Saturday, February 22, 2014
Since sequels seems to be the flavour of the time here comes my second part to the original Life at the Cross Roads, I wrote almost 8 years back.
8 YEARS !!! Its a long time but everything seems so fresh even today.
I would highly recommend reading the first part before reading this.
In the winters of 2006, me with three maverick friends of mine Anand, Saurabh and Pulkit started our first venture in education from Patiala, a very small town in Punjab, Northern India. My previous blog doesn`t even mention the name, its Lakshya (www.lakhsyainstitute.com). People who read the first blog will have many questions in regards with how did the entrepreneurial journey go, did you achieve success (whatever that means!!), were you able to make a highway or got lost in darkness etc etc
Last 8 years have been fantabulous and pure fun. Created a rock star company, it had been a dream run with Lakshya, created an awesome team and culture…..met and made great friends for life…..understood humility, compassion and 100 other qualities….Can`t forget the experience of being a teacher myself for more than 5 years, the students will always remain special to me till life ….. In-fact there are just so many things overflowing that now I regret not blogging over the last 8 years. Sigh!!
Now the curious ones will always be after the tangible parameters with which they judge the success of startups….so to answer them, here it goes….Lakshya has been a phenomenal success. We four started from a small floor (as mentioned in my previous blog of 1600 sqft) having 2 helpers and with our salary money of INR 2-3 lakhs, started our first batch with 35 students …… we now occupy more than 40,000 sqft of total area spanning across 5 locations employing more than 150 people teaching more than 3000 students annually generating revenues excess of INR 12 Cr. And as a final testimony to the glam quotient, as seems to be a fashion these days, a listed company acquired majority stake in Lakshya. So in short we created an enterprise value of around 1000 times what we started from. Not bad for a period of 6 years (Merger happened in 2012) ….. And yeah I forgot to add, I do have lots of receptionists and guards who wish me good morning ;-)
Awesome!! Right? ……….Yeah its good, but all this doesn`t really matter. It's very temporary, its great to think about these tangible parameters and brag about it occasionally but it's like an orgasm …. very momentary, once you are done, you move on You will say I am bullshitting but that’s the truth. What really remains are the feelings and then the learnings. Well yes the growth and success are a testimony to the fact that whatever endeavour you have undertaken has struck a chord with the people and you are affecting them positively (which btw is a very important thing) but apart from that what really gets one going is the vision and a never ending drive to change things, to challenge the status quo, to help things evolve, to DISRUPT. This is the Ultimate Motivation. And I think in spirit that is what is called Entrepreneurship.
And 'Challenge the Status Quo' we did. Figure this, in 2006 just 2-3 students used to get selected for top colleges like IIT`s in Patiala, last year more than 100 students went through from the city. Imagine the change in mind-set and in their life which will have a ripple effect over the entire society. This is a parameter of success for any entrepreneur and a point of immense satisfaction. We changed something….forever!!
Having said this there are two things which clearly stand from these last 8 years. I met my darling sweetheart with whom I am happily married and it was through Lakshya (I will always be indebted to you for this). And the second being that we four are still together (surprise surprise!!) mature, stronger and more deeply in Love :-)
Well it all started with Life at Cross Roads but I came to realize that Life always remains at Cross Roads, you just move from one to another. The irony being its nothing to do with life, it has to do with you.
We could have easily continued a settled lifestyle at Lakshya, after sweating it out on a startup, reap its benefits as it matured, but then how could we, as our wives say it …. we are Entrepreneurs after all!!
So as if the risk of 0.1% was not enuff we again set out to test the laws of probability by starting our second educational startup together as an endeavour to once again challenge the status quo and disrupt education….. With a vision to Democratize Knowledge.
Why?? What's the need? Is this the right time? Again all sort of questions keep popping up……Well at least now I have a link to my first blog to refer to :D
And I answer them with again the same line…."Success or Failure, it really doesn`t matter coz for us the journey itself exemplifies Success"
For me the fact that we still have the passion and the energy to pursue our dreams is a matter of Success, the fact that even after having a stable setup we have the guts to start afresh not being afraid to start it all over again means being Alive, it's a testimony to the spirit of entrepreneurship and till the time this is left in us I will be a very, very happy and a satisfied person.
So here we go again, on the path less trodden….full of uncertainties and new challenges …. keeping in mind learnings from previous journey and yet being open to unlearn and re-learn, with a resolve to make a bigger change….. A bigger dent in the universe
As I conclude, I will again remind myself and to all others who are contemplating on this beautiful journey of entrepreneurship, of what I wrote 8 years back…..….
Just follow your heart, do HELL with the world. And then, well as the Nike commercial says "Just Do It"
Times sure are changing ….. And I am falling in love with it, all over again :-)