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“You are the brand!” is Aman Gupta’s message to all the entrepreneurs who are toiling to make a mark. Gupta is famous for his advice on frugal marketing. Enveloped by grit and humility, resilience is his superpower. “When you build a successful brand, people are often enticed by the end product. What goes unnoticed are the challenges and moments of crisis that the founders navigated to build the brand,” said Gupta, the co-founder of boAT, an audio and wearables brand.
Today, he is an influencer whose stories have reached every nook and corner of the country. He has a virtual family of over one million followers alone on LinkedIn. His posts on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn have amassed a lot of engagement and people look up to him for any entrepreneurial advice.
For one of the most amicable sharks from Shark Tank India season one, has life changed post Shark Tank? “Of course! Previously people knew the brand, but now they know the stories. Post season one, people look up to me for advice, my recommendations and social media posts on frugal marketing have a lot of takers,” he said, adding that budding entrepreneurs who are low on budget should always look for ROI (return on investment)-driven marketing and maintain a balance between cash earn and cash burn.
With great power comes great responsibility and with greater fame comes bigger challenges. From building a company from scratch to having an empire, the dynamics of leadership changes, “The markets are constantly evolving and as a leader you have to keep growing. One must always learn, unlearn and relearn,” said Gupta.
In Shark Tank India season one, Gupta invested at least INR 6.7 crore in over 29 startups. Drawing cues from India’s eminent freedom fighter Bal Gangadhar Tilak who said, “Swaraj is my birthright and I shall have it!” Gupta said,”For any entrepreneur getting funding is their birthright. Do not pay attention to the rejections, just be persistent.”
Does it matter to him when it comes to investing in firms having multiple co-founders? “As many as three co-founders are fine, if it’s more than three, there might be conflict of interests,” he said. Post season one, has the investor in him changed? “I have become smarter! Even the entrepreneurs this season have better pitches and conviction.” Talking about his learnings from the show, he said, “When it comes to building a business, no education can teach you what right attitude, hustle and humility can coach…even entrepreneurs having a degree from top business schools struggle to build a brand. They have inspirational stories which need to be told and as a public figure it is important to let people know about the journey of these entrepreneurs.”
Back on the sets of Shark Tank India season two, if he has to give one suggestion to all the entrepreneurs out there, “Refrain from developing the God syndrome! Be humble and hustle a lot!”
The brand boAt was first imagined in 2014 and was finally launched in 2016. The two years were spent on research and zeroing in on the right products. The two founders–Gupta and Sameer Mehta–had each invested INR 15 lakh to start the company. The founders were keen on making tailor-made electronics and accessories for the Indian audience. The brand is not just influencing its audience in India but has transcended boundaries: Harvard University recently released a case study of their brand.
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