Chatur Ideas – Building Ideas, Strategies, and Businesses

Devesh Chawla- Chatur Ideas

With a vision and mission to empower budding entrepreneurs, Chatur Ideas was started back in 2015. It’s a startup enabling platform that helps entrepreneurs to grow and support their businesses. Right from raising funds, mentoring founders, planning pitch decks, and enhancing their business plans, the platform enables entrepreneurs to get acquainted with various networks that can help them in scaling up their operations. Additionally, it has been running entrepreneurship programs across India, where its trainers help entrepreneurs throughout their startup journey.

From zero to 1050+ startups and having a network of over 1500 investors, acquiring a company which was started by IIT-IIM Alumni where they have trained over 34,000 entrepreneurs across 125 + cities in 450 colleges and growing that Chatur Ideas rapidly, to bagging multiple awards in India and Internationally, they have come a long way!

In a conversation with Mr. Devesh Chawla, a leader, Innovator, mentor, and Founder and CEO of Chatur Ideas, he shared his vision, journey of Chatur Ideas, and what Chatur Ideas is all about.

What were the initial challenges you faced?

Well, I always had this idea of starting a taxi-hailing service. However, like any graduate is expected to land a cushy job, so was the case with me. My acquaintances and close ones believed that I will be a better fit for the corporate world rather than the entrepreneurial world.

Couldn’t ignore it for long, I had to ultimately “settle” with what others wanted me to do. It was a challenge for me to fit in somewhere where I did not belong. Luckily I did my best to get ahead with my entrepreneurial plan with a new vision but was misled by some mentors and political influencers despite having a great idea. This was another big challenge for me to move ahead with.

Which was that point that triggered the growth of Chatur Ideas?

Before the advent of numerous taxi-hailing services and now thriving ceaselessly, I had this idea already in my checklist to believe in. However, moving ahead after witnessing the success of a similar plan that I had, I thought of coming up with something new. During the journey, I saw a lot of gaps in the world of business.

That’s when I had this urge to do something that could help businesses to grow. I started networking with a lot of people, started mentoring, most importantly learned about the industry. I don’t exactly remember the time when it triggered growth but Chatur Ideas started getting a lot of attention once it started targeting and mentoring entrepreneurs.

How have Chatur Ideas graphs changed since the foundation? Can you share a few statistics?

When I started Chatur Ideas, I envisioned working with around 250 plus start-ups as my initial 5-year goal. The way we picked up the speed, we achieved our target earlier than my prediction and by the end of the first 5 years, we had worked with around 950 plus startups, which was almost 4 times our initial projection.

In the past 6-plus years of our existence, Chatur Ideas has grown from zero startups to having worked with 1050 plus startups, having zero investors to having a network of 1500 plus investors, starting from scratch to being in the top 5 players in the country, reaching in the list of Top 42 Angel Investors in the country and having received multiple National and International Awards, our graphs have changed dramatically, in a positive way, and we have been scaling up ever since

What is the reason behind Chatur Ideas’ long-standing success?

You know people say, the right team can take you a long way.  I believe it’s the people and my team that have made my challenges easier and my success better. I would want to majorly give credit to their ‘chatur ideas’ and their optimism.

What are the services Chatur Ideas focuses on? How are your services different from those in the market?

Chatur Ideas are a startup enabling platform and help new-age startups to grow by providing them funding, mentoring, and scaling their operations. We also have entrepreneurship programs across India where entrepreneurs can hone up their business skills to anchor themselves strongly in the business arena

Is there any new addition to the list of products/services? Anything exciting you would like to share?

Currently, everything has gone online. With that change, we have changed the way to connect with people, connect with entrepreneurs and invest in startups. There has also been a major shift in the way we have been conducting entrepreneurship programs (CIE-B). Recently, it was conducted via a zoom call.

One of the most exciting adventures for us was to adapt to an online world. I think it expanded our horizons to meet new people and reach new ideas of young entrepreneurs

How has technology transformed the traditional way of business?

Technology has brought some revolutionary changes into a business. It has given a new speed to the entrepreneurial world. Be it retaining customers or finding new ones, improving products, or creating a personal touch with distant customers, fast solutions have eased innovation into businesses.

What do you think are the responsibilities of an entrepreneur?

Well, there are no defined boundaries of responsibilities when it comes to entrepreneurship. Especially during the initial stage of a business, it’s like doing a multi-dimensional job with no perks and salary, haha. You are the marketer, the manager, the HR, etc. You just need to know whatever responsibility you have taken up, it should be done with your whole heart and energy.

Can you please brief us about your professional experience?

I have worked as a wealth manager managing ultra HNI money in India and overseas for 5.5 years before starting Chatur Ideas. Before that did my MBA in finance and computer engineering

You have to learn the rules of the game, and then you have to play better than anyone else

Albert Einstein

How do you look after your employees? What makes your team unique?

Like any organization, a strong team can be the biggest asset. I think keeping in touch with them, trusting their ideas, giving them opportunities to grow personally and professionally are some of the things that made Chatur Ideas stronger and better. It’s their consistency and dedication that make them unique.

Is there any special experience with your clients you would like to highlight?

There have been quite a few experiences, but one that stands out is the story of this young entrepreneur. He wanted to start a business and he had heard a lot about Chatur Ideas and how it has been helping young entrepreneurs to succeed. He reached out to me, but due to some circumstances, I was not able to get in connect with him for over 35-40 days. He patiently kept following up and was consistently attempting to get some time with me for a discussion of his idea. Finally, one evening, he was able to get on a call with me, where he discussed his idea.

I offered him my insights and told him about the roadblocks he may face and the possibilities that he may work on to make his idea a successful venture. He requested an in-person meeting, where he wanted to sign up with Chatur Ideas so that we can help him to grow and scale up his venture.

While signing up, I made it clear that in his business, the chances to succeed were only around 2% and asked him if he was ready to take that chance. He said that he just wanted our support, and rest everything will be taken care of. I felt that he just wanted us to be there, which provided him moral support, and somewhere he felt that success was bound to happen.

I recall him saying that we can convert this 2% to 200% provided you and your team stand with us. Today, I am very happy to share that in 3 years, from scratch, Chatur Ideas has already moved into 2 offices in India with 48 plus employees, have an offer on the table to be acquired by a globally recognized company, and have raised over 2 Million Dollars in funding. This is a special experience that always remains with me as the faith that they had in Chatur Ideas, and our joint efforts allowed that business to reach new heights!

According to you, what are the basic factors that businesses in the digital landscape should focus on to get better results?

Enhance interactions with your customers, suppliers, stakeholders, and employees. Other than that, add more value by delivering what your customers want rather than focusing on your presence.

One person, who you admire the most?

For me, I cannot narrow it down to a single person as I admire anyone and everyone who has created and added value, but the ones that instantly come to mind are Steve Jobs, Dhirubhai Ambani, and Jack Ma. I remember my father telling me to take the best from the people and leave the rest and that is the motto I follow in life. There are many people I try to take the best from, but these three come on the top of that list and I admire them a lot.

Whose business story do you find the most inspiring?

As I answered above, I try to take the best from people and it is very difficult to narrow it down to just one person whose story I find the most inspiring. But I do admire the stories of Jack Ma, Steve Jobs, and Dhirubhai Ambani in particular, and how they have inspired not only me but many entrepreneurs around the world and gave them the confidence to execute an idea, scale up a business, and prove that if you have a dream and you work hard enough for it, nothing can stop you from achieving it.

Constant vigilance- a need or a strategy? Please share your views.

It’s always a strategy. To deal with new realities, you will have to prepare with new skill-sets including attention to resources, detecting signals, responding ahead of competitors, etc. Thus, setting up a perfect roadmap can help you in creating a faster solution to appease the demanding problems.

It’s a rat race out there. How do you cope with that?

You just gotta stay upright when it comes to business. You can’t lose a chance to learn about something and most importantly, it’s about how you are making innovation and adding value for others more than yourself. You’d automatically pave your paths to successful endeavors.

The Key Achievements

  • Chatur Ideas has been awarded in March 2017 with the ‘Industry Excellence
  • Award for being the leading Startup Enabler Platform’ at the BRICS International Conclave on
  • Innovation & Strategies, Organised by StepUp 360, Supported by BRICS International Forum, India, & MSME – DI, New Delhi
  • He has been being felicitated with the ‘Mahatma Gandhi Samman’ award. This award was presented by Meira Kumar, the Former Speaker at Lok Sabha. Mahatma Gandhi Samman is awarded to only 25 Indians globally for their contribution in their respective fields.
  • He was also a part of The Think Tank Series on IPR {Series 1} on ‘National IPR Policy – a way forward’, supported by MSME- Ministry of India
  • He has been felicitated with the “Youth Leadership Award” by the Trade Commissioner of Canada.
  • He has been awarded the “Mahatma Gandhi Samman Award” which is given to only 25 Indians all over the world.
  • He has also been awarded “Entrepreneur of the Year 2018”.
  • He has also been felicitated as “CEO of the Year 2019”
  • He has been invited as Guest of Honour, Speaker, Panellist, and Jury at various startup events across India including some of the following;
    • Jury at Start AP (in collaboration with Andhra Pradesh Government)
    • Keynote Speaker at WhatNEXT2018 along with Sanjeev Sanyal (Economic Advisor, Govt. of India) & Ritesh Agarwal (Founder, OYO Rooms)
    • Speaker and Jury at StartupNetworkz (Singapore Company) India tour at Nagpur, Hyderabad, and Kolkata
    • Part of The Think Tank Series on ‘National IPR Policy’, supported by MSME- Ministry of India
    • Jury & Investor at Eureka! – Asia’s largest business plan competition held at IIT – Bombay
    • Investor at the 10 Minute Million Investor Pitch by E-Cell, IIT Bombay
    • Guest of Honour and Jury Member at ‘The August Fest’ – Asia’s largest startup conference – Speaker at e-tailing India Expo 2017 which is the largest eCommerce, retail & mobile show in the Industry at The Lalit, Mumbai & more

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