The story of a young Indian entrepreneur, Sayan Chakraborty
- Tell us something about your childhood, your life in Kolkata Sayan and good memories with the city?
~ Childhood is the best part of one’s life, where responsibilities of the society do not creep in and life was all about, “Which Pokemon Card I would get from the next pack of chips” (laughs). I have been growing up in a business family, and dad, being so successful was a pressure to me than a privilege. Things started to change when I went in class 9 and I failed in Maths. Things which you don’t expect as a 15-year-old started happening. Baba cried that night thinking all his dreams regarding me were over. Maa cried too, thinking how will I even pass my boards and our relatives would have the best reason to laugh at us. What they missed out was the pressure building on me.
What they missed out was my determination and grit. My father didn’t talk to me for one long year properly. I didn’t give up. I continued working hard day and night, listening to radio and doing Maths tirelessly. Class 10 Maths result read 90 out 100. If I need to bring down the best life changing moments, this would be one of those. For the first time I realized, even the universe falls for the stubborn. And after that day, when I knew to what extent I could go to get my things done perfectly, I never looked back.
Kolkata has been special to me. I have grown up in this city. I have seen life, love, breakup, again love; business, success, failure, again success through the narrow lanes of this city. Kolkata is the city version of my autobiography and the best part is, I am planning to come back to Kolkata for some time, and I can’t wait to tell you guys the reason.
- You technically fit into the zone of being multi-talented, how do you define yourself?
~ I don’t know I am equally talented in all the things or not, but won’t disagree to the fact that I have tried out few more things than others, and I guess I carried them successfully. An entrepreneur, I didn’t restrict or border my knowledge. I am young. Doing reality shows is something I love. There are a lot of successful entrepreneurs who love cooking or playing golf. In the same way, I love facing the camera, but I made sure on the other hand, that my business is perfect in its place. Suppose I loved football, but couldn’t take it up professionally. That’s why today I own a football team and all the jazz with Real Madrid for the love of football.
- You have been skipping profession with the passage of time or you can be also said the jack of all trades. Why did you choose to be an entrepreneur?
~ I don’t call myself an entrepreneur. As mentioned in Dropout, I call myself a dreamer with a vision. Where people see something as a problem, I see it like an opportunity. From childhood itself I wanted to solve real life problems and used to get immense happiness from it. Glad, that I could take up this thing professionally, didn’t give up when things went wrong and gradually a country of 1.3 billion people decided that, with a 3 in Maths in class 9, I would be called one of India’s Youngest entrepreneurs to touch the million marks.
- What would be your most preferable sector in your own startup company?
~ If there is a problem, that needs to be fixed, I don’t burden myself with favoritism for any certain sector, but whether it be my videos or business, I aim to solve problems which I have faced for years now. But if you ask me to choose one, I would choose the F&B sector, because I have worked and seen what gold this sector has to offer, if you know the correct way to dig.
- If you are asked for three musts in the outlook or attitude regarding startup companies what would they be?
~ Realistic thinking. Imagination. Execution.
- There is a notion, every year 100 entrepreneurs are born while many of them die too (in terms of prospering with their business or initiative). What do you have to say regarding such an outlook?
~ They die, simply because they keep an option called death open. When i first went to dropout, Alok Kejriwal(founder of Games2win and Rodinhood) told me, “Sayan, start this business if you don’t have an exit plan”. Secondly, the glamour of an entrepreneur has given this generation a wrong message. I loved TVF pitchers, but you can’t wrap your funding raise in 5 episodes. It’s amazing for an inspiration (worked wonders for me) but thinking life would be just like those 4 guys who leave their job to startup and get funded in 160 minutes is a work of fiction after all. You need to work for not 4 episodes, sometimes more than 4 years to get funded. And as a result, people tend to concentrate more on the limelight and fame, than their product. Build your business, you’ll be surprised by the fame you get even without working on it.
- How would you rank them? Well I won’t ask you why of course!
Mahesh Goenka, Narendra Modi, Mamta Bannerjee?
~ In first place, I would like to keep Mahesh Goenka, because if there is anyone other than God who can give us our most dear ones back, is a doctor, irrespective of his name. And I won’t judge our honorable Prime Minister and honorable Chief Minister. I believe they both had and have their own share of struggle in their individual lives that’s the reason they are where they are, and I hope both work towards a better tomorrow.
- Where do you wish to see yourself after 5 years?
~ In 5 years, on a serious note, my target is to touch 30 million annual turnover with an expansion in more than 5 countries, with lots and lots of charity work and ventures which would open job opportunities for people. To take more special kids in my NGO Bharani and at-least 10 TED talks. And finally and most importantly, to be a more humble, hardworking and a better human being than today.
- Message for laughalaughi ?
~ You guys are doing an amazing job by linking the two parts of the society. And to the people of Kolkata, I am coming back from US with a surprise for you all.
“I doubt the fact that something can be more addictive than Success.” Sayan Chakraborty