Outliers 49: K Vaitheeswaran on why a startup is the second important thing in life. First is family

Pankaj Mishra February 9, 2018 1 min

K Vaitheeswaran’s entrepreneurial journey lacks all the fanfare, glory and gyaan that make some of the most visible startup journeys of today, including Flipkart and Ola. It’s a story that underscores how lonely it’s to be a startup founder and how ugly the lows in the journey can get.

On the midnight of December 31, 2012, Vaitheeswaran opened the door of his house to find a bunch of drunk and abusive guys demanding monies his company Indiaplaza owed to several vendors.

“One of the reasons we all enjoy December 31 and look forward to January is because we believe it’s going to start something new and great,” he tells me.

“That day was the most depressing because all sorts of thoughts crossed my mind. I have no shame in saying the thoughts (of ending my life) did cross my mind. I didn’t even want to see January 2nd.”

“How much can you really take after you expose your family to all the abuse?”

“You realize then that perhaps becoming an entrepreneur is not worth anything,” he tells me.

I’ve always wanted to sit down with Vaithee, as people around him address him, for this conversation, especially after reading this brilliant story titled “Indiaplaza.com: How an Indian e-commerce firm ran out of cash” by Ashish K. Mishra. Vaithee’s book ‘Failing to Succeed’ is equally riveting.

Do listen and stay grounded, fellow entrepreneurs.


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