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“I don’t want to be caught in the rat race to only make money. I would like to do something bigger”- Piyush Shrivastava

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At 17 Piyush Shrivastava a teenager from Motihari, in the East Champaran district of Bihar has boldly faced so many challenges that many grown-ups don’t get to see in their entire lifetime. But one thing that Piyush has learnt from his ups and downs is not to give up and turn defeat into victory.

Excerpts from an exclusive interview with Taazakhabar News:

Please tell me about your family background…. Which city were you born and how was your early childhood?

I was born in Motihari, Bihar. Motihari is not a very developed city, comes beautiful enough for a visit. From as early as I can remember, I used to be interested in activities that others might call weird.

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Tell us about your parents and family.

My father is serving as a subordinate officer in C.R.P.F. in Pulwama, in Jammu & Kashmir. He used to get transferred from one place to another often. So I used to go to new schools, make new friends and experience new environments every 4-5 years. But, some four years ago, my mother and I shifted to Motihari to take care of my Grandparents. My Grandfather had a brain hemorrhage and paralytic attack in 2016. About two years back, he developed chronic kidney disease and has to go for dialysis twice a week. I sometimes accompany him. My family mostly doesn’t understand what I do. It is often hard for me to explain, but still, they support it a lot.

What about studies… till what class did you study and were you a good student?

I passed my 12th this year only. I’ve been an average student in my life because I never cared about marks. But I have a big hunger to learn new things and have attended courses from Stanford, Caltech, Duke, and MIT. I am interested in every topic and discipline.

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You must have started working at a very young age. Did you get into a job or start your own business? What was your experience?

My first work experience was with “SocialBook”, a messenger application like WhatsApp. I built it when I was 12. I had the inherent curiosity to find out new things like – how to make an app, a game, and how to put it on the play store. These were the questions in my mind that I kept answering by doing things.

What financial pressures did you face in your early life, and what impact did they have on you and your psyche?

I didn’t have any financial pressure. I come from a typical middle-class family. Though my parents always tried to fulfill my needs, I hated the paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle that we were forced to live like every other middle-class family. It pushed me from an early age to take up the responsibility of relentlessly doing well in life.

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How did this experience help to make you what you are today?

You can do anything, you just have to be willing enough. The Gamerbabu mess gave me the grit and belief in myself that no other event of my life so far.

Today what do you feel when you look back at your past and are allowed to go back in the past — what is it that you would like to change?

Nothing, to be honest. Things are going great in my life. I just don’t want to change anything. I’m exploring my life to the fullest. The opportunities I see ahead are all awesome. I don’t wish to change anything. The past events of my life have shaped me into what I am today. I don’t care about the past or hallucinate about the future. This is the inevitable and only truth.

Piyush Shrivastava 2

What is the importance of money in your life today, and what are your dreams?

It would be foolish to say that money doesn’t matter to me. It’s the basis of social existence- If you think money can’t buy happiness, stand outside a hospital for two minutes.

But I don’t want to be caught in the rat race to only make money. I would like to do something bigger and more meaningful than that.

The greatness of this Universe is so not because people care for money but because they want to make it a better place to exist.

What is your ultimate goal or mission in life, and how do you plan to achieve it?

My ultimate goal is to do what I’m capable of doing before I die and live the best life in existence.

Why are you shifting to Bangalore right now? How will this decision help in your entrepreneurial journey and the new products you are working on?

All along I have been living in a city with no resources to support me. To grow in my career, I need a nurturing environment. What is better for an entrepreneur than the ‘Silicon Valley of India’? The Silicon Valley effect would definitely be big on me and what I’d be working on.

How many businesses have you started and wound up so far? What did you earn or learn from each of them?

I wouldn’t exactly call them businesses. I’ve been involved with and built many projects like SocialBook – a WhatsApp-like messenger, OIT – a tech learning platform for high schoolers, CyberHero – Database of Cyber Crimes, 2trillions – Non-Profit Clothing Brand, Indidaan – watch ads donate for India and many other games. The intention behind them was never to develop them as a business venture, it was just the curiosity of a kid doing exciting things for fun and to learn in the process.

I can’t summarize the learnings here because a lot of it is experiential. But yes, every project taught me some experience or technical skills. For instance, OIT taught perseverance, Cyberhero taught UI/UX, and 2trillions taught FB Ads. The learnings have been diverse but come in handy every now and then.

My in-depth experience with startups has been with Gamerbabu and Benetor’s. That has taught me many things from running a startup to managing talent, clients, marketing, and leading growth.

Do you think since you were needy, young and inexperienced people tried to exploit or take you for a ride?

People have tried to, Gamerbabu’s investors’ story is an example of it. But the percentage of such people in the overall journey is extremely low compared to those who wish to support you. People often try to take you for a ride at various levels. It happens to the most successful ones too. It’s common, we just have to be aware and sensible.

I understand that you started a messenger App called “SocialBook” like WhatsApp when you were in 8th class. Is it still operational?

It was removed from the Play Store, after about a year and a half in operations, because I violated a Google policy. But that doesn’t matter. I did not have any intention of competing with WhatsApp. I just wanted to put a product online and did it successfully.

How old were you when you started projects like the Online Institute of Technology (OIT) as an online technical skills learning platform for Teens?

I was 13 and in 9th Grade when I did OIT, the early users were my friends, my professional network, and the waitlist we built with hype.

I think GamerBabu was among the first project that brought you name and fame. What was your experience?

It’s been a wholesome experience filled with hard work, dedication, and grit. I had put my blood, sweat, and tears into it. It has taught me a lot in terms of what it takes to build something you believe in.

I believe now you are working on an agency called Benetor’s, what is it all about, and what will be your role in it?

Benetor’s core concept is helping entrepreneurs and startups scale their ventures. We help them with whatever they need to grow. Ranging from branding to growth hacking. I’m pretty much involved with everything but mostly getting new clients.

At 17, when you look back at life – do you think starting early was a good or bad decision? What have you gained or lost in the process?

It was definitely a good decision. It’s not about starting early or late. Just like JEE or NEET prepare aspirants from a young age, I was doing the same but from an entrepreneur’s perspective.

What about your greatest failures and the lessons learned from them?

No matter how hard I try, I can’t put my learnings into words. Because the experiences I’ve had and the hardships I’ve faced are experiential. However, if I were to give the 3 biggest lessons I’ve had, they would be – absolute no fear of failure makes you lame, and too much fear of failure doesn’t even get you started, so learn to have the balance; this world has always challenged the crazy ones, but they can’t deny the fact that every human who changed the course of history was crazy; Trust your intuitions, they are like the universe giving you answers.

How do you describe your story of dedication, grit, and love for entrepreneurship in the shortest possible word limit?

Three years ago, when I was 14, I started my first startup called ‘Gamerbabu.’ I invested all my savings in it but unfortunately, it didn’t work out and we had to shut down.  

Who were your sources of inspiration or mentors, and how did they help you climb the stairs of success?

I haven’t any mentors but many people as sources of inspiration, but I love Elon Musk the most, for the record.

You seem to have seen a lot of struggle way too early in life… Where do you think this journey called life is taking you?

They are helping me in unlocking my fullest potential. I’m excited to see how my future hardships will shape my life’s journey.

Finally, what would you like to say to others who might like to follow in your footsteps?

Be unwavering. That’s the easiest way to guarantee your success.

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Taazakhabar News Bureau
Taazakhabar News Bureau
Taazakhabar News Bureau is a team of seasoned journalists led by Neeraj Mahajan. Trusted by millions readers worldwide.


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