Trailblazing entrepreneurship: Assiduus’ voyage of vision and victory
In this exclusive interview, Dr Somdutta Singh, CEO, Assiduus Global, shares her defining moments, the motivation behind becoming an angel investor, and the strategic manoeuvres that led to a multi-million dollar exit at the age of 26. Delving into her investment philosophy, she unveils the personal aspects that guide her choices and offers valuable advice to aspiring angel investors. The discussion also sheds light on the patent-pending middleware developed by Assiduus and its profound impact on cross-border e-commerce distribution and supply chain. Singh reflects on the challenges faced in scaling Assiduus and the strategic measures taken to overcome them. She provides insights into Assiduus’ remarkable journey, achieving over $300 million in revenue for Fortune 500 companies and SMEs across 20+ countries in 2022. Excerpts:
Could you share the defining moments that led you to become an entrepreneur at such a young age?
Born into a well-to-do family of doctors in Kolkata, I found inspiration from my father’s friends who were marketing executives and businessmen. Witnessing their freedom and work-life balance contrasted sharply with my parents’ demanding schedules, working for 36-48 hours at a stretch. Although expected to follow in my parents’ medical footsteps, I chose otherwise early on, yearning for a life of choice, exploring the world and improved work-life balance. Determined to break tradition, I became the first entrepreneur in my family. During college, I took on various odd jobs to be financially independent, selling chocolates, distributing marketing flyers, and learning sewing. After completing my education in India, I pursued higher studies in the US, where I translated my experiences into my first venture: an ad-tech firm.
In 2018, while scaling D2C private label brands in the US, I recognised the challenges of expanding cross borders. Understanding the uphill battle of selling online, I founded Assiduus Global to address the complex landscape of cross-border e-commerce.
Guided by Swami Vivekananda’s wisdom – “Take risks in your life. If you win, you can lead! If you lose, you can guide!” – I aspired not just to be a team member but a leader, pursuing my passion and bringing others along on my journey.
What motivated you to become an angel investor, and how did you navigate your first multi-million dollar exit at 26?
Angel investing, well not just for me, for any investor, I am sure, transcends mere financial gains; it embodies a commitment to giving back. The profound significance of this venture became palpable at the age of 26 when I encountered the reality of my first multi-million dollar exit. This achievement wasn’t a business transaction that was separate; it epitomised the culmination of countless nights dedicated to analysing markets, navigating through mistakes, and absorbing invaluable lessons. Each setback became a stepping stone, setting the stage for future triumphs and enriching my journey as an investor and entrepreneur.
What criteria do you consider when selecting start-ups to invest in, and how has your investment strategy evolved over the years?
Selecting start-ups is deeply personal. I look for visionary leaders, innovative solutions, and the potential for genuine impact. Over the years, my investment strategy has evolved, shaped by a deeper understanding of market dynamics, a commitment to adaptability, and a passion for supporting socially responsible and sustainable ventures.
Could you share a specific example of a successful investment and the key factors that contributed to its success?
This one’s tricky. All my investments hold a special place for me. Investments always involve spotting a start-up with a unique vision, strong leadership, and a solution that filled a genuine market need. My journey has been marked by shared victories, strategic guidance, and a resilient team that faced challenges head-on, showcasing the transformative power of collaboration.
What advice would you give to aspiring angel investors looking to build a successful portfolio?
Build a diversified portfolio, stay informed about industry trends, cultivate a strong network, and don't shy away from calculated risks. Learn from failures, and be actively involved in the ventures you support.
Could you elaborate on the patent-pending middleware developed by Assiduus and its impact on cross-border e-commerce distribution and supply chain?
Assiduus Global Inc is not just a business venture for me; it’s a passion project. The patent-pending middleware is the result of a collective vision to revolutionise cross-border e-commerce. Seeing Fortune 500 corporations and international SMEs expand globally is not just a statistic; it’s the tangible outcome of dedication, innovation, and a belief in transformative technology. Additionally, Assiduus Global Inc also offers global shopify fulfillment services through their advanced end-to-end distribution and supply chain platform, powered by exclusive and patent-pending technology. In collaboration with an impressive portfolio of over 100 brands, they rank among the select few PAT-positive companies. Since its inception, the company has seen remarkable growth of over 2000% and has been ranked No. 8 in Deloitte’s list of rapidly emerging tech-enabled enterprises.
What challenges did you face in scaling Assiduus, and how did you overcome them?
Scaling Assiduus posed funding challenges, particularly as a woman-founded business. Overcoming this hurdle involved strategic partnerships, effective fundraising efforts, and showcasing the company’s potential.
How did Assiduus achieve over $300 million in revenue for Fortune 500 companies and SMEs across 20+ countries in 2022?
Crossing the $300-million revenue mark for Assiduus wasn’t just a business milestone; it was the result of hard work from a very, very resilient team, innovative technology, and a commitment to client success that’s deeply personal. Our end-to-end distribution platform isn’t just about transactions; it’s about facilitating dreams on a global scale.
With over 40 prestigious awards, which recognition holds the most personal significance for you, and why?
The Champions of Change Award holds personal significance, acknowledging my commitment to social development in India. Other honours, such as being recognised among India’s most influential women innovators and receiving the IEEE-UN Women Impact Entrepreneur Award, highlight the multifaceted impact of my work.