Home35Under35 2023Akshay: At unique confluence of World of Investments, Entrepreneurship, and Creative Innovation

Akshay: At unique confluence of World of Investments, Entrepreneurship, and Creative Innovation

Hailing from the serene town of Nanded in Maharashtra, Akshay’s journey began at the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, where he pursued a degree in architecture. It was during his time at Kharagpur that his love for architecture and all things creative deepened, sparking a profound passion within him. He brings a rare vantage point from the world of investments, entrepreneurship, creativity and life.

Motivated by a strong desire to impact world at scale and create future ground-up, Akshay ventured into the world of venture capital by joining Bertelsmann India Investments during the early years of India’s startup ecosystem. He witnessed the rapid growth of startup ecosystem and had the opportunity to invest in billion-dollar companies. However, Akshay’s journey extended beyond investing as he pursued building and entrepreneurship. He wanted to contribute to industry transformation, drawing from his experience as both an investor and a builder.

He knows the intricate dynamics between investing and building. Having witnessed the macro rise of startups and contributed to the growth of multi-billion-dollar enterprises, he now engages in the new frontiers for India’s content industry.

Onset of the journey, from the early years of India’s startup ecosystem  

At Bertelsmann, he played a key role in backing successful ventures such as Lendingkart, Eruditus, and Shiprocket, contributing to approximately $70 million worth of investments.

Here is where Akshay saw that Organizations that were fundamentally creating value for the industry, went out to build large outcomes.

Organizations that enabled access to capital and democratized to the remotest part of the country by digital lending solutions or access to high tier education was being disrupted by new world technologies; were creating large value. He participated and witnessed how you would be able to impact at scale by backing or building these innovative ventures. He feels that business is force of good and impact and guides country’s rise and fall (through innovation). The startup enterprises that Akshay was able to support and saw the metoric rise are the ones, who are building the future of the sector for the country and brining impact for decades.

Not all ventures are the success stories, Akshay’s experience spans the entire lifecycle of company building, including turnarounds and M&A activities.

Looking out for Blue Oceans and Go where People don’t go: 

Akshay likes to enter into territories where people don’t enter; because he feels that real value sometimes is hidden in the unchartered territories. Over crowded spaces get commoditized and face fierce competition. Like how Facebook or Netflix created the new domains, he feels entering new space is the important principle of entrepreneurship.

In the similar story, Akshay in his first encounter with world of entrepreneurship, decided to challenge the status quo by entering the aviation industry. A rare move to be done into high entry barrier and complex industry to enter. But, coming from an architecture background, he recognized the limitations in interior configurations for Full Service Carriers and the lack of a product-market fit for the premium segment. He identified a blue ocean opportunity to disrupt the industry by offering a 10x proposition, providing significantly more value to business class passengers compared to traditional models. Drawing inspiration from tech industry thesis, Akshay adopted a vertical vs. horizontal approach to disrupt the Full Service Carrier models from both the low-cost and premium segments.

Pioneering the first of its kind concept of corporate airline in the scheduled domestic space, on sheer inventiveness, he was able to onboard some of the leading industry stalwarts to team of advisors. Also quickly convincing lessors to lease him A318s or get access to buy out a regional airline with functional air operating license and team of 200+, for ~US$3.5M. But chose to retract as Covid hit with no clear sign of visibility in the end and realign for the long-term path.

Innovations at the bedrock of transforming industries and building long-term value

After evaluating hundreds of companies, Akshay has mastered the art of strategizing.

Akshay’s innovative thinking and out-of-the-box approach have led him to advise companies across various sectors, transforming their trajectories and making them leaders in their respective spaces. A case in point where a crucial insight that enabled in turning around Buildnext, from its strategic direction of a construction tech company to a consumer brand in the individual home space. He is happy that this organisation is set to make mark in the field of innovating real estate sector and his intervention led to raise $3.5 million in a Pre-Series A round.

Currently at TVF, Akshay is supporting its exceptional leadership and highly talented team of ~200+, in unlocking the potential of India’s traditional media industry. Recognizing the age old legacy of the industry; Akshay finds there is great headroom for India’s Industry to make global mark. In terms of operating model and business complexity, he draws inspiration from institutions like Pixar to create a blueprint for success. Iterating the fundamentals of innovation and creative thinking, his goal is to establish gold standards within the industry, laying the foundation for its transformation and ensuring that India can compete on the global stage.

Lessons & view from unique vantage point of investments, entrepreneurship & Creative innovation 

Some of the lessons he has learned is that:

  • Don’t be afraid to enter into new space 
  • Go Inside-Out, find your inner revolutionary perspective, stay rooted in your truth
  • Strive to create fundamental value from the inner perspective
  • Think long-term and have resilience to go all the way
  • Know the sector and the market in its depth
  • Look at challenges as opportunities of growth

Moreover, he thinks organizations that are built on the fundamental unique competencies of the founding teams that which is rooted in their inner truth along with long term thinking are the ones set to disrupt and unfold new frontiers.

He emphasizes an entrepreneur’s need to have an eye for details and know the industry landscape and competition in the arena before playing.

Lastly, he encourages entrepreneurs to create fundamental value through their products and services, enabling transformation.

India’s Century and A word for the entrepreneurs-to-be  

“Don’t chase market sizes, discover your potential, and find revolutionary fundamental vantage points, open new blue oceans, stick to it for decades from the space of authenticity and wait for value to unfold”

By deepening their inner world and seeking an authentic vantage point, entrepreneurs can envision transformative states for industries or products. Staying rooted in their authentic path and journey, they can build something fundamental from the ground up, unlocking fundamental shifts and eventually attaining market size.

He feels this is India’s century and all budding entrepreneurs should come up and build. India’s rise of the global stage is the opportunity for all entrepreneurs to think about impact.

His engagements and endeavours in transforming the business architectures that led to strategic shift show how innovation is crucial to unlock fundamental value and in unleashing of the enterprises and Impact at scale.

Railing the path to the future, story that is unfolding – 

He looks forward to actively support and back sector-defining founders or himself entering into the field to contribute to India’s growth on the global stage. Akshay is driven by a passion for the rise of India and aims to build value from the ground up for the country’s future.

Akshay is open to supporting aspiring entrepreneurs who are looking to build something or seeking advice for their ventures. If you need assistance or want to discuss your ideas, feel free to reach out to him.

Snigdha Basu
Snigdha Basu
A multifaceted writer, Snigdha Basu is a freelancer and a columnist at Entrepreneurs Today. She also spearheads Chic Life Edition - her own Digital Magazine with sustainable fashion, beauty, and culture at its core. Reach out to Snigdha at [email protected] for inquiries.
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