Devesh Chawla
IMPACT INVESTING

Devesh Chawla

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Innovator | Mentor | Investor

Let passion guide your entrepreneurship – Devesh Chawla

“Getting the right mentor is like getting a right life partner.”

ABOUT

Devesh Chawla is an ingenious strategist, a mentor, an investor, TEDx Speaker, an efficient leader and to sum it all, an all-rounder! A highly sought after speaker and yet a very good listener. He is known and highly regarded for his brisk planning and execution. He is deeply committed to add value to the start-up ecosystem and revolutionize the entrepreneurship picture globally. ‘Chatur Ideas’ is his heartfelt and sincere effort to create a ONE STOP solution for start-ups and entrepreneurs which he has successfully done.

He has worked with hundreds of startups including Catapooolt, Strike, Orbit Marketplace, Maax Market, Hubilo, Market Pulse, and many more. He also runs entrepreneurship programs across colleges and startups along with joint certification courses with IIT-B, Spinta Global Accelerator, USA, etc. with his trainers present across the country.

He has been felicitated with the “Youth Leadership Award” by the Trade Commissioner of Canada.

He has been awarded the “Mahatma Gandhi Samman Award” which is given to only 25 Indians all over the world.

He has also been awarded “Entrepreneur of the Year 2018”.

He has also been felicitated as “CEO of the Year 2019”

REQUEST INTRODUCTION Arrow

THE FULL INTERVIEW

Devesh Chawla

The full #OPNAskAnAngel talk

Jeffery: Welcome to the supporters fund, ask an angel. I’m your host, Jeffery Potvin. Let’s welcome our investor for today , Devesh Chawla. amazing to have you here today sir. Thank you for joining us. We like to start with a little bit of insight into your background, where you’ve come from. I know you have some amazing stories so I’m hoping we can get right into those because those are pretty exciting but maybe we’ll hold off those stories. Just share a little bit more about your background, kind of where you’re at today and then one thing about you that nobody will know and then we’re going to dive into some of those stories.
Devesh: perfect. I have done my engineering in computers, then I’ve done my MBA in finance after which I’ve picked up a job in a company called client associates where I used to manage ultra HNI money so I used to invest for people in debt-equity in India and the overseas market and manage their complete finances. I did that for five and a half years before I decided I would start something on my own which was in the year 2014 when I decided to start something.
It’s been six and a half years since that journey. It’s been very interesting. I have worked with over 1050 plus startups. I have been investing in quite a few in the last few years. I am excited about some of them. I have got around 8x multiple of an exit. in one of them, it’s a shutdown. so there have been ups and downs in the investments that have been happening but yeah that’s been my journey with the startup ecosystem. So that’s about me. back multiple accolades in the startup ecosystem not only in India but overseas as well. Yes, so that’s about me, what I’ve been doing and one thing that no one would know about me so that no one would know about me. It’s a little different from my side where I love to recite a lot of poems which are Hindi poems. It’s called shayari in Hindi. so, when I’m sitting with friends over a drink or just having a great evening time, those Hindi poems called shari’s start coming out. So, very few people know about that.
Jeffery: amazing and I’m going to look this up. It’s called s-h-a-y-a-r-i. I’m going to look this up. That’s amazing. It’s kind of like reciting old movie lines or telling jokes. You have your little way of connecting with people and you do that through the poems. That’s brilliant. I love it. Well, we’re going to keep that context for a second. we’re going to do a couple more. I’ve been building new segments into how we explore the investors so we’re going to jump into some rapid-fire personal questions and then we’re going to jump stories. So here we go: first question, book, or a movie?
Devesh: book
Jeffery: pizza or ice cream bar?
Devesh: pizza
Jeffery: five minutes with basils or Oprah?
Devesh: aren’t the Yankees or the Blue jays? Bike or rollerblades? big mac or chicken McNuggets? Big Mac trophy or money?
Jeffery: All right, I love it. I’m going to keep modifying these questions and try to bring more humor into them but I like it. That’s all great answers. so, we’re going to go a little bit back into your past and I think that there are some really great stories that I’ve read and heard through the world of the internet but to start, maybe give us a little bit of an understanding of when you first finished up school. you had a bit of a drive you wanted to do something how did that story work out and maybe that will that’s where we’ll start to jump into that.
Devesh: please surely so while i finished my MBA finance, i had an idea that was quite similar to what uber has been doing today. so, when I wanted to start this off I thought about how to begin. So I needed some stepping stones. So actually, I went and met a few guys who were in the business of tours and travels. They had more than 400 plus fleets of cabs under them which they were operating. so i thought I should go and discuss the idea with them and take some insights. That’s how I kick started this. so, when I went to them, they said that you know what, you should stay out of this only because it does not look as simple and as easy as it is. so, uber was not a concept that was understood by anyone in India. so, my concept was not similar. it was the same as uber but similar to uber of course. There were a few changes that had to be done to make it more sustainable for which I needed some guidance. So I reached out to them. so, they said it’s not fit for you because currently the way things are getting operated in India. you need a lot of political connections. You need to have the right set of people you’re working with because what may happen is tomorrow when you start your business there are a lot of cabs of cabs in the country and if they come to know that you started something on your own they might start vandalizing your cars harming you as well. so this is not a business that is done by people of your kind. Some people have a lot of muscle power to pull this off. so I thought maybe he does not want to guide me. so i moved to somebody else. So I went to his office to seek advice from him again. Whenever I’m meeting these guys it was through some reference to which I was meeting them of course hence they were entertaining and having a dialogue with me so the second office that I went to that person too had a fleet of say 300 plus cabs under him and that day his office was broken. There were glasses shattered on the floor so while we were discussing you know he told me that you know, Devesh, the idea is good but you know you can’t pull this off. I’ll tell you why when you look at my office today you see there are glasses shattered and broken. it’s just because one of my drivers had a spat with a local political party in mumbai and these guys came and they broke my office and he’s pretty cool with it. It happens daily in our business. It will take two days for me to set this up and running and this is how we run our business so we are pretty okay. my boys go and break their offices too. so you know it’s something we can manage but a person like you who comes from a decent