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Friends Turned Partners: ‘Friendpreneurship’ in Startups

Legend says, “Friendship and work never mix”. But entrepreneurs are changing this business rule


The startup friends and founders of NowFloats

In celebration of Friendship Day, we speak to startup cofounders who were dosts that decided their bond was strong enough to weather the battles of business.

1. Kraftly

Saahil Goel, founder and CEO; Gautam Kapoor, COO and cofounder

Saahil: “Working with a friend is a sure-shot joyride. I have known Gautam since childhood, and when you grow up with someone, there exists a bond of implicit and explicit trust. We also bring complementary skill sets to the table. While coding and product development is my passion, Gautam has killer managerial instincts and effortlessly looks after operations, business development, enterprise, its people and policies.

This way we balance each other out to make a perfect team. Even at the time when we find each other at the opposite ends of the table, we discuss, debate and make a unanimous decision beneficial for the company. In the end, celebrating each other’s successes and failures and staying true to our commitment towards transforming the Indian ecommerce seller landscape keeps us going day-in and out.

2. Wandertrails

Vishnu Menon K, cofounder and CEO; Hari Gangadharan Nair, cofounder and CTO; Narayana Menon K, cofounder and CMO; Pranav Kumar Suresh, Cofounder and CSO; Sruti Ramesh Chander, cofounder and COO 

Vishnu: Entrepreneurship comes with its share of trials and tribulations that test the best of the best. The five of us have all known each other for at least eight years and know each other’s strengths and shortcomings inside out. It was only natural to traverse an important journey of our lives, together and co-found India’s only experiential travel brand. We are each other’s worst critics but the friendship ensures that it is taken constructively which works well for the organisation. We are thorough professionals at work but we catch up as friends and have a lot of fun outside of work too. To summarise, a tough journey becomes enjoyable with the right company.

3. ofBusiness

Asish Mohapatra, CEO; Founding team - Vasant Sridhar, Dhaval Radia, Bhuvan Gupta, Ruchi Kalra, Asish Mohapatra, Chandranshu C, Nitin Jain and Biswajit Mishra

Friendship is a 'Trust-Bond' - 'Trust' that gives each cofounder the freedom to innovate and explore in their domain, and a 'Bond' that gives each cofounder the right to force the other to focus on the job at hand. This Trust-Bond is absolutely quintessential for success as a startup.

4.Next Education India 

Beas Dev Ralhan, cofounder and CEO; Sameer Bora, EVP

Beas: Sameer and I have been friends since our IIT-B time. It's been more than a decade that we now know each other very closely and we recognize each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Since we both have a common passion for technology and vision to work in education, Sameer joined Next Education in 2011 to strengthen our strategic team. It’s always been an endearing experience to share your work place with your friend as you are aware of the skill set they carry and the trust your friend instils in you.

5. NowFloats

Jasminder Singh Gulati, cofounder and CEO; Nitin Jain, cofounder and COO; Ronak Kumar Samantray, cofounder and chief software architect; Neeraj Sabharwal, cofounder and chief experience officer

Jasminder: Entrepreneurship is tough, and unpredictable. It's just better to partner with people who you have known and trust, which is precisely the reason we started working together. We make sure we are objective while being involved and sharing the same sense of purpose keeps our friendship strong.

It's hard to maintain a balance between our friendship and business, but we try to travel together a lot. And that really helps. We sometimes "workshop" with our business leaders off-site. Those are definitely some of the times when we're both business partners and friends. It shows us how strong our solidarity is, both in terms of morale and strategy.

Knowing each other's strengths and working on the gaps together are some of the benefits of going into business with a friend. You would never go into business with a friend unless they are absolutely dependable. Neeraj is proof of that. He was about to go on a sabbatical from work when I called him. He cancelled his plans to "relax" to go into business with us. He knew he could trust us, and we knew he had his heart in the venture.

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