Organic Growth, Unconventional Prioritisation & The Future of Travel Industry with Aloke Bajpai & Rajnish Kumar, Co-Founders ixigo

Aloke Bajpai & Rajnish Kumar, Co-Founders ixigo in conversation with Amit Somani Managing Partner Prime Venture Partners.

Listen to the podcast to learn about

03:04 - ixigo Founding Story

07:03 - Unconventional Prioritisation

14:12 - “more capital killed more companies than less capital”

21:18 - Near Death Experiences & Culture

30:05 - Future; Thinking Big; Changing the World

Read the complete transcript below

Amit Somani 00:55

Welcome to the Prime Venture Partners podcast. I’m your host Amit Somani and I have with me two dear friends and former partners from the travel industry where I spent a few years with when I was at MakeMyTrip. So delighted to welcome the co-founders of ixigo Aloke and Rajnish, Welcome to the show guys.

Aloke Bajpai 01:14

Thank you for having us on the show Amit, Glad to be here.

Rajnish Kumar 01:18

Thanks Amit, glad to be here.

Amit Somani 01:20

Great. So it’s been a long journey and I was just thinking about ixigo from many moons ago, actually 10 years ago. And I realized how resilient and persistent you guys have been from the early days. And the amazing kind of product work that you guys have done, and probably part of extending into product growth and marketing and things that were not popular as terms back in the day, but that you guys have really operated upon.

So I wanted to explore some of that. But before that, maybe both of you can quickly talk about just some of the early days at ixigo in terms of, what was the dream when you guys started up and of course, congratulations on filing for your red herring to go IPO. So maybe just talk a little bit about the early days on the principle with which you founded ixigo and the opportunity you saw many moons ago.

Aloke Bajpai 02:10

Sure. So the story goes back to actually, about 15 years back, when Rajnish and I came back from Europe, with the idea of doing something in the travel tech space here. So both of us, know each other for a very long time. We went to IIT together in 1997, graduated 2001, worked for Amadeus in Europe, again in travel tech for about four years. I went to business school and then post that, I wanted to move back here to do something of our own. So that was 2006 when we actually decided to come back here, we didn’t have an idea in mind. We just had a very broad theme that we are technologists at heart and we understood the travel industry inside out.

So it sort of made sense to do something in travel tech. And at that time there were a few OTAs already getting started in India. but we didn’t have a meta search yet. So we decided to build a website that allows you to search all the airlines and OTAs at one place. And that’s how ixigo was born.

In fact, it was born out of our own frustration when we used to travel in Europe, we used to go from one website to another, do the same search over and over again. And we were like, there has to be a better way. so we decided to kind of aggregate all the travel content out there. And it was just a complete dogged belief that this idea will work. I don’t think we ever discussed much about the upside or the downsides of doing this. But we were just passionate about building this product and getting it in the hands of Indian consumers very quickly.

Amit Somani 03:45

Great Aloke, Rajnish let me jump to you. And I have always noticed a very strong product ethos even in the early products of ixigo. And of course you guys have come a long way, so maybe talk to our listeners about just product thinking, especially in the early days when you’re not well funded, and this is like four guys and a dog in the garage kind of a story. And how do you still keep a very high bar for product and maybe some of the lessons from that and how that has served you over the years?

Rajnish Kumar 04:15

yeah, sure. So back in the early days, I mean, needless to say that it was much easier, because a much smaller team, also as a co-founder most of the time you see, people wear different hats, and when you are wearing the same hats, as the same person is doing the same thing there’s seldom a problem with communications. If you’re the one building the product, the design, also doing tech and also reading customer feedback, then it becomes very easy to control everything and run it. But once you start scaling it up, that’s where challenges start to happen. So in the beginning it was easier to control because the passion we had for building something, by just looking at consumer problems and solving it, it was easier to kind of direct focus on and then translate into what you want to really build. But then once you start building, I still remember our first product managers we hired for a very long time we were a no PM organization, Like almost 2015-16, and then we hired a PM, but PMs were hired mostly to do operational work and they were not really the ones who are driving things.

And it was more like, PMs are there, but please don’t do any harm. Let the engineers do what they’re building, keep doing it. And then PMs became increasingly strong in the system. I guess we’ll reach a point where product organizations should drive things at some point of time, but generally one ethos that hasn’t changed since, and I remember since a very long time, we have always tried to kind of look more at longer term solutions, and not focus on very short-term things. And examples of that are, simply because, when we look at many other products, companies, organizations, first of all, we just see that everybody works on prioritization and for us prioritization was the key because every other company’s prioritizing the most obvious things, which is something which is driving revenue right now, driving changes, revenue, business objectives right now. But we looked at certain problems, which did not drive any revenue or change at that point of time. For example, in 2013, we took the call to go after train users because we figured out that there was a very large problem to be solved.

But the problem was not going to give us any dividends in the short term, not even mid term. It was a long-term solution. And we took a bet that this segment is going to become very big and they’re all going to come online and they will all need something. Monetization can happen and we will definitely figure out a way to do it.

But building for that audience back then, that decision took courage and we had to take on a long-term bet and we had a lot of internal conflict as well as to why we should build something like this. And similarly, many other features that we build. There were strong questions that were raised about it, all across that entirely our own teams would come back and say, why are we doing this automated web checkin, it’s not going to give us anything at all. No revenue, nothing. And then we spent like seven, eight months building it, taking the resources from the same team to build that. So I think somewhere this unconventional prioritization and this madness to just go after building things, which looks like a very small kind of change that it’s going to bring about in the lives of the customers, but it has kind of long-term benefits.

Amit Somani 07:45

Yeah, very interesting. One very quick follow up on that before I go back to meta search and so forth to Aloke. How do you still decide what makes cuts and makes the bar or not in that short start versus long prioritization, because everything looks interesting. And there’s so many problems even today. In fact, I was just trying to look for something this afternoon and I’m like, oh my God, it’s still like 10 years later, this is the thing. So how do you decide that this makes sense and makes the bar? How much of it is like, I am Rajnish and I’ve intuition for this, let’s do this. Or like,no I’m going to do some validation. So maybe just a quick thought on that before we go back into the bigger picture.

Rajnish Kumar 08:25

Yeah, sure. So anything that is not like a big mover for us, we just let normal prioritization and data frameworks take call for that. Like, let people decide based on data, anything which is like bigger, and might not be answered using data, et cetera, is where we take the gut calls.

Sometimes I just tell people that simply because I’ve got a little bit more experience than you guys think you can basically disagree, but commit to what we are doing. I just take them to kind of follow that, that’s one thing, the other thing here is that most of the time, also what happens is that in the prioritization framework, we have many things that we want to kind of put them in the mix and the problem most people face is that, and I am guilty of that as well. you always are so interested in doing everything, because everything feels so exciting. Like, yes I’ll do this also, I want to do that. This also has… but then what happens is that, and it reminds me of what Jony Ive said once, if you talk about focus, then you should be willing to kill that one thing that should be so painful for you to focus on that other thing. Because you were so obsessed about doing it and yet you did not do it. And that is something that happens. And when that happens to a product guy, it just kills them. But they still have to take that call. And when you take that call and it hurts so much, that’s when you realize that you’re taking the right call.

Amit Somani 10:05

Absolutely. I’m a complete believer of the philosophy that if you can’t say no to things, you can’t say yes to things. So you got to figure out what you are willing to let go. I like that articulation, unless it hurts while you’re letting go of that page, you’re not getting focused, even on whatever might or might not work. So coming back to you Aloke, meta search kind of was a big bet.

And yet, I mean, there were a few dominant players already including our friends at MakeMyTrip and so forth. So how did you think about that? And then maybe tie that to at least some of the early journey around fundraising, because people would say, Hey, look, this travel is already has an established ecosystem. There’s a bunch of people and not just MakeMyTrip but Yatra and Cleartrip and so on and so forth. Now you’re here coming as an upstart and saying, I want to go to metasearch with a great product. How do you sell that story and how do you believe in that story yourself?

Aloke Bajpai 11:00

Right. So I think if you’re, in terms of the. adoption curve, if you are at the very, very early phase of any industry disruption, and I believe obviously in doing meta was that it’s a more consumer friendly model, the consumer gets more choice, finds, better deals and, at the end of the day can consume the platform on any OTA. So not necessarily just MakeMyTrip or any of the incumbents, but it might be just an upstart who might have a better deal on something.

So our approach to think like a consumer and that’s how the insight for that came. And this was the desktop era of the internet. So people would open multiple tabs. Do that search over and over again, even do it on airline websites and then figure out what they want to do. I think that was a great insight because as a meta, we grew organically just because there was this bunch of consumers who had this need. We ranked very well on Google for a lot of these wide search keywords and we got a lot of organic word of mouth love. We didn’t have much money to market. I mean, basically ixigo didn’t raise series A till five years after we started. so we basically just build something we thought consumers want.

And we validated that with the growth we saw in traffic. And then soon even in revenue, it started to come in. But I think we were not married necessarily to one business model. I mean, that’s one thing about ixigo, which probably has allowed us to survive and grow over the times that I don’t think we’ve ever been married to just one particular product or business model, but we have seen the need of the times and whether that need continues to evolve and we need to evolve in that direction.

So on mobile meta became quite redundant because people wanted to do everything inside one app, So we started moving down the direction of adding transactions inside our own platform. Initially powered by a third party. But then over time becoming an OTA ourselves, in the last three years, four years, we’ve gone through that complete transition already. and I think those decisions are very hard because you are fundamentally changing what you do in the company.

It’s almost like a pivot of sorts, even though you can leverage a lot of things like users and relationships that you have. But the product goes through a complete overhaul. The business model goes through an overhaul and even the mindset of the organization. A few years back, it was more about how much ad revenue we are doing, how much referral revenue we are doing.

Right now, it’s all about transactions and making people convert and more like an e-commerce engine of sorts. So I think that mindset change and being fluid enough at the leadership level, as well as at the engineer level to accept that change is good and change is the only thing that keeps you alive. I think that was critical in hindsight, as we sort of continued down that path, and Rajnish mentioned about the train app, again, consumer insight led to creation of something that didn’t exist out there. and it just took off because there were some unique features that nobody else had at that point. And then we kept on building on that growth by adding more and more things around it that made sense for the consumer, never thought about monetization.

Actually, the unique thing about everything we’ve done, like Rajnish said is we never gave monetization a very high priority in our prioritization framework. It was more about solving consumer pain and NPS, and whether it would promote more word of mouth growth of the product. Even though back then, we didn’t have a framework of this sort, but intuitively we were just optimizing for that saying, do people like it? Are they going to tell their friends about it and just keep optimizing around that? Because we didn’t have huge marketing budgets like others. so I hope that answers,

Amit Somani 14:55

Yeah. I want to follow up on something that we are seeing in the ecosystem now. So people are raising lots of money much earlier in the company and at every stage, seed, series A, all the way up to much later. And therefore I see something that I’m not really a big fan of: lots of marketing burn from day zero. So you barely have a product you barely have, maybe some early PMF, maybe not even that. And you’re like, I want to go burn on Google and Facebook or whatever, and then kind of, let’s see, let me go out and discover. And I’ve always believed and argued when people look at me, silly, like, Hey, get organic growth. That’s the true metric of PMF and then you can put jet fuel into this, that’s the business that now I am at in Prime Ventures.

So what do you think about these startups and how would you guide them? I know both of you do a little bit of angel investing and advising startups. So when people go and raise these very early rounds and they don’t really have organic distribution or product led growth, and they’re just putting fuel into marketing on day zero or day 90. How should one think about it? Any lessons learned? Either of you want to take this, Rajnish or Aloke?

Rajnish Kumar 16:02

Sure. So I think there’s nothing wrong with raising money. I mean, it just kind of establishes one thing, which is that the company is doing something right. There’s alignment and there’s belief in what people are doing. But honestly we prefer companies which raise money and then they don’t use it and they keep it in the bank because their own sort of organic growth is good enough to drive things like, unless they need it really.

But having said that, sometimes you do need money to do certain things, which just kind of accelerates things a little bit, whether it is M&A activities or whether it is something which is more capital intensive to build. I mean, we faced a couple of those situations where we wanted to build something where we needed money, but since we didn’t have enough money or resources to do that, it became sort of a challenge. So obviously, that goes away if you have enough money, but once money comes in, whatever capital we have raised a little capital, we realized that every time we would raise money, it just kind of creates something in your head, which makes you kind of go a little bit more reckless in terms of spending and think a little bit less about, are you getting enough return for every dollar that you’re spending or not? And we’ve always realized that the hard way, because every time we had our back against the wall, we realized that the only thing that mattered was that are we on our own feet, are we dependent on anybody else or not?

Because you don’t want to be in that situation where the only way to grow is by raising money. And every time you run out of money, you again want to raise money and that’s not a good place to be in. I can tell you that, we’ve kind of been through a few of those situations because honestly, if the business itself is on its feet, money comes automatically.

And I think even investors know that, that if people have got strong fundamentals, they’re making money. End of the day it’s business. But like we said, there’s always a gestation period for every business. That’s what we tell them. If you raise money early on and you’re lucky enough to do that, which means that you can kind of bank on that money to build a great team, build a great product, and then start making money out of it through monetization, whatever your plan is. Sometimes those plans take a little longer, like for example, in our train app, we build a product. We realized that building traction was more important in the early days, getting users, sticky users, and then monetization will come. So when we introduced the train booking funnel and other transactional funnels, like flights, buses, et cetera, it took us a while to build that and then to start cross sell and upsell to them.

That’s the only period where we definitely needed capital support. So, which is the advice we give to people as well. I mean, unless you have a plan of that sort and you’ve raised money, it’s fine. If you don’t then I guess you should relook at your business and make sure that you start making money early on.

Amit Somani 19:10

Aloke, if you could focus on more just for marketing and the product led growth element, because I know you guys are very special on that. In terms of getting organic growth. I think that would be very interesting because that’s a lever that I think is unexercised. Rajnish, I completely believe, even though it may be perceived that I have a biased point of view but I’m like, just don’t go burn that money on marketing. Figure out the product, figure out the team, I mean of course spend on marketing, but… , go ahead.

Aloke Bajpai 19:40

I think I just want to add two things to what Rajnish said. The first is that it’s very easy to feel that you are being successful and you have growth when you’re spending money. And it’s very difficult at times to figure out whether you have product market fit or not, when you’re in that kind of a growth curve. So I think every time that we’ve run out of money and we’ve been through that many times now, that’s the time when we feel, we actually start caring a lot more about the fundamentals of why we built this business, which was to build great products that people love to use and then solving real world problems for those travelers.

If we were not doing that, we would have zero growth. Even if we had money, we would just be faking that growth. So I think it is important for the entrepreneur to actually at least be honest to themselves and say that look, do we actually have real growth coming? If we do not throw money at the problem. And the second thing I want to say is that I’ve seen some entrepreneurs fall into the trap of, more focused on raising money, as opposed to building a great product and great user experience. So as a company, you want to be very good at building products that people love as opposed to being very good at raising money. And you don’t want to be at that extreme where, you might be getting better valuations every year and, raising a lot of money, but then, fundamentally the customer experience somewhere is still broken.

So for us, we’d rather be in a situation where maybe, we have less capital than what we desire, but the fact is that we are confident that it does not break our growth because we still have organic growth coming in. And at some point, you start generating cash because organic growth is very hard for any competitor to shake off. Because, typically competition will be good at trying to spend money to acquire customers, but to build a great product takes time. It’s not going to be easy. It’s going to be a similar amount of timeline that people would take to get there.

Rajnish Kumar 21:45

I just want to add one more line, more capital killed more companies than less capital. Is what we’ve seen in our own personal experience.

Aloke Bajpai 21:55

At least in our space, in our space, we’ve seen that a lot.

Amit Somani 22:00

Rajnish that is going to become a quotable quote. So you should hang out on Twitter more often. But anyway, I completely agree with you. It’s actually that companies die of indigestion rather than of starvation. And in fact, the folks that know how to survive in modest amounts of capital, they can never be killed, they never die. They just figured it out. I can’t think of a better example than you guys in that space. So let’s go back to that notion and Aloke you mentioned this, I’ll start with you that resilience, persistence and doggedness, especially when the times are not good. Forget the first five years, because you were two, blue eyed guys, dreamy notions.

We will change the world. But over time you build the team, you have engineers, leaders, you have whatever, you’re paying them, salary, retain them.

So as you went to these multiple dips, whether it was Covid in the last few years, or even before that, in terms of fundraising or what have you, What has helped you survive that? What has helped you live “this long”? Both of you are very motivated because you’re founders, it’s your dream, your baby. How do you keep a whole village afloat along with you? So maybe you can talk about some of the lessons learned and what has worked for you.

Aloke Bajpai 23:15

Yeah, so. I think we’ve been through at least four near death experiences, if not more. And, each time we just go back and see how we were able to survive and come out of those, it boiled down to three or four things, And I’ll start with the first one, was that whenever we were in these situations, we would be extremely transparent to the team as to what the situation was. How bad was it and how likely were we to come out of it and what we could do to actually potentially come out of it, because a lot of people actually do not share bad news fast enough.

And you don’t realize how much your team can help. The youngest engineer in your team might be able to help find ways to help come out of that situation faster. And, I remember in 2008, just before the financial crisis, a term sheet from a major investor, did not go through, like we were literally days away from closing that round. And, one of our junior engineers is actually just, in one of the town halls. And we were like calling it town hall, but it was hardly like 20 twenty-five people. But, one of them actually said, we can all work without salary for a bit, can’t we? And that sort of created an environment in the room where everybody was part of the solution, rather than thinking that, oh my God. This is the end of the world.

And the mindset is, more thinking around the light at the end of the tunnel, as opposed to focusing on the tunnel. You start seeing that, even you as founders would start finding ways on how you could salvage that situation, come around, build, regroup, think of new ideas. And each time we went through this, we came up with new products.

Amit Somani 25:00

I want to double-click on that, because it’s easier said than done, in terms of everybody pitching in and participating and saying, it’s fine, we can take pay cuts or we can do whatever. Do you do something unique and different at hiring, especially at a junior level, mid-level whatever, or, because you don’t just get that ethos naturally or do you do something on an operating basis to be more transparent and so forth? I mean, I’m sure there are many other things, it may not be or it may be and, but just how do you get that feeling of belonging and openness, because as opposed to just jumping jobs, because somebody else just doubled or tripled their comp as is what’s happening these days quite a lot.

Aloke Bajpai 25:40

No, I think it’s a great question and I think it does start at hiring with the right attributes. We actually hire more for attitude than for skill. Even till date, one of us has interviews every single ixigem that comes on board. So we have this great filter, and which we also tried to also encourage our leaders to build the same capacity, to understand whether the candidate has the right attitude to be in ixigem, as opposed to the right skills. And a lot of it also has to do with, looking at things like empathy in the candidate.

So one of the, key cultural values for us is empathy. and, we have ways to kind of figure that out, in the interview process, but also, during that person’s tenure here, like we literally encourage taking decisions that, are good for everyone over decisions that might be good for them or their team. And that’s something we will see across the board in our culture, great empathy for customers, great empathy for your fellow team members and that starts with being transparent at the top. Like I said, being empathetic at the top. So I think we have to live by those cultural values ourselves, the two of us.

And then it sort of starts building around us and we see it’s most useful in times like these, because you need to have that empathy to feel for what your organization is going through and support them at this time, to be able to live with a 50% pay cut for many months. and I think it also starts with the leadership saying, Hey, look, we are going to take a hundred percent pay cut if required, because, it’s not something like a burden that we’re placing on you, but we are as ourselves going to go through that pain, even double of what you might go through. And I think those actions speak a lot as well. So each time we’ve gone through this, the first thing we announced is, Hey, we are going on indefinite zero pay and the leadership is also taking a very steep pay cut.

And most of the time it’s voluntary they come up with the percentage themselves, as opposed to us saying, and then for the rest of the people, we’ve seen that they are more than happy to support as long as they know we’ll treat them fairly. And the way we do that is also that most of the time we’ve given more ESOPs. We made sure that we gave back everything that we actually took away, when the times are better. So we’ve been fair as an employer, to the extent we can. And I think that those things help build credibility as well.

Amit Somani 28:05

Rajnish, if you want to add something, how do you test for empathy and culture fit and so forth, Like that’s really, really hard. And by the way I do too, but I’d love to hear your tips.

Rajnish Kumar 28:20

Yeah, so we defined certain attributes, and over a period of time, we didn’t define them, actually we retrofitted it. At first we figured out how we were testing it while we were doing these interviews over the last one decade, and then we figured out, oh, that’s how we were testing it.

Because, we used to ask this question, which would test great. This question would test empathy. This would test resilience, et cetera. and honestly, all of them are pretty simple. some situational questions would basically give it completely away. But I think I wanted to just take this opportunity to talk about what you talked about earlier.

How do you build this thing within the team, and I think culture is that one thing that really matters, I mean, like we said, Aloke talked about transparency, like transparency in a corporate setup is nothing, but the fact that bad news should travel faster than good news, both upstream and downstream.

We ensured that all the time. We also kind of learned the hard way that, culture fundamentally is all about the fact that. What do you do when people are not looking? And this is the one thing that we understood that, culture obviously is not about talking about things in the all hands meeting or putting up some nice posters, et cetera, but we realized that culture was just defining our own acts every day. The fact that we did not hire somebody or we let go of somebody or the fact that we picked the guy and hired that guy or that, or sometimes we took a very tough decision in a tough situation. That decision defined our culture, or even the benchmark that we set for how good is good. Like sometimes people come with this product demo and they sort of be V1 of the products or V0. They show, and then we just kind of blow holes through it, left, right center and say that this is a piece of crap. I mean not in a way that de-motivates that person, but in a way that kind of sets up a benchmark for how good the product should be.

And once you do that, You’re exemplifying the culture. And once you exemplify that, it gets inculcated a lot easier, a lot faster, which is fundamentally what kind of, we do at work to make sure that those people who are around and working in making it happen are fundamentally as aligned as ourselves to make all of those things happen and also, the torch bearers of our own cultural attributes.

Amit Somani 30:40

Wonderful. Just a couple of questions before we wrap up here. One is just on the… I know you can’t talk about the future of ixigo, but what do you see in terms of consumer behavior on the future of travel? If you can talk a little bit about how has that changed? We’re all traveling. In fact I have a trip coming up to the US and I’m very intimidated by it. And while I’m dying to travel, I’m like oh my God, I’ve to do this and that, bubble, interim airport, etc So what are some thoughts on the future of travel as we come out of this pandemic?

Aloke Bajpai 31:15

Yeah, so, I think it was the most difficult phase for the travel industry, the last couple of years. And, some of the shifts that it has led to my last for a while. including the fact that, people have realized you can do a lot of meetings sitting at home and many people say a certain part of corporate travel is not coming back. Time will tell because now that things are opening up, we are seeing, in real life meetings starting to happen again. But I think the fundamental shift that has happened is that we people are learning to live with uncertainty. and the fact that travel plans that you make may go haywire because something happened somewhere.

That’s one of the insights we had when we built ixigo assured, during the pandemic. So, before the lockdown opened, we said, okay, while during this lockdown down time, there are zero travel bookings happening. What do we do? So we built this new product that allowed you to get a full refund in case of a cancellation, a full refund guarantee program of sorts. And we did that in such a way that you get that refund instantly, literally within seconds or minutes in most cases. and I think you will see a lot more such flexible products or, guaranteed products, which will build back the confidence because we are seeing this in hospitality. I think most of the hotel chains are giving you fully modifiable, fully cancellable bookings. and we’ve seen this now, even in the air where a lot of the OTAs will offer such products. We are also seeing the fact that people want OTAs to not just be ticket sellers of sorts, but also information providers.

So we’ve built this entire COVID travel guide, which we painstakingly update every single day because the travel guidelines are so dynamic right now. I mean, I’m sure when you booked your trip, you would have gone through this nightmare of figuring out, okay, do I need a RT PCR, when do I need it? How long, and then what happens when I land there? What if I come positive? What will happen et cetera. So trying to just compile all this information and making sure it’s accessible to travelers at the time of travel before they make their choices. And also if it changes and notifies people who have booked already, I think this has become a very important role that OTAs and intermediaries in general have to play right now.

And if I think where are all these things headed? Look, we’ve been talking about personalization in the travel industry for a very long time. I know that since I know you Amit, we’ve been talking about this. But in reality, very few companies have actually even implemented anything that offers a uniquely personalized experience for the profile of that particular traveler. But we are starting to see it in bits and pieces. We are starting to see content personalization, pricing being personalized as well as even the ability to target selectively while you send notifications or when you make sure you want to re-target people. People are doing this in a lot more personalized fashion, as you would have noticed, and that trend is likely to continue.

The other big trend, which Rajnish can talk more about, I guess, is this whole AI chatbots, replacing human customer service, and 84- 85% of our own customer service, as of last year was already running off our Tara AI chat bot, which we built in house. and you’re going to see a lot more development in that, including full duplex voice as well as the ability to understand other languages, not just English and a lot more.

Amit Somani 35:00

Great. just as we wrap up one final question from my side. So what is one lesson you learned about yourself that you wish you knew 10 years ago as an entrepreneur or that you would wish you would tell your younger self or maybe to somebody who is listening to the show?

Aloke Bajpai 35:15

I think one has to think big and sometimes in hindsight you’re always not thinking big enough. And I’m seeing that today’s young entrepreneurs actually are thinking big from day one. But it’s very important not to feel constrained about anything when you go after a particular space or market. Because, we’ve seen these cycles, we’ve seen that in 10, 20 years, even large companies get disrupted. And I think, fundamentally you have to believe that you can build something large, something maybe even global out of India. And not just be constrained by your initial thought.

Amit Somani 35:50

Wonderful. Any closing thoughts from you Rajnish?.

Rajnish Kumar 35:55

Yeah. I think there are just so many things that I thought, I wish I had known 10 years ago, so I was just trying to figure out which was the most impactful one. And I think the most impactful one was that many times we’ve realized in the last 10,15 years that, you knew what you wanted to do, and in hindsight, in retrospect, you might be right, but you never had the guts to take that bigger bet on yourself. And that dilemma, basically it forced you to play safer rather than hitting the ball out of the park and taking that one big bet on yourself because you just did not have that much confidence to say that, who are we to say that, this is how the world is going to be in 10 years, but we realized that, that is what makes entrepreneurs different and crazy and who they are, because in the words of Steve jobs, people who are crazy enough to change the world actually end up doing that.

Amit Somani 37:00

I have nothing else to say to top that. So we will stop on that lovely high note. Back yourself, think big, think global as we see a lot of young entrepreneurs do. So thank you so much Aloke and Rajnish for being on the Prime Venture Partners podcast.

Aloke Bajpai 37:17

Thank you Amit.

Rajnish Kumar 37:18

Thanks Amit.

Enjoyed the podcast? Please consider leaving a review on Apple Podcasts and subscribe wherever you are listening to this.

Follow Prime Venture Partners:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Primevp_in

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/primevp/

Let us know what you
think about this episode

If you believe you are building the next big thing, let’s make it happen.