Startup-O Stars is a series that captures stories of authentic tech entrepreneurs from Asia, to share their insights, learnings, tips & resources with the community. It aims to foster a deeper understanding of these journeys, direct from the trenches.
Ankit Karamchandani, co-founder and CEO of Redsky talks to Startup-O Stars about leaving a large corporation to pursue his idea.
It is fair to say that Ankit Karamchandani has built his career on positivity and optimism. He launched his startup Redsky in 2016, after a 6-year stint in Unilever. Looking back over the last 3 years, he is quick to point out several high points of his journey so far.
“My days are packed, and in general, the experience is fun,” he says of his life as a nomadic entrepreneur. In a month, 10 days are spent in Bangalore, 10 in Bombay, and the balance in Singapore, where his wife lives and works.
In an interesting departure from the expected norm, Ankit did not burn bridges when he resigned from Unilever. Instead, he soon engaged them as a client. For this, he credits the lasting bonds and networks he built in his time with the organisation.
His intimate knowledge of the nuts and bolts of the organisation, and its priorities and constraints allowed him to turn this dream into reality. He was able to turn this knowledge into a tactical strength by making himself visible and available. His message to his old employer was, that he is there to solve problems.
In this respect, he advises new entrepreneurs to show flexibility when approaching a large prospective client. The initial focus with large scale clients needs to be getting a foot in the door. For example, his first project for Unilever was not directly related to Redsky’s mission, rather it was part of an effort to make Redsky known to Unilever, to become an approved vendor, and from there to grow the relationship by demonstrating value.
The overarching objective in these early stages should be to create top of mind recall in the prospect’s management hierarchy, to position one’s startup as a problem-solver that can engage with flexibility. Large organisations tend to be process-bound, for example, vendors of products and services need to be approved. Ankit advises other founders of B2B startups to do all that they can to become approved vendors to such clients, to promote meaningful long-term engagement.
Startup-O is South East Asia’s leading platform for startup assessments, investments, and venture building. It was created with ‘Entrepreneurs for Entrepreneurs’ ethos at the core of its design. The assessment platform coupled with venture funds helps with systematic discovery & investing in high traction tech startups. These promising growth startups are selected through a transparent process which is a blend of multi-stage online evaluations conducted by seasoned global experts & proprietary ranking algorithms on the platform.