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Saturday, September 1, 2012

‘How I Braved Anu Aunty & Co-founded a Million Dollar Company’ by Varun Agarwal

The Great Depression

"A few days had passed and our financial advisor finally called us for a meeting. His office was like a typical accountant's office. Lots of computers, lots of cubicles, telephones ringing constantly – basically complete chaos. We landed in his office and directly got to the point.'

"'So, Mr Ram, what is the verdict?' we asked in unison.'

"'Boys, I've been doing a lot of research about this e-commerce thing and I'm not very convinced,' he said.'

"'But Sir…''

"Before we could say anything, he cut us off. 'You see boys, whatever said and done, there will still be only a small minority that would be interested in buying online.''

"'Oh, we definitely don't think so Sir…' He cut us off again with a wave of his hand.'

"'It doesn't matter what you think, boys. It matters what I think. People in India are not very comfortable buying online.' His tone was getting curt.'

"But Sir, that's changing…,' I said.'

"Guys, have you come here to teach me?' he said.'

"Well, so, have you come up with a figure?' Mal asked.'

"I have, but it's not very promising.''

"And with that he threw the valuation papers at us. I had a bad feeling about this. My fears were confirmed once we read up all the numbers. This guy had screwed us over. He was pitching us at Rs 75 lakh. This was not even our yearly turnover and he had simply predicted that the use of e-commerce would hardly grow in the next three years. This was almost a devaluation.'

"Guys, there's not much of a future there,' said Mr Ram, looking grim.'

"'Mr Ram, what are you saying?' I said.'

"'That's the truth, boys.'

"'Mr Ram…' I got up from my chair and said, 'We have gone through shit in order to start this company. I put my life's savings into this and took a huge loan from my friends, and you can't even imagine how that feels. My partner Mal here quit his job and a secure life, and took three different loans from banks in his own name. We have jeopardised our lives, the trust of our friends, the trust of our families, just so that we could start this. There have been times when there was absolutely no hope that we'd actually be able to keep this company afloat.''

(pp. 211-2, 'How I Braved Anu Aunty & Co-founded a Million Dollar Company' by Varun Agarwal - Landmark)

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