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‘In a startup, you have to be an office boy as well the CEO’

Entrepreneur Mohit Ramani, an Apeejay Saket alumnus, says the pandemic gave his company an opportunity to leverage technology and create digital solutions for his clients

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Apeejay Saket alumnus Mohit Ramani believes hard work always pays off. In an interview, the entrepreneur, who currently runs two companies, Digital Agents and ExpoSim, talks about his best memories from school, his passion for sports, the growing acceptance of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in the country, his experiences as an entrepreneur, and more. Edited excerpts:

How was your experience at Apeejay School, Saket? What memories do you have of the institution?

My parents moved me to Apeejay School, Saket, from another school since my elder brother was also studying there. While I took some time to adjust, I had a good experience once I settled. I made very good friends there while the faculty was also great. I was also part of the school’s basketball team, which was one of the best things that happened to me. Our school team was very active in that sport. I was also the Vice Sports Captain.

Did you ever think of becoming a sportsperson?

(Laughs) Back in those days, you had to be either a doctor or an engineer and I pursued the latter. That said, I continued playing basketball for a long time even after school until recently when I got injured and was forced to stop. Basketball has been a very crucial part of my life.

You founded two companies. Did you always want to become an entrepreneur?

Not really. While my father was into business, he wanted his children to work in a good company and settle down. So, I started my career with jobs but perhaps the family tradition eventually had its influence on me. I was always hard working so I thought if I could work for someone else then why not do the same for myself to make a bigger difference? That is how entrepreneurship happened.

Does it get more taxing as an entrepreneur as compared to working for a company?

Absolutely, when you are working for a company, you are just focused on your responsibilities. Your job is confined to a certain function. Over a period of time, you might be among the top leadership positions and the pressure also increases manifold. But in the case of entrepreneurship, the pressure starts from Day 1; you have to be an office boy as well as the CEO, especially in a startup. So, yes, it is far more taxing. For the past seven years, I have been working extremely hard.

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are all the rage now. Tell us about it. Are Indians willing to invest in the same?

From music or dance videos to memes and other creations—these are all digital assets. Somebody would make them which would then be used by others, without giving proper royalty to the owners. In simple terms, NFT is what makes the digital asset a one-of-a-kind entity that sits on a blockchain, establishing the owner of that particular asset. Whenever the content generates money, the royalty goes to the owner. Secondly, the original creator can transfer ownership as well. If I have owned something for some years and other people feel there is value in it and are willing to give me money, I can trade that item. Since the asset is on a blockchain, there cannot be two copies of it.

As a country, we need to understand stocks better. But there are people who are willing to take risks. We also like quick money, so, there are indeed people who are investing in NFTs. While I am a bit sceptical, I want to try and leverage the NFT ecosystem to build something meaningful and valuable.

You recently co-founded ExpoSim in 2020, which is a virtual and hybrid expo platform. Was it the result of the pandemic and how things are going digital?

At my other company Digital Agents, we were already creating several digital solutions for clients. When the pandemic hit, we saw a marked shift in the market where there was more demand for similar solutions. I think the pandemic gave us that boost to work on technology.

Any advice for students of Apeejay?

As fun-filled as your school days might be, you also have to work hard. One day, you will realise that studying hard was probably the easiest of all other challenges you will face in life. Whatever you want to pursue, do it with full diligence. You have your whole life ahead of you and remember that what you do today will have its impact later. 

Disha Roy Choudhury is a Principal Correspondent at Apeejay Newsroom. She has worked as a journalist at different media organisations. She is also passionate about music and has participated in reality shows.

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