Offbeat: Rohan Mehta - The Taekwondo expert driving his start-up dreams
In our constant endeavour to give our readers content that is a little ‘hatke’ from the trade media norm, Adgully has been coming out with Special sections like The W-Suite, Ad Land’s Young Guns, Spirit W and ‘Offbeat’.
Our newest offering, ‘Offbeat’, seeks to give a glimpse of the lesser known facets of our very well-known industry leaders. We present, in the industry leaders’ own words, an interesting read on areas that are not usually highlighted in regular media coverage – be it about their childhood days, secret skills that they possess, how they unwind from their hectic schedules, and much more.
Right after graduating as a production engineer, Rohan Mehta (CEO, Social Kinnect/ Media Kinnect) became an IT salesman in Allied Digital Services, a listed firm with global presence. With his street-smart abilities, he moved up the ladder to become the youngest director in that company at 24 years and move to LA earning a 6-figure salary. He, however, quit all of that to follow his start-up dreams. The hunger and the inclination to be in the cutting edge digital space is what led Mehta to start Social Kinnect. Bootstrapped out of a small cabin in his father’s leased office, starting with a bare minimum investment and a team of 3 is how it all began.
Social Kinnect/ Media Kinnect today is a 175+ team and is looking at a 200 per cent growth in Social Kinnect and a 300 per cent growth in Media Kinnect in FY 2018.
How were you as a child and which childhood trait do you still possess?
As a child, I was quite shy but very curious. My natural inclination towards gaining knowledge and the need to understand the logic behind things pushed me to question things. I still haven’t lost that sense of curiosity nor that urge to explore things that I haven’t done or known before.
Which superhero did you look up to as a kid and why? Which superhero powerwould you have liked to have?
I’ve never been too much of a superhero person while growing up, though I have liked Iron Man’s character over the last few years. I wish I possessed an eidetic memory. I’d take pride in being able to retain a vast amount of information.
What is your biggest fear and how do you face it?
Growing up, I wasn’t much of a family guy, but as I’ve grown older, I’ve learnt to appreciate my family more. They have been the driving force behind me through my life and have helped me overcome a ton of challenges. Their presence gives me both – a sense of security and responsibility – and losing them is my greatest fear today.
A skill you possess that no one knows about?
Growing up, my parents pushed me into a lot of sports and physical activities. I pursued Taekwondo at a very young age and went on to become one of the youngest black belts in India.
What would one find in your playlist?
I’m a genre nomad. The kind of music that I listen to depends on where I am at the moment. Depending on my mood, I resort to anything from Rock to Hindi music to EDM to Hip-Hop.
Your go-to activity to relax?
I think a lot when I’m idle, so to cut away from things, I hit the gym regularly. I need that hour to myself so that the rest of the time I’m focused on work. I meditate quite regularly too, but these are shorter sessions lasting about 5-15 minutes.
What is the greatest lesson that you have learnt from life so far?
When I was younger, I tried to run multiple businesses simultaneously. As you can imagine, that didn’t work out too well. I realised that a lot of dedication and commitment needs to go into ensuring success in a single field. I’m not saying that one can’t pursue multiple businesses together, but they need to be in different stages of their maturity and also need to have a solid management structure in place.
A social cause that you are most passionate about?
We ardently try to support underprivileged people in our first and second circles for their education and healthcare needs. We have started a program called #KinnectorsGiveBack, where agency people can nominate individuals with such needs, and we try our level best to ensure that they get what they need.
What’s the one thing you would like to change about yourself?
Not much really, I feel I’m really blessed. Though on a lighter note (I’m sure my friends will have a good laugh on this one), I would have liked to be taller.
If not CEO, Social Kinnect what would you have been?
The capital markets have always interested me. Being a Gujarati, I think I am genetically wired for it. I would’ve liked to be a fund manager as reading trends and predicting user behaviour at scale would be a good challenge to take up.