Interesting interview with Amanjot Malhotra, Founder of Actiwate and Vice President of Delhi Angels.
Your background briefly?
I come from an engineering background with major in Metallurgical and Materials from IIT Roorkee, one of the most prestigious institutes in India. Peer learning in the college helped me in pushing my thought process and become a leader from an introvert
Does it seem like a logical background to what you do now?
It doesn’t seem to be a logical background for venturing into tech products but for me it has been one of the best experiences of my life. I was living and breathing with the best talent available in the country which I was experiencing for the first time in my life. More than the skill-set I learned there, I learned how to approach problems and situation. All this helped me develop a killing attitude towards work.
1 min pitch for what you are doing now?
We are currently “Building Companies of the Future”. Although this is our company’s tagline we are quite literally building companies of the future. We are working with start-ups and corporates and building problem-solving products in a very user-friendly manner. Our USP is to do things in an unorthodox manner for example if we want to market a mobile app we will run campaigns via the target audience instead of advertising on Facebook, Google or YouTube.
Then, tell us about why you are excited about each of the following;
I have always been intrigued by design, as it speaks much more than words and also leaves a strong impact on the minds of the target audience. I started learning graphic designing in my college days, but due to a low powered laptop, I was not able to extend my experience in my college days.
After passing out I got a job in Solar as a project manager in 2013 but soon realised that was not my cup of tea and decided to leave that for an early stage gifting start-up which was in process of launching a product (best opportunity to get your hands dirty). This start-up gave me an opportunity to explore my interests and build skill-sets around it.
It was at this point in time I bought a new laptop and started learning UI/UX of tech products and at the same time, I was marketing the product as well. After working there I realised that I need to shift the sector as the product was not working out with the customers as well as expand my skill sets.
I started my own company in the name of Partiko, an event discovery app start-up for Indian Metropolitan Cities. While working on this I got to understand product development & angel investments (from an entrepreneur POV). It took me decent time to understand development and the industry and in 2015 I found myself in cash-crunch
I quickly realised that we needed to bring cash to keep the company afloat and it would have taken another year to make the product profitable so I floated a side venture in the name of Actiwate ( A web and mobile development agency) and started picking up projects and funding partiko. In 2016 we pivoted Partiko from an event discovery to ticketing after getting selected by the FB start program We realized that the margins are too low and its was while that we were pushing the product in the Indian market, on the other side Actiwate`s growth had picked up and we were getting good work inbound. So, we decided to focus on Actiwate and from then onwards it has been an exponential growth curve for actiwate.
We were able to achieve this by introducing a number growth hacks and releasing few resources for free in the market and setting up a base in the Indian Market.
In 2017 I got an opportunity to join Delhi Angels (an angel investment network based out of India) where I started helping start-ups in raising funds.
For 2018 our aim is to make Actiwate a global phenomenon and make 5-6 investments in early start-ups.
What tips would you give to new companies starting out?
- Team: Start with a good team of 2-3 entrepreneurs, each leading independent departments in place on equity instead of hired professionals
- Market Research: Do decent research and plan exit before starting up as it will important for fund-raising
- Product: Get the beta out as soon as it is acceptable to the target audience
- Revenue Potential: Try to learn how much your customers are willing to pay for your product
What makes you decide to invest or not invest in new companies?
For me it’s about the following aspects in decreasing priority:
- Market Size
How can people find out more about your work?
All my work till date is there on Actiwate` Portfolio. If you want to reach me directly then connect with me on LinkedIn. You will get a reply in a day
Anything else you’d like to add / we should have asked?
I love helping entrepreneurs in their early stages on a pro-bono basis as that is a very sensitive stage in an entrepreneur`s life and I have been through that face myself and I don`t want any deserving entrepreneur to go through that.
To all the Start-ups out there, please download this free pitch deck which will save you a lot of time in fund-raising
Edited and prepared by Oscar Michel, Masters in Journalism, DCU