Devesh Chawla of Chatur Ideas tells us how the platform interconnects the entrepreneurial breed of India to investors.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Devesh Chawla: Thanks for asking. I have been safe and healthy, and so are the people in my family.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Chatur Ideas.
Devesh Chawla: I have been working for people and their ideas for a few years with my startup enabling venture, Chatur Ideas. Before that, I have always been quite enthusiastic about the entrepreneurial world and was always intrigued by the idea of starting something on my own, something that was similar to a famous taxi-hailing app in India. Coming from an engineering background, I was expected to bag a secured job instead of working on my own idea. Later in 2013-14, I took up a job; however, my motivation just got steered up towards my entrepreneurial idea after noticing the big growth of people in similar spaces. After putting a lot of work into my idea and finally reassuring its feasibility, I left my job and started leveraging the available opportunities. Although it was a shaky start, it eventually started growing and hence gave rise to Chatur Ideas. My venture aimed to bridge the gap between investors and entrepreneurs by giving them a versatile platform to build a better business.
With Chatur Ideas, we have come a long way. We have anchored almost 1050+ startups, 1500+ investors in the industry, and acquired a company that was started by IIT-IIM Alumni where we trained over 34,000 entrepreneurs across 125+ cities in 450 colleges. It just seems like a start to us!
How does Chatur Ideas innovate?
Devesh Chawla: Most of our business started with digital support and by leveraging the benefits of technology for scaling up faster. However, when the pandemic struck us, we brought almost everything possible online. From documentation to client interaction, we tried to seek the advantages of digital resources that came out quite satisfactory for all of us. For us, technology has always been one of our strongest assistance, and it has immensely supported us for innovating and growing at a double pace, especially during these times.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Devesh Chawla: For the first few months, the business slowed down a little as coping up with the situation was quite challenging for all of us. But, it actually became a boon in disguise as it gave a new space to people for innovating and wanting to begin with their startups. Thus, these startups started approaching us with their fresh and interesting ideas to seek funds, get mentored, and scale up their businesses. So, with a challenging start of the pandemic, it eventually turned out well for us and has been satisfactory currently.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Devesh Chawla: Yes, definitely. Since we were using new technologies for scaling up business and operations, we had to let go of some of our underachieving employees. Although breaking the ties was difficult for us but, as we started using the technologies, downsizing the team was a part of this process. And as the uninvited scenario brought such huge challenges for various companies and people out there, in my opinion, one of my prominent learnings amid such situations was to be prepared to smartly adapt to these changes and switch to a new working model as soon as possible for running a business.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and Chatur Ideas in the future?
Devesh Chawla: In my opinion, stress can be a positive feeling if you know how to manage it. It was natural for us to get anxious and stressed about the sudden changes. We were worried about coping up with our customers’ demands and their association with us. But eventually, as I mentioned, everything started fitting right in where we left. We confidently adapted to the new normal. Our team of experienced professionals made sure to encourage meditation. I believe keeping ourselves calm amid the stress and problems is the best way to handle the situations. Coming to the company’s future, when we started Chatur Ideas, India stood at 67th position in the global innovation index, we currently stand at 47th position, and we aim to reach in top 5 in the near future. It’s great to see that we are on our journey to reach there soon. We also strive to become the first thought of any entrepreneur who wishes to grow their business and build an unforgettable brand.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Devesh Chawla: We have lots of indirect competitors with who we have joined hands, and now we work together because we believe if you want to move far, you should move together as a team. So, I think uniting with competitors can help you build bigger and better!
Your final thoughts?
Devesh Chawla: The first step to start your journey is to believe in the power of your idea. And once you have shaped your mindset to prepare for the actual entrepreneurial journey to execute that idea, then that’s the time for you to roll up your sleeves and achieve your dreams!