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Fourth Episode of Crafting Bharat Podcast Series: A Treasure Trove of Insights into India’s Startup Landscape.

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There is no one-size-fits-all formula for startup success, each company’s journey is unique and full of uncertain challenges. The founders behind these successful startups possess an admirable spirit of determination, passion and vision to bring change through innovation. 

The “Crafting Bharat – A Startup Podcast Series” powered by AWS, and an initiative by NewsReach, in association with VCCircle, unlocks the secrets behind these successful entrepreneurs’ journeys aiming to equip aspiring entrepreneurs and business enthusiasts with invaluable insights. The podcast series is hosted by Gautam Srinivasan, famed for hosting a diverse range of TV and digital programs, currently consulting editor at CNBC (India), CNN-News18, Forbes India, and The Economic Times.

In the dynamic landscape of India’s startup ecosystem, Chirag Taneja, the Co-Founder and CEO of GoKwik, stands out as a visionary leader driving innovation and reshaping the e-commerce sector. In the debut episode of Crafting Bharat, Taneja shared how he embarked on a challenging entrepreneurial journey that led to the founding of GoKwik. He also talks about building a remote-first company during the pandemic and the future of the e-commerce industry with emerging technologies like GenAI. 

Through the Crafting Bharat Podcast Series, let’s discover the stories of Indian startup founders’ journey of turning dreams into reality and turning challenges into opportunities. 

Edited excerpts: 

Segment 1: The Incubator

Which parts of your original thesis of founding GoKwik panned out and which did not? 

The initial thesis centered around whether India would embrace direct-to-consumer models, mirroring the USA rather than China. Another thesis was targeting the untapped Cash-on-Delivery market globally. Finally, the focus shifted to building a diverse VC-backed business in India, requiring multiple products to foster D2C market growth, embracing a vision yet adaptable strategy.

Video link : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AO8ZwWyfakE 

What were the challenges you faced in building a remote-first company?

GoKwik is a pandemic-born company. By the time we could even think about whether we were going to be remote or in-office, we were already 150 people. We had already crossed the Dunbar Number, the mark where the organization starts to change. I am still not married to the fact that we must build the company remotely, I am married to our overall vision with GoKwik.

As a founder how did you manage that transition from intuition to data-driven decision-making while GoKwik was exponentially scaling up? How do cloud platforms like AWS make this transition easier? 

If you see second or third-time founders, they would have done something and would have figured out that this is a problem nobody else is solving, for me, I came from that world and I knew nobody was solving this problem and I didn’t require data to support that it was purely my gut and starting figuring out what is the right way to solve this problem.

Segment 2: The Accelerator

You are a big fan of Rahul Dravid. Tell us about his influence on your leadership approach. 

He has stuck to one field and played the long game. I have learned how to take long-term calls which are important for what you’re trying to build and it’s applicable in almost everything. It is okay to be impatient in the short term but your results should yield in the long term. 

What’s your view on this conversation that is happening around work-life balance? 

I am a firm believer that outcomes matter more than the number of hours you have put in, which helps us drive the remote-first company. Simply put, if you’re working in India you shouldn’t be thinking about the work-life balance at the moment especially as a startup founder, as it is our opportunity to build the country and we have a huge responsibility on our shoulders in building the country.

How do you stop overthinking and over complicating and spending bandwidth on things you shouldn’t when starting up? 

From a simplicity point of view, I would say that overthinking does not lead to anything. My view is that if you’re overthinking or if you’re in confusion then act, don’t overthink. The action will tell you whether it’s working or not working instead of spending one month thinking or having excessive strategic discussions.

Don’t find customers for your products, find products for your customers. What is your view on this? 

It is said that all customers are looking for their problems to be solved rather than buying our solutions or products. Typically, I would say that always the pitch or product discovery calls that you do is to discover what is the real problem you’re trying to solve for your client.

 

India’s startup landscape is growing by leaps and bounds, coming forth as one of the most vibrant startup ecosystems on the global stage. Entrepreneur’s unwavering motivation and dedication to building something unique have greatly contributed to shaping India’s startup landscape. 

 

Stay tuned to the Crafting Bharat Podcast Series as we bring you these inspirational entrepreneurs for insightful and candid discussions with Gautam Srinivasan.

 

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