The Art of Building a Start-up
Only a few people who do not have any background in business would think of starting a startup company, and those who are willing to take the risk succeed. It certainly is not an easy task and takes a lot of courage, determination, hard work and patience. Anirban Dutta a 28 years old electronic engineering had the courage to follow his beliefs and heart to become the founder of Grey Space.
Right after graduating in Electronic engineering from YMCA, Faridabad, he started working for TCS as System Engineer. Within 2 years, he was awarded TCS excellence certificate for Implementation of high-end UI requirements on Android platform and Super Performer Achiever of the Year 2010-2011 for exceptional performance and providing a continuous innovative solution to meet customer requirement and achieving outstanding CSI rating. However, it was frustration that led him to work for a startup and start one of his own. “When I saw things did not improve and I knew I could improve that, I just had to quit my job and start my first company. I thought, if no one will do it, I will. I was aware of my skills in product building and client handling, so I used that to start my own company,” he said.
Grey Space is an agency that combines online and offline world. “There are two kinds of business people in the world: one who are obsessed with numbers and one who are obsessed with bits and bytes. A lot happens between numbers and bits and bytes, that is where we come in.” Grey Space, a team of 3, helps companies shape product strategies digital marketing, build online-to-offline marketing apps, forex trading apps and investment. Essentially a consulting business, Grey Space is one of its first startup companies in South East Asia that truly understands the difference between brick and mortars and e-commerce.
The company tries to bridge the online and offline gap. For instance, instead of ordering a coffee from Starbucks which is 2km away you can order it from next door which will be much faster and of a better quality. These are online to offline (o2o) marketplace linking them to forming a marketplace that is highly hyperlocal. Almost 80% of the market is built on small and medium-sized enterprises, however, most of us are only aware of bigger brands like Mc Donalds, Starbucks and Pizza hut. “We try to bring those small shops with innovative ideas into the limelight and help them succeed,” he says while explaining what their company does. Even in India, people are trying to crack the hyperlocal space – “the next big thing”, he said. Hyperlocal is the way to solve logistics- it being a huge cost on e-commerce sites. “Majority of the cost of entire goods is covered by logistics and it is a pain to handle them.”
Learning from your past mistakes is the only way to move forward. Talking about his first company, GetKlarity – a product based company helping people book beauty services was one of the fastest growing companies in the South East Asia, however, it went down the hill because of a few mistakes made. With capital markets being a little dicey, the first entrepreneur mistake is trying to solely survive on the funds initially raised and not thinking of generating revenue. “It was really stupid of me to make that mistake. We could have generated some revenue, say from GetKlarity or the extension of the business or even from other sources. I definitely would have loved to approach a product business from a more sustainable point of view, but one can only learn from their mistakes and try not to repeat it.”
Not having a background on how to run a business should not stop you from starting a startup. Whatever Anirban learnt was from reading books about startups and entrepreneurs, reading news articles from magazines like Business Insider and TechCrunch. What is more important when running a business is confidence and understanding the needs of the target customer, the product, and sustainability.
“I am more than happy to see new startups coming up every day because at least someone is making an effort to see a problem and act on it,” he said. The young entrepreneur’s advice those who feel inspired and want to start their own startup company- “In this field, you will receive a lot of feedback and advice. Sometimes all of this can distract you from your goals. It is ok to modify your vision a little bit but to change it completely would not be wise. All you have to do is believe in yourself and the idea.”