Vibha Kagzi, the host, is the Founder and CEO of ReachIvy.com, a premium study abroad and career consultancy organization. Vibha, a Harvard alumna, is a successful entrepreneur and believes in helping others chalk out their future careers.
In episode 39 of House of Experts, we were fortunate to host, Sagar Sheth , founder, goDutch, an alumnus of IIT Bombay, worked with Kearney as a management consultant and Eight Roads as a venture capital investor before starting out on his own venture.
goDutch is a group expense management app for millennials that has raised $1.7M from investors such as Y Combinator, Matrix Partners, Justin Mateen (co-founder, Tinder), Kevin Lin (co-founder, Twitch), etc. The app has over 200K users and was recently awarded by Google as the ‘Best of 2020 App’ in the Hidden Gem category.
Some excerpts from the interview:
1) Tell us about your childhood and early years.
I come from a Gujarati family, so business runs in our veins. I was born in Mumbai, and my Dad had a venture here. He started a new venture in Singapore, so I moved there when I was two or three years old. I was there for the next 7-8 years of my life. My Dad was running a couple of ventures, and we moved to India because he was going to start another venture here. He was a serial entrepreneur. I always looked up to him, but I found the process of entrepreneurship very daunting. I was a good student, and I always used to think that I would study well, get a job and my life would be sorted. Little did I know that I would end up becoming an entrepreneur.
2) What are your takeaways from the venture capital space?
One fundamental aspect behind investing is that you invest for the long run. You have to look at the sustainability and scalability of the company, and unearth what is in there for the long run. When you’re evaluating the economics of the business, the founding team, the competitive landscape and other such factors, all of it has to be looked at keeping in mind the long-term potential of the company. That is one of my biggest takeaways from my investing experience and even in the entrepreneurship space.
3) How does goDutch distinguish itself from its competitors?
We realized that there are a lot of payment apps, but there are no group payment ones. This was a gap we observed in the market. In the age group of 18-30, a large number of payments are actually group payments. One of the ways we distinguish ourselves is that we don’t just allow users to keep track of the expenses but also allow them to pay each other via UPI. We have a card option as well, through which payments get deducted from the accounts of all group members, so they don’t have to keep track of the expenses.
4) What do you think matters more for someone who wants to build an app, the technical skill, or the business acumen?
If there’s a single founder, I would advise them to hire someone who knows the technological aspects. The founder doesn’t have to be the best coder in the world, but they must understand the technical aspects, and how to link everything together. However, I would encourage people to have multiple founders, because it is a difficult journey and you want people who are at the same level as you to ride through the storm with you. It always helps to have someone you can share ideas with and bounce your ideas off of- people who are in it for the long run. I would say that 2 or 3 people is ideal. There are companies with only one founder that have scaled, but usually they are repeat entrepreneurs and know how things are done, so they have the tenacity to sustain. So, it’s good to have multiple founders to share the load while building something.
We would like to thank Sagar for being so candid and for sharing her journey and his learnings with us!
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