You have a nice paying job with good working hours in an area of your expertise. So what do you do? If you have any similar traits as compared to Abhyudav Agarwal, then you go on to launch three different startups. He is a lawyer turned entrepreneur who has always been driven by information sharing and interacting with people. Right from the start of his career, he has been intrigued with technology and its potential to change education. He has been constantly finding the most efficient and innovative technological tools and ways for course-delivery and outreach.
This led him to the launch of three startups namely SuperLawyer, CloudTrain and iPleaders.in. The latest of the three startups, iPleaders focusses on making practical legal education accessible to the common person, which will radically improve a sense of justice and enable fulfilment of various personal and professional interests. He is currently heading the content team and liaising with subject matter experts, looking into online delivery of the courses and selecting relationships with technology vendors.
Please provide a brief overview of your product/ service. *
iPleaders is working on solving the problem of access to justice, in the following ways:
- We created some professional courses for lawyers so that we have more skillful and high-quality lawyers in our country.
- We have created a platform lawsikho.com where lawyers across India are creating tutorials to make law more accessible for the common citizen.
- We launched one of the earliest online compliance training’s for organizations on anti-sexual harassment laws which was endorsed by industry bodies such as CII and used by Fortune 500 companies and other leaders across infrastructure, manufacturing and technology sector.
- Superlawyer, one of our verticals, enables young lawyers to get career insights around law.
What inspired you to build the above product/ service?
When I started working in one of India’s best corporate law firms, I saw the disparity between what is taught (even in the country’s best law schools) and how law is practiced. I could see how desperately students needed practical skills, and mentors to help them along with their career journey.
When my team and I started working on this problem and helped my alma mater launch a practical business law course, we saw the impact of this gap in practical legal skills at the systemic level.
What is your life mantra?
I want to keep discovering new areas that catch my imagination and interest, work on those and make a contribution in those areas to others. They may or may not be related to my skill-sets or areas on which I have formal education. I really like contributing to the lives of other people.
What was the most challenging part of your journey till now?
Everyday brings new challenges for an entrepreneur. Things that are working and are expected to work may stop working any time and without any prior warning. One needs to be prepared to handle.
How did you overcome those challenges?
I found doing some basic yoga and meditative practices from Isha Foundation to be really helpful in keeping sub-conscious fears and anxieties in check.
Share some details about the investments that you have been able to fetch for the business till now.
It is completely bootstrapped. My co-founder Ramanuj and I started by investing 1.75 lakhs from savings, and Pallavi, who was helping us joined in soon thereafter as a co-founder. The business was quickly able to generate that revenue (in about four months). Since then we have never needed to look back. We are still working on some newer ideas that may be fundable in the near future and are open to receiving investments.
How do you protect yourself from the problem of Brain Drain?
There is no way really to control brain drain. Having great relationships with people often reduces the threat of a ‘surprise’ brain drain, as you know what your team members really want in their lives.
According to you, what are the three qualities an individual must have to achieve success?
It is difficult to define three ‘hardcore’ qualities. A continuous commitment to making things work and redesign one’s own self and mental beliefs is really important as one is constantly learning new things. When you do that, you will find that old contexts often die out and can be replaced with fresher and bigger contexts which inspire you.
Which online tools/ services/ apps do you use the most and would like to recommend as well?
I am using Google Calendar to schedule activities in my daily routine and it is enabling me to do work I would have otherwise procrastinated. Google Keep is a great tool for keeping notes for me. Trello is great for collaborating on team projects.
Share any one habit which you think makes you more productive.
Revisiting priorities every week and every month has helped me as one tends to get lost in doing many different activities in business.
Share any one habit which you wish to change in yourself.
As I said earlier, it is natural to get disheartened and feel stuck once in a while, and it happens with me. One thing I consciously chose this year is to never feel disheartened or resigned, so in a difficult situation or if I have failed I catch myself doing this and take steps to create a ‘bigger game’ or redefine my context.
Answer in less than 50 words
One tip to success:
Often, we have ideas and visions of a certain future but do not take necessary steps to test and find out what works. Keep trying new things and test them fast to find out what works and what doesn’t. Stay connected with reality and keep iterating. Avoid living in your own head, which can be a chronic tendency for the ‘visionary’ in any entrepreneur.
One mistake you believe every individual must avoid:
It is important to be passionate, consistent and yet not emotionally attached to outcomes. We try really hard to do things but they may not work out in the manner or at the time we expect them to. At that time, we tend to lose interest, but it is important to realize that getting the ball rolling takes time.
One most important lesson that you have learnt till now:
As an entrepreneur, there is a tendency to either be too nice or too strict with people – as a result of which people will either treat you as a pushover and get away with anything, or at the other end there is a chance that they may fear you and not let themselves be fully expressed.
What are your plans for next 3 years?
We are working on a number of innovative ideas currently, but broadly the vision is to build products or verticals around the following areas:
- Be at the cutting edge of practical legal education and enable universities to launch courses that really make a difference to people’s careers,
- Enable young lawyers to build their dream careers,
- Make law accessible for the common man and
- To enable lawyers to get work and deliver on it.
If you get a chance to start your career again what would you do differently this time?
The startup journey is often one where others are ‘watching’ or ‘checking’ if you are successful. Due to the nature of the challenge and the journey being ‘against the system’, there is a natural tendency to prove oneself right (or even behave competitively). I feel I have sub-consciously done that in the early stages of my business (and nobody would have realized that).
What are your top three getaway destinations ?
- New Zealand
- Anywhere in the Himalayas
- Andaman Islands.