It’s been a long & laborious journey and I don’t think I’ve seen the half of it but here’s a little on it. After 17 years of birth, I finally began my journey trying to put purpose to life. Having started with my revered sport, Cricket, I decided to move on and try my hand at Business.
Food For India (2011 – 2012)
Started in early 2011, Food For India aimed to be an online portal that allowed you to order your food online. Not revolutionary by any means across the Globe, but ‘FFI’ as it were known internally was unique in the country we live in; India. We had a team of 17 young interns who helped us build a company from the ground up.The experience was enriching; filled with enthusiasm, energy, passion, novices and teens! Our average age, believe it or not, was 19. However, due to lack of experience, flaws in the model, poor industry judgement & lack of finances, FFI tanked. My partner, Siddharth Goliya, 24 (you’re going to hear a whole lot about him) and I, strung together 10,000 USD (6.5L) for the business. We’d done multiple jobs for over 2 years to stitch that number together.In retrospect, the amount may seem exceedingly small but that’s the best you can do in your teens I guess, especially in a country where the currency doesn’t bark your cause.The venture never took off, my team worked their backsides off, we couldn’t even afford to pay them; the returns were few, learnings, too many.We had 1500 USD left in the tank of the available 10,000 and we decided to build a digital solutions company and we launched, Doodle Creatives.
Doodle Creatives (2012 – 2014)
We officially launched Doodle Creatives on the 5th of November, 2012. We had a great Web design at the time, it was unique & it’s exactly what got us business. Doodle’s numbers in a matter of months shot through the roof, we recovered everything we lost with FFI and were back on our feet.Life seemed normal again.Doodle was something we did for a good year and a bit; we gathered immense technical know-how working on websites, backend softwares, apps & I’d like to think the both of us honed a little of our business acumen there as well.Again, we had an incredible team who backed us with this. Only 3 remained, from the original 17.We had it all, the numbers, esteemed client portfolio, projections, team, all seemed to be in our favour but deep down, it’s something Siddharth & I never really loved, we just didn’t want to spend the rest of our lives doing it. We wanted to build products that could potentially reach out to hundreds of millions of people. It’s something that always bothered us & we decided to cross-subsidise our funds from Doodle to our first product and made the shift to Blood Seva.
Blood Seva (2013)
In May of 2013, bootstrapped, we head out to build our first product. At the time we didn’t realise it, but it was Social entrepreneurship. For all the English speaking folk out there ‘Seva’ stands for ‘Service’.Blood Seva basically captured a very desperate need in the country and tried to solve it. To get Blood in an emergency that matched the required Blood Group was next to impossible in India.The concept was simple, all you had to was send an SMS and you’d know exactly where you’d get the blood you want. We took 3 months to build it and hopped VCs, Industrialists before deciding to throw in the towel. We were told the idea was great but they wanted something more commercial. And, rightly so. There was no way Blood Seva could make money, it would only & only be a CSR activity at best.Nonetheless, we did choose to go commercial.
We conceived the idea of Pipes close to a year ago. The both of us (Siddharth & I) always felt the need to personalise the way we got our news. I mean, we always believed everyone has something they love, right? Something they are so very passionate about and want to keep up with it all the time; across categories from Business to Politics, Fashion, Sport, Technology & so much more.Today, thousands of Pipes have been added, some of ‘em beyond the realms of what I could have ever imagined.
It’s an incredible feeling.
Off late this is something that’s become really cliché but the feeling of springing right out of my bed every single day excited and going to work is unparalleled. And this is with my entire team, their commitment, perseverance, passion for Pipes makes Siddharth and I push ourselves that extra mile.Staring at my cup of coffee, it feels like a long time ago to me when we worked out of homes & cafes before we got to our wonderful office that we have today.We think we’re on the verge of something really cool, and we’re very very excited with what the future holds for us. As I write this, we’ve already uploaded our next update and I can’t wait for all you guys to see what it is!