We as VictoryTales, with our extensive & strenuous efforts in the search for bringing more and more meaningful and inspiring stories from around the world, this time introducing Mr.Taron Mohan, Founder of NextGen, a graduate from the IIT Delhi.
Mr. Taron from day one of his career wanted to become an entrepreneur with his strong beliefs in 5 C's. His first 'C' is committed to his project, his team, and the product. Second 'C' is Clarity on his thoughts, objectives, and development. Third 'C' is Collaboration as one can never work alone, build a strong partnership ecosystem. Fourth 'C' is Cash which maintains cash flows as one cannot keep borrowing continuously, and Fifth 'C' is the Conviction that one should have in it.
Know more about
Nextgen Telesolutions brings disruptive creativity and technology innovation to customers, bridging gaps in existing services and targeting the masses to reach the last mile. Including both legs of transactions i.e customer and merchant / agent, the company helps you bridge the digital gap on financial inclusion/digital payments/transit and more. The main products of the company are Secure Banking on Feature Phones, TapNPay on Any Mobile Phone, NFC Readers - Transit and Retail,Merchant POS / mPOS Solutions, Mobile Couponing, Mobile VAS Solutions - SDP and Components, Mobile VAS Solutions.
Besides this Nextgen Telesolutions has a "Smarter Smart City" solution, Digital Toll Management Systems,Automatic Fare Collection Systems (AFCS), and Parking Management Systems
Where did the idea to start something like this come from? Please also talk us through your background and your journey as an entrepreneur;
Having been an entrepreneur from day one of my career, straight after my graduation at the IITD, I want to become an entrepreneur and set up my manufacturing facility. The family help was there, but was asked to be totally independent on my own – a different vertical and 100% on my own. Raising finances, putting together the project and then building my own customer base and product line. The core focus from day one has been :
Innovation : be different
Maintain the tech edge over competition : always set the benchmarks for the products you make
Continue and keep ahead of competition
Build on IP and technology : you will remain ahead of competition
Build a team of thinkers : you will grow
And I always believe in the 5 “C’s” in my entrepreneurial career :
Commitment : be committed to your project, your team and the product
Clarity : on your thoughts, objective and development
Collaboration : you can never work alone, build a string partnership ecosystem
Cash: maintain your cash flows, you cannot keep borrowing continuously
Conviction : have it in what you and your decisions
With the above, my 35+ years of being an entrepreneur have been very exciting, challenging and rewarding in multiple ways :
The first manufacturing facility : was the country’s first precision low volume sheet metal fabrication facility and it grew to be the largest facility in India over time.
The second venture : a CAD/CAM facility and the first for sheet metal processing, taking drawings direct from a digital drawing to the machine tool path generation – the first in India and again had the major market share in India
The third venture : built the base for mobile VAS in India – with the first offerings on mobile VAS and premium billing, we graduated to providing full solutions to telcos / device OEM’s and network providers
The current venture : secure banking solutions, and the first in the country for sure, and globally a pioneer in these services.
If you see the history, all 4 ventures have been totally different and have learnt the technology, identified a vacuum and a gap in the needs and then fulfilled it with a strong business model supported company. Never been funded, always boot strapped and built a team together here.
Why did you choose entrepreneurship over a job?
To keep the mind alive, ticking and living on challenges. It's largely due to the fact that my father also was an entrepreneur and built a highly successful business for himself (again on technology and IP), and he was always my guiding factor on my career. Being an entrepreneur is a challenge and a bug, once you get it, experience the highs and the lows, you cannot get back to a job, where life is secure and comfortable. In a job, you will have challenges and you will overcome them and achieve a lot, but then the satisfaction is in the salary / promotion and recognition.
As an entrepreneur, the highs also include :
Providing jobs and livelihood to your employees
Defining your own roadmap and path in life
Being an all-rounder in life – technology, finance, branding, production, team building and more.
And achieving a lot more than money / promotions. Life is a lot more than this.
Of course, you do have your lows and some of these can be at the edge of life, when everything seems to fall apart and tomorrow seems difficult to cross, but then remember the 5 “C’s”… these are what get you over this and continue the fight.
It's like an adrenaline in your blood… once there, always there.
What was your key driving force to become an entrepreneur?
The challenge in life has been the driving force… as detailed already, it’s the “high” of achievement – can be anything :
A product developed
A bugging problem solved
A contract closed for which the team has been fighting a lot and working hard on
Giving your employees a great working environment
Giving your family a well earned and a well deserved holiday
Celebrating with your family a personal event
And this is what drives me still to keep at work and building new products, addressing new verticals and adding to the technology in the team.
What’s your source of motivation?
To achieve more and give to everyone what I have :
Knowledge: it’s the best gift for anyone, be it your team at work or the family. I keep reading and learning all the time.
Product: to give to our customers a new solution / solving an existing bug or a problem or then just simplifying an existing product / process or enhancing quality of output.
To think for tomorrow: what next
How many hours a day do you work on average?
A day is never enough… even 24 hours is sometimes not enough. Of course, you have to balance life between work, family and friends, but then you also need to bring in the fun and physical exercise also there.
Life has never been less than a 12 hour day, sometimes even the weekend at work. but then it's always worth it.
What is the uniqueness of your startup?
It's always different on :
The business model : string on the whole concept of generating revenues, and making it a self sustaining model to grow
The technology : always building on technology and involving patents, and maintain an edge over competition
Innovative : keep thinking on the next development, improvement on current solutions and making life simpler.
We have a “mantra” in our whole product design and development :
KISS : Keep It Simple for the Stupid
If you keep this core line in your thought process, you will always have the innovative edge in your products.
How do you handle the pressure and manage stress?
Taking a break – music / physical burn out exercises or just taking a few hours off work. it helps you break away from the stress and pressure of work.
Sometimes, it's simple cooking and can be at midnight also. I cook a lot and never from the book – again, it's straight from the mind, impromptu and experimentation. The dish can turn our either way, edible and enjoyed by all or then also destined for the trash can. But then, this is the same as being an “entrepreneur” here
I enjoy sports – and again different activities from the general crowd :
And these are all stress busters.
How do you generate new ideas?
It's based on the principle of “high spirits” – the days are spent working with customers, the team on development and regular mundane stuff. It’s the evenings which are relaxing or then early morning where the brain goes into overdrive and analyses an opportunity, thinking and then putting together a possible solution.
Generating a new idea is quite simple – it’s quite like the PDCA chart, but implemented differently for planning / designing / curating and acting. And then doing the homework properly on the environment, competition, customer needs and finally then evolving it to a final product outcome.
You need to be a thinker, keen observer and a constant reader – ideas just don’t come up “out of the blue”
Another of my basics here is:
The solution has to be a global product, not area specific
There needs to be a core business / revenue model to it
It has to have a technology edge to it
How did you come up with the name for your company??
My basic outline here :
The name must convey to the customers / employees what you do
It must be catchy – sometimes a “shady” name is better than a straight name. the recall value here is higher
It must be simple to pronounce and ideally not more than 2-3 syllables.
And then build a logo / brand for the company.
What piece of advice would you give to college graduates who want to become entrepreneurs?
Go ahead, jump into it, but with clarity on what you want to do. Just jumping into Entrepreneurship for the same of giving company to your friends or following the leader is not going to work out. Be prepared for a long haul on getting there, but then don’t plan for short cuts. They will give you a straight “cut-out” in life.
Read, think and plan properly.