Devesh Chawla, Founder and CEO at Chatur Ideas
Great Companies: How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
Devesh Chawla: It all began with Devesh Chawla’s idea to start a cab service based on GPS. He had created a working model and reached out to various industry experts, however, he was discouraged from pursuing the idea. Devesh took their words to not further
work on the idea as it needed political connections and managing unions, according to his mentors. He dropped the idea and started working with a firm as a wealth manager and was responsible for managing ultra-HNWIs money, who invested in India and abroad across asset classes. Through this experience, Devesh acquired a huge amount of networking and domain expertise. He used to spend a lot of time mentoring startups and investing in them, connecting with investors, and gaining a lot of experience and exposure.
However, simultaneously, he also saw Ola’s birth and their journey to the 1000-crore club on the footholds of the same idea, he had initiated in 2009. It turned out to be an eye-opener for Devesh and he, therefore, decided to bridge this gap between entrepreneurs and investors/mentors by providing a platform for their interactions and valuable feedback from these dignitaries to these entrepreneurs to help them with their journey. Thus, took place the establishment of Chatur Ideas–one of India’s leading startup enabler platforms that help young entrepreneurs across the country to lead and guide them through their entrepreneurship journey. Chatur Ideas also conducts Entrepreneurship Development workshops along with mentoring sessions in top business schools and colleges across India.
Great Companies: What are the various services provided by Chatur Ideas?
Fundraising: Having a strong investor network of more than 1500 investors, we assist startups with fundraising from Post-Seed Investment rounds to Series A. B, C, and so on. The startups we select are curated by an investment committee composed of Top CXOs from Google, JP Morgan, etc which enriches the whole process.
Mentoring: We offer domain-specific mentoring from top technical experts in the specific field to ensure quality output is achieved through the support from the mentor/advisor.
Financial Independence Programs: Programs based on financial independence to ensure the capability of the future generation to take care of their own finances. This may be through stock market, entrepreneurship or career counseling. Acquisition of "Nurture Talent Academy" (India's first institute for Entrepreneurs) has allowed Chatur Ideas to train young entrepreneurs across Institutes and provide them access to our vast ecosystem to enrich them in the entrepreneurship culture right from the foundation level. We have trained more than 50,000+ students from institutions across 125+ cities.
Consulting: We assist companies/family offices with strategies/plans to expand their businesses or increase revenue streams through partnerships with members of our Chatur Ideas Community.
Great Companies: What makes Chatur Ideas different from hundreds of other similar service providers?
Devesh Chawla: Any industry in today’s time cannot run without competitors since it only makes our own company stand out of the rest and clients do understand the value given to
them. Chatur Ideas is better because we give customized service to each client and the value given is purely in terms of capability and efficiency of startups which is directly proportional to current market demand and expectations.
Great Companies: What were the struggles and challenges you faced and how did you overcome them?
Devesh Chawla: One of the biggest challenges that I personally faced was acceptance. I was not sure if people would accept me, as there were already bigger players in the market,
doing things similar to our business idea, and even they were facing tough times.
I was not sure, being so young, entering an already competitive field, if I would be able to achieve what I wanted and if the market would respond to it in a positive way. To overcome that, I got into it and gave my 100%. I stepped out of my comfort zone, spent more than 18 hours a day on the start-up, making sure that I put all the pieces together to get the benefits of the mentors and the investors.
Eventually, the hard work paid off, people started seeing the sincerity and honesty in my work, often foregoing the revenue in it and thinking of the bigger picture. This is how I overcame this challenge and Chatur Ideas was able to rise up rapidly.
Great Companies: How do you plan to grow in the future? What does 5 years down the line look like for Chatur Ideas?
Devesh Chawla: As one of India’s largest startup enabling platforms, our goal is to further grow globally. USA, Israel, UAE, and Qatar are just a few of the countries we have an international presence in. We aim to expand our presence internationally as we continue to grow. The most important goal would be to help 50 startups reach unicorn status.
Great Companies: If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
Devesh Chawla: My tips to first time and aspiring entrepreneurs includes doing an empathy study and in-depth market survey to figure out and answer one major question, "what problem is an entrepreneur solving?".
Most of the first time entrepreneurs first find the solution and then look for the problem. This should be the other way around, they should look for the problem first, and then find the solution. Just finding the solution is not enough, the solution should be very enticing, have
should have the potential to create money and solve problems at the same time. These are the pointers which first time and aspiring entrepreneurs should keep in mind.