At 19, I started my 1st company. I was invited to a 5-star hotel for an investor meeting. It was my first. I sold my dream over a Dal Makhni and a Naan to the investor because back then, going to a 5 star was fancy! Ended up giving 1/3rd of the company against $100,000, free lunch at a 5 star, and a co-founder tag for the investor. Most of the calls in the company were now taken by the “new co-founder”, and ended up outsourcing the entire product to the agency. The product never released before 6 months. When it did, we realized our thesis had changed by then.
Learning 1: Money can’t buy success. Fancy is a shortcut. Never outsource tech of consumer products to an agency. By nature, products are iterative.
At 23, I started my second company Reach App. Raised $500,000. Never knew how and where to spend this money. Because I belonged to the middle-class background, I was always on an optimization mode. Optimizing for hiring developers, operations people, HRs, and took all the responsibility on me to save the cost. Always played safe. Never reached to the PMF
Learning 2: Value your time more than money. Seed money is the experiment money to reach PMF.
At 25, I left ixigo (Reach App got acquired by ixigo) to start another company wishfie. My co-founder at wishfie was an ex-facebooker and an angel investor. My reasons to jump to the new startup were not because I was excited about the idea but because I was not enjoying my job. Also because of the credible co-founder that I’d work with.
Learning 3: Don’t jump into something new because you want to escape from your current situation.
At 27, I started working on multiple products. I used to feel handicapped on how to distribute these products to the right market. I had no clue how to grow the app beyond 200,000 users.
Learning 4: Now that product came in handy, I gave myself a new challenge to crack distribution. Having answers to the difficult questions like what’s the distribution strategy? How to get the first 1000 users? Do you have a plan to grow from 1000 to 1M users organically?
At 28, I am working on multiple products, consulting, and implementing new ideas. I feel I have come a long way. I am ready to make new mistakes so that I can write something similar when I am in my 30s. It’s such an incredible feeling.
Hopefully, this will help.