“The bad is behind us and we all are looking at a fresh, brand new horizon”
While the global pandemic has brought economies to a halt and massively disrupted businesses, it has also fuelled start-up dreams and we even saw several Indian start-ups achieve Unicorn status during the pandemic period. The times have never been better for the budding entrepreneurs to give wings to their start-up dreams.
The Government, too, has come up with various schemes to support its ‘Vocal for Local’ drive. A case in point is the Rs 1,000 crore Start-up India Seed Fund announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the Start-up India International Summit 2021 held earlier this year.
Adgully is turning the spotlight on the entrepreneurs who fought against all odds to bring their dreams to fruition in our special series – START-UP STARS. We at Adgully wholeheartedly support the ‘Vocal for Local’ movement and over the next few months will be featuring all local/ homegrown businesses, brands and Apps
In conversation with Adgully, Sudhanshu Sharma, Founder & CEO, RoboGenius, speaks about how he started his venture at the young age of 23, the importance of AI in the coming times and preparing GenZ for it, how digital is helping grow businesses and much more.
Please take us through your journey as an entrepreneur. What motivated you to establish your start-up? What were you doing prior to turning an entrepreneur?
I have always been an entrepreneur and started my first venture at the age of 23. Since, I was always fascinated with tech and for the next 20 plus years, I was leading the transfer of automation systems and advanced manufacturing technologies to India from across the world. During this time, I became acutely aware of the skill gap that existed in our country as compared with countries like Germany, Japan, Korea and China. A chance visit to a school in Japan, where I witnessed a robotics competition for school students, inspired me to start my journey into educational robotics in India in 2006.
What need gap did you want to fulfil with your start-up? What is the core business proposition?
AI and Robotics have already become an inherent part of our lives and have transformed the future of work. Today, we have job roles that didn’t even exist 15 years ago. Now imagine a world 10 or 15 years from now. RoboGenius has very carefully curated programs for young people that give them the necessary technical and essential life skills to make them successful in an AI driven world of tomorrow and make them life-long learners.
How did you identify your TG? Did you carry out any feasibility study prior to starting your business?
Our programs are based on a study done by LEGO Education and Lifelong Kindergarten Group at MIT Media labs. As per this study, learning by play and using robotics to engage students is one of most effective ways to develop technical as well as essential life skills amongst young minds. The recommended TG is kids starting at the age of 6 and all the way till high school. Hence, we are also following the same TG.
What were the challenges that you faced in your start-up journey and how did you overcome them?
Lack of awareness amongst parents and schools toward the importance of learning coding, robotics and AI was and is the biggest challenge that we faced during our journey. We are still in the process of overcoming this.
Funds/ finance is the prime issue of almost all start-ups. What can the industry and the Government do to address this issue and ease the capital requirements of start-ups?
The Government has already launched several incentives and funds that start-ups can access. A lot of angel investors, venture capital and PE funds are active in the market and there is no dearth of funding for a suitable idea now.
Earlier this year, Prime Minister Modi announced a Startup India Seed Fund. How do you see start-ups benefiting from it?
PM Modi’s start-up seed fund is a welcome initiative and will provide the right impetus to encourage young entrepreneurs to give wings to their ideas.
How is digital helping you further your business?
We are a part of the digital world. Our whole business is to develop technology leaders of the future who will be able to develop solutions that will transform the way we live. We use and rely on digital technologies not only to educate students, but also to scale our businesses beyond the physical boundaries of our innovation studios.
What were your key learnings from 2020? How do you see the start-up ecosystem progressing in 2021?
Tech will continue to lead the way forward into the future. The way business transformed during COVID-19 or the progress on the medial front to get the vaccine out in a short time, was only possible with the advancement already made in the tech world. 2021 and beyond will certainly see a surge in start-ups as we have emerged stronger and full of hope for the future.
What would be your message for the budding entrepreneurs?
A small suggestion to all the budding entrepreneurs – The bad is behind us and we all are looking at a fresh, brand new horizon.