The only way to describe the credence of Sameer is that he executes. From a very young age, he has been actively participating in events management and planning. After completing his post-graduation diploma in Event management, he started his career as an assistant event manager. From there he started to climb the ladder of success in the events industry. He is a first generation serial entrepreneur and multi-tasker.
Sameer has been very creative since childhood, he rented his PC to his dad to make money when he was just 14, broke his fixed deposit and bought a camera to lend it to his father for his business to make more by the time he was 18. His first stint at real entrepreneurship came with Sparkshine. However, he came to the forefront in the startup arena with Yoola. It is a futuristic platform, designed to solve problems that Brick and Mortar shops face every day.
Please provide a brief overview of your product/ service.
Yo (Hi) – Ola (Hello) the conversation starter. Chatting is a new age and one of the most powerful way of communication that has grown exponentially in the last decade. Their valuable customers are trolling around the internet in search of right deals and possibly missing better deals that are available offline at their neighbourhood stores. Yoola helps a user connect with business and service providers within 6KMs of radius through chat, without revealing much of their identity and personal information until the user wants to share it.
What inspired you to build the above product/ service?
Growth in e-commerce that is centrally executed is somehow destroying customer base of local stores and shops, customers tend to buy things from online stores without even inquiring about the product in their nearby shops and then wait for 3-4 days to get it delivered at their doorstep. Making, managing and marketing an app is an expensive affair in itself. With Yoola, every shopkeeper can afford to have the presence of their business on an app, creating a platform that helps local stores in growing their business was the only motivation.
What is your life mantra?
I believe my existence has some meaning. We all live once and it should be large. I believe I can bring change for good, all I have to do is try until you succeed. Like Steve Jobs said, “We’re here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise why else even be here?”
What was the most challenging part of your journey till now?
When a startup is bootstrapped, biggest challenge one faces is to build a team that believes in the idea and work towards achieving it without any financial. Many of my friends believe that Money is the only option if you want to opt for entrepreneurship. WRONG! I have created two business entity out of zero. I do agree with the fact that money is required to run business, that can be tackled well if we avoid unnecessary expenses.
How did you overcome those challenges?
While building the team, I along with my co-founder tried and tried and tried until we had our first successful pitch. We were looking for a technical team whose motive to build the product isn’t merely making a profit. We wanted a team who considered this project as their own. After almost 6-7 pitches, we collaborated with three technical pillars who are working on it to make a reality. We now have a team of 11 members who equally believe in the idea and put their efforts to create something valuable for others. Remember, we only have to succeed once and rest will follow.
Share some details about the investments that you have been able to fetch for the business till now.
Currently, we have put in our own savings and have planned to bootstrap as long as we can, we have a revenue generation model and want to test the product in the market on its own revenue. We have been approached by few investors, but we are not looking for investment until we gain some natural traction proving the mettle of the product.
How do you protect yourself from the problem of Brain Drain?
We are currently a small team of enthusiastic members, Brain Drain is a serious problem, but we do not intend to hold anyone forcefully, our culture is different and we give everyone an opportunity to open their heart and say what they feel, if someone is not happy with the company, it is better for both them and the company that they opt for other options with prior notice, something that makes them happy.
According to you, what are the three qualities an individual must have to achieve success?
- Craziness, Curiosity and Courage.
- Craziness to think something that ordinaries don’t.
- Curiosity to dig deep and learn as much as you can.
- Courage to go out, try and until you do not hit the bullseye, keep trying. Success will follow.
Which online tools/ services/ apps do you use the most and would like to recommend as well?
It may sound like I am a workaholic, my smartphone is my buddy, it keeps me updated and allows me to work on the move. Apps and tools that I use the most is Evernote + Skitch, I have NewsInShorts to stay updated with news around without spending much time on, NewsInShorts has really impressed me as a startup and I recommend it to almost everyone, Then there is DropBox which helps me to access all my files from wherever I want. Office Lens to scan documents using mobile camera is also very useful. Also, Google Sheets and Docs are very important apps. I read many answers on Quora related to my field to learn from various minds.
Share any one habit which you think makes you more productive.
I surf the internet a lot and dig deep information on things that fascinate me, I am not ashamed of asking counter questions if something is completely new to me, I read articles and try to learn one good habit from everyone I know or meet. It has definitely worked by far and I have noticed exponential growth in my personality than what I was 5-6 years ago.
Share any one habit which you wish to change in yourself.
Though I do enjoy being workaholic, I sometimes do miss out on precious things that are happening around. There should be a work-life balance. Hopefully, I will work on it and learn to enjoy surroundings as well.
Answer in less than 50 words
• One tip to success:
Execution is the key to success, we all talk about ideas and business plans but when someone points any drawbacks of the idea, instead on planning how to tackle it, people drop the idea.
• One mistake you believe every individual must avoid:
Rapid hiring and unnecessary expenses are few mistakes that tend to closure of a business, remember, that startups are all about “Maximum utilization of available resources”
• One most important lesson that you have learnt till now:
Recognize negative vibes around you and stay away from them, there will be people around you who don’t have faith in you, they will try to break you and kill your dreams. Don’t believe them, believe in yourself.
What are your plans for next 3 years?
We want to see Yoola in a million hands. We want to make sure Yoola delivers more than it promises. We have plans to expand throughout the country or maybe out of it. We want to grow and help our customers grow.
If you get a chance to start your career again what would you do differently this time?
No, I love what I do and this is what wakes me up every day with more enthusiasm. I have learnt a lot practically than any books could have taught me. Both of my parallel careers is my own choice and no one ever forced me to do anything that I don’t want to, I thank my parents for always being supportive and having faith and confidence in me and my ventures.
What are your top three getaway destinations?
I am not a travelling personality, I like being at home when I have nothing in my agenda. I recently visited Goa (Almost everyone goes there) and realised that I couldn’t leave work behind and was thinking about Yoola most of the time. Though I would like to change this for a while and visit Las Vegas, Germany and a cruise trip to Antarctica dodging internet or mobile network to see how it feels.
Share a quote that inspires you the most.
This quote by Henry Ford, (Founder of Ford Motor Company) has played an important role in my life and is my favourite out of all, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.”