Here is the Interview of Entrepreneur Ankit Buti is who is the founder and CEO of startupEd.
Ankit Buti is the founder and CEO of StartupEd, an entrepreneurship school and startup incubator based out of San Francisco, California. He graduated from Purdue University with a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and a certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
Tell us about yourself, your background, entrepreneurial journey and what were some of the struggles you had to face in the initial months/years?
I am a problem solver at heart and as a kid I was really passionate about technology. My energy comes from people around me as I am extremely extroverted and a natural leader. My dad inculcated independent critical thinking in me and I was always fascinated by the idea of Silicon Valley and creating something bigger than myself. The entrepreneurial journey for me started on Purdue University’s campus when I enrolled into the Certificate Program for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and very satisfying multi-disciplinary learning experience from Purdue. Afterwards, the time I spent as an engineer at Qualcomm in San Diego and studying business at Stanford University helped me crystalize my ideas better. Since, I was 13 years old I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur without knowing the word itself. The biggest challenge in the initial phase was to get over the classic entrepreneur’s dilemma and take the giant leap of faith to quit a high paying job in California and move back to India.
What was the behind StartupEd?
StartupEd stands for Idea or Startup Education, the idea is simple; we want to help young student entrepreneurs get started with their entrepreneurial journey with as little hassles as possible. StartupEd is the zeroth step towards converting your idea into a reality. We want to take care of everything around your idea, so that you only focus on building a solution and selling it.
As a young leader what makes you passionate about entrepreneurship?
The fact that it is the oldest profession in the world, and it will be the last. The idea that one can control his/her own destiny and create an impact on other people’s lives is what makes me passionate.
What do you look at a startup before investing?
The team, because in an early stage startup there isn’t much to judge except for the leadership, their passion towards solving the problem and ability to execute on their idea. Ideas are cheap, execution is what matters. Secondly, the defensibility of its competitive advantage. Lots of startups don’t even have their USP figured out, forget its defensibility.
Who has been your greatest inspiration?
My dad, a traditional businessman who never went to Stanford Graduate School of Business like I did, but is exceptional at the skill and taught me the importance of hard work, tenacity, grit, and patience which are core to being a successful entrepreneur. On a lighter note, I am an Elon Musk fan and I really admire his audacity to pursue challenging projects and motivation to make a difference in the world.
How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?
Fortunately, my family has been really supportive of my work and I have really enjoyed their support. Moving back to India to live with my family after spending a decade in the United States was exactly what the doctor ordered for me.
What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?
Good entrepreneurs are driven by their passion to solve a problem and make a difference, want-repreneurs are driven by funding. Good employees who work for someone in the best case are driven by loyalty towards the company’s mission, but an average employee is only driven by regular pay checks.
What three pieces of advice would you give to college students who want to become entrepreneurs?
- Nike – Just Do It.
- Failure is Awesome. Embrace it.
- The idea is only 1% of the game, Execution is 99%.
Do you believe there is some sort of pattern or formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur?
Yes, tenacity and grit. The Pundits will give you 100 reasons why startups fail i.e. (bad timing, lack of funds, small market size, extreme competition, poor quality product etc.) but actually, these are all just problems and it is up to the founder(s) of the company to solve them. Hence, the startup only fails once the founder(s) decide to quit.
In your journey so far, has there ever been a time where you have felt like giving up? And if you could recount the instance for our readers?
There are so many ups and downs in a startup journey that every normal human being is bound to have second doubts and so have I. But, I know the formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur as stated above. Every day is a new day and as long as each day we move a little bit forward, I have no complaints and no plans of giving up.
An incidence that has become a lesson and can inspire our readers, the majority of whom are young aspirants.
“Hire Fast & Fire Fast”, remember raising quality human capital for your startup is much more challenging than raising financial capital. It took me 6 months to fire an employee that I knew was not ready for the job after her first week in the office. I simply didn’t have the heart to fire someone and I also had self-doubt of not being a good leader / good teacher. Young entrepreneurs often have this problem of not being able to fire someone.
In your difficult phases, what keeps you motivated?
A man is defined by the work he does. I work at the intersection of entrepreneurship, education, and technology. I believe these are 3 pillars of our future on this planet as a human race. I am passionate to make lives easier for young entrepreneurs and helping them get ‘StartupEd’, that to me is the ultimate motivation.