krishna: It is my pleasure to discuss your work and life journey so far and your ideas of Happiness and Happy World. Firstly tell us about yourself.
Sushanto Mitra: I come from a middle class family from Delhi. I spent about 10 years in consulting and financial services before moving to the startup ecosystem. I was the first person in the family to work in the private sector, and also the first to move into entrepreneurship.
Being in the startup ecosystem and also doing a startuphas been the most exciting part of my life. Right now it is my only hobby, passion and focus. But yes, as time goes by I want to explore other areas in the social and spiritual space. Hope I still have time left!
Krishna: What makes You Happy?
Sushanto Mitra: An innovative way of doing things that solves a problem. Being able to understand other people’s aspirations and being able to help in achieving them.
Krishna: Share your experiences and journey so far as an entrepreneur, investor as well as startup mentor.
Sushanto Mitra: Its been a roller coaster ride. I have begun to feel comfortable with unexpected things happening as the norm rather than an exception.
As an investor, the experience is similar though of course less bumpy. The chaos and uncertainties in the life of an Indian consumer is also an opportunity for smart entrepreneurs to find business solutions that fit into it. Copy pasting internationally validated models often don’t work here, as we have seen in the past year.
As a mentor, am a little disappointed that many smart engineers from premier institutions are following the copy-paste methodrather than looking for India specific solutions. This is an area where our researchers and scientists could also apply their minds rather than merely following the trends in the developed world.
In our small way, Professor C. Amarnath and the rest of the Lead Angels team have been conducting workshops for students and entrepreneurs facilitating peer-to-peer learning among startups as well as successful entrepreneurs. We think that in the Indian environment, this is far more useful than classroom training and general ‘gyaan’ that mentoring has come to mean here.
Krishna: What are your Service Activities so far?
Sushant Mitra: I truly believe that if you help others, in one form or the other, at one time or another they or others will help you. Whether you consider this to be the law of the jungle, modern day living or even a philosophy of life. Here I would look at help as being the anti-thesis of being selfish. So in my life I have tried to be more giving than being selfish and somehow it has worked wonders for me.
Specifically, I have tried to give honest advice both to friends as well as clients without selfish intent and I think most people realize it when you are being authentic. Sometimes, I have gone out of my way for someone to find a job or a connection that may help without expecting anything in return. In both cases, returns over a period of time have been handsome.
I do like helping people in their personal and entrepreneurial lives. It gives me a sense of satisfaction, if sharing my experiences with them can be useful.
Krishna: What do you think are your unique skils ?
Sushanto Mitra: I think my unique skill is to understand creative people and help them in reaching their goals based on my experience.
Krishna: What is your Idea of Heaven?! What kind of world would you ideally Dream to live in? What is required to do it ?
Sushanto Mitra: Yes, in fact I think the world can become heaven if each of us is able to live in compassion and mutual cooperation with the rest of the people. I believe each person has a unique set of skills; if discovered and utilized in the right way, can enable us to reach that heaven.
In my small way, I want to contribute by helping individuals discover their unique skills and abilities and make the world a better place.
Krishna: What is your Great Idea, that could potentially bring a “small” (or BIG!) positive transformation in the world… in any particular field(s) of your choice?!
Sushanto Mitra:I don’t really have a great idea but if we are able to help others who have great ideas reach their objectives, we can transform the world. Organizations and people who are doing this can be supported and encouraged to do so.
Krishna: What is your success formula? Share the success tips and techniques that have worked for you!
Sushanto Mitra: I don’t particularly have a success formula, but in overall terms, if we put our values ahead of all our actions then success is assured over time. One has to be patient.
Krishna: What are your health tips?
Sushanto Mitra: I try to eat healthy and practice intermittent fasting. I also try to do at least 10 minutes of exercise every day. It does keep me healthier than would have been otherwise.
Krishna: What are your future plans / goals / dream projects ? Share your dream projects for yourself and/or the society.
Sushanto Mitra: My future plan is to create a network of facilitators who can help people achieve their dreams.
Krishna: According to you, what is the role of startups and entrepreneurship in building a prosperous India, one brick at a time?
Sushanto Mitra: Startups in India can make a huge difference solving India’s problems – social, economic and technological. My hope is that they will eventually build solutions that are India specific and can leap frog our country from its current stage to one of prosperity and happiness.
Krishna: According to you, what is the role of media (online, print, TV, radio, cinema) in building a developed India, one idea at a time?
Sushanto Mitra: Role of the media is equally important, to promote entrepreneurship and other organizations that are making a difference. While sensationalism can generate readership and viewership in the short run, educating the public and creating a demand for positive news is essential for the survival of media not only in India but across the world.
Krishna: What do you think is the role of politics in making India a developed country? What should be the proactive role of political leaders in contributing to a Happy and Prosperous India and world?
Sushanto Mitra: Unfortunately, like the media, our political parties focus on short term political mileage and shy away from the real problems plaguing India. I think all parties need to take a longer term view of things and educate their supporters.
Krishna: According to you, what is the role of Social service, philanthropy and NGO’s in making the world a better place to live in?
Sushanto Mitra: I think social service is very relevant in a country like ourswhere there are so many economic disparities and social problems. At the same time, the way most NGO’s operate, there are huge gaps in efficiency. I think there is a scope for improving their service levels.`
We thank Mr. Sushanto Mitra for sharing his experiences of growing from early stage as an enterprenuer, a point from where he grew by self experience to a stage of mentoring start-ups. He gives input to new enterprenuers to not copy paste international business models which don’t work in indian environment. Sushanto Mitra’s Lead Angels been conducting workshops for students and entrepreneurs facilitating peer-to-peer learning among startups as many new enterprenuers fail due to lack of understanding of the environment. And living believing in the fact that people must be helped without or without a coming return is the way which will put the world in the right place, that is the icing on the cake to his charecter!! We wish him completion of his 2 other interests as his career objectives.
by Krishna Reddy