MEET THE MAN WHO IS REDEFINING THE LAYERS OF NETWORKING! AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH THE FOUNDER OF OUTBUDS – SARTHAK GUPTA
StartupEd had an exclusive interview with Sarthak Gupta, Founder of Outbuds. Read his story below
Please tell us a little bit about your background, your education?
Like every other Indian parent, even my parents wanted me to pursue engineering or become a doctor. For me, engineering sounded cool, so I decided to go forward with that. I did find it interesting but midway through, I realized that it wasn’t my cup of coffee, still I to complete it. I graduated as a Computer Science Engineer in 2018 from Bhartiya Vidyapeeth IPU. I didn’t find coding interesting but I do like to challenge myself to do things that I don’t like. I believe this fighting instinct teaches an individual lot of patience in life. Discovering new things & working in a way different from the ordinary approach is what exactly defines me. I was always hooked on the idea of doing something that would give me peaceful sleep at night!
“ I would call myself a rebel who just wanted to stand out of the ordinary.”
Were there any early influencers or entrepreneurs that inspired you?
The first person that comes to my mind is my father himself. He is a businessman. He now owns a company he once worked in. I always hooked onto a dream story like that. The first presentation that influenced me was Steve Jobs in 2007, where he presented the iPhone to the world. That was when I knew this man could sell anything. This presentation helped me open my horizons and make me believe that if a person believes in himself, he can leave a huge impact on a lot of people.
What made you stick to the entrepreneurial journey that you’re pursuing and why not a mainstream job?
I started this journey with the main motive to solve any problem at my own age. Personally, for me, it was difficult to make friends or be around people and communicate with them. I would definitely call myself an introvert. I need a little groundwork and need to see if I align with the person. I can’t randomly walk up to a bunch of people and have a conversation with them without having common interests. This is when it hit me that there would be so many people like me facing the same issues. There are apps like Instagram, Facebook where you can easily connect with people and communicate with them. But in real life, people like me still get stuck.
Was a plunge into the entrepreneurship journey a bit difficult for you?
Once you start your own startup journey, nothing is easy. The most difficult part was for my parents to answer society. We are evolving, modernizing but leaving your job and pursuing your own venture still seems difficult in the society we live in. Our own Prime Minister is encouraging students to go for startups and make something of their own. For me personally, it was difficult as I wasn’t learning. My parents were my investors which is why I convinced myself that even if I am using their resources, I won’t let it go to waste, I will be learning something and gaining experience. There is a good chance that I might be giving something better to the world.
“ When you believe in yourself, your own vision, and the process, nothing should deter you from your vision.”
What was your Eureka moment? The big day for you?
My app is about socializing in the real world. But when 2020 happened, and we were hit by a pandemic, lockdown happened. Like every situation is learning and gives a reason to change, that is when it hit me that let’s take it virtually and enhance our scope a little bit more. There hasn’t been a particular Eureka moment for me, as I believe that in a startup every day is a new challenge and you come up with new difficulties every day. Solving it and moving forward to tackle new challenges becomes your moment of that day.
“The main essence of an entrepreneur or a human is to evolve and enhance your brain in adverse situations.”
What were the problem statements or gaps observed between your startup venture and the audience you are catering to?
Through my app, my aim is to connect like-minded people in real life. The first gap that I tried to bridge was to connect like-minded people who share the same interests, or can engage in similar activities. Second, Outbuds is all about trying to increase the engagement between two people. Like on other social platforms, you follow each other and see what is going on in each other’s lives, but there is no further communication between the two. Through Outbuds, you can connect with people having the same interests as you. And once you know what thoughts and ideas and interests the other person owns, it is easier for them to connect.
What makes your product or startup different from what’s already out there? What’s your USP?
After the success we have seen with Mark Zuckerberg, turning him into a superstar. Everyone wants to be the next Zuckerberg or Elon Musk. Their ideas have given birth to many social media apps and ideas. I, personally, faced this problem a few years back and I decided to connect with people over various platforms as it was difficult to do it in real life. But there was no engagement. I could not connect with people based on my interests. When I wrote my thoughts on paper, after filling three full sketchbooks, I came up with a template that I would like to see on my phone’s screen, according to my needs. On my app, you can find people and various different activities. You actually have to attend those activities in order to connect with the people having the same interests as you.
What’s your idea of success and how do you measure it?
This is a very complex question. Just like everyone else, I want to earn money and live a luxurious life. In my opinion, success would be something that would create an impact on the people around you. I want to be known as someone who would be thought of as a person who made their life easy, added even a minute of entertainment to their day.
“ I like to measure success in a day, not in weeks or months.”
At the end of the day, it is important to give your 200%, the results don’t matter. The efforts and belief that one has in themselves are very important. Once I know I have completed my everyday target and given my 100%, I can sleep well. And get ready to take up new challenges and achieve my goals.
From day one till today, what has been your toughest challenge?
Every day is a challenge, but the toughest part is to find a team to do it with. I believe nothing great can be done by a single person, no matter how much knowledge or experience you have. You need a team to align with your thoughts and vision. A team who would brainstorm with you and tell you where you are going wrong and help you through it. To even appreciate your efforts but also helps you pivot in the right direction. It is difficult for me to find the right people to work with who can align with me and my thoughts. As of now, my friends and family have been the greatest support and have helped me in this journey and worked with me through this and I am extremely thankful to them.
Imagine that you can invite anybody to dinner, they will surely accept your invitation, who would it be and why?
This question makes me go back to all the thoughts and ideas that ran through my mind and all the people who influenced me in my journey. I would like to point out 2 special people who have been inspiring me for a very long time. The first would be Elon Musk. He might sound mad to some people, some might call him a maniac for working 14 hours a day. Sending people to mars and thinking of colonizing it. I believe in his visions and I have even made scenarios in my head to collaborate with him through Outbuds or any company of his if I ever make it that big in the future.
And Second, would definitely be my hero, Mahindra Singh Dhoni. He taught me a very important lesson and that is with all the brainpower, you need a very calm attitude to achieve your goals or tackle any situation. M.S. Dhoni has led the India Cricket Team for a very long time and the way he has led it is exemplary. People have criticized him, went behind his back but it’s extremely inspiring to see how he helped himself up and excel against all the odds.
With the current lockdown and pandemic situation, what are those 3-4 resources that you feel that incubators in the ecosystem can help you with?
Mentors- industry-specific people
What skills are there that make you an all-rounder entrepreneur?
The number one would definitely be communications skills. No matter how many brilliant ideas you might have, but if you can’t express them to the right people, your audience, it has no meaning. Until last year, communicating with people in front of a camera was not my strength but now I can talk to anyone with the utmost confidence. The second would be perseverance, the ability to never give up. Nothing should stop you from reaching your goals. Every challenge should make you even stronger and ready for a new one. Every new day will be a challenge, but making it through the day without giving up, brings a person a step closer to his success. One should always believe in themselves and their vision. The art of having leadership skills and making ever-lasting relationships should be your key.
Any advice you would like to give to all the entrepreneurs and students?
The belief seems like a heavy word, but once you know what you want and how you want it, nothing can stop you. Every student or entrepreneur should believe in their process and thoughts. Once you have a vision and are convinced of things that you are onto, give your 100%. You should always know that even if you are not able to complete your set of targets, you are close to achieving them. It’s a process and goes step by step. Have patience and believe in yourself, and find your way to make it through.
Where do you see your product going in the next 5 years? Are you going to stick to the online platform or shift offline?
Outbuds is about helping people socialize in real life, which is why I am extremely excited for it goes offline. The real vision and mission will be tested once Outbuds goes out in the real world. It would be safe to say that I will be the first customer to use my product as I am in definite need of socializing and see if my product is actually helping people or not.