It is only your mind that can bring you face to face with fear and failure. The subject of this story may not look like us but his achievements definitely soar higher that ours. Ashwin Srivastava, founder of Idein Ventures, is now a differently-abled person but instead of whining about it or blaming his stars he rebounded with twice the strength. There is a lot to learn from this person of conviction.
Ashwin was born in a small town of Bihar called Bettiah and got his initial education in an even smaller town of Jharkhand (erstwhile Bihar) called Sahibganj. This was followed by a shift to Delhi and then to Mumbai with IIT Bombay.
He started working trying to earn money from the very first year of college. It was not out of luxury but more out of necessity. Initially, laying blueprints of what he wanted to do was tough as there was no benchmark to follow. But after a few failures, things became easier. Understanding of how to start a company, build it, and take it to size of hundreds of employees improved with every new company he started.
Ashwin has been through tough times but finds strength even in these difficult days. Every single time, such a phase propels him forward instead of holding him back. For example, a few years ago, he was in a life-threatening train accident. Not only did he become an amputee, but also suffered multiple fractures and was on the verge of dying. The accident pushed him to remain on bed for months. And yes he doesn’t call it the rock bottom of his life.
“There are two ways to look at it. One, where you see yourself as a limited individual with a disability, and somehow try to survive it. The other is when you see yourself blessed enough to get a new shot at life and then make something amazing out of it because not everyone gets a second chance,” says Ashwin.
Lying on bed for months at a stretch made him realise the bigger purpose he had in life. He knew he had to achieve it by getting much more successful than he was then. So the rock bottom stage can either destroy you forever or make you unbreakable.
Despite the shortcoming, Ashwin never thought of giving up on his business operations. The pain through which a severe neuroma amputee goes through has forced people into depression, and quit lives. He saw this happening around him, hence quitting work was definitely a much smaller thing to worry about.
Confidence is the key to his courage. If you believe in yourself and know that you will succeed no matter what, you will find the courage to fight and keep on going. Every single person on this earth has something amazing and if you focus on that one amazing thing, you can derive extreme confidence and courage from it.
In Ashwin’s case, inspiration came from within. He always took inspiration from his past, and people around him. His late father has been a motivation for him to keep performing no matter what he faced. His mother, too, is an inspiration to survive in face of adversities.
When Ashwin started he was able to convert his first Rs 10 into Rs 5,000, and that’s how the journey began without the need of external investment. For his initial companies, investment came in through angels. Later, he turned to a role where he mentored and raised investment for other companies. Now he is an investor at Idein Ventures. The source of funds in his investment fund is his LPs (Limited Partners) that would be HNIs (High Networth Individual), ultra HNIs, etc, besides connecting with a few institutions.
Idein Ventures is a venture capital/ private equity firm spread globally across different countries. Combined strength of all employees in different companies would run into hundreds; but at the VC firm itself they have around 12 employees in India. In terms of their value, a recent valuation of the company based on the assets owned and managed by Idein across different countries put them at more than $60 million in value. This seems to be a conservative estimate, as their aim is to reach a billion dollars in value by FY21. Some of their companies are doing great while some are doing fairly well. Their businesses and properties are spread across healthcare, real estate, education, e-commerce, media, and so on. He has also plugged in his recent successful property – a TV show called Startup Synergy with Sridhar – focused on global audience, airing at Prime Time in USA.
Rajeshwar Prasad, Mahesh Vellaboyina, Ashok Vardhan, David Back – these are all names known to the world in varying capacities. They constitute the amazing team. These comprises the great achievement he has put forward collaborating with thus growing the same.
“Success is happiness and satisfaction. One should always live one’s life in pursuit of that happiness and success will follow. I am generally not so casual and personal in my interviews. I talk about successes of my companies to media houses, but here I am trying to bare my soul. And the reason I am doing this is that I want the readers to understand that they should not chase money or chase fame to become successful. They should chase happiness. And they should do it with confidence in themselves. I have seen aspiring entrepreneurs and businessmen blinded by the glitter and perceived coolness of the startup or business world, while forgetting that the only ones who are successful are the ones who don’t chase the glitter,” he tells the readers.