A 'wannabe' entrepreneur’s personal log

Part 2-Birth of an idea for an App – Muqaabla

Avi Sengupta

After nearly 8 years of experimentation, struggles and numerous challenges, I have still not given up hope on making a transition from a “wannabe” entrepreneur to a “successful” entrepreneur.

Initial focus of Zivanta was to develop analytical software for the US Financial Services industry, parlaying my experience in the industry. We achieved middling success and late last year, I was evaluating whether my entrepreneurial dream has finally seen the end. One of the key reason for lack of growth was that I was not able to commit myself fully to the business, as I had to continue to maintain my full- time job to manage my family commitments as well as fund the entity. Being a “part-time entrepreneur”turned out to be a double edge sword, it allowed me to keep my entrepreneurial dreams alive for years, but I could not scale it to a sustainable level.

However, these years also taught me some invaluable lessons in terms of how to build a start-up, hire and retain talents, understand web and programming frameworks, develop creative ways to continue funding Zivanta, develop strategies to market to consumers and businesses, deal with regulations and compliance and so much more. In summary, I received a very practical although expensive education on “how to do business”. The end result was that I have built a good, functional team and infrastructure, which I can leverage. The question was what are the potential areas (industry and geography), where I can effectively use these learnings and resources and finally shed the “part-time entrepreneur” tag.

Having arrived in the US in the mid-nineties, I had a first-hand view of the how Internet was shaping up, but I did not have the astuteness to understand its long-term implications. I worked in a large consulting organization in the online supply change management area, but with the bust in 2000 -2001, I went back to traditional banking.

However, I continued to stay involved with the sector. The mobile and internet transformation in India occurring now reminds me of the late nineties in US, but happening at a much greater speed and scale. With the experience under my belt and the team that I have built with much pain and passion, I decided that I am not going to miss this second opportunity.

So, here I am taking tentative steps to establish a beachhead in the country I left more than two decades back.
Wish me and my team luck!!!