In 2004, when I got funded by Aavishkaar, honestly I didn’t know much of the social enterprise or the venture capitalist world. I didn’t even know what it meant to have an investor.
Was fortunate to have Aavishkaar & Vineet Rai believe in the idea of BarrierBreak & my own family who was willing to back the idea with capital.
But honestly, was funding the primary need for us at that time.
In retrospect, no it wasn’t. I wish I knew this then.
I did find some amazing people who have mentored and helped me in my journey whether it was Pravin Gandhi, Arun Diaz or even conversations with the R. Sriram, Paula Mariwala or so many people I met through TiE or other connects and networks.
But the one gap I always felt, was no one really understood the disability market or the needs of the disabled community. Initially, it took time for everyone to realize that I was looking to go beyond the charity model. I wanted to create a sustainable & profitable business.
I am thankful that each of these people came into my life, asked the right questions, gave me the kind of advice that an entrepreneur needs, connected me with people I could learn from, helped me identify next steps, got me to think clearly of what I was doing or even just listened to.
As recently as last year, I was thinking of an e-commerce platform for disability solutions and the difficult conversations around the merits and perils of the e-commerce world, buying power of the audience, versus the scalability of the model made me decide to not go ahead.
My initial reaction was I want to do this but when I sat and listened and answered the tough questions, I realized that this wasn’t an area where I would get the impact I wanted to.
So if you want a mentor to help you in your startup focusing on disability solutions then apply now for the BarrierBreak Assistive Technology Startup Mentorship Program.