"Be Your Own Person, and Don’t Follow the Journey or Steps of Another" - Tarini Gupta

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1. Tell us more about your company and your journey & How did you come up with this idea and go about executing it? 
My co-founder and I started our journey with a similar yet very different experience, we both came across with experience in the market gap; that we were passionate to bridge. 
I was born and raised surrounded by avid traders, all of whom are today experienced and specialised in the field. Further, I was always curious about trading, and when I graduated from school; I decided that I would submerge myself into the world of trading. 
Initially, I set up my Demat account, participated in a few online courses; and I thought I was ready to begin my journey and plugin funds. Funnily enough, when the time came I was blank. So, I sought help from experienced traders, but they were unsure how to guide a beginner to understand the implications and mechanisms of the complex market concepts. 

Then, I wanted to find someone who is experienced enough to advise me. But, fund managers were charging high costs mainly for long-term trading; which I was not aiming for. I wanted short-term trading. 
After receiving not much constructive help, I conducted secondary research to study and find out how ‘so’ many people were trading - it all just seemed complicated for such a large number of people to be trading so freely to me! 

Then, I realised that only 1.8% of our country is trading, and out of all the present Demat accounts 70% are actually inactive. I was certain that this was a problem, I wanted to work towards solving it. Also, it is the age of technology and AI, so I was keen on finding an integration to fulfil my goal. 
Dalalstreet.ai, my startup, provides new traders, the guidance to begin their journey with confidence, in short-term and long-term investments. Our AI dashboards are easy to understand not only by experienced traders, but also regular users such as students, housewives, and unemployed individuals who are not experts in finance. Now, our community can learn to trade within 90 days or less. 
Previously, I tried to perform fundamental, technical and sentiment analysis on my own, and it was complicated because it took me a long time and effort to analyse every news about the market. Eventually, I was inspired to find a solution for my problem, I expected there are many people out there who want to get a return as I do; that is what motivated me to work with my co-founder. 

The product itself is unique because the sentimental analysis has never been accurate, but by exploiting our knowledge in finance and tech, we created an AI algorithm that facilitates decision making for existing traders and regular individuals who aim to be traders.
Then, I came across the real problem - the required skills for technology along with a partner; who believes as strongly as I do in the end goal. I spent weeks searching on recruiting platforms, and one day; I came across Srivishnu Ayyagari, who is my co-founder at Dalalstreet.ai. He is an experienced entrepreneur and was already working on our core product. 

I admired his passion and hard work. Before our association, he allowed me to make the required changes very openly. He considered my feedback by incorporating it into the product that was being created.
Though we were absolutely unknown to one another, we were both willing to trust our instincts and gut feelings. We spent a few hours getting to know each other and spent a few weeks working together; to understand if we synergized. Luckily, we did! Creating our product, acquiring over 900+ organic sign-ups in 4 weeks together. Today after months of teamwork, we have still only but virtually interacted.

2. What has been your biggest challenge that you faced and how did you overcome that? 
Fear of the unknown is a concept that hinders one from opportunities, and it is an unseen threat that often encounters many people. New and out of the ordinary experience requires one to really trust their gut and instinct. This is the main challenge that deters people from utilizing their potential to reaching opportunities.
For me, everything was unknown. Trading was uncharted territory, so was AI and so was the phenomena of coming together with a team of strangers to achieve a common goal. 
I think it is one of the most challenging decisions I've made, however, at the moment it felt to have come very naturally. I did not ‘overthink’, I just did. I trusted my gut and my instinct and put in my all to switch these ‘unknowns’ to ‘knowns’. 
So, how did I overcome that? I was honest and I was open in respect to admitting what my strengths and weaknesses were. I asked for a helping hand in areas that were unknown to me. It not only allowed me to learn, but it also boosted confidence in my cofounder to trust me. For me, it was a win-win! 
Today, I continue to use the same mindset and work ethic with my team, and I would attribute our collectivist culture at Dalalstreet.ai to simply just this. As a team, we work together and learn from each other day in and day out. Also, I would credit our increasing success to the emphasis that is put on being ‘open’, ‘honest’ and ‘supportive’ of one another within the team and with our users.

3. What do you think are the most important qualities of a successful entrepreneur & What are your tips for the first time and aspiring entrepreneurs?  

The term ‘entrepreneur’ is not only skewed but can also be portrayed in various different lights. In my opinion, entrepreneurship has nothing to do with having that ‘unique idea’, but solely around the entrepreneur ‘commitment’ and ‘resilience’. Entrepreneurs do not have to be ‘skilled’ or any form of a prodigy, they simply have to keep getting things done and being dedicated to the core purpose they set out to achieve.  
At the end of the day, from what I have seen, passion and commitment to a cause or a problem solution trump's pure technicalities. If you are highly skilled but don't have the drive to see something through with your all - it leaves you absolutely nowhere. In fact, if you are as dedicated, you will build on your technical skills to better suit your added value addition to the role. 
Also, I would like to add that being an entrepreneur definitely does not mean you are meant to know ‘everything’ or be a master of all trades. It means, acknowledging your value additions and reaching out to engage with others; that can compliment them and add on the value in aspects you may not be able to. So, being confident about your shortcomings is definitely positive in accomplishing your mission! 
Lastly, while it is important to have a role model, it is more important to remain a  unique individual entrepreneur. Be your own person, and don’t follow the journey or steps of another; if it is not something that comes naturally to you. The biggest mistake people make is following others' journey and ignoring their own personal unique potentials. 

4. What are some of the most important factors for running a successful business? 

People often perceive emotions as a drawback, but I perceive emotions as the key to cultivating genuine relationships. And, genuine relationships within the team is key for any successful business. I have personally witnessed this with my team members; that have truly gone above and beyond what is expected from them. 

The hard truth is that we are all human beings with human emotions, and it is essential for any potential to be achieved; that the role of human engagement and emotions are carefully understood, considered and incorporated at any level or type of business. 

Additionally, there is recently a lack of emphasis that is put on soft skills while running a business. In my opinion, this is a considerable deterrent of success. 

5. How can one overcome a hurdle of lack of funds when starting up?

Being an early-stage startup with two young cofounders, funds have always been a big challenge for us. Sri Vishnu and I have tried to overcome this by bootstrapping. 

Participating in accelerators and incubation programs not only help in developing your product and business, but it also connects you to competitions; where a startup can earn funds and investments. Although it may seem like a tedious process, it is definitely worth it. 

Additionally, today we are lucky to live in a society where communication is free and accessible. Plenty of people and groups that are very talented are starting off just as a startup like dalalstreet.ai is. It is essential to connect with those entities that can add value to you as well as you adding value to them to reduce tasks cost-effectively. 

If you reach out to the right people, I’ve learnt that they often want to help, and payment is the last thing on their mind. The trick here is to find the right people. Speak, chat, call, email and research absolutely anyone who would be in a position to help you. 

Symbiotic and mutually beneficial collaborations are a great option to tackle a lack of funds, and also bring in fresh ideas and outlooks into companies.

Interview by - Shamayla

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