I would rank 2016 as the most eventful year of my entrepreneurial journey.
It was mixed bag, with lots of ups and downs. A lot a learning in. Not all rosy, but not at all boring. I would like to take few minutes and run you through the highlights.
One of the biggest things happened this year is my business partner finding his life partner, an angel. I still wonder how he managed to get a girl like that. A mad, big fat indian wedding. And the madness continued with me joining another 20 crazy entrepreneurs across the globe at a camp in Chennai called the Happy Startup School, founded in the UK. Later I went on to become their Bangalore chapter head.
Landed back in Bangalore to face the cyclone/ storm / hurricane. Yes, shit did hit the fan. One of our projects, went haywire. Damage control, use all the bloody resources possible, hire consultants, endless yelling from the client, sleepless nights and the works. The saga continued for months. That was the most testing period for the entire team; kind of an endurance test. The best part was none of them gave up. All of them stood by us and delivered. Learned a lot from that one project. All thanks for those endless pressure from the client.
We went on a hiring spree after that. We grew from 60 to 80. Added some awesome people in the team. Thanks to our HR, Shrenik for the brilliant work in finding such amazing people. Added a “Down Office” to This and That offices.
Another exciting thing happened was our annual day. First time in the history of startups, we did an auction based team selection within the organization. And my team did a record purchase of Rs. 33 lakhs,and the rest is history. The start cover 42 runs in one over, with 6 dot balls; every dot ball was followed by 7 extras. (But then Manchester United spent € 90mil on Pogba. So one 33 lac purchase can be justified.)
Brace yourself, for the 5th anniversary is coming . Fool's day won't get any better. It will be pure madness. And we are super excited.
V.Rigin (the “. is silent) turned 30 and before he's 31, we can proudly call him just Rigin. Yes, he found someone to change her name and to change his name from V.Rigin to Rigin.
And the best thing happened was that we officialy launched our accelerator, Appy Hours. We have 6 startups already onboard. The plan is to make it 20, by end of 2017. And within this time, our startups have won multiple awards. Startup of the year in World Startup Expo, Outstanding performance at the 100 Open Startups, Finalist at the BIG PItch, Google Startup Weekend Winner, Hay Group Next Big 100 Companies winner, IIT Delhi Top 25 Startups in India, TiE Global Disruptive Startup Awards (Asia) 1st runner up, and a lot more to come.
I hope you all know about Appy Hours. If you don’t know please do Google about it.
Adrian Odgers, our CMO joining us was another milestone. The ex. MD of Ogilvy Digital, Singapore believing in our story was some deal. He is heading the Appy Hours initiative.
Apart from that we ran a few workshops, spoke at few events, judged few events; including an event at IIMB. And also became a Program Leader for Startup Leadership Program, Bangalore, which hosts around 30 founders in the current cohort.
Crazy Saturday Dive-ins, Independence Day, Onam, Women's Day, Christmas we just needed a reason to celebrate. Didn't think we were making memories.
I know that we are in the right place for many reasons.
Forget where we are, what we were doing and what we are going to do, but the industry which we are in, and the times we live in are magical.
40% of adults in OECD countries can’t use a computer well enough to delete an email. Think about the opportunity.
Can you believe that the web is less than just 8500 days old - think where this can take us.
Amazing things already happening around the world. Big data, AI, Analytics, VR, AR, Robotics and the list goes on.
Conversion is no more enquiries; Google’s advertising tools can track real-world shop visits. If a customer sees an ad then visits the relevant store a few days later, that conversion will appear in Google Adwords. Customers are tracked via Google Maps data.
Technology is helping in saving lives. Bangladesh was hit by a massive cyclone in May. The warning systems helped to evacuate half a million people. Only 23 people were dead. And in 1991, 140,000 people were dead because of a cyclone of similar magnitude.
People are replacing customer service with chatbots. A lot of sales are happening through them too.
iPhone makers Foxconn has replaced more than half its workforce with robots since the iPhone 6 was launched. Any mundane task done by a human is going to be replaced by technology.
Innovation and creativity is the way to go and I believe we are on the perfect springboard.
Earth has 7.6bn mobile accounts for 7.3bn people. Opportunities are vast. I can go on and on and on.
This is a new world for us. We are just getting started. We not afraid to make mistakes. Many amazing people are building a career with us while solving large scale problems.
2017 is going to be super exciting.
Will be starting our full fledged services in couple of countries including Australia. We are looking to onboard startups on robotics, Virtual Reality, IoT, Blockchain and more on Appy Hours.
A new office is in the cards. And a lot more. Let's not talk about the party, let's enjoy the party.
I started doing yoga, playing football and badminton regularly I suggest you to do something and stay fit, more than anyone else you want your body to be productive.
So wishing you a amazing 2017. Just keep this in mind; You must believe that you are the best and then make sure you are.