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‘Believe in the power of people,’ says 25-year-old start-up CEO

A first-generation entrepreneur, Aditya Arora aids new companies with the right network and capital. His advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to engage in a business that can create social impact

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Undeterred by obstacles and willing to take challenges head on, Aditya Arora is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Faad Network at the age of 25. The company is an early-stage investor network handholding start-ups. Formed in November 2019, currently, it has more than 1000+ Angel Investors, High-Net-Worth Individuals and Venture Capitalists as a part of the forum. With that, the network has 50+ portfolio companies till date.

It is led by Aditya who dons many hats. He has been listed in “Microsoft Top 15 Changemakers in the Country under 20”, nominated as the youngest Padma Shri nominee in 2020, and has represented India at prestigious forums such as ‘21st World Business Dialogue in Germany,’ ‘Harvard Project for Asia and International Relations’ and ‘World Startup Fest’ – just to name a few of his achievements. In an interview, he gives a glimpse into his profession. Read On:

Please tell us about your background.

I was born and brought up in Delhi. I completed my schooling from Apeejay School, Pitampura in 2015. After that, I pursued an undergraduate degree in Finance and Investment Analysis from Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies, University of Delhi. During my college, I began to work as an intern with start-ups. At present, I have five years of experience with new businesses.  

What does your work entail?

I have been involved in launching and helping early-stage start-ups, looking at solving new business problems and speaking at events to encourage new entrepreneurs as well as young minds. My aspiration is to take the whole community along through my knowledge and initiatives.

Do you come from a family of entrepreneurs?

No, I am a first-generation entrepreneur from the family. There are few of my cousins who work at global multinational companies. But, in terms of start-ups and new businesses, I am the first person to be in this field. My mother is Mathematics teacher at Modern Public School, Shalimar Bagh and father is an Under-Secretary at Lok Sabha.

How and when did you realise your true calling?

At school, I once got a chance to participate in a quiz contest by the Reserve Bank of India. The theme of the quiz was to promote financial literacy amongst the community. To prepare for it, my teachers worked very hard with me, and I began to understand finance-based terms such as monetary policy, economic framework, etc at an early age. Reading about these, piqued my interest in the field of Finance and I delved deep into it. Later, I started researching more on it and eventually pursued a degree in it.

At 25, you are a CEO at Faad Network. How did that journey come about?

It is a very interesting story! Like I mentioned, I began to work with start-ups during my college days. Initially, I was with ‘Startup Delhi’, where I wrote blogs for them. Few of my classmates who were also working at that time were engaged with some upcoming businesses. I began to contribute to it. Then in 2016, I joined Faad Network. The company was just a few months old and I had come on board as an intern.

Soon, Faad began to revamp policies, look for companies and investments, etc. I organised about 50 events in 7 different cities of India, met about 1000 entrepreneurs, 400+ investors for the company. Some of the initial investments I picked for Faad Network did really well and gave the company whopping returns. My contributions were appreciated by the senior members of the company, and after I graduated, they offered me the position of a Chief Executive Officer.

Please tell us about the projects taken up by Faad Network in the recent past?

In the last two years, we have advised 55 start-ups across India. These ventures have gone ahead to create capital and a network of investors for us. We have been the fastest growing investment firm and have been recognised by The Economic Times last year for it. We have not only deployed capital to new businesses, but also helped start-ups create new solutions and plans. To spread awareness and educate people about starting their own venture, I have personally delivered speeches at 300 events, be it universities, colleges, corporates, schools, etc. At Faad, we don’t just do business, but endeavour to bring like-minded people together to discuss more about finance, cooperation, investments, etc.

You are helping many new entrepreneurs launch their dream companies. For those new to business, your advice?

I have three pieces of advice for them: First, focus on the problem. Whenever you are setting up a business, the solution to the same issue may keep evolving each time. But, the problem that you are trying to solve should be understood well by you. Second, believe in the power of people. A business is not just made on spreadsheets and presentations. It contains people from all walks of life who come together to solve a problem. Third, know your business and so, if someone asks you the salary of your support staff, as a founder or CEO, you should know that. You should be able to tell their names and know them well. It’s not about who is at the top-level, a company is driven by people.

An entrepreneur you look up to?

I admire Mr. Ratan Tata. Not because he has created one of the largest enterprises called Tata, but he has done all that keeping humane values. His work is truly commendable and therefore, it has earned so much respect globally.

Is Faad taking up social initiatives?

Yes, recently we have supported a number of non-governmental organisations. I am an official Ambassador of the Entrepreneurship Mindset Curriculum scheme by the government in which I teach students of class 8 and impart lessons on building the spirit of entrepreneurship.

Your motivational message for students?

Nothing happens in a comfort zone. So, explore yourself beyond academia. If I had not participated in extra-curricular activities at school or college, I wouldn’t have known my abilities. So, be out there and find your passions. Once you have identified them, have the confidence to work towards it.

Mrini Devnani is a Senior Correspondent and Marketing Coordinator at Newsroom. She covers student achievements, interviews and contributions for the website. She was a former Correspondent covering Edutech for the India Today Group, and has passion for Social Media and Digital Marketing. You can reach her at [email protected]

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