Entrepreneurship and startup development have always been close to the heart of Shachindra Sharma who right from the young age wanted to do something on his own. This is what led him to co-founded one of the leading book rental startups in Delhi-NCR area. Pustakkosh has disrupted the book ownership patterns in many leading universities in Delhi/NCR region. It is in the process of scaling up for PAN-India operations.
Before moving full time into Pustakkosh Textbook Rentals, he had worked in software development in various roles like a technical manager, team lead, individual contributor at Cadence Design Systems Noida. He also completed Masters in Computer Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and bachelors in Electrical Engineering from Faculty of Engineering DEI, Agra.
Please provide a brief overview of your product/ service.
Pustakkosh provides innovative tailor made book rentals based on actual textbook usage thereby saving from 60 to 75% of the cost. Going back to our college days most of won’t know what to do with our college books they are either sold to scrap or kept in a storage. The actual reason is that we did not need to buy them, by buying we not only paid extra cost but also opted for an ownership where the need of usage was temporary. Pustakkosh solution of providing rentals help students save on education expenses and are extremely useful for the not-so-affluent section of society. Textbook rentals as side benefits help promote reuse and save paper and trees. They also help copyright because even photocopying is not as viable.
What inspired you to build the above product/ service?
The need and the solution for the textbook market are misaligned. The usage of textbooks is temporary in nature and varies from spans of few days to few months in most cases where as available solution includes buying or owning them (from e-tailers or traditional stores). This entails extra cost and needs disruption.
What is your life mantra?
When there is no better alternative innovate to create one.
What was the most challenging part of your journey till now?
Logistics posed a challenge and Pustakkosh has innovatively dealt with logistic cost reduction by marketing analytics.
How did you overcome those challenges?
Customer feedback, marketing data and analytics sometimes help determine the direction in ventures. In our case, mining the business data and identifying that we cater most of the time to very concentrated cluster of customers in 5/10 mile radii helped us become operationally profitable.
Share some details about the investments that you have been able to fetch for the business till now.
Pustakkosh is a self-funded venture so far. With many years in the industry, we, fortunately, did not need seed investment and at present business is able to fund itself in the present area of operation. For scaling up PAN-India, we are looking to raise venture capital.
How do you protect yourself from the problem of Brain Drain?
People don’t always work for just the money. Provide them an environment where they feel at home, get respect and are challenged just enough and attrition would drastically reduce.
According to you, what are the three qualities an individual must have to achieve success?
Which online tools/ services/ apps do you use the most and would like to recommend as well?
Share any one habit which you think makes you more productive.
Motivation for doing what I am doing.
Share any one habit which you wish to change in yourself.
Answer in less than 50 words
One tip to success:
Perseverance and diligence to continue and give utmost importance to right feedback.
One mistake you believe every individual must avoid:
Taking feedback, especially customer feedback emotionally and rejecting it.
One most important lesson that you have learnt till now:
Hard work pays.
What are your plans for next 3 years?
To expand the business PAN India.
If you get a chance to start your career again what would you do differently this time?
Jump into entrepreneurship fully early.
What are your top three getaway destinations?
- Kullu Manali
- San Francisco
Share a quote that inspires you the most.
“Charaiveti” (Meaning keep moving)