Back in November 2019, if someone told me that our startup would raise consecutive rounds of funding, have a series of clients and will be on its way to become something amidst a global pandemic, I would have brushed it off as wishful thinking.
It’s not that we were not sure of our potential, but it was a different challenge for the three of us — having graduated a few months back, sitting in my grandmother’s old house which was doubled as our “office” to convert our dream into a reality.
When you enter the startup-ecosystem like we did, without a clue about raising funding or investor pitches, your only bet is a good mentor. But there’s the hitch — how do you find one?
A Cold Email?
I hardly would have ever guessed such a cold email to a promotional email id on a turbulent Friday night in the last week of November, would actually lead to a ticket flying to Mumbai on Sunday and pitch to Sanjay & his team at 100x.VC.
Of-course back then online pitches were not the normal. And for college graduates who skipped placements, paying a good price for your own tickets to just pitch was not the easiest decision either. With hardly anything to lose, we took our chances and set forth towards the city of dreams — Mumbai. Call it the sheer gall of the hopeful youth, but we did just that, and thus began a roller-coaster journey we budding entrepreneurs only dream of.
What followed next was a 2 week sprint — what I would call a crash course to entrepreneurship. Daily sessions with founders, investors, innovators helped us understand how to prepare for this journey of mixed emotions of success & failure that lay ahead in front of us. What I found most amusing back then was that a set of investors and a set of founders would always give contradictory advice — something I later realised why that was so important. For all three of us, those sessions became a game changer — not just in terms of networking & personal growth but in how we were to envision our company in the coming months.
And just as every course has theory put to test, for us — the 20 companies that comprised Class 01 of 2019, we had an interesting challenge — the VC Pitch Day. This day soon turned out to be one of the rarest days in the planet, having more investors (10 times) than founders. At the end of it, we had potential investors, confidence in our company, vital insight on what to sell, and what to not, and enough networking connections to make LinkedIn jealous.
And like all good things, the two weeks in the City of Dreams came to an end with crazy amounts of learning and some amazing friends to last for a lifetime. A good peer group is always a positive reinforcement and being the youngest, we had a lot to learn from everyone. The flight had taken off.
The quest for clients, next round of funding and taking the company ahead has continued after that, as Sanjay & his team continuously keep in touch and guide us through investor meets, product planning till today, and help us inch towards the next round of funding.
Would I make this choice again?
Often founders I speak to have this question — if I had to revisit my decision, would it be the same? The answer would be a simple yes.
And the reason?Well… If you have someone like them from the ecosystem who believes in you, the rest is surprisingly simple enough.
— CEO, Founder, Director at Data Sutram