Before I had even heard of Startup Weekend, I had left my cushy job in 2013 to start my own business. I was super excited but unaware of the challenges that would arise along the way. I joined with one of my close friends to build something for education, ERP for K-12 schools. We managed to find early adopter customers in a few months but things were not going as we expected. Soon we started facing clashes (between co-founders) and we shut down our venture before the first anniversary.
I was depressed and frustrated. I was scared of being alone, scared of going back to the corporate job, scared of starting another startup.
But I was clear that I had to stay in startups.
There was no better way than attending Startup Weekend. It was the first Startup Weekend in my city, Chandigarh. Luckily I found a discount coupon and enrolled for the fun filled weekend with startup enthusiasts. I had no expectations for the event other than spending time with good people.
I pitched my idea, which was about creating Uber for household services like electrician, plumber & daily repair jobs. While my idea didn’t move forward, I joined a team of someone whose idea was appreciated by many, serving different type of tea. We enjoyed every phase of the event. On the final day, we presented our idea and won third prize. Kudos!! I was happy.
At the event I got an introduction with Sameer Guglani, founder of startup accelerator The Morpheus. I met him and introduced myself as failed entrepreneur looking for a second chance in startups. He asked me to meet at Morpheus HQ.
I met him again after few days at Morpheus HQ in Chandigarh. We decided to go for a small walk. We sat in the garden, which was a very pleasant place to discuss startups. I opened up about why I was doing the startup and why I wanted to continue in the startup world. Through our conversation he was convinced that I was serious about startups.
These guys were very humble and helpful. I did my own research and selected couple of startups I was interested in. They connected me directly with startup founders. I personally met with few good startups at their meetup in Delhi.
There I met Vineesh, the sole founder of education startup PocketScience. We kept discussing the education system in India and how result driven society is damaging thinking skills of students. I liked what he was doing and why he was doing it. We decided to work together for one month before finalizing my joining terms. I worked on marketing activities for our education-centric mobile app. After one month, he offered me a position and I gladly accepted.
We both managed all the work and crossed 10K app downloads and started looking for VC funding. Investors wanted to see monetization possibilities. One way was to position the app as a steroid for exam marks. However, we were never ready to position ourselves around exam marks, we wanted to become medium of curiosity driven learning. This was just against our principles and vision. We tried but could not prove any other monetization channel. We decided to stop working on further app development.
But we are happy with what we did so far. We are happy that we said no to such potential funding which was not aligned with our vision.
I faced many challenges along the way, but I never doubted startups were for me.
Now I am pursuing my passion in finance & content marketing. I started a blog on personal finance – CashOverflow. I proudly call myself a freelancer, startup mentor and digital marketer. I am happy to help startups in any way I can. You can reach me on Twitter @pardeepg.