Gaurav Kashyap Dutta, a student of second year in NLU (Jodhpur) is among the top youngest entrepreneurs in India. Gaurav after failing in 4th standard, learnt the best lesson of his life and made each day count towards success. He initially cleared the very competitive law entrance test, CLAT with AIR 421 and joined one of the finest law schools of the country, NLU Jodhpur. Later, he realized his niche lies in business and founded multiple ventures, namely “Thelawala”,”GroomVroom”, and “High There!”. Gaurav is slowly becoming a known name in the young entrepreneurial circle.
1. How many companies have you founded so far?
I’ve founded 3 companies on my own and I’m working on another project which will revolutionize the whole women sanitary sector. Essentially how girls deal with periods. There will be an improvement in it by leaps and bounds.
2. Where did you get idea of Starting GrooomVroom and Thelawala?
I saw the problem of inaccessibility to good food, groceries and daily essentials for colleges which are at the outskirts of the city. Also, there was the factor of affordability too. Most people in college live on a budget and most food delivery services are overly priced. That’s mostly where Thelawala found its niche. Broke even in the third month of operation and have bigger plans for the coming quarter. The entire startup has been completely bootstrapped (self-funded). About GroomVroom, I realized that people essentially don’t have time to groom themselves. Especially working women. So I came up with this idea where I drop you where you want to go, while you avail our beauty services.
3. What is the concept of GroomVroom exactly?
Let’s say you have a party to attend and you need to get waxed, so we’ll drop you at the respective club while we wax you. Or let’s say you have a friend’s wedding to attend, we’ll do your hair and make up while we drop you to the venue. A tiring day at office, we’ll drop you home while we give you a massage. It will be in a vanity van. I’m still pitching this startup and looking for investments.
4. So what were the hurdles you faced and how did you overcome them all?
Initially I had ideas and no money. I feel every startup should raise it’s own money. Either pitch to raise money or save up. When there’s scarcity, you make judicious use of money. If you take money from family, its an unlimited source and you make bad decisions. I had always wanted to start everything on my own, from scratch. I had a claim against a party which I recovered through a legal case. I made sure to make some use of what I have been taught in the college, if nothing.
“I started off with that money, a mere 17,500 and built the whole empire one after the other.”
5. So who helped you all this while? Who was your mentor?
No one in particular. I’ve always looked up to Steve Jobs. Sounds cliche, I know but there’s a lot to learn from that man. I have a friend and a prospective business partner, Kritika. I’ve discussed everything with her. In fact we are working together on ‘High There!’ .
6. What was the reaction of your parents when they got to know about your ideas and business?
Initially they were worried but now they are supportive. Though my mother still wants me to take up a job and all because well, Indian parents and also the fact that I am studying in NLU Jodhpur. But, slowly I think she’s understanding how I’m far better off as an entrepreneur. Especially now that I can buy her expensive things. Just joking.
7. How has your experience been so far in building GroomVroom and Thelawala?
It feels great to build something from scratch. I mean everything set apart, when you see customers using your products and being benefited from the same, it’s insanely rewarding. I do feel a sense of pride about doing all of this while I am still 20 years old. But there’s been one guiding principle, “Be proud but never satisfied”.
8. So business and law are two different things. Then what did you think initially about the outcomes?
Law has aided a lot to my business actually. I mean since I know the legality of everything, I could figure things on my own. My whole journey to entrepreneurship started during my ragging at college as a fresher. So I owe law a lot.
9. What will be your message to the youth?
It’s never too early to start anything good. I’ll encourage everyone to build something. It’s one short life. We all here to do something right? Why not leave a footprint? Also, if you’re planning to startup, start for the right reason. Not to become rich. Do good work, leave a mark, trust me the rich thing would follow on its own.
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