How this CA & seasoned finance professional quit his job at an Indian e-commerce giant to be an entrepreneur. Here is his story.
- Hi, I am Rishabh Kumar a Chartered Accountant and Entrepreneur from India.
- I come from a business family but always wanted to be a part of the corporate jungle (and I surely did).
- I worked in the Oil & Gas industry, large FMCG companies, funded e-commerce startups until I got bit by the entrepreneurial bug.
- In 2018, after a failed entrepreneurial stint, I quit my very lucrative job at Snapdeal to focus full time on my vision.
- Here is my story.
Wanted to make it big in the corporate world
My friend Amit Mundhra and I always dreamt of studying at Shri Ram School of Commerce, Delhi but missed the bus with just half a percent!
That’s when we opted for Chartered Accountancy and registered for articles. We both belonged to business families and wanted to try our destiny in the corporate jungle.
One day while browsing endlessly in a library, we read about American and Japanese History, Industry revolution.
Our tiny minds met together to write "what" will make India succeed with the Internet, Commerce, Coffee, Shared Economy, Shared Transport, Software boom, and Social Commerce.
We noted down 51 Great Businesses of the future in early 1998 just after enrolling for CA Foundation Course.
Yes, 18 years ago, we wrote in our diary about coffee chains when Starbucks was not born, cybersecurity as a business was not popular etc.
Forging my own path as a CA fresher
Fast-forward, after qualifying as a Chartered Accountant, I wanted to start a professional advisory or management consulting firm and Amit wanted to join a big corporate job.
Both started the same way but after 3 months, destiny reversed and I got a full-time job with Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. through campus placement and Amit joined Apollo Tyres.
He soon realized his passion for the practice and settled himself in “Pink City” Jaipur, Rajasthan with an established CA firm. I moved city after city for career growth but Amit chose to remain in one city & one firm to grow vertically deep and lead a settled life with family and friends.
I worked in Oil & Gas for 9 years, to understand how the energy industry works in upstream, midstream and downstream and made global friends with people from the 'non-finance' background.
I believed that it is important to learn business practices first before applying the tax formula as an advisor. I started participating in lengthy and boring pre-bid meetings and flipping through bulky tender documents from an early age while all other friends were busy in evening parties.
Climbing the corporate ladder
Daydreaming did not stop there, so I moved to Oracle and managed to survive for 3 years in a challenging role with 25 small and big acquisitions by Oracle.
The most brutal integration was Sun Microsystem where I managed some of the emotionally demanding assignments with lots of head-less files and going through the maze of endless investigations on the acquiring company.
IT / ITes world gave me the first-hand flavor of silicon valley and my futurist mind started thinking more about cloud sensors, machine learning, robotics which was a strict no-no for conventional Chartered Accountants.
Sometimes I got warned by my colleagues and peers for mingling too much with IT Engineers and thinking of “Tax Automation” instead of being protective of the profession.
My next move was into the FMCG sector. With the intention to gain experience in handling a team of 55 people spread over 25 factories.
‘Coke is in my blood’ was the famous jumla, I heard many times from the old veterans in the world’s biggest beverage company.
My curious mind started de-coding what made coke so successful - Success of coke is to connect with the customer of every age and make them feel on the top of happiness since 150 years and I read many books like - Inside Coca-Cola - A CEOs Life written by ex-coke employees and interacted with people serving the company for 3 decades.
I understood the power of Branding, Communication, feet on the street simplicity of how a brand play 'Glocal' meaning - Think Global - Act Local and the most important lesson was to handle ‘Millennials’.
Entrepreneurial leap while working full time
The entrepreneurship bug was strong within me.
In 2014, I formed a company (while still working in Snapdeal) with my technology friend to solve the big problem of cyber city Gurgaon. That is when "CloudaCar" was born.
It was later recognized in 2016 by CII-Deloitte as the fastest growing ridesharing start-up and in 2017 got an award of Global Superbrand startup upon integration with UBER.
Angel funding exhausted and the team evaporated. The idea was ahead of time so besides meeting 15 top investors, Cloud car could not meet its capitalization needs and the product got ready but 100+ leads got into hibernate mode due to a cash crunch.
Quitting my job to be a full time entrepreneur
I felt very sorry for this garage venture or weekend venture and left my cushy job of Vice President in Snapdeal to start GSTStreet.
As a shared economy enthusiast, I always tried to convince people that – "The Best can’t be hired, but can always be shared."
My expert knowledge of Tax, Energy, FMCG, IT/ITes, and E-Commerce helped me in building a network of 400+ experts and association with 42 Industry forums in 2 years.
I was eating, sleeping, and talking GST, it made me a walking GST man and people started believing that Rishabh is super-positive about GST and does not want to hear anything against it. This took a toll on my personal & family life.
Yes, it is true because Indirect Tax Automation and reforms are happening globally and India being the largest country to launch the biggest Indirect tax reform on July 1, we will see many other countries reforming themselves.
Now GSTStreet has set-up its operations in the middle east where UAE and Saudi Arabia are implementing VAT and extending the power of a network and shared economy to Arabic speaking region.
With a strong entrepreneurship urge, I found a team of like-minded senior tax professionals who are ready to take a plunge with me.
Now, both Amit and I have joined hands to work together. We realized that few things are yet doable from the 51 business ideas we penciled in the winters of 1998.
1. CA & Professionals should learn Networking and Collaboration to speed up their success.
2. One and only rule in collaboration is to Trust your Partner and Document it in a legal way with exit and penalty for defaults.
3. An Idea without execution is nothing but crap, so balance your time and energy in ideation and execution.