Raising a Venture to 9 Figures without Funding


MentR-Me
Raising a Venture to 9 Figures without Funding
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Sounds fascinating right? A company that is zero-funded has raised its mark to nine figures. I was intrigued to know more about it; hence, I interviewed its co-founder, Abhyank Srinet. 

When I met him, I was fascinated to know how a person who keeps a calm personality and plays with Rex (his docile dog) manages two companies smoothly. The environment in his office is always interactive, and everyone is friendly in a competitive setup.

Seeing him work with passion, I wanted to know his priorities and how he managed to grow so much this early in his startup. Kudos to him, as it is not easy to set up a business in such a joint industry and still manage to skyrocket the figures.

About Abhyank Srinet :

CEO

Abhyank Srinet is a passionate digital entrepreneur who holds a Master’s in Management degree from ESCP Europe. He started his first company while still studying at ESCP and managed to scale it up by 400% in just two years.

Currently, he manages MIM-Essay and MentR-Me, a new enterprise taking form. Both companies are built toward helping students get into their dream schools. He specifically created MentR-Me, a portal with cutting-edge profile evaluation and school selection algorithms, along with several avenues to stay informed about the latest B-School Updates.

Questions and answers:-

What would you say is the core thing that makes MiM-Essay different? Like teamwork, consistency, or something you believe values more ?

Ans. The core value that makes us different is that we care about our customers. I know it’s a cliche thing, but we value customers. Even if we get a minor client complaint, it affects me. I immediately start to look out for ways to resolve it. Your customer must know how much you care for your business’s quality and standards. So, you have to keep working on it.

We focus on giving the best results and building superior products for our competitors. You could have better products and services at any time of your business. But if you are not consistent with it, go away. The products we have may be good now, but looking at them from a perspective can show something else. It may need advancement or a bug fix. I always keep looking for things like these.

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If you keep improving things in operation, improving marketing, sales, HR, etc. It gets you going. These are the points we picked as goals to be active. Fortunately, we are already there and looking to improve more. There can be times when you will feel lazy, but you have to continue to work for growth. Long way to go!

When you go through things, you learn many things. If you have to give some Golden Bullet to other aspirants, what would those be?

Ans. There’s no fixed golden bullet here, just an immense amount of dedication, obsession, and hard work. One suggestion for me can be different for you. You have to find out what motivates you more. When you start doing something, you face problems. Keeping the workflow going becomes a challenge.

For me, work and life are not separate things like work-life balance. Life is work & work is life. Once you have a vision or a plan, following it is the most challenging thing. You have to be obsessed with work, and you have to be obsessed with creating values and creating new things.

Because business may remain suitable for a bit, you will need improvements to grow. I’m always figuring out how to develop new tools and create better systems and marketing strategies to improve constantly.

So, it’s all about the obsession. The insane amount of obsession towards growth and hard work. Just keep doing smart work and keep learning new things. It is important to do so because you need to make better decisions. It will be hard to focus if you are not heavily involved.

So, no golden bullets, just some basic things that we already know. You have to remember it constantly.

MIM Essay

We are continuously optimizing our team and training the leaders to increase the pace of growth. That’s more about the approach. If you are obsessed, ready to work hard, and prepared to learn, I think you can do it right.

But, of course, it took patience, and it took time as it took us 4-years of full-time work, you know. It took lots of learning in the initial years. Soya, keep doing your work, and you can do it.

There must be some unpleasant hiccups. What would you consider your worst experiences while creating your business?

Ans. It’s a journey. If you want to create something, you need to learn. So, what seems to be the worst experiences are extremely good because we got to remember things like what to do and what not to do. It’s just learning, that’s what I would call it.

Hiring is something that we learn through experience, like how important it is to fit the people in culture. Mostly we see that people are hired on their skill-sets. Skills can be taught, but it’s important to know that your employees are learning-oriented that fit your environment. By working together, you learn skills, and eventually, you see results. We need to hire by values.

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Prioritizing is important. At the start, we did not plan and prioritize very effectively, and because of it, we lost months on wrong projects. Then we retracted and realized the importance of prioritization. It is important in your business to look for essential points. But things like that are essential, you know. If you think everything is fine, there would be nothing to improve. 

You must need some specific tools to grow a business. In your experience, what business tools do you believe helped you the most?

Ans. Innovation has been very keen. Because rather than going after very heavy campaigns, we went to find more innovative ways to get value for our leads. We try to help create these tools where they can self-serve them to bring value, and when they like it, then they come on the call.

You can’t just expect someone to book your services with no information. So, the goal is to get the students thinking that ‘ya, this is helping me out, and it’s good.’ We design our services in this way so students can easily access them and understand them. And if the free services can get us many leads, then the paid ones should be even better. Hence, it is about constantly working and developing.

First, we didn’t have a tracking system to see when the lead came, who took a call, how long the process was and how many follow-ups were done. We were to mission out all these crucial data that help decide what else can be done to push them to the next level. With innovation, we came to understand all this. Our clients now know excitedly how many days they went in any pipeline, what is missing, and what needs to be done so that our operation team can do it properly.

Again,

this is something that I am personally very involved with. I love building tools and love creating new stuff.

From a business perspective, have there been any ah-ha moments? Also, are you planning to exceed your funding for business purposes?

Ans. Of course, when we see our competitors raising funds and getting all that press, it feels like we also need to do this. But we talked to other people and realized that you need funds because you are not profitable. As I mentioned, funds are not being appropriately sustained or coming after a time.

We were very value-based and didn’t make many risky investments. I wouldn’t say we played it safe. Instead, we strategically took risks. Like we calculated what could be consequences and whether it would be bearable or not. Through this, we got good ROI and retained profit. We invested in new people and new items that businesses needed.

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See,

I believe that risks are essential, but it doesn’t make them necessary, especially in the education field where your actions affect the education of many students. So, we took out time and experimented to see the results. Once we were clear on more profitable things, we started focusing on them more. Hence, instead of finding a way to gather funds, we experimented with our plans to see what was profitable.

Also,

I believe that bootstrap has its own benefits. You get more control over tour business and funds. This ultimately impacts your business as you make decisions based on how much control you have. This flexibility isn’t usually there with a board of investors. 

We know that our business accord, on education abroad, to paying services is like one of the best players in the world. We have reached a stage where we need to focus on our sales and marketing and aim to get in the top 10 and then the top 3.

So we are working on our next step, which involves finding. Because now it’s a different model. We already experimented with our funds like we invested in five CRS and ensured we get a good raise. So at this point, we are clear on how to handle these essential things.

For the last question, we are planning on new funding, and we are in between talking to some parties. Like we have, our new service MentR-Me is already doing well. Currently, we are looking for all possible options, including funding. We want to create a better and more interactive platform for the students.

 What about funding?

Ans. Luckily we never had to raise any funds, and we didn’t take any loans. Because we have always focused on self-sufficiency instead of just going to places for help, it’s good if you understand it soon because it’s essential, you know, to be cautious with how to use money. As when you receive funds, you become somewhat negligent, right? For example, if I have more funds, I’ll be more willing to take unnecessary risks and do experiments. It’s never a good thing. It’s better to hold these things till it seems entirely logical. 

Fortunately,

I had some excellent friends who helped when we started this business. I was head of sales and marketing, Abhyudaya handled all the tech parts like optimizing, new products, and development, and Rohit looked over operations & creating dashboards. Working diversely with a plan helped to grow their business without funding. Also, we avoided burning cash and focused on sustainable growth. We kept trying short-term experiments to see the results. 

Our team doubled in size this year, and we had significant growth. Now we have reached the models with a deferred revenue system. When you are getting money upfront, then you can sustain yours. But the money for a service you are rendering now is coming up to one year, and then you need funding. Now we have figured it out, so now is the right time to think about this. Till now, we are a bootstrap business.

But since the company has multiplied, we have options to try new things. Like for MentR-Me, our new product.  Otherwise, if your business is functioning well, I believe you don’t need extra money.

Conclusion:

Having some insights into how an entrepreneur perceives things are quite fortunate. You know when you feel like ‘I had the same idea once at a time?’ It’s what makes the difference between idealizing and working. This experience has motivated me to do things I was holding off on. Maybe it will help you as well. Thanks for reading.


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anamika sinha