Karthik (Blume) sent me summary (which someone from his team sent him) of a recent podcast I recorded with Siddharth (100x Entrepreneur).
The most interesting idea is the sports metaphor of business, which comes below (see Thoughts / Ideas) as well as in one of their leadership principles - We are a sports team, not a family.
100x Entrepreneur - Gaurav Munjal
Highlights of the podcast
- Started student portal (student magazine online) called exrays.com which still exists at his school St Xaviers, Jaipur. Started earning Google Ad Words when 16.
- NMIMS U Computer Science, then Directi for 1 yr, then started Flat.to
- Flat.to acquired by CommonFloor and then rebranded as Flatchat; CommonFloor was then acquired by Quikr in Sep2015 to go full time into UA.
- Unacademy (UA) then was a YouTube (YT) channel doing 1m views / month. Today 140m video views. UA was a project that was on since his college days (NMIMS U) along w Roman.
- Initially we were a YT for edu now a test prep platform.
- Made it easy for educators to create videos in 3 mins which took 3 hrs earlier (IG, TikTok all made creation easy)
- Educator app -> moved it from YT channel to a platform
- acquired WifiStudy to penetrate govt exams
- launched Plus subscription
- 72k paid subs
- Have got great investors aboard not as much because of storytelling as much as relentless execution.
- UA did not replace anything, rather it is democratizing access to great content and teachers. 80% of Indians dont have access to coaching centres or the best teachers. UA gives them access to that content. 70% of UA learners are from Tier2/3 cities.
- He / UA uses tools like Loom, which are used by the industry 18-24m later
- Different traction channels required at each points of scale. Early days Quora, then Youtube, now TV and Newspaper ads.
- One of the many innovations at UA is their Educator Delight Team - focused on giving educators a memorable moment. Like Secret Santa, cakes on their 100th class etc. There are also gamification elements built in here to create delight (learner hats given by students, which are then posted by educators on social media).
- UA is heavily copied and watched, like everyone copies our subscription model, and everyone is waiting to see where we enter next. This shows UA is changing the industry.
- Before Plus Subs took off, we tried 7-8 different experiments including students paying directly to educators etc.
- UA will be unicorn in 12m. Decacorn soon.
- Raised $88m and $60m is in the bank.
- Very close to Sumit Jain of CommonFloor (acquired his co Flat.to -> Flatchat)
- Aakrit Vaish (of Haptik) was his first investor.
- Bhavin Turakhia of Directi is a big influence. Gaurav worked there for 1 yr before Flat.to -> Flatchat.
- Kalyan of FK, Sujeet of Udaan were investors in UA and have been people he has learnt from.
- Shailendra Singh of Sequoia, Kunal Shah of Cred have been important influences.
- Enjoys reading Deepinder Goyal’s writings and interviews
Thoughts / Ideas
- Jack Dorsey / Steve Jobs / Elon Musk. Watches all of their videos. One mistake he sees founders doing is to watch occasional podcasts. They dont do structured learning. He is specific abt how he does structured learning.
- Entrepreneurship is a science like surgery. Why wont you study and prepare since there is so much good content out there.
- He sees building companies / entrepreneurship as a sport. Training is an important part of sports. You wont start playing the highest level or attend a tournament without training. Similarly w entrepreneurship. Hence learning is an important aspect of entrepreneurship.
- There are 2 kinds of successful cos - ones merely successful cos and the other successful cos that leave a a dent, create impact and change the industry. Apple, Oberoi are examples. Oberoi has an unparalleled obsession for the customer. UA wants to be like them.
- Great orgs are not built on excel sheets. Great orgs that create a dent are built on obsession and paranoia. The word obsession comes multiple times in the podcast.
- The values, culture of the org are not what is put on the wall, but what is done everyday. When I recommend books, read, watch videos and do structured learning, the org sees that and follows.
- Branding is standing for something in the consumer’s mind and communicating that.
- Apple stands for beautiful products to create something with, and this is communicated. UA thought abt empowering educators to create great content and helps those without access connect to that.
Books / Recommendations
- Startup Playbook by Sam Altman is a favourite book.
- Traction(by Gabriel Weinberg, DuckDuckGo founder)
- 22 Immutable Laws of Branding by Al & Laura Ries
- The Score Takes Care of Itself by Bill Walsh was given by him to everyone.
- 5-5.30pm everyday is dedicated to learning. Learning is part of his schedule. There is no such thing as a busy founder who doesnt have time to read / learn.
- 8,000 notes in his notes app. All of his meeting notes, ideas, diaries go in this Apple notes app. Spend 1-1.5 hrs on these notes later (weekly?).
- Has a slot called work calendar. Say 5 ideas - i earmark it for 21st Dec and go through it.
- The day the interview happened (at the Oberoi), it was his introspection day.