We are delighted to follow-up on the announcement of our investment in Bubblo with an insightful look at entrepreneurship in an interview with Shashank Sripada the CEO of BubbleScene Ltd.
Q: What time do you wake up and how do you spend the first hour of your working day?
A. I wake up at 8am, and I spend the first hour of my working day reading all my news sources (Bloomberg, economist, financial times, CNN) and then going through my emails and creating my task list for the day.
Q: When you left school, what did you think you would end up doing? What were your aspirations?
A. I left my undergrad thinking I would work in Finance or Consulting, however I left my Masters in Management knowing that I would do entrepreneurship. My aspirations have always been to make an impact on the world and have my ideas actually be implemented and make a difference. I tried making this happen in politics, consulting, and finance but none of these fields gave me the freedom to exercise my creativity and drive as entrepreneurship did.
Q: How did it all start?
A. Bubblo started with an idea I had while in my college dorm room during my Masters in Management. I have always been someone who likes finding new places to go out and then get all my friends to come to these locations. I noticed that the others were not so adventurous because it was too painful to go online, look through list after list after list of different kinds of “best [bar, club, restaurant, etc] in London” and then go share these with their friends. None of the lists were pertinent to real-time social media, and none of them were relevant to the area that the user was in. It was always either a map full of pins or a screen full of lists. I decided I just wanted the Top 5 places nearby, in big vivid bubbles on a map. From the beginning this was the idea and the designs, features, and business plan all stemmed from multiple advisors, designers, interns, consumer testing, and surveys. That’s how Bubblo was born.
Q: What’s the best part of your job?
A. Best part of my job is the freedom to work on my own schedule and work on something I am passionate about. No one is forcing my hours, no one is forcing my work. Everything that I do is done out of an innate excitement of wanting to see my idea grow and succeed.
Q: What have you enjoyed most about your career to date?
A. I’ve enjoyed the immense amount of responsibility and support that I have been handed by those who have decided to work, invest, or support me. Many of my interns, employees, and investors have placed their dreams and trust in my idea and having the ability to push forward to make those dreams a reality is truly humbling and keeps me going every day.
Q: What is your top tip to becoming a successful entrepreneur?
A. My top tip to becoming a successful entrepreneur is to have, confidence, perseverance, and humility. These three qualities might not all seem like they go together but a successful entrepreneur must have all three. Entrepreneurs must have the confidence in their ideas and their own abilities to execute those ideas. There will be dozens if not hundreds of people they will meet who do not buy into their visions and ideas. Indeed the key here is to be confident enough in one’s research, customer feedback, and pure business intuition to keep pushing on ahead despite serious criticism. This is where perseverance is needed. Many things about a business plan and idea may not work out the way one intended. In a start-up everything takes longer than expected, and some things may not be possible at all. A successful entrepreneur must be confident in their idea and be willing to persevere towards their vision for a very long time to make it a reality, grinding by themselves if need be day in and day out. Lastly is a recommended trait which is somewhat contradictory to the above traits, which is humility. An entrepreneur must be headstrong in their vision and must pursue it unequivocally, however, they must also be humble enough to accept criticism and help and be willing to change their original vision to incorporate changes for the better, while still keeping areas they are not willing to compromise on. Only with the input of the many can an idea become successful. This cannot be done if the entrepreneur is closed-minded to consider any and all possibilities for their vision.
Q: Are there any specific skills or qualities you believe are vital to make it in the current economic climate?
A. Knowledge of coding, social media marketing, or accounting/finance are vital in the current economic climate. There is always someone looking for this knowledge and there is an acute shortage of good people to carry out the tasks, especially for start-ups.
Q: Where do you hope to be in 5 years’ time?
A. In 5 years’ time I hope to be expanded to the US and potentially prepping Bubblo for a sale!
Q: What motivates you and keeps you going throughout the week?
A. The dream and the challenge motivate me. I am someone who wants to see my dreams and ideas become a reality quickly. I become frustrated if there are delays in making these a reality so I hustle harder if I see potential delays. My motto is that I don’t want any delays to be attributed to myself.
Q: What has been your biggest challenge?
A. My biggest challenge is two-fold: Getting good trustworthy developers to code and getting investment.
Q: Are there any blogs/websites/influential people you recommend that people follow?
A. I recommend as much business knowledge as possible, news articles and case studies of other businesses on Bloomberg, the Economist, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Tech Crunch, all of these help identify problems others have faced and show a roadmap of how they dealt with these problems. Such knowledge of problems/solutions can be stored in the mind and applied to the problems an entrepreneur might face in their own way.
Q: Who do you admire?
A. Elon Musk, he is a man who is also not in it for the money but for the idea and the vision to make a profound impact in the world. If the idea, vision, and execution are good then the money will come automatically. Money instead has become a barometer for his success rather than his driving motivator. This is why I admire him.
Q: What are you currently reading?
A. Rene Descartes’ “A Discourse of a Method for the Well Guiding of Reason”
Q: What technology could you not live without?
A. My iPhone, it is my mobile office, my gateway to music and movies, my information database, my secretary, my calendar, my weatherman, my alarm clock, and my bridge to my social life.