Why I chose working with a startup and why I loved my work here…

I’m so excited in writing my first blog but hey, considering that it’s my first blog post ever, I’d like to see comments/suggestions from you! πŸ™‚

Most of us (atleast those who follow Techcrunch, YC news (aka HN), etc.) have been hearing about the startup buzz-word becoming so popular in recent years.
Now, it has been more than 2 months since I joined Mobikwik team as an intern and the internship is almost over, so, I thought I would share my first hand experience of working with a startup so far.

So, here we go,….

Allow me to start with a brief intro about the startup Mobikwik – which is creating a new platform for mobile services users in India. Mobikwik aims to be the one stop destination for mobile services (voice/data/apps) in India and it includes India’s only “anytime anywhere mobile recharge”, and mobile application store (closed beta launching very soon) to facilitate Indian developers and users with a market platform for mobile apps, plus more interesting stuff on the way.

For me, it all started the day when I saw a mail in my inbox regarding an internship position at a startup from our placement cell officer. With all the excitement of possibility of working in a startup (Did I mention yet that I’m a die hard startup culture fan <3), I prepared my CV and replied back. 3-4 Days and I got a mail from Upasana Ma’am (Founder of Zaakpay) asking me to get ready for a phone interview!!! The interview mostly was to know about my technical knowledge and skills (may be more, but I was too excited to think about anything else other than I’m, possibly, going to work in a startup!) Guess the interview went well enough that by the end of the interview, I was kind of confident that I’ll make it, and yes to my luck, I was (almost!) selected.

Though I had joined Zaakpay as an intern, but on the first day itself, we – Bipin (Founder CEO of Mobikwik), Upasana (Founder of Zaakpay, who took my interview)Β  and me – had a small discussion about my opinion/views on both Zaakpay and Mobikwik (seriously, it was still my interview going on!!), where I conveyed my thoughts and a few things about Mobikwik/Zaakpay (actually Zaakpay and Mobikwik have many things in common, and are very close to each other). During the discussion itself, I realized that Mobikwik suits my intersts better and moreover, the work here is hopefully going to be more challenging and interesting. So, they allowed me to choose either of Zaakpay and Mobikwik whichever I wanted to intern with, and with toss of a coin (ok jk :P) , I chose Mobikwik.

Two months were long enough to allow me to get my hands dirty on lots of things but mainly what I have worked on, is:

  • developed a mobile version (lightweight version suitable for mobile devices) of the Mobikwik website from scratch, my work included design as well as development of the same. The size of all the pages of mobile website combined (including all the css,js,etc files) is way less than 1/10 the size of just home page of Mobikwik main website as of now! ) I hope the experience of mobile user of Mobikwik will be seamless and smooth. This is planned to be made live with the application store closed beta launch.
  • Since most of our backend is in java (Struts, jsp), and seniors at Mobikwik were planning to use “JForum” for Mobikwik forum, so I had a lil hard time convincing them that phpbb3 is the way to go! I explored it more and more, and started customizing it, adding sections and experimenting with UI. As with mobile website, we hope to have forum launched as well around the closed beta launch of the app store.
  • Now, one of the most important part i.e., the security (from app developer’s perspective) of the apps distributed to users via Mobikwik. Since piracy, as we all know, is already a big problem everywhere and no less in India, so, we’ve planned to give developers even more control over the apps developed by them, than even Android official marketplace provides. Developers can be more assured that their apps won’t be pirated by users and in the worst case if piracy happens for an app they’ve control to disable all the pirated apps right from their dashboard! This security part involved lots of research, experimentation, and discussions among the CEO, the tech-lead and myself. I’ve been working on Android and Blackberry solutions for containing piracy.

Though there are countless reasons because of which I loved working with this team but most important of those are, Firstly the team members are so cool people that right from the first day I was almost like I’ve been knowing these guys since long long time! Before I joined as intern, there were just 4 persons in total in the team! yes, that’s true just 4- the founder, tech lead, VP Operations, VP Business Development, and then me the intern!Β  working in a small team was just an awesome experience in itself, and actually that IMHO is the best part of working in a startup. Later one more person was hired for marketing operations.

The best thing I liked working in a startup is the flexibility and freedom present here. It was never like I was given some hard specifications under which I had to work, I could chose to do things my own way, could come up with something which I wanted to do, but of-course with proper justification in our frequent group meetings. There were always choices available to do and most importantly all of which were as interesting as I could imagine! Got so many new and interesting things to learn and experiment on. Not just that, with the team, I attended so many awesome startup events which, for me, were eye-opener as far as the activeness of Indian entrepreneurs and startups community was concerned. Really, lots of interesting stuff going on, out there!

Being from a li’l research background, and now having done internship in a startup has changed a lot in life, and it definitely made me think deeper on what I want to do in life and to set the priorities accordingly. There are still some clouds of confusions, but hopefully everything will be clear like a bright sunny day soon.

Ok, back to finishing the internship work, the date of closed-beta launch of application store is also approaching fast! Excited! πŸ™‚

As I said, Feedback on this post is most welcome πŸ™‚


  1. First of all, welcome to blogging πŸ™‚ I’m glad that you are doing something which you love to do. I understand that coming from a research background, initially it seems terrifying to move into something as fast paced as development. It’s good that you wrote this post because I’m myself thinking of making this move. Reading this post has reaffirmed my belief that while research is no doubt good, it may or may not directly affect the world. If some change has to be brought fast, development is the way to go. Thanks a lot for writing this. Would be great if you could write some more.

    1. Thanks buddy. Glad that you like it. I’m hoping that I’ll keep on posting some interesting stuff frequently. πŸ™‚

    2. And I think it’s worth adding here that entrepreneurship and research aren’t mutually exclusive things, I hope you’ll also agree. There is generally at-least some level of development involved in research and also research about several things is needed at various stages of an entrepreneurial venture, isn’t it? There are differences, but lots of similarities as well. πŸ™‚

    3. SonaI made this with coconut quinoa. Kabobs are always fun! I don’t have a grill but the oven broiler worked Dave liked the quinoa, this is huge, so thank you! I have made quinoa before but the coconut made all the difference with the slight sweetness that it adds. I so enjoy cooking with you xoxo looking fwd to visiting together!

  2. Nice!

    Just a few questions. Don’t you think it’s a bit hard for a “mobile” oriented start-up to make a substantial name for itself? With Android Market and Ovi Suite letting developer get their own claim as developers and provide the apps in a Nokia Ovi Store or Google Android market which IMHO, people would trust more, no matter how many security assurances and measures you can provide.

    I mean yes, I don’t deny the “critic” acclaim one can achieve in this by coming up with innovative, secure and bright ideas but do you think it can get mass popularity?

    I am just referring to mobile startups because you worked at one. What I intend to say is that there are fields/streams where a startup just can’t gain mass popularity irrespective of whatever technological solutions it provides. (In my humble opinion, atleast)

      1. Well, yes I am aware that an Indian developer cannot “sell” his application on android market. Making the app available for free in the android market is there though ( not the aim of the entrepreneur, I know.)

        Google has expanded the list of countries that can sell an application in the android market and some of the new ones like Israel have a condition that the developer must have an AdSense account to enable him payment.

        Using the AdSense method, they are targeting a faster availability of the option and it will only be a matter of time before it hits India.

        As for the community showing interest, as I said, one can achieve a lot of critical aim in the circles/community but the question is, a startup- not affiliated with any of the giants, will it and its products gain mass popularity that every Tom, Dick and Harry who uses a mobile knows about it? ( Even if the products are far superior than the one available in the Android market or Ovi Store.)

        I am very much an appreciater of the work as well- I am just doubtful of the popularity, it can receive which is essential for a business to make some “giant-like” profit.

        1. I think your point is interesting and would try to forward the same to the Mobikwik founder and other key people, but anyways as far as my understanding – of knowing the platform and the people behind it – goes, the reason for thinking about starting the Mobikwik Application store would be that Mobikwik people must have thought that there is so much going wrong wrt app markets in India. Developers are lacking interest (why they’re lacking interest is important). Even those Tom, Dick and Harry who might be using a more popular market say Android marketplace, but still they aren’t happy and expect more.
          Since primarily Mobikwik app store is meant to target Indian consumers market (which in itself is a big market), and some research on the Indian ecosystem would have made them excited enough about the potential which such an app store holds.
          Now, as far as popularity is concerned, I think even when you’ve a small base (if I’m not wrong generally all startups start with a very small base only), but you’re able to make app developers as well as consumers happier there’s not much that could hold you back. In the end, besides whatever technical benefits you’re able to provide, the platform would need innovative marketing to help popularizing, aint it? After that, IMHO “word of mouth” which is generally considered as one of the most credible forms of advertising, work wonders!

  3. Hey, Nice post!
    It is really inspiring to read such opinions of people close by. Such posts are pretty helpful for people who can relate to the same direction. Keep posting your experiences.

  4. It’s a really nice post and an eye opener for people like me (who don’t believe in startups culture much )till now.

  5. nice blog..
    i am also fan of startup culture like you ..do blog more about your experiences..i would love to read them.. πŸ™‚

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