Twenty-eight-year-old Chartered Accountant from Jaipur, Rajasthan, Pawas Jain is the Founder and CEO of The TBC Group, which owns multiple business verticals, the prominent face being TBC Consulting, one of India’s fastest growing Marketing Consulting companies.
Pawas Jain has been a pioneer in the Digital Content space in India, and started his first content venture in 2010 with SpringTide, which gained mass following over the years.
Now, TBC Consulting works with leading brands and startups across the country on brand building, marketing and content production. TBC Consulting has consulted over 75 brands over a period of 4 years on marketing and content, including the likes of Arttd’inox, UClean Group, Revv, Jawa Motorcycles, Smart Kidz Club and many others. It was awarded as one of the Top 20 Startup Consultancy Companies of 2018 by Silicon India Magazine, and has recently expanded its footprints in London starting March 2020.
The company owns multiple other business verticals such as TechSamvad, LivUp, FireFly, Indian Chai Company, across different domains and sectors.
Pawas currently mentors over 15 startups in VR / AR, Education, Finance and Media domains. He is a professionally trained Visharad in tabla.
TBE: Tell us something about your book ‘The First Time’? Why should one read your book this weekend?
Pawas Jain: The First Time takes you through a journey of a first generation entrepreneur, who decides to take the plunge by leaving his well paying consultant job. The book is a stark in-your-face reality about the glamorized startup ecosystem in India. It shows you the hardships, compromises and sacrifices that one has to make in this journey.
It can make a good read considering that it is fast-paced, simplified in terms of language and an emotional ride through highs, lows and controversies of an entrepreneurial lifestyle.
TBE: What prompted you to start writing this book?
Pawas Jain: The very fact that no one in our country is actually talking about the darker side of entrepreneurship. Media, Investors, Colleges and so-called startup mentors are only talking about million dollar fundings and billion dollar acquisitions. No one is talking about the mental health, anxiety, hardships of this journey for a first-generation entrepreneur from a Tier 2 or 3 city.
That is why, I decided to shed all inhibitions and write the entire story inside out, bringing to light the side of the startup ecosystem, which is often not talked about.
TBE: How was your publishing experience with Leadstart?
Pawas Jain: Leadstart publishing has truly been a perfect partner in the journey. Considering that I am a very hard person to deal with, their team was extremely supportive and encouraging throughout. Their suggestions, insights and ideas were obviously very helpful considering their experience in the field.
TBE: Your novel illustrates the frantic efforts and pressure taken by a startup founder and entrepreneur. Can you talk about your own experience of this?
Pawas Jain: The journey is never easy. I did my Chartered Accountancy course in my first attempt and everyone around me expected me to take a high paying job in Finance. I was always into content and wanted to start my own digital news and media business. Taking that plunge was probably one of the most difficult decisions of life. Although, as popularly said, the first startup is for failing and learning, I faced the ups and downs of the first startup and saw the darker side of entrepreneurship in India, at a very early age of 23.
It was only after those initial learnings of raising funds, working with investors and creating a startup, that I was able to take back from my mistakes and build on my flaws to create a stable business.
TBE: You explore socio-economic status in the startup world. Can you talk about that?
Pawas Jain: The startup ecosystem in India has become very Tier-I centric. More so, centered around a few premium colleges and institutions of the country. However, there is a huge startup ecosystem being created and developing in Tier 3 and 4. The dreams of these youngsters, who have limited exposure, are often ignored. There is scarcity of fundings, lack of mentorships and hardly any ecosystem support for these entrepreneurs.
This is the area where the ecosystem needs to come together and work a lot. Mental health is an aspect which is often ignored for this strata. We need to support these young minds and tell them that it is okay to fail and learn.
TBE: What was the most challenging part of writing this story?
Pawas Jain: The most challenging part was actually completing this novel. I had begun writing this story 2 years back but could never complete it due to a major writer’s block.
It was during the lockdown last year, that my wife Bhagyashree prompted me to complete the story and made me sit for an hour every week away from work and distractions, to religiously write the novel.
The challenging part in writing a story like this, is to make it real, relatable. There is a small percentage of people in India even today, who understand the startup ecosystem. But I wanted to create a story, where a 60-year old mother can also read it, relate with it and is able to understand the ethos of entrepreneurship.
TBE: The failure rate of startups is around 90%. 75% of venture-backed startups fail. Under 50% of businesses make it to their fifth year. What do you think the reasons behind their failure?
Pawas Jain: As I mentioned earlier also, the ecosystem needs to come together to support startups from Tier 2 and beyond. We need to learn to fail, and normalise it. Also, a major reason behind failure is the lack of business understanding which needs to be built into our education system.
TBE: Do you think budding entrepreneurs are dazzled by the success of recent startups of 21st century like Facebook, Uber, Swiggy, but overlook the key role of idea and effort behind it?
Pawas Jain: True. I think young entrepreneurs with dreams of million dollar fundings, choose the wrong Gods. They need to look at real businesses to idolise. They need to understand the idea, effort and business model behind running a company. That kind of learning has to come from the education system and a more supportive overall ecosystem.
TBE: If you had to give advice to someone entering the startup world, like the character in your novel, Raghav, do you say, “Okay, go compete, and you have to be fast”? What would be your first advice to sustain the pressure?
Pawas Jain: The first advice would be to never take failure to heart. It is okay to fail. The most important thing is to take care of your mental health because entrepreneurship is and will always be a lonely journey. You need to tackle the pressures and anxieties, and learn to rise above challenges like a phoenix.
TBE: What message do you hope people will take away from this book?
Pawas Jain: The message is loud and clear – startup is not for glamour. Choosing to do a startup is probably the hardest decision of your life and in most cases, also the wrong one. Start your own business if you are ready to face an extremely lonely journey alone, and are extremely sure about your idea.
TBE: Is there anything you are currently working on that may intrigue the interest of your readers?
Pawas Jain: There are a couple of ideas, I am bouncing off. As a teaser, I can say there is a sequel to ‘The First Time’ also under consideration and in the research phase. Besides, there is something interesting cooking up around the genre of Historical Fiction.