Yashash Aggarwal, a final year B.Com student of Sri Ram College of Commerce, New Delhi, is the co-founder of the gaming platform called Gamezop, which received $350K in seed funding from global investors. In this conversation with HER Team, Yashash Aggarwal talks about Education, Entrepreneurship and his dream start-up – Gamezop.
Q: Tell us about the Gamezop and how are you able to handle studies and pressure of running your own company?
A: Gamezop is essentially a platform for super casual games. I lead a team of about 10 people. We source games from developers around the world and bring these games to users. The idea around Gamezop is actually to make playing, sharing and discovering games easy. This- running a company of my own has always been a dream and mobile gaming looks like the calling. The college environment also encouraged this with a flexible course structure that left me with some time on my hands. I make sure I get my internal assessments done. I have not been attending college regularly, but at the same time, the college gives me that freedom to pursue this and still write my exams. But it does get difficult at times and you have to manage your time and everything else beforehand. If you want to do both, you’ll find a way to do both. Things will just fall in place.
Q: How do entrepreneurship cells and programs like the GSF Accelerator 2015 Mobile Accelerator help young talents?
A: Entrepreneurship cells and accelerator programs, when they on-board start-ups and entrepreneurs, provide a window of freedom where the entrepreneur is encouraged to think. The job of the accelerator and the incubator is to push the entrepreneur’s thoughts and ideas in the right direction. These institutions encourage people with ideas to go ahead and pursue it. Being a part of the entrepreneurship cycle, you learn a lot and that plays an indirect role in bridging this gap. It allows students to try out new things and that is a way in bridging the gap around not meeting industry expectations and standards.
Q: What is your take on the entrepreneurship in Indian campuses?
A: From a start-up perspective, the higher education environment is shifting to a scenario where entrepreneurship is being encouraged especially in the larger universities. The relationship between industry and academia encourages the spirit of entrepreneurship. At the end of the day, colleges can only do so much in providing opportunities for students. That initiative and drive in the student is important. Resources are available everywhere, online and for free. Driven students always find a way to exceed even the expectations of the industry. It is sad that this is probably not the case with every student in the country.
Q: How has your journey with the start-up been so far?
A: We had pivoted from a different model; that gave me lot of sleepless nights. At the same time we learned a lot that needs to be implemented. I have also learned a lot of the mistakes to be avoided while working in a start-up. We work with a fantastic team of people now. The company is doing something that is not being pursued by a lot of people in the country and perhaps in the world at large. It is interesting to work in a space that is full of potential. Moreover it has been a learning experience for me
Q: What are the major challenges you have faced and how have you overcome them?
A: You run into challenges every day. One of the biggest challenges we have ever faced is getting the right team. When we recruit people, we go to great lengths to find the people that we want and we don’t settle easily. But a major challenge every start-up goes through is finding the right people to work with. So far I think we are on the right track with that
Q: What kind of leader would you define yourself as?
A: It is probably something I am still discovering. But certainly, I want to be someone that everybody on the team can approach easily and can bank on for anything that they need or anything that they want to talk about.
Q: How do you handle failure?
A: There has been a whole lot of very interesting failures but at the end of the day, I tell myself ‘it is all a part of the journey.’ I do not know any great entrepreneur that has not seen failure. The one thing that I tell myself is if you’re committed to it and you can put in those hours then things can fall back into place. There have been a lot of failures, but hard work dwarfs everything in the end of the day.
Q: What plans for the future?
A: I hope to complete my undergraduate studies this semester. There are no immediate plans for higher education in the near future as I plan to be completely involved in the company.
As far as the company is concerned, some really interesting things are being planned- from enabling payments for the game developers, to making the platform more social wherein challenges could be featured between people. There are a lot of interesting features that we are working on. As for me, I am in the company for as long as I can see straight up. That is where both of us are headed.
Q: What advice would you give to students and young entrepreneurs starting out?
A: I meet other fellow students in competitions and I feel that what they are pursuing is interesting but may not hold a valid market. People get fascinated by their own idea and think it will work out. They invest money in it and build the product. They realize, eventually, that though they have invested a lot in the product, it does not have a market. Before anybody starts investing time and money, it is very important to do some research as to whether the problem that the product is trying to solve is actually even a problem. That is one of the biggest things that I think people go wrong with and I would like to warn them of that.