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Rare Insights from 15 Successful Startup Founders

December 2018 | 308 pages | SAGE Publications Pvt. Ltd

Ranked 100th among 190 countries for ease of doing business, India is not the choicest place for start-ups. Only a handful of founders have been able to beat the odds. What’s in their journey that can be dissected and emulated?

This curiosity led Nistha Tripathi to pursue these founders, who rose from humble beginnings yet made a dent in the Indian start-up universe, including a couple of founders from the Silicon Valley. This book is a record of her 18-month odyssey.

In her incisive one-on-one interviews with 15 ambitious founders from India, including Girish Mathrubootham, Nithin Kamath, Jaydeep Barman, Gaurav Munjal and Tarun Mehta among others, Nistha uncovers the decisions and insights that led these start-up founders to find their unique roadmap to success.

One thing underlined all the stories—the founders’ belief in ‘No Shortcuts’.

Read the never-heard stories of Freshworks, Faasos, Unacademy, Zerodha, Slideshare, Pulse, Aspiring Minds, Madhouse/Morpheus, Akosha, Ather Energy, Instablogs, Greyb, LikeaLittle, Wingify and Fashiate.


Foreword by Rehan Yar Khan
How to Use This Book?
A Note on the Interviewees
Ideation, Validation and Pivoting
1. Girish Mathrubootham: Freshworks #product #marketing #culture #saas Customer Service Software
2. Nithin Kamath: Zerodha #product #marketing #business_model #bootstrapped #fintech Online Trading and Investing Platform
3. Paras Chopra: Visual Website Optimizer (Wingify) #pivoting #product #marketing #pricing #bootstrapped #saas A/B Testing Tool
4. Nikhil Rasiwasia: Fashiate #ideation #exit #acquired #ecommerce E-salesman for the E-commerce Websites
Traction and Virality
5. Gaurav Munjal, Roman Saini and Hemesh Singh: Unacademy #traction #product #operations #education YouTube for Learning
6. Prasanna Sankar: LikeaLittle #traction #product #social_media #failure Flirting Platform for College Students
7. Nandini and Ankit Maheshwari: Instablogs #traction #product #business_model #acquired #content Multiblog and Citizen Journalism Platform
Business Model and Fundraising
8. Tarun Mehta: Ather Energy #fundraising #product #hardware Electric Scooter Made In India
9. Amit Ranjan: SlideShare #business_model #hiring #marketing #acquired YouTube for Presentations
10. Ankit Gupta: Pulse #pricing #product #traction #acquired #app Mobile App for News Reading
11. Ankur Singla: Akosha #business_model #sales #pivoting #fundraising Consumer Complaints Redressal Service
Sales and Marketing
Varun Aggarwal: Aspiring Minds #sales #hiring #product #analytics Hi-tech Adaptive Test for Recruitment
13. Deepak Syal and Chakshu Kalra: GreyB #sales #marketing #hiring #bootstrapped #intellectual_property Patent Research Consulting and Service
Part 5: People, Operations and Customer Service
14. Jaydeep Barman: Faasos #hiring #culture #operations #food End-to-end Delivery Focused Food-on-demand App
15. Sameer Guglani: Madhouse #hiring #culture #customer_service #fundraising #acquired Netflix for India

“Nistha’s first-person stories make vivid the effervescence that characterizes entrepreneurship in modern India – the twists and turns, the ups and downs, the creativity and sheer exhilaration. Read and enjoy!”

Prof Tarun Khanna, Harvard Business School
Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor, Harvard Business School; Director, Lakshmi Mittal South Asia Institute, Harvard University

“Entrepreneurs rarely open up as candidly as Nistha has gotten them to. Kudos to her“

Allwin Agnel,
Allwin Agnel, Founder/CEO at

“Indian startup ecosystem needs relatable inspiration and this book brings that. While it is fascinating to read about Jobs, Musk, Gates, and Zuckerberg, our entrepreneurs can learn more from home-grown entrepreneurs whose challenges and approaches are much relevant to our business models. I was especially fascinated to read the story of Girish Mathrubootham.”

Balaji Viswanathan,
CEO at Invento, Most follower writer on Quora

A fascinating peep into the struggles and successes of varied start-ups that lucidly brings out the diversity of experiences and provides a nuanced introduction to entrepreneurial processes.

Rakesh Basant,
Professor of Economics, IIM Ahmedabad

“This is a “must read” for all entrepreneurs. Nistha has truly captured an authentic perspective of what it takes to build companies in India!“

Prashant Mehta,
Partner, Lightbox
Key features

·         Covers the interviews of some of the most famous current Indian entrepreneurs.

·         Interviews divided into five major sections based on the specific business functions that readers will be interested in.

·         Full of anecdotes and interesting stories from the real-life journeys of 15 startups.

·         Provides takeaways that are key learnings from these startup journeys.

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ISBN: 9789352808267