We always praise the entrepreneurs and the founders. But do you ever wonder who are the people working tirelessly behind the success of those startups?
These are people like Sachin Arya. These people give their heart and soul to the young entrepreneurs, providing them with every resource possible. Moreover, guiding them in every step they young minds take.
Once again, I am here with a new interview with Sachin Arya, the man who has mentored/guided many ideas into million-dollar ventures today.
I feel like this is not just about Sachin Arya but a tribute to all the mentors and coaches out there. Who works day and night just so that the young minds of the world can bring their ideas to life.
I am pretty sure that you might be curious who is Sachin Arya. So let me answer your question:
Who is Sachin Arya?
Sachin Arya is the Lead Incubation and Entrepreneurship Strategy and Implementation for all BITS campuses at Pilani, Goa, Hyderabad, Dubai, and soon in Mumbai. The Incubator has been important in defining and supporting an innovative and entrepreneurship ecosystem at BITS Campuses.
Directly or indirectly, the incubator has motivated and inspired many BITSians to take up entrepreneurship. As per an estimate, BITS students and alumni have formed more than 300 startups after the incubator was set up in 2004.
He has been on this post for more than 5 years now and so far has nurtured a lot of ideas. Ideas that started from a whiteboard to a big enterprise today. I feel like he is a modern-day guru every young entrepreneur wants guidance from. Why am I saying this so confidently? To know, just read below, and by his answers, you’ll know.
Q: What makes BITS different from every other institution in the world?
A: Sachin says that BITS Pilani, which is situated in Pilani, is a very small and remote village 200 kilometers away from Jaipur and other major cities. This is what he describes as the “Secret sauce,” which makes the institution unique in itself.
Being in a remote area away from a developed city naturally restricts students from the things that would otherwise distract them or things that might be disguised as convenience but can be a reason for laziness in the big cities. This builds up the character that makes BITSians a great natural leader and helps cultivate entrepreneur-like qualities in the students.
It’s no fluke that BITS has 6000 alumni as CEOs and 7000 alumni with startups, right after IIT Bombay and Delhi.
There is no curfew for boys and girls on the campus, along with lenient rules for staying out of the campus. This open freedom provides students with a unique environment to grow and be productive.
Did you know about this fact?
Q: What are the criteria to get a one-year drop in BITS?
A: When the news broke that students of BITS can opt for 1-year drop from their academic cycle. Everyone was curious to know the criteria. So I decided to take the initiative. So I decided to take matters not my own hands.
For this question, Sachin delves into the history of how this “one-year drop” policy came into being. There was a lot of debate on whether allowing this break was good or not. But they all reached the conclusion that they need to take some more steps to take the entrepreneurial culture to the next level. and if this benefits the students and brings something good out in them, then nothing is better than that.
He continues that the criteria for taking the break are that you must be working on a startup or you must be on a pathway toward a startup. If a student can show up their ideas or they are accepted into a training program from third-party agencies for entrepreneurship, they are allowed to take that one-year break.
Yupp! That’s it. I am pretty sure that you were thinking that there must be some heavy criteria. But it’s as simple as this.
Q: Is experience mandatory to start your own business or start-up?
A: According to Mr Arya, there is no particular way of determining if the experience is mandatory or not to start a company or a startup. He starts his answer with the example of Pixxel, a space imaging startup, which would require a lot of fundamental expertise and knowledge on the subject beforehand was started in a hostel room, and now they are launching satellites.
Another example he took was Grow, a company started by Ishaan, who worked for years at other places to get experience before starting his own company.
Q: What is The mindset of students in BITS?
A: When I asked this question, Mr. Arya said that this is an interesting question. Furthermore, he added that as students are spending a lot of money to study at BITS are willing to give up healthy packages from the company to start their own company from scratch.
He mentions that one of the reasons that could be the answer is the culture that has been prevalent at BITS. The students could be influenced by the entrepreneurial environment, or they could be inspired by the other people at BITS who put them in the mind to take that plunge for themselves.
He adds that the smart ones at BITS know that even if their startups fail, they will still have jobs to fall back to, as many companies these days take entrepreneurial backgrounds as a bonus in the employees for certain roles. All these reasons have propelled a lot of founders to take the risk.
Like, I was shocked. Just imagine not opting for a job that pays you higher than most of the colleges. And option for a journey where the initial phase will be full of challenges. This is the mindset that we are talking about here.
Q: How to pitch in front of Investors and Institutions?
A: After I asked about how one could pitch their ideas to investors and institutions, Sachin mentioned that instead of thinking about the economic implications of the idea or the funding of the project, they look at the passion the young minds bring for their idea or their vision.
They, however, do look for the pedigree for problem-solving in founders and their preparedness for those said problems. They also look at the ideas for their potential and the target demographic or the market for those ideas.
One more thing he mentions is that they also pay attention to how the idea will be developed and what path and measures will be taken for that idea to work and develop, along with the way the findings will be utilized, whether for equipment or for employees, the investments of these funds are taken into consideration.
The final thing they look for is if an idea has innovation for the market. It’s emphasized if they are trying to reinvent the wheel for the market. For most people these days, Sachin gives an insight that nowadays, most startups try to make the seller and buyer meet.
Q: As a founder, when do you think is the right time to stop?
A: Well, everyone talks about Start-up success, but no one talks about failure. So when I asked this question, Sachin smiled and said that it was a very difficult question to answer.
He gives his experience of watching many companies and the ideas that are unviable, either because the customer is not getting the value for their investments. If the customers are leaving, running a root analysis will surely get you to the reason for the problem.
If the product is not doing well and the customers are leaving, then that can be taken as a sure-shot reason that the company would not be able to survive.
Q: How to find the right co-founder?
A: Sachin chuckles at this question, knowing where we are going with this question. The answer he gave was quite in-depth, and I would recommend checking the video out for this one, but in summary, he states that it’s always difficult to find a co-founder because sometimes it’s very difficult to find someone with the right ideas and right mindsets that also click with your ideas and methods.
And that usually means having a co-founder is often compared with marriages, where spouses usually have disagreements on the stuff they are working on. Being a co-founder, that person needs to respect the other co-founder’s ideas and reasons, and it’s a difficult job to do well in.
Q: Tips to the students who want to dive into this entrepreneurial journey?
A: Sachin mentions that the government of India has funded a lot of entrepreneurial incubators and incubator cells. and these cells will love to help the people who want to start their own companies.
With the mentorship and help from these institutions, one can surely get a pathway to their ideas and realizations of their visions. He also mentions the grants and financial help that are provided to entrepreneurs by these cells for the nurturing of their startups and their journey.
Q: What are the things that you love the most about your job?
A: On this question, Sachin rеpliеs with, “Why am I doing this?” Hе mеntions that with studеnts, onе nееds to comе up with a nеw way of dealing with problems.
Hе mеntions that hе don’t havе a tеmplatе, nor doеs hе follow onе for his work, and with nеw studеnts coming in еvеry yеar, еvеryonе has a diffеrеnt sеt of еxpеctations for how thеy can work with all thе nеw еnеrgy that comеs up еvеry nеw yеar at BITS, and that’s what kееps thеm lеarning еvеry day.
Wе lеarnеd a lot in thе podcast with Sachin. And to bе honеst, a lot of pеoplе will gеt a lot of invaluablе knowlеdgе from thе convеrsation wе had with him. I askеd him quitе a fеw morе quеstions, likе his salary and why BITS is so еxpеnsivе, along with othеr еxpеriеncеs.
I would highly recommend you watch thе complеtе podcast so that you can еxpеriеncе thе answers straight from him. Kееp tunеd in for morе amazing intеractions and insights. Till thеn, kееp lеarning and kееp growing.