5 Things to Learn From a Failed Startup

[The article is originally written for NextBigWhat.com]

The tremendous wave of startups in India is on. A lot of these startups are early stage startups by fresh students or recent graduates. Although we have seen a lot of such startups turning big later, sadly the success ratio of such startups is too low. A lot of them fail in the very first year of their journey. You call it lack of experience, market strategies, funds marketresearch.


In this blog, I would like to share similar experience with my first startup. The startup rose to become a famous talk in the initial stage but eventually had to shut down after some time due to some reasons. Though the startup failed, it gave me lot of insights and experiences into this field, which drives what I do today. Below is a compiled generic checklist for any such startup to keep in mind:

Read my full article here.


A Fractured Education System

Engineer. Doctor. MBA. CA. The designations and the corresponding degrees don’t make anyone much excited or proud nowadays. Because in more than 80% of the cases, regarding a student’s profession, you would be getting one of these three answers. The rest 20% may turn up with some or other variant of these courses.

According to a recent survey of  Programme for International Student Assessment(PISA) conducted annually to evaluate education systems worldwide by the OECD(Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) Secretariat., India ranks last 2nd  in the world. Beating Kyrgyzstan.

Since last 5 years I have been associated with various facets of Indian Education System. Firstly and more importantly – As A Student, preparing for getting into a job, watching people preparing for Management Exams(many of whom in fact can’t manage themselves) and higher education, a Trainer for Higher Secondary Science Students,  and guiding one of the Primary School Student. I emphasized `As A Student` because that gives the answer to most of the topics discussed in this article. I discuss various loopholes in the system. Maybe everyone is aware of all these facts. But the problem is to find where and how to find the solution for this fracture in the education system.

I respect some of the achievements and progress made by few of the exceptional educational institutes from various backgrounds ranging from IIMs to IITs to NID. But hereby I will be talking about more general cases prevalent in the system. The qualificational details in the article would be more inclined towards engineering backgrounds.

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1. A Weak and Stereotype Primary Schooling :

Schooling is ought to be the base of what kind of person a student grows into. But sadly, schooling, like any other education system in India, has become a matter of business. There are comparatively very few government run schools which stand upto the required standard. I appreciate the initiatives taken by the government for improving the education and literacy base, but the implementation is targeted towards imparting basic and primary knowledge. Of course, managing to provide a world class schooling to every student is not feasible for govt too. Tuition based learning and lack of practical implementations have proved to be a major fracture point in the system. I have seen few live cases of how the government run schools in villages are operating and surely they would not take the level anywhere except providing a result certificate. Schooling is still majorly following the pattern of mugging up stories and vomit in the papers as much as you can. Hardly any appreciation is made for the students who want to pursue a out-of-normal career like Music, Gaming, Art, ect.

I have seen some schools coming up with the so-called real schooling but looking at the fee structures of lakhs I would consider them so-called for-above-middle-class-schooling making it accessible to a very few % of them.

2. Higher Secondary Cast System: Science Commerce Arts

The higher secondary studies are looked upon as some caste based system. The Science forming the Brahmin Class, The Commerce – the Kshatriyas and Arts – The Sevaks.  Most of the students, say 98% don’t have any practical knowledge of respective branches. Run for IIT, AIEEE and if both of them don’t work State Boards. Many of the decisions are influenced by family so in this case I don’t blame the students. One of the funniest reasons I am hearing nowadays is to pursue MBA. 🙂

I think the neighbors become more concerned of your studies than the students. I regret how a stream called Arts can be so demotivated. Commerce is considered more of a hangout stream.

3. The Race Begins: Mission Graduate Degree

Getting into a good graduate program is Imp. Or say Most Imp(*). Because this is the point which decides your career. A good degree – your life is kind of settled. And a bad degree and you end up being an engineer, who after 4 years of hard work ends up working in a call center at 8,000 p.m. + additional incentives or to join your family business and calling yourself an entrepreneur.

But getting into a degree program is not as such a hard task even. Probably every businessman with some good investment in pocket has some or the other- Engineering MBA Medical- college opened for convenience. Recently I read the novel Revolution 2020 by Bhagat and came to know few more in-facts of this education industry.

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Government also, cannot be completely blamed for this. The reason being – they are allowing set up of these institutes to increase the overall education level of the country. Also managing crores of students and thousands of schools, colleges and institutes is not an easy task. State based education board systems have made the education – as a nation – weak. Decentralized organization of these institutes, untrained teachers, monetary business sense based activities have resulted in a chaos in education system.

So, the point is whom to blame for this? The schools, teachers, tuitions, entrance exam patterns, selection criteria, education businessman, government or the student caught in the middle of these all ??

The Decisive Day – Deloitte

DeloitteAug 9. Tuesday.  Got up in the morning and as usual to the bus. The normal informal guys in the bus were also in formals. The Deloitte Effect. Probably I wasn’t excited much for the day. Revised few Mensuration Formulas. I Pod plugged in. Ended up with the last song. And this song from London Dreams `Shola Shola`(Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy) is one song which has a good inspiring energy.


Drizzling. NIM Audi. And mahnn…..a packed NIM Audi. I guess some 325+. Everyone almost looking same. Some or the other pattern of white shirt and some dark shades of trousers. Girls also weared kinda some except few in the skirts;) We did arrange our seats accordingly(as what we do during Class Tests). Viral on right. Nishant on extreme right. Raj on left. Mudi on extreme left. Unaware of the fact of 1-3-5-7-9 seating arrangement to be followed. And then a team of some 10-12 black suited professionals. As usual the PPT Session, a boring informative session.

And then the disappointment part. 4 sets of paper that means you cant borrow your answers even from your neighbour’s neighbour. Sectional cut off included.  So no chance for teaching. And believe. This was probably the only paper which I have solved with 100%  `my efforts`. Of course I did try to cross verify few ones during the last one minute but in vain.

Then went back to canteen. I remember that waiting period @Canteen First Floor with Sumit, Vishal, Nishant, Viral, Raj, Mudi, Dipen and others. Then the Apti Results announced. And goodness……i was among top 94. The results were surprising. And believe. Its no fun and difficult to move ahead without your loved friends.;(

Followed up was with some real out-of-sense(from my side at least) Group Discussion and Presentation on some `Corrupt Server Solution Strategy`. Maybe the judges didn’t feel so. So finally cracked these things too in front of two panels for Case Study Discussion and Presentation respectively.

Things were moving smoothly. The satisfaction was that at least I reached top 35 who were going to appear for the interviews next. And then interview. Wasn’t rehearsed much. What came out was more of spontaneous. Smooth……Tell me something about yourself….followed by a good startup answer.

And then came the most critical period of the day. The waiting period. Rain. Hunger.Talks wit Sumit. Hathodas inside III cell with Raj, Mudi, Sumit, Mayank. Eager. And then all the citizens packed together into a meeting to make their final decisions. And then. The Result Time. They declared initially that 20 have mede it. So each name announced was sort of one chance lost. But finally my name announced. And Cheers!!!!!

What followed by was a surprise at home. A number of calls. FB Update and wishes 🙂

Made it.


The Pre Decisive Day – Motorola

Aug 8. Was not a normal day at all. Well this was the day which all have been talking about since 3 years. Yh the first placement day. Motorola. Well nobody actually knew whether it was Moto Mobility or Moto Solutions. The criteria held was quite high, so the frequency of the eligible participants was low.Almost everyone in perfect formals, almost same.

A Audi. I remember discussing where the Moto Headquarters are situated and who on this earth is leading them. After around an hour the three M Powered people came.  And then the secret revealed…. it was Moto Mobility. After few `as usual` problems with Nirma projectors, the PPT session started. By the end of it, Moto Mobility became the dream company:)

Akshay Patel on my left. C Apti Test. 30 Questions. 30 min. Passed. And a complete :(. Went to Canteen(place where all the happy and sad moments end up). Shortlist announced. Only 18. Damn. I remember the faces. Took up the shirt sleeves and Back to pavilion.

I remember me, Akshay and Viral walked back to library. Disappointed by the fact that an EC guy(or female guy;) easily beat us in a C Apti Test:(

And the rest of the day was dull.

Not knowing that tomorrow will be a more brighter day to come.:)

Continued Article: The Decisive Day – Deloitte