Rejected By 70 Investors to Building $5 Billion Unicorn | Asish Mohapatra On Indian Startups | FO 64 - Deepstash
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How Asish Mohapatra build a 'unicorn' after being rejected by over 70 investors

How Asish Mohapatra build a 'unicorn' after being rejected by over 70 investors

About Asish Mohapatra

He is a Co-Founder and CEO of OfBusiness and Oxyzo Financial Services. Since his childhood, he was interested in records and poems. He was an avid learner of sports records.

He attended the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and Indian School of Business (ISB) before taking a consulting role at McKinsey, then transitioning to venture capital, and ultimately founding his own company.

Recently, he made an investment in dezerv, a company bringing wealth management to the middle class.


162 reads

What was his thought process to achieve so many things?

What was his thought process to achieve so many things?

Think about the unthinkable.

He understood from his experience that most startups lose money while expanding. Consequently, he made profitability his goal—a seemingly impossible feat since in India, only Zoho and Zerodha have achieved $100 million in Profit After Tax (PAT).

To succeed, the whole team must believe in the unimaginable and strive for a solution to multilayered problems.

One of the biggest moats to have is 'complexity.'


131 reads

What was the motivation to be rich and successful?

What was the motivation to be rich and successful?

In his childhood, he saw a classmate come in a big car and had nice things with him. He asked his mom, why can't have such things.

His mom replied, "woh bade log hai" i.e. they are rich.

That's when he got curious what is the meaning of being rich. He kept researching as a young boy for around 4-5 years.

He finally made a list by grade 6. He defined rich as:

  • You need to have money.
  • You need to have some art (personality).
  • He should be like a magnet
  • He should have something interesting to share.


112 reads

No cabin for him.

No cabin for him.

Drawing inspiration from US history, he founded his own venture based on three fundamental rights: Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity.

As a result, he shuns the concept of a personal cabin and all employees have access to the same resources, like shared parking spaces, economy class travel, and hotel room sharing.


113 reads

Principles he stands by.

Principles he stands by.

In his company, there are designated rooms that have either a company's name or an entrepreneur's name on them. For example, they have PayPal, HDFC, Zerodha, etc.

1) Creating wealth not just for yourself but many people associated with the business.

In his two companies, there are around 1600 people. Among these, around 800 have ESOPs.

2) It should be a fun workplace.

Keeping the work environment easy, only then he will be able to give his 100 percent.

3) Think big.

Dream the unthinkable.

4) Go all in.

Don't keep plan B.


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Principles he stands by (contd..)

5) 'Dhanda' approach.

The moment you invest your time in something, it should make money. In other words, the business should make money.

6) Everyone should be a 'salesman.'

To start anything, you need to SELL.

His definition of a salesman is the other person should enjoy listening to you.

If every person is a salesman, our relative chances of winning are higher.

Characteristics of a good salesman:

  • Should be able to use carrot-stick together. Agree and Disagree.
  • Should be an affable and humble person.
  • Should look at the other person in his eye i.e. confidence.
  • Should be energetic.


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How to make a billion-dollar company?

How to make a billion-dollar company?

Think unthinkable but the road should be a real one.

1. First think of making a profit.

2. Have at least 10 really good people with various skillset.

He defined 'really good' as people who I cannot match and I salute them for what they do. For example, a creative video editor.

3. Bring cultural elements that will be long-lasting.

For instance, in his company, everyone does their job. The CTO still codes, the CFO still does the accounting, etc.

4. First 2-3 years, focus only on things that you know you will get done for sure. Don't take a big risk in the initial years.


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In addition to the above points, you may aim for the US market.

Anything that you export from India (products & services) will bring revenue in $.

The US market has a higher consumption rate as compared to the European market.

There are two ways to grow:

Organic: needs excellent execution

Inorganic: through acquisition, needs capital and vision.


79 reads

9 steps to becoming successful.

9 steps to becoming successful.

  • Should do unthinkable.
  • Should go all in.
  • Should bear the pain.
  • Should give 100%.
  • Should be a fun person.
  • Should be humble.
  • Should have the guts to take risks.
  • Should go with the flow (especially in learning).
  • Should have energy.


90 reads

Why do startups fail?

Why do startups fail?

Company successes don't require recognition, but individual successes should always be celebrated. Without goals, an individual won't get far.

For example, if a friend answers "going on" when asked how he's doing, it's likely he hasn't set any objectives. But if he's discussing his aims on the call, odds are he'll succeed.

Businesses may not always have a concrete culture in the beginning, but opportunities to improve are always available.

value of creating new solutions to address present challenges, and highlights the benefits of teamwork despite potential challenges.


77 reads

3 ways to increase commitment among employees.

3 ways to increase commitment among employees.

Speed up all three:

  • Money
  • Fame
  • Competent


89 reads



Management concepts explained like tweets.


Asish Mohapatra, the Co-Founder and CEO of OfBusiness and Oxyzo Financial Services, shares his thought process, motivation, and principles for success in this podcast. He also provides tips on how to create a billion-dollar company and increase employee commitment. Learn from his experience and insights to achieve your goals.


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