In his 4th year at IIT Kanpur where he was pursuing his BTech degree in Computer Science, Ankush Sachdeva was building a product along with two other guys, Bhanu Pratap Singh and Farid Ahsan. He didn’t even sit for the placements in his college and decided to move to Mumbai to work on his startup along with Bhanu and Farid.
His mother worked at a government hospital and his father was a businessman. Both of them expected him to land a high-paying job at an MNC because of his Computer Science degree from IIT Kanpur. Naturally, his parents thought that him shifting to Mumbai to work on his startup was a step in the wrong direction. It was during that time that the news of an IIT Kanpur student bagging a 2-crore-package job at Oracle was headlining the newspapers.
According to DNA, Ankush Sachdeva failed as many as 17 times before hitting the jackpot with ShareChat – a vernacular social media platform that connected people from smaller towns.
ShareChat was founded in 2015 and through this social media platform, people could connect with each other by typing in 15 different vernacular languages including Hindi, Malayalam, Gujarati, Marathi, Punjabi, Telugu, Tamil, Bengali, Odia, Kannada, Assamese, Haryanvi, Rajasthani, and Bhojpuri.
This is in contrast to Facebook, an English-language dominant social media application.
For the first 4 years, the three guys didn’t even think about revenue and only focused on increasing their users.
“Our focus was to keep the number of active users growing. Revenue started coming in two-and-a-half years back. Now we have enough of the users, so the revenue is also increasing rapidly,” Outlook quoted Ankush Sachdeva saying.
“There have been many occasions when it felt that the company would be shut down. It was difficult to raise funds initially. The investors from America were sceptical over investing money. It was difficult to convince them that when most of the content on TV or in print is in non-English languages, it will look the same in digital. There came a time when we did not even have money to pay salaries to the staff. There was also a network problem. Most of the people were in 2G network which was very difficult to send images and videos. Then we had to redesign the app,” he revealed.
Today, ShareChat has 350 million monthly active users and 2500 employees. As of June 2022, the company is valued at 5 billion USD which is approximately Rs 40,000 crore.
What an inspiring story!