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Released on: Nov 28th, 2023


Manish Verma
Co-founder & CEO, AngelBlue Holdings Pvt Ltd Board Member as an Independent Director | Blogger | Business Coach | Serial Entrepreneur

Tell us about the uniqueness of your brand startup and its services.
As a serial entrepreneur, my latest venture is a full stack angel network called AngelBlue Holdings Pvt Ltd. There are currently 3 components to our business model. We provide equity funding for our portfolio startups, we offer them strategic consulting in terms of business models, revenue models, operations, processes, sales structures etc. And we offer a basket of support services (through our eco system partners) in terms of company incorporation, legal, taxation, HR, branding , PR, digital and social marketing, website and Mobile app development etc. We are a one stop shop for startups helping them evolve and graduating from one end of the spectrum to another.

We are trying to break the myth that startups are all about funding. There is more to the startup world than plain vanilla funding. A Founder’s journey becomes all the more complex post funding. Collectively, as a team of 4 co-founders, we bring in value basis our experience having worked at a global and domestic level across geographies, industries and domains.

We are also in the process of starting our 4th vertical which is to provide crash courses on entrepreneurship and startups. There is a strong startup wave going on globally. There is an equally strong impetus by the government to boost the spirit of entrepreneurship. My last few years of association with TiE Global has helped strengthened my perspective towards entrepreneurship. We now plan to run Entrepreneurship centric theoretical & practical courses & modules for the youth at Universities and colleges and provide an alternate career path for them . Entrepreneurship, as we have realized, is a life skill which every individual must possess, irrespective of the fact whether one goes in for entrepreneurship or not. We are still at the drawing board stage and planning our next few steps before we officially launch this initiative.
Talk us through your background and your journey as an individual and entrepreneur.

I originally hail from Chandigarh having spent the initial years of my life here. Had a wonderful childhood in terms of best of schooling, parenting, opportunities to meet new people and visiting interesting places. Not to forget the exposure I got from sports. I was quite a shy and introvert type of person and would run away from the scene at the thought of meeting new people. Yes, that was me.
And then Tennis happened in my life, which became my first love. It was a known fact within my family and my friends circle that nothing and no one could ever come between me and my Tennis. My first love soon turned into my passion. I started taking part in competitions and soon became a part of the Chandigarh Tennis team playing at National Level. Played at the National circuit for couple of years and once even got a chance to play at the ITF level (International Tennis Federation).
Tennis, as a sport, changed my personality and outlook towards life. From an ultra-shy person who was always on the defensive, I soon learned the art of showing aggression when it mattered the most on the court. Learnt a lot from this sport in terms of discipline, planning, team spirit, importance of physical and mental fitness, bounce back from failure, respect towards fellow team members and towards seniors, staying calm under pressure, patience and perseverance. Patience under stress became my hallmark which kept me in good stead over the years.
I would say that Tennis paved my way towards entrepreneurship. I see a lot of similarities between the 2 fields. .

If you had to start over, would you choose a corporate career or being an entrepreneur, and why?

My professional life started with a stint in the corporate world for about 20 years. It was an interesting journey that I had. During this journey, I came across some wonderful people, learnt a lot from them. I had the good fortune of having worked under the mentorship of some excellent human beings and professionals. I was also blessed with some not so good people as my bosses and colleagues. One learns so much from everyone. But then, life is a mixed bag. It keeps throwing challenges at you every now and then. Juggling of multiple balls is an art which one learns and hones one’s skills over time. No matter how strong and skilled you are in the game you’re playing, you’ll be successful in overcoming a few challenges while some will throw you down and hit you where it hurts the most. And I was no exception to this Universal rule.
The 20 years of my corporate life taught me a lot. Was fortunate enough to get a multicultural, multi geographical and diversified exposure in some of the best MNC and Indian setups across Banking and Automobile industries
Fate brought me back to Chandigarh, my home town. Very soon, I took one of the most important decisions of my life to quit my corporate career and jump into the world of entrepreneurship Having been an entrepreneur over the last 6 odd years, I have seen life from a different perspective. It’s not about being right or wrong. It’s not about good or bad. Entrepreneurship is a different world all together. One needs to unlearn so much so as to understand the nuances of this entrepreneurial world. The last 6 odd years have been a rollercoaster life full of fun, learnings, setbacks, victories and challenges. Given a choice to plan my life all over again, I would go in for a corporate career of about 8 to 10 odd years in the initial years before jumping into the world of entrepreneurship. Would prefer to work in both small and large set ups. Would try and learn aggression, execution, chaos management from a small sized company perspective. While at the same time, learn the importance of systems, processes, structures, systematic working, manoeuvring your way up the corporate ladder, peer bonding, team management etc from a well-managed professionally run large MNC The 2 worlds are entirely different. Not fair to compare the two. Each to his own. Entrepreneurship gives you a high. The kind of satisfaction you get out of creating something on your own is beyond comprehension. It gives you a kick which cannot be described in words. The feeling of satisfaction and contentment cannot be quantified at any point of time.

4.What is the hardest challenge you faced in your career and how did you turn it into an opportunity?
I would say the toughest decision of my life was to quit my corporate career and become an entrepreneur. From a secure and well-respected Banking profile which helped me lead a decent lifestyle, I was consciously entering a world where there was no security. Neither in terms of the monthly SMS that you would get from your bank that your account has been credited by XXX amount, nor in terms of the continuity of the venture that you had started. From a suited booted profile, an air-conditioned office and a team of few hundreds down your reporting structure, I was now a one-man army. I was the Founder and CEO and the front office clerk all my myself. It was an altogether different experience. The mindset required an immediate change.
What became my motivational factor was the feeling of creating something new, something big and all by myself. Every hour put in was worth the effort. Initial insecurities soon vanished in thin air. I could recollect my good old days of Tennis which were all about passion, excitement, planning and execution and having fun at the same time.

Tell us about your social initiatives.
I strongly feel that we are blessed as human beings. We are among the top 0.5% of the population who can comfortably afford to eat, drink, sleep, study, mingle, travel as we desire. There is a sizeable chunk of population which does not have a roof over their heads, cannot afford 2 meals a day, cannot send their children to decent schools etc. For the last few months or so, I have volunteered to be a part of an NGO called Prasanchetas Foundation and try and spend some quality time with the youth in slums and helping them in terms of their grooming. There are kids who are ambitious and want to do something in life but do not have the resources and the backing to fulfil their dreams. One cannot quantify the feeling of satisfaction one gets after spending some time with these kids. It is beyond expression.

What is your business success mantra that you have embraced as you seek to establish your success story?
There is nothing like right or wrong, good or bad, correct or incorrect. It’s a perspective and one has every right to lead one’s life basis one’s perspective. I strongly feel one should be willing to experiment in life, try out new things, be open and receptive to ideas and feedback and not be rigid enough to ignore what others have to say. I feel staying focussed and having a broad macro view is important for success in the long run. Balancing between being a perfectionist and a generalist is very important. Having a bounce back approach, showing consistency and patience in what one is doing is far more important than trying out once and giving up at the slightest signs of failure. The ability to take one’s team along with you is very important while also being careful not to be a people pleaser. There is a fine line of difference between the two and it takes experience and maturity to differentiate one from the other. My personal mantra is Focus on overall fitness whether it is physical fitness, mental or emotional well-being. Keep learning every single day. Keep your mouth shut and your eyes and ears open. Am proud to say that I still listen to anyone speaking with the eagerness to learn something new. Filtering crap from sense is an art which comes with experience.

One special quote or message for all communities/brands.
It’s one life we all have. Value it and live it your way.

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