Rahul, 26, is a serial entrepreneur with two start-ups already to his name. Through his latest venture – Mebelkart, he aims to revolutionize the online furnishing industry. Read his inspiring journey to understand what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur.
Tell us a little bit about Rahul and Mebelkart?
I am a BTech from IIT Kanpur. After I graduated in 2011, I was working in a company called Piscean Media where I met my other co-founders, Nikhil and Ranjeet. We had a liking for each other from day one and we discussed our ideas of pursuing the concept of Mebelkart as we felt that this domain can be revolutionized by us. The furnishings market was underpenetrated by large ecommerce companies and all of us had an expertise in e-commerce. As the Furniture and Home Décor market was highly unorganized, we tried to make the lives of our customers easier by delivering perfectly customized products at best prices through the use of technology.
When did the start-up bug bite you?
I was interested in starting something of my own right from my college days. In IIT Kanpur, I was already running Young Engineers which was into developing Robotic products. We were also conducting training at colleges throughout India. Within 2 years we had served 35000 students from more than 180 colleges across the country. I had a team of 20 colleagues from IIT Kanpur who used to help me with all the work. I had to manage my studies, sports and the startup, which was really hectic but satisfying.
So you can say that I always had the ‘start-up bug’ in me and it took the form of Mebelkart after I was out of college in 2012.
What were your initial inhibitions when you were thinking to start-up?
My family has always been very supportive of me. We belong to a middle class background with simple living high thinking being imbibed. However, the society wants you to actually behave in a certain way after graduating from IIT’s. They would expect you to fly, stay in certain kinds of hotels and live a lavish life. I never considered a job while I was in the IIT campus. However, I was always simple and grounded, saving every penny which I could so that I could invest it all in my start-up. The thought of leaving a high paying job and leaving all the comforts was terrifying, still I knew that my requirements were too little. I never gave a second thought to the idea of starting another company. I would love to give up a job any day for the thrill and the excitement which start-ups have to offer.
One most important characteristic for an entrepreneur to succeed?
To succeed as an entrepreneur, it is important to be patient and persevere as most of the start-ups fail due to issues like lack of funding, improper planning and even bad timing. As such, perseverance and self-belief are very important for all entrepreneurs if they want to be successful in the long run.
You also need a team with complementary skills. The team must have full faith in each other’s abilities and should be wanting to be together till the last. The ability to lead the team and taking things patiently is also important. Also, the attitude to take failures with ease (because you get a lot of them during the journey) helps in handling the challenges of a start-up.
What is the most satisfying part of being an entrepreneur?
Being an entrepreneur, gives you the freedom and flexibility to achieve your vision. The most satisfying part of being an entrepreneur for me would be the fact that I am able to deliver something of value to my customers. Also being able to live my dream and actually being a successful entrepreneur in itself is a source of satisfaction and inspiration for me.
Any Advice for young aspiring entrepreneurs?
As young entrepreneurs, it is very important to build a solid core team. Also the ability to prioritize the most important work from the many things always at hand in entrepreneurial environment is equally important.
About Mebelkart - It is an online company selling over 40,000 furniture and home decor products from more than 300 manufacturers across India. The company aims to become the largest player dealing in logistically challenging categories through its unique locations based inventory exposure methodology.
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