In this era of real time information sharing, it has become difficult for people to stay updated on everything that is happening around them. Gone are those days when people used to spend hours reading newspapers. In order to solve this problem, an entrepreneur came to the forefront with her revolutionary app called NewsBytes. Shikha Chaudhry is one of these people who believed in them and quit their regular paying job, to start their own company.
During the course of her career, she has always been ahead of the game and perceived as a hardworking person. Working her way from an IT consultant to Channel sales manager, she gained ample experience. This is where she thought of using that experience to her own benefit and starting her own company called Elysium Labs Private Limited.
Please provide a brief overview of your product/ service.
NewsBytes, in essence, is our answer to the information overload over the web. I think our problem is the exact opposite of the problems of the previous generations. They didn’t have access to information, and we have access to almost infinite information. So, how do I make sense out of all that in the least possible time? That is what NewsBytes in its core does.
The intelligent back engine and the editorial team work in tandem to
- First, select and pick the noteworthy events of every day. Technically, the engine crawls across the web and give the important events to the editorial team. It is then their discretion to pick the most important ones.
- We, then, research and create contextual timelines – a collection of backdated events around them.
- Finally, they are presented in an appealing way in the form of an Android App. And, we do this every day.
What inspired you to build the above product/ service?
Like most start-up stories, ours also started in an apartment – the quintessential garage of India. There are 4 of us who are managing to run the show here, the interesting part is that the degrees of separation between all of us is 1. We are a bunch of highly enthusiastic youngsters and have gotten together to solve the problem which we faced while growing up – the problem of information overload over web.
If we were foodies, we would have opened a restaurant. If we were into fashion, we would have worked to create the ultra modern fashion stores. Sadly, we are a group of impatient geeks and which is why we created the next generation, super fast news app – NewsBytes.
Though on a fundamental level all of us are quite similar, but the similarity ends just there. We work from a home office, have varied interests, aren’t greedy (for the most part),argue a lot but somehow, manage to converge after several shouting matches. Our neighbours think we are unemployed and the automatic GPS algorithms establish that we are a group of housewives!
But so far the ride has been phenomenal. And, our inspiration to solve challenging problems while having fun is what binds us together.
What is your life mantra?
If you don’t like something don’t do it, and if you’re doing something then you better like it. It is as simple as that.
What was the most challenging part of your journey till now?
I was lucky that my parents and friends were extremely supportive. And, I didn’t have to support anyone financially. But, that’s that. It ended there.
Beyond that, there are so many challenges; the biggest being hiring the right talent. You have to make peace with the fact that there won’t be any inflow of money for the longest time, your standard of living takes a hit and you should be ok with that. You should be receptive of the criticism from anyone and everyone – your employees/co-workers, existing investors, future investors, potential investors, mentors, potential mentors, your neighbours, your neighbours’ dog!
We faced all of that. And then some more.
How did you overcome those challenges?
By being thick skinned!
Jokes apart, I think it is important not to over-think and just work. As they say, you should take your work seriously and not yourself.
Share some details about the investments that you have been able to fetch for the business till now.
We are a part of 4th batch of GSF Accelerator Program run by Mr. Rajesh Sawhney. We are on the path of growth and are actively looking for funding. We intend to deploy the funds in product development, hiring and user acquisition.
How do you protect yourself from the problem of Brain Drain?
In our organization, we have an unsaid rule. People are allowed to leave NewsBytes only under 3 circumstances:
- They are getting married and which is why they have to relocate.
- They are going for higher studies.
- They plan to start a venture of their own.
If none of the above is true, we don’t let anyone leave. We are like “Hotel California” – you can check out any time but you can never leave except that you *can’t* check out any time either. We spend insane amount of time and energy in finding the right resources!
According to you, what are the three qualities an individual must have to achieve success?
- Ability to work hard
Success is a sum total of all the above 3 qualities.
Which online tools/ services/ apps do you use the most and would like to recommend as well?
Google Analytics, Mixpanel and Flurry! But that is the case because I am responsible for user acquisition in NewsBytes.
Share any one habit which you think makes you more productive.
I am highly obsessive as a person. I am also driven to win. I don’t think being a highly ambitious and competitive person is essentially a bad thing.
It is just that you need to compete against yourself and not against others.
Share any one habit which you wish to change in yourself.
I want to become an early morning person. I have been a night owl, for as long as I remember.
Answer in less than 50 words
One tip to success:
Willingness to take risks.
One mistake you believe every individual must avoid:
Unwillingness to accept criticism.
One most important lesson that you have learnt till now:
There is always light after the tunnel!
What are your plans for next 3 years?
Our philosophy here is “Think big, Act small, Scale fast”.
Our plan is to be present on *every* single smart phone of our target group. We won’t stop till we get there.
If you get a chance to start your career again what would you do differently this time?
I would have failed fast!
What are your top three getaway destinations?
Share a quote that inspires you the most
“If our hopes are dupes, our fear may be liars.”