When it comes to new businesses aka startups, founders often start from scratch to build the vision that they see for everyone. Whether you have studied business management or not, it is one thing to learn about a business and another to build it from the ground. It takes hours, sweat, effort, and maybe even blood to build a company that has the potential to revolutionize the world. But you certainly need guidance and here’s a startup that will help you ease your journey.
Team Sociobits: Could you tell us a little about yourself and how did you come up with the idea of The Startup Lab?
Shruti Aggarwal: The formation of The Startup Lab is actually a very interesting industry. So, I belong to the Company Secretary (CS) background, and I started my career with Hero Corp. During the beginning I got an opportunity to work with Mr. Munjal, subsequently, I moved to work at an MNC with a small team of around 8 – 9 people. Here I got a rough idea of how an organization. After this, I worked at a startup consultancy firm for almost 7 months and I got to know about how the whole working of the startup ecosystem.
While working at the consultancy, I found their management extremely poor and I was astonished that nobody cared about learning. So, one day I came home and put in my resignation, and around November 2018, I started with The Startup Lab. It was nowhere planned that I will start my own company. But even when I was working, I was talking to a lot of entrepreneurs and working as a freelancer. Along with my job, I was also managing a very big Indian startup community. That’s where the idea of shifting from being a CS to an entrepreneur started brewing.
So, one day I came home and put in my resignation, and around November 2018, I started with The Startup Lab. It was nowhere planned that I will start my own company.
Team Sociobits: How has your journey with The Startup Lab been?
Founder: During the initial days, I started it as a consultancy because I was a CS and I wanted to use these resources somewhere and also to mint the revenue of the company. We used to take care of the legal and financial aspects of the entrepreneurs but this was an extremely boring job. Moreover, I am someone who really likes talking to people. This is when we shifted our focus to not only compliance but also business development and fundraising. This is how we began our journey and started to move step-by-step.
If you look at our web portal, now we also cover a lot of startup stories, funding news, and many such blog posts with the intent to keep the ecosystem aware of what is going on. If I tell you in one line, The Startup Lab is a one-stop solution for startups. We try to match-make the problems faced by the startups to the resources that we can use in order to help them.
Team Sociobits: Could you elaborate on the services that The Startup Lab provides?
Founder: There are majorly three core areas: compliance, business development, and fundraising. In business development, we help startups with their branding strategies and getting corporate and ecosystem partner connections, in short, we help them with anything that adds to their company’s revenue. In fundraising, we act like investment bankers and we help them in fundraising through VCs, family offices, corporate houses, HNIs, and more. We also help startups connect with mentors.
The first thing that we do before we give the startup any conclusion or solution is that we understand their approach. So, I schedule a one-on-one call and personally understand a startup’s journey and I loop in my team for all the processes. I understand the challenges that a startup is facing and what is that they require, finally moving to give them an apt solution.
I understand the challenges that a startup is facing and what is that they require, finally moving to give them an apt solution.
Team Sociobits: What are your future plans?
Founder: Our short-term plans include building our community wherein we will keep all the entrepreneurs connected city-wise. We will also organize a lot of events and meetups. Another goal would be to build our own investor network. We are trying to build our in-house network of investors. We have a few but now we are looking to expand.
In the long run, we want to launch our own fund so that we can directly come on the cap.
Team Sociobits: Since you started in 2018, did COVID have any impact on your business?
Founder: In 2019, we did a lot of experimenting. There were numerous changes to the website and we still have some. This is because we understand what the user wants only after doing experiments and that is why we have to do these changes continuously. Because it is important for us to understand the message that people who visit our website get.
We focused on knowing the revenue streams that we can focus on, which one of them will be fruitful for us in the long run, and so on and so forth. When COVID-19 hit, it was really towards the payment as well as the business side. 2021 on the other hand was a great year and 2022 is also going the same way. We are really enjoying this journey!
Team Sociobits: The global macroeconomic scenario suggests that the startup ecosystem is facing a funding crunch. What are your thoughts?
Founder: It is true that the Indian startup ecosystem is facing a funding crunch. Around a few months ago, the stock market was down, crypto crashed and in this ecosystem, you can say that the center point is the financial status of the country. So, everything went downhill, and if you see the bigger picture, the funds that are coming into our country actually come from outside the country. Basically, VCs and fund houses right now cannot take the kind of risk that they were able to before all of this. Now, slowly things are slightly improving and we are hoping that things will be in better shape by December.
Basically, VCs and fund houses right now cannot take the kind of risk that they were able to before all of this. Now, slowly things are slightly improving and we are hoping that things will be in better shape by December.
Team Sociobits: Since you are someone who studies a lot of startups, can you point out some tips for them to navigate through this tough phase?
Founder: I always recommend to everybody that consistency is the key and to keep experimenting. Try to cut down your costs but that doesn’t always mean downsizing. Keep your employees motivated and make sure they can see the vision of the company.
When there are crunches in the market and you have certain financial constraints; if you can survive in this situation, then you have won half of the battle.
Any startup can approach The Startup Lab and they will help you fill in the gaps that your startup may lack. With their partner services like Razor Pay, Amazon Credits, Microsoft Cell, and more, the company and its founder want to focus on helping startups and entrepreneurs.