Startup Name: Kaffeinated Konversations
Founder: Kavita Singh
Hi, can you give a brief about yourself?
I am Kavita Singh. I am Founder of Kaffeinated Konversations (www.kaffeinatedkonversations.com). I spearhead the Indore Chapter of eChai (www.echai.in) – an ecosystem enabler for startups, entrepreneurs, funding bodies and institutes. I have been in the field of Education for more than half decade, having been associated with University of Cambridge International Examinations (CIE, UK) as a trainer and content writer. I still undertake training sessions in the field of literature, entrepreneurship, and education.
What are the factors which influenced you to start the startup?
In 2015, when I started eChai in Indore, I noticed that the startups were struggling a lot to be understood and there was no proper way for them to channelize their frustrations and ideas too. I wanted to help and understand them better so I felt that having my own startup would be the best way to be in their shoes and solve their problems. This was the primary factor. Along the way, I also realized that Indore lacked the literature stronghold especially in the English language. I felt that a lot of readers were isolated and not connected to each other. Kaffeinated Konversations was started to mitigate this gap.
How did your journey start towards your dream?
No journey is easy but then without any challenges, there are no rewards too. So I started it slow. I created a Whatsapp group and added people who were interested in reading. They started connecting to each other and started opening up. This led to face to face meetups and events and then eventually the concept of subscription book box took shape.
As I have interviewed many people in these 3 to 4 months as of my experience initial journey to setup startup is not so easy? What is your opinion on it?
Yes, that’s true. In fact, not only initial months but initial years are very difficult, especially if you are bootstrapping and are not got into the funding bandwagon so far.
What are the biggest misconception people have about you? Why do they have that? What’s the reality?
People think that I am Yellow Pages. While that is true, on a serious note people think I know it all. The reality is that I still feel I have a lot of learning. I believe that I am a lifelong learner.
How you funded your startup?
I did freelance content writing work to fuel and support my startup. All I earn, I put it back into my startup again.
About your company? Why people should opt your startup?
Intellectual awakening is the need of the hour. People need to furnish the mind with materials of knowledge, learning, and insights. When people read, biologically, the brain forms new neural connections, enabling them to retain new words, learn the new language, push their imaginative frame of reference and allow scope for better ways of connecting with people. Slowly, this too leads to attitudinal changes.
All this happens gradually and is hard work for us to put into action – but seeing the long-term impact, we are more than happy to have people join us in this intellectual renaissance. Subscription book box concept was formed to give rise to this intellectual renaissance within people’s homes. A library isn’t a “selfie” place.
It is a testimony that you have created a space in the home or offices like the way you have created space in mind to fill it with wonderful words, experiences and people whom you have never met or imagined. Basically, we are trying to bring you back to your roots. Learning and being creative by enjoying books with great reading experience is one of the ways in which the young people will appreciate the need to read. Hence, the Kaffeinated Konversations Book Box is here and people love it!
Is the startup growing at good phase according to your plans? What are the upcoming plans from your end?
Like I mentioned earlier, it is gradual. Overall, I would say it is a steady growth by word of mouth and social media presence. Our subscription book boxes are uniquely curated and even customized keeping in mind the lesser known authors especially from South Asian, Middle East and African regions. Upcoming plans would involve more collaboration with artists and the introduction of vocational touches in the book boxes.
I think everyone has some inspiring person in their life and some taglines? who are they what is their role in your startup life?
The most inspiring person in my life has been my mother. I have seen her balance home and work and I am in awe with her. I still wonder how she manages both. She has been encouraging me to try everything I am interested in (and a few I wasn’t interested in but now I am – like dealing with computers and the internet). Her role in my startup life isn’t directly influential.
What your stack on the competition? who are your competitors? How you are overcoming them?
There are 3-4 other subscription book boxes in India. Most of them are dealing with YA segment books. I don’t overcome them. I am my own competition trying to better my startup with better products.
How hard is it to have a work-life balance as a startup founder and how do you manage it?
Balancing is definitely a tightrope act. However, don’t ask me how I manage it because I definitely don’t think about it. I just do what I have to do and not think ‘How I balance this… or balance that’. I believe the less you think about it, more you are at peace with yourself. I just do what I have to do to my best of the ability.
What is your opinion on Startupsindia.in? Any suggestions?
Startupsindia.in is a great way to leverage the stories of upcoming startups or startups who have made a difference. It is a cool way to connect startups with each other through the stories.
What is your experience as an Entrepreneur?
Good, Bad, Ugly. As an entrepreneur, we face everything. For if it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger – hence keeping myself motivated is the key in all situations.
Last but not least as you are woman entrepreneur I am asking this question. Why many women are not into business or Entrepreneurship?
Many women are into business. We just don’t see them. We only see the top women who have made it all. Check the women around you. That neighbor who makes beautiful paintings. That maid who is part-time tiffin supplier. That elderly woman across the street who engages young women in making homemade snacks. These women aren’t counted. South Asia has the highest rate of women whose entrepreneurship skill is unaccounted for. We need to revise how we view entrepreneurship.
Let conclude our discussion anything you want to say for young India.
Young India is brash and brazen but unfortunately thinks that social media presence is everything. While it is easy to get followers or likes – remember, your skills will always be required for anything in life – be it life skills, job skills or entrepreneurship skills. Be open to training and learning all the time. The ‘I know it all’ attitude will leave you frustrated and unhappy in the end.