is when many such people connect, they know they are not alone and it helps put the past behind them. These are not serious meet-ups, they are fun and entertainment and laughter is guaranteed,” adds Ashish.
At a time, depending on the venue, there are over a 100 to 150 people in the event, many who have tasted failures and many who are about to test waters. The attendees also get to enjoy an extended happy hour at the pubs and restaurants to literally “drink away their sorrows”.
As Goenka puts it, “It’s a journey to embrace failures and understanding what can be done to avoid future mess-ups. It takes some mettle to speak up about what went wrong amidst cheers and claps and laughter. We provide a perfect space to let them share their deep dark secrets of having encountered failures and let it out in the most unconventional way.”