My Startup Journey

“Ideas don’t come out fully formed. They only become clear as you work on them. You just have to get started.”

– Mark Zuckerberg

Well, my story goes along with the above ideology of Zuckerberg.

I started on this journey without a hint of what it had in store for me. 

But in just a year I’ve learned a crazy lot of things: From making super convincing ppts, pitching an idea (I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve embarrassed myself on stage), teamwork, networking, communication skills, technical skills, marketing, leadership, and well, the list goes on.

Where it all started

It all started when I went to cram school. I was doing what any ordinary science stream student in their 11th grade would be doing: trying to balance school with cram school and at the same time binge-watching some tv show. I had lost all creativity and initiative.

Slowly I began to realize that I wanted to set out on a different path, paint my canvas, and be that person who stands out from the crowd. I started to realize that the best way to learn was to start exploring the real world, whether or not I had enough skills to do so. So with that urge to be different, I started to explore the real world. 

I have always been a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, more specifically Tony Stark. I wanted to build something like J.A.R.V.I.S (don’t we all). I showed my dad this clip of J.A.R.V.I.S and said that I wanted to build it. Luckily for me, my parents told me that I would have their full support. My dad too has an entrepreneurial mindset and he introduced me to a few people to whom I pitched my idea. Some of them were more than happy to be my mentors and I got my seed-funding from a few connections.

When I pitched the idea to my mentors, they said it was great, except it was a really big project and also I didn’t have the technical skills to build this ultra-super-awesome tech project. So they suggested that I ‘divide-and-conquer’ this ultra-super-awesome tech project and work on a smaller version of the idea.

That’s how I came up with the idea of AARU.

The Idea

So the most common way that a person can interact with an application is through a website or an app. Imagine if application-developers could connect their application to a single platform and get it to work on all sorts of interfaces: websites, apps, AI-based devices ( Alexa, Google Assistant/Home, Cortana, etc), ARVR systems and many more! That’s exactly what my team and I are trying to build! So currently we’ve got our platform to interface with Google Assistant and Alexa and we’re currently working on an app too.

We recently partnered with Cloud4Things, which provides IOT solutions for various domains including building management, manufacturing, airports, hotels, residential buildings and many more!! Thanks to their faith in my Startup, AARU is now live in 700+ homes!!

Aaru is an AI-based personal assistant that can help students, schools, call centers, and a variety of other sectors to delegate routine and administer simple tasks, therefore, increasing efficiency. AARU is a software that can exist in the cloud or can be infused within an actual robot. Aaru is customizable. It is different for different users depending on preference. So it can either be used by a parent to enquire about their child’s fee, bus location, time table in school, or used at home to know your electricity bill or even used by a BPO to help customers. She can be used at the front desk to cater to the needs of people regarding their personal profile/ account and general queries related to the organization. She is an easily accessible single interface for multiple applications.

Some of the challenges…

Saying that this journey had only good stuff in store for me would be lying. I did face a lot of challenges. Firstly, it was gaining technical skills. Setting out on this journey gave my technical skills and knowledge a great boost. Though I still have a lot to learn. I usually take help from my father and take in free-lancers occasionally. Secondly, when I started I was in school and so managing both stood as another challenge especially since I was in 12th (Board Exams!!!). But the biggest challenge was breaking out of my shell, breaking from my comfort zone. I order to make this venture successful I would have to speak in huge forums and expand my network, which was asking a lot from a shy, introvert such as myself. But a year on this path changed that.

Media

I was also lucky enough to receive encouragement from various media platforms. Trust me no one as shocked and surprised as myself to receive calls from media agencies to be featured on their platform. A big thank you to Pepper Interactive Communications, for this opportunity! I would love to present to you some of my interviews:

  1. Forbes
    2. Indian Express
    3. Financial Express (Newspaper)
    4. Analytics India
    5. NDTV Hop
    6. Dainik Bhaskar (Newspaper)
    7. The Indian Startup Show

Conclusion

The thing that I would like my readers to take away is not that you should abandon school or be this or be that. What I want to convey through my story is that if you want something you should chase after it. If your intention is good and you are ready to put in the effort and overcome the challenges on your path, you will reach your goal. Remember, “no pain no game” and always be patient!!

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