Grit Stories

The hurdles on the way to Spinny’s success

June 26, 2021

The hurdles on the way to Spinny’s success

Grit Stories
The hurdles on the way to Spinny’s success
 Mins Read
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00:00 - 03:16: Introduction
03:17 - 5:26: Tough beginnings and what shaped Niraj
05:33 - 7:25: Grit to get to IIT-D
12:34 - 13:42: Support of the ecosystem being very low back in the day
14:53 - 17:23: Lost his father but bounced back in 3-4 months and started his second company
31:42 - 33:51: Going with the full stack model even though the new investors pulled the term sheet
35:22 - 37:37: Restarting with the new business model: What happened after the investors pulled back?
39:43 - 41:28: How the team stepped up during tough times?
52:46 - 53:57: Being open to feedback and it's importance

On the very surface, Niraj Singh’s startup story might seem like one you’ve heard before. He went to IIT-Delhi, and is the CEO and founder of Spinny, the online platform for people to sell and buy second-hand cars. You know this already.

But behind the scenes, nothing about Niraj’s journey is familiar; his grit story long preceded his entrepreneurial days. 

Studying with his textbooks and a Hindi to English dictionary side by side, attempting JEE exam for the second time in secret in order to switch from B.Arch to B.Tech, a few entrepreneurial stints even before he hit 30, the loss of a loved one - Niraj has accumulated significant life experiences at a fairly young age

How he did all that, and has now built one of India’s most recognizable startups is part of the ground we cover on this podcast.

But there’s also more, on: 

  • Niraj’s origin stories, so to speak - growing up in a small town, his two trysts with JEE and how his formative years shaped who he is 
  • His venture into the startup ecosystem in India in 2007 - differences in attitude, the infrastructure, and how the experience was of building something even as the industry was just getting started 
  • Starting TechMonkey, a content platform to serve content in local languages - the learnings, losing funding at an important time because of their plan to pivot, and more 
  • Coping with loss while trying to helm an organization where people were depending on him 
  • Building a supportive core team is important, and how that helped his journey 
  • What it means to be receptive to feedback 

Speaking to founders is the central tenet of what I do. But it never ceases to surprise me how I almost always walk away with a new story, a fresh perspective. 

Niraj’s is truly a tale of grit, and I hope you enjoy listening to him as much as I did.

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