D2C entrepreneur and boAt Co-founder Aman Gupta, who gained huge popularity as a 'shark' in the Indian adaptation of start-up reality show 'Shark Tank' is a great believer in "hustle". Even though the word is often interpreted negatively, Gupta says he can't work with somebody who doesn't "reciprocate" his level of energy and "drive".
While talking about building a D2C juggernaut in boAt, one of India's top consumer electronics brands, Gupta shared that he didn't find too many backers early on in the journey.
"It was a tough category. When we started [in 2016], not many online brands were funded in this space. We went to 40 angel investors, and once they started asking questions, we came back and delivered on those points," Gupta shared at the ASCENT Conclave 2022. "Today I look at those investors and tell them - you missed the 'boAt'," Gupta added.
boAt raised its first major round of funding in 2018, when D2C-focused early-stage investor Fireside Ventures pumped in Rs 6 crore ($900,000) into the start-up. "Kanwal [Kanwaljit Singh, Managing Partner at Fireside] bet on me and I gave him decent returns," Gupta shared.
At the time of funding, Singh had said in a statement, "boAt has the makings of a truly iconic brand… We look for brands that have identified white spaces and come up with solutions and products that cater to these target audiences. boAt as a brand is doing exactly that."
Today, boAt is backed by giant investors, including Warburg Pincus, Qualcomm Ventures, InnoVen Capital, among others. The company claims to have clocked revenues of Rs 3,000 crore at the end of FY22, growing at 100 per cent year-on-year. It also intended to go public, before pulling out of the IPO last month.
While stressing on the importance of "hungry" founders — a philosophy he follows when he chooses his investments on Shark Tank India — Gupta said, "Hustle is the first quality I look for in a founder, and it has worked for me."
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