About The Author:
BHASKAR MAJUMDAR, a seasoned corporate executive, is a serial entrepreneur turned well-known early stage investor. He is the founding partner of Unicorn India Ventures and has invested across 30 start-ups in India and the UK with a cumulative valuation of over $3 billion. Bhaskar is an alumnus of IIT Kharagpur and has attended the Advanced Management Programme (AMP) at Harvard. He lives between London, Cotswolds and Mumbai. This book was imagined and written during the first UK lockdown in 2020 while staying in his Cotswolds cottage.
Chit Chat Session
Congratulations for your book “Everything started as Nothing”and for all the lovely reviews! How are you feeling?
It is always encouraging and humbling to be appreciated. Feeling good to see that the book ‘Everything started as Nothing’ is being well received by the readers across various age groups, geographies and various professional profiles.
Kindly acquaint our readers with your debut book.
‘Everything Started as Nothing book’ captures the stories, the triumphs and tribulations of start-ups and the entrepreneurs in India. The success stories of the startups in India have added fuel to the aspirations of the young minds in India and catapulted the country to become “the startup nation.” Look around and one will see new ideas being churned into business models to solve everyday life solutions for a billion plus people, considering the population of India. Entrepreneurship is indeed, growing throughout India. This burst of activity can be seen in the hinterland of India, as well, which is brim with entrepreneurship success stories in the agriculture, manufacturing, logistics and the burgeoning social sector. It comes as no surprise then that India has emerged as the third largest startup eco-system in the world and is expected to grow at a constant annual growth of 12-15 per cent. In 2018 India had about 50,000 startups; around 8,900 – 9,300 of these were technology led startups. About 1,300 new tech startups were born in 2019 alone implying there are 2-3 tech startups born every day.
While the journey is exciting, startup founders accost numerous challenges. The book is divided into four segments – Infancy, Growth Years, Consolidation Years and End Game and draws out the challenges that a start-up founder faces in each phase, as each stage needs a different mindset to overcome adversities.
There are not many books that have been authored by people who have seen this ecosystem grow and have local stories to tell. Books that are available tend to be either those written by western authors or those built around the success of an entrepreneur.
This book provides a comprehensive “what works and what doesn’t” in the Indian context, giving anecdotes and real-life stories of entrepreneurial success and failures across technology businesses, agri and small-scale businesses, across manufacturing and social sector will have a mass appeal and cut right across the length and breadth of the country.
You are an Investor by profession. How do you manage writing along with your profession?
While I am professional early stage investor, I have been an entrepreneur before. I personally enjoy writing. The best thing about being a writer is undoubtedly, the ability to express oneself. With time an individual gains experiences and memories which are locked inside one’s sub-conscious. Writing boosts your sub-conscious and brings these to the fore. Sharing experiences that benefit others is of great joy and gives one a sense of pride.
The book is an account of what works and what does not in the Indian start-up ecosystem. The plot seems to be unique. How did you arrive at the core of the idea?
My start up journey and my investments in startups inspired me to write. I was quite motivated with the ups and downs I faced during my entrepreneurial journey and I felt the need to help young entrepreneurs who are afraid to take that leap of faith. The clinger came when one of the founders who I had invested in and the business has unfortunately failed refused to be in touch out of a sense of shame over the failure. That made me realize that entrepreneurs must be told that failure and success are two parts of the same coin and what true entrepreneurship is all about.
What sort of research you did before writing the book?
The book is based on personal experiences. I spoke and did extensive research around the other entrepreneurs who had similar experiences to share. I embellished the book with real life experiences of myself and others.
What is the next book that you have planned?
I have a notion which I am working on. Early days. I have been a strong reader of global mythology and fables and I see their relevance and pertinent in today’s business and startup world.
Kindly share some words of wisdom for the new start-ups.
- Become an entrepreneur but be aware of the pitfalls and the associated trials of being an entrepreneur. Don’t become one because startups are glamorized.
- Don’t wait for the novel idea. It is execution that matters.
- Choose a good co-founder as it is a lonely journey.
- Don’t wait for the best time. The right time is now; if your heart is in it and you feel you are motivated enough.