Founders Unfiltered

Unscripted conversations with Indian founders about their story and the process of building a company. Hosted by Aviral and Mazin.

Podcast available on: Spotify, Google, Pocketcast, Apple. Now also on JioSaavn.

Ep 28: Social Commerce

After college Prateek got a job at a big bank. He enjoyed the job but often felt like a small cog in the machine. Witnessing the early Indian startup wave closely, he decided to leave his job in 2014 and startup. He launched a B2B marketing platform that after 4 years got acquired by an Indonesian firm.

He moved to Indonesia and fell in love with its culture. The country’s budding startup ecosystem and sense of community led him to start Kitabeli, a social commerce app. Social commerce takes advantage of people’s behavior of sharing purchases and offers in their friend circles. This significantly reduces the logistics cost and the CAC as compared to traditional e-commerce. Join us to learn how Prateek built and grew Kitabeli to facilitate commerce in Indonesia.

Editing credits: Neel, Aditya, Vaibhav

Ep 27: Know your Customers

Sumit grew up in a town full of small business owners. His family’s nudge towards STEM education was considered the unconventional path. While working as an equity analyst, Sumit discovered a unique problem in the fintech space – Indians have very high physical asset ownership, yet asset-backed lending makes only a minority of total borrowing. 

In 2015, he started Rupeek to fulfill this unprecedented demand. He believes Understanding customers is an ongoing process and one should keep running experiments to learn. Today, Rupeek has served over 1 lakh happy users across 25+ cities. Join us to learn how Sumit got to know his customers and built Rupeek.

Editing credits: Neel, Aditya, Vaibhav

Ep 26: Fintech Payments

Growing up, Reeju had never thought of starting his own venture. It was after receiving an admit from ISB when he started thinking about what he really wants to do in life.

Considering the huge expense of Bschool, in addition to the opportunity cost at hand. He made the decision of not doing an MBA and starting up instead. He met his co-founder Akash through a mutual friend.

The two often used to bounce around business ideas with each other. Before starting up, they evaluated many different ideas and narrowed down on the problem they both had faced personally, Cash on delivery payments for online businesses.

Today, Cashfree is used by over 50000 businesses with transactions worth $12 billion processed annually.

Editing credits: Neel, Aditya, Vaibhav

Ep 25: Building Communities

Pranay studied at IIT Delhi where he got to be a part of a true community in the form of his hostel. Post his MBA from IIMA, he got a job as a Stock Broker. As work used to get over by 4, he started helping his college startup accelerator after his working hours. This continued for a year after which he came full time as the CEO.

After working at the accelerator for 4 years he met his co-founder Varun and decided to start 91 Springboard, a small fund to help startups. To make the fund economics work, they realized the need for a local community of startups.

Join us as we deep dive into Pranay’s journey of building 91Springboard.

Editing credits: Neel, Aditya, Vaibhav

Ep 24: Impact Entrepreneurship

After graduation, Dhimant worked for a large tech company as a software engineer for 5 years. Intrigued by the business aspects of a company he decided to join a B-School. At ISB he met folks with diverse backgrounds including entrepreneurs that transformed his initial perspective of getting a high-paying job at a corporate. Dhimant highlights the importance of intertwining Business with Impact so both continue to grow simultaneously.

Today, Better India has a reach of over 90 million people in a month. Join us to learn how Dhimant built and grew Better India to empower citizens and catalyze change.

Editing credits: Neel, Aditya, Vaibhav

Ep 23: Understanding the market

Ashish built his first website and was competing with tech giants in his 10th grade! In college he kept toying with ideas and code which led to his first startup, providing telecom-based value-added services that he exited in 2011. He started a Restaurant with a friend and realizing how painful it is to manage a restaurant, led them to create POSist, a cloud-based platform for restaurants.

Today they serve 8,000+ clients spread across 22 countries. Join us as we talk to Asish about how POSist evolved overtime to find their business model and customer segment.

Editing credits: Neel, Aditya, Vaibhav

Ep 22: Finding a problem to solve

Ajinkya grew up in Nasik, in a family where doing business was more of a default option than doing a job. He credits his entrepreneurial acumen to his father, who owns a manufacturing unit. His first startup idea was based on an emotional problem, and it didn’t work out. He stayed in the fintech industry, playing different roles at different companies, and finally landed on the idea of growfix.

Join us as we talk to Ajinkya about find a problem to solve and building Growfix.

Editing credits: Neel, Aditya, Vaibhav

Ep 21: Enterprise sales

Swapnil landed his dream job when he graduated from college. After 3 years at Twitter, he decided to come back to India and startup. What followed was an 18-month struggled to find the right idea and co-founder.

He finally connected with his college roommate and their experiences lead them to start The two of them started selling the idea before they had a final product. When it came to growth, they experimented with a variety of sales channels to find out which ones work and doubled down on them. Swapnil advises founders to start selling in the right market from Day 1. 

Editing credits: Neel, Aditya, Vaibhav

Ep 20: Self management

(Hindi Audio) Mr. Chaudhary started his first business with a small loan from his father to set up 2 looms. Today, Jaipur Rugs is one of the largest manufacturers of hand-knotted rugs serving clients all across the globe.

Join us as we talk to NK Chaudhary about how he built his company and empowered artisans through self-management.

Editing credits: Neel, Aditya, Vaibhav

Ep 19: Disrupting an industry

Blowhorn connects customers with mini-truck drivers for intra-city deliveries via its website and mobile app. Mithun hustled to grow the initial supply of drivers and acquire their first 1,000 customers without spending a single penny on marketing.

Join us as we talk to Mithun about how he disrupted the disorganized logistics industry.

Editing credits: Neel, Aditya, Vaibhav

Ep 18: Building a global product

Mindtickle started with corporate treasure hunts to improve employee engagement but over the course of several years and many pivots later they created a new category of enterprise software called sales-readiness.

Join us as we talk to Deepak about how they built and sold their software to companies all over the world.

Editing credits: Neel, Aditya, Vaibhav

Ep 17: Acquiring customers

On a mission to make quality education accessible to a wider audience, Ashutosh founded his 2nd startup Testbook, a one-stop platform designed for students to achieve better results on government exams.

Join us as we talk to Ashutosh about he acquired over 13M users all over India through some innovative offline channels.

Editing credits: Neel, Aditya, Vaibhav

Ep16: Women’s Internet

Sairee, a serial entrepreneur, realized that the Internet has been built by men, with their needs in mind. Leaving women underserved. Many women have had a bad experience online and there is a lack of trust for women on the internet.

Join us as we talk to Sairee about her incredible journey building a safe community helping women with jobs, resources, networking, and advice. 

Editing credits: Neel, Aditya, Vaibhav

Ep15: Product market fit

Prasanth talks about his fifteen-year journey from learning how to code through trial and error, turning it into a profession, and then using the skills he acquired to build companies. He proudly discusses his failures and what he learned from it, as he sheds light on how he found product-market fit.

Join us as we talk to Prasanth about his incredible journey and finding product-market fit. 

Editing credits: Neel, Aditya, Vaibhav

Ep14: Founder market fit

Vivek and Neel met while working on Voicetap. In 2016, they started iZooto to help any company with a domain name to engage with their visitors.

Today iZooto delivers 60Bn notifications for some of the world’s largest media companies without any external funding. This focus on a single customer segment that they could serve best has been one of the biggest reasons for their success and the market share that they now hold.

Join us as we talk to Neel and Vivek about how they segment their customers and how they discovered their DNA as a company.

Editing credits: Neel, Aditya, Vaibhav

Ep13: The SaaS playbook

Gaurav is a serial entrepreneur who has built well over a dozen different products. He learned how to code as a child and built his product when he was still in college.

Since starting SaaS labs in 2014, Gaurav has built several products catering to different themes. Each one is a self-sustaining business with some of his products like Just Call generating millions in annual recurring revenue.

Based on his experiences, Gaurav created a 20 point SaaS playbook, which he used for a new product, he grew it to $100K ARR in just 4-5 months. Join us as we talk to Gaurav about his journey. 

Editing credits: Vaibhav

Ep12: Creating new products

We had previously covered the Razorpay journey in detail before this

Harshil was turned down by over a hundred banks when he started Razorpay in 2014. Instead of fretting over it, he spent the time talking to businesses and building a payment gateway to solve their problems.

Razorpay’s customer-centric approach made them one of India’s best payment solutions. Once users trusted him to handle payments, branching out into banking services was natural.

Today over 350,000 Indian businesses rely on Razorpay for payments, bank accounts, and loans. Join us as we talk to Harshil about his journey and creating new products.

Editing credits: Tanish

Ep11: Early days of a startup

Shrehith met his co-founders in business school and started a company with the goal to make finance more accessible.

They started writing and gradually built an audience but it was not enough to pay the bills. Just when they were running out of funds, one video went viral which helped them take the company to the next level. Today, Finshots delivers one 3 min read per day to over 100,000 subscribers on India’s most important financial developments.

Join us as we talk to Shrehith about his journey and the early days of starting a company.

Editing credits: Tanish

Ep10: Building a Rocketship

Kevin is the Co-founder and co-CEO of Gojek. In just a few years, he helped to build Indonesia’s first decacorn. Kevin joined Gojek as CFO of the company in 2014 but as the company grew, his role evolved. Gojek grew like crazy – 100% month over month for a 12 month period. Few people have experienced that kind of hypergrowth.

Join us as we talk to Kevin about how we built the rocketship and what he learned on his incredible entrepreneurial journey.

Ep9: The Startup Hustle

Kush is the founder of FamPay. He started his company while he was still in college. He built FamPay with sheer determination and hustle. Today, just a year after Kush graduated from college, FamPay brings cashless convenience to millions of teens and their parents.

Join us as we talk to Kush about his incredible entrepreneurial journey.

Ep8: Thinking Big

Ankur is the Co-founder and CEO of Nuclei. He has founded a successful restaurant chain and was part of the founding team of Tapzo a venture-backed startup that exited to Amazon. He first learnt to think bigger when he moved to Mumbai to study engineering, well before starting his entrepreneurial journey and he kept thinking bigger at each step in his professional life.

Join us as we talk to Ankur about his entrepreneurial journey and the value of think big.

Ep7: Learning to Scale

RainCan, now called BB Daily, started off as hyper-local grocery delivery but it really took off due to a freak incident. The milkman in his colony went away, so Abhijeet decided to offer milk delivery as an experiment. He realized that even though milk is a low margin product it was the start of a relationship with his customers. He could then sell other products to customers once they knew that RainCan would be at their doorstep every day with the milk.

Today, BB Daily has over 2,500 employees serving more than 3 lakh subscribers per day! Join us as we talk to Abhijeet about how he built and scaled the company. 

Ep6: People Build Companies

Varun first started playing poker in his college. After graduating, he worked in a variety of roles and continued playing poker online. As his love for poker grew he realized that there is an opportunity to create a better poker playing experience. In just 3 years, he built one of India’s largest poker platforms. Join us as we talk to Varun about his journey and the importance of finding the right people to build his company.

Ep5: Go to Market

Sanchit started his company in 2013, right after he graduated from college. Today, Townscript is a market leader that operates in several countries helping event organizers issue 3M+ tickets per year. Join us as we talk to Sanchit about his journey and how he built the Townscript marketing machine.

According to Sanchit, anyone who is starting an internet company should check out Moz’s guide to SEO and the HubSpot inbound marketing course.

Ep4: Building for Bharat

Anuradha started her business as a hobby, teaching people English from Hindhi through simple animations on a Facebook page. Today, Multibhashi has over 1M+ downloads on the play store and offers a variety of service in 10+ languages. Join us as she reflects on her journey and talks about how to build for Bharat, specifically the lower-income but higher volume segment of society which is just starting to come online.

We conclude the episode by talking to Rohan who is launching his MVP – Reezy: A payments platform to make renting easier for both landlords and tenants

Ep3: Building for space

Rohit and his company Trancelestial are using lasers to transmit data. Building a deep-tech company can be really challenging but for those that can get it off the ground, it can be extremely rewarding both intellectually and financially. Join us as Rohit talks about his journey and the challenges he encountered, the incentives for deep-tech founders and why this is such a huge opportunity.

We conclude the episode by talking to Akshay who is launching his MVP – Stoquity: A fantasy stock trading game that rewards learning.

Ep2: Crafting a Delightful Customer Experience

Neerav had the idea for his business several years before he actually launched it. His start-up journey began with simple but effective advice – talk to customers and validate assumptions. An idea that is still crucial to the company today and an integral part of their continuous pursuit to delight customers.

We conclude the episode by discussing a listener’s business idea and with that example, shed some light on how to implement this idea of validating assumptions in a B2B setting.

Ep1: The Founding Team

Realising firsthand how difficult it was to meet and connect with people offline, Suyash and Siddharth, his batchmate from college started MyScoot by hosting a party for 15 people at their house. Join us, as Suyash reflects on the transition from the corporate world to a startup, the challenges of building a company and the constantly evolving roles and relationships amongst the founding team.

We conclude the episode by introducing the final segment and invite listeners to submit their startup ideas and MVP plans.