Today we are going to do an interview with another entrepreneur whose name is Varun Mayya and he is the CEO at Avalon Labs.
Q1). Who is Varun Mayya in Real life apart from being a successful entrepreneur? What are your hobbies?
Varun Mayya – Professionally I’m an entrepreneur, investor and author, but if you ask me on a personal level, all of those 3 “titles” are materialistic. In reality I study both myself and other humans and their behaviours in and out of social situations. I’m a philosopher that tends to not just suffer from problems and solve them for myself, but also solve them for other people too. I love gaming – you’ll catch me playing a lot of DotA or Rocket League.
Q2). How did you get started with entrepreneurship?
Varun Mayya – I wrote my first line of code at age 11. I’ve always dabbled in random things on the internet – it’s the proverbial land of opportunity. At the age of 17 I started SIZR, a T-shirt company along with a few of my friends and since then there’s been no looking back. I simply understand the art of providing value and asking for money in return — it’s quite simple really. I started a company called Jobspire in college and raised venture capital for it even before I graduated.
Q3). What are your current ventures?
Varun Mayya – I run a company called Avalon Labs that has two parts – a services wing that provides development, content and marketing services to companies (mostly) in the Valley; and an investment wing that has invested in B2B products like sales automation platform Foxbound.io, cap table management platform Elune and venture intelligence platform Mana Network. Avalon has also invested in CalmIndia, but that’s less for profit and more for a philanthropic cause. We tend to invest in companies who are solving problems either me or my co-founder Shashank Udupa have faced in the past.
Q4). Were you good in studies? Also, do you think that is it necessary for a person to have good educational qualifications to do well in life?
Varun Mayya – With career as a student is basically a U-curve. I was doing well till the 10th grade, and then recovered my mojo in the 3rd year of college. I stumbled upon a new learning technique around this time and that’s what changed things (I even made a video about it).
I don’t think it’s necessary for a person to have great educational qualifications, you just need the basics and need to be sufficiently driven to succeed. Educational institutions in India are so detached from reality right now that people are suffering the minute they come out of college and realise the world doesn’t work the way college told them it does.
I got 62/100 in English in my board exams but I wrote a #1 Amazon business bestseller, so I’ll let the audience decide if college scores are a good metric of later life success.
Q5). Any phase in your life where you might have thought of giving up?
Varun Mayya – Never. I am flexible though — I have ideas and if they don’t work out, I tend to pivot in a direction that follows market needs.
But give up on entrepreneurship? Nope.
I’ve never had a job and never worked for anybody except for a brief period for Jobspire’s acquirers.
Q6). Tips for new aspiring entrepreneurs?
Varun Mayya – Often the problem with entrepreneurship is that people out there keep putting out great motivational content, but very little tactical content.
I want to help future entrepreneurs for free and Metastartup.org is a project started by Avalon that gives away tactical, practical advice AND tutorials for completely free. We don’t ask for anything in return either – just pass it on to other entrepreneurs who need the help.
But here’s two tips:
– Never run a company alone (single founder companies fail very often)
– Solve your own problems (this also means that you have to suffer from that problem first)
Q7). What are your future plans?
Varun Mayya – Growing Metastartup.org and helping some of Avalon’s portfolio companies get great exits are on the cards for me. I want to help at least a few people take the risk and jump into entrepreneurship, but not be lost when they start. I’ve been there, it sucks. In classic Avalon style, I’m solving my own problem and giving entrepreneurs a ramp.
I’m also hosting events for free across the year so people can find co-founders.
Q8). Do you want to say anything to GadgetzMedia?
Varun Mayya – One business model I’ve seen work very well for sites like you guys is co-branded merchandise. Offer this to Indian Youtubers, handle the logistics, and take a cut. It’ll help both you and them monetize what they love doing.
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