As a part of our ongoing series on women entrepreneurs, we got the opportunity to get to know Tripti Ahuja, co-founder at DIY – the Largest Global Social Learning App for Kids.
Tripti has spent 10 years designing customer experiences for top companies around the world, and an additional five years being part of founding teams at early-stage startups in India. Before founding DIY, she was the Co-founder at 400 Things, a destination for luxury handcrafted products.
Here she talks about what goes on backstage at DIY.org.
1. How did you come up with a business idea?
I think a lot of ideas were born out of covid and DIY was one of them. We were looking for a platform for our six-year-old child that could keep her engaged while also providing access to informative videos in a safe environment where she could learn, express, and grow. I wanted to create a controlled learning environment for our child and that’s how DIY was born. The idea behind it was to provide children with engaging, informative videos and activities that they could perform themselves.
2. What challenges did you face at the start of your business?
At least one good thing came out of lockdown; parents started turning towards online learning for their kids. But they were also concerned about their children’s screen time. Our biggest challenge was to make parents understand that everything in moderation is good and it is about how we provide a safe environment for kids to learn. Because I personally believe learning never stops, it grows. And your child learns only as much as you expose them to.
3. How is DIY different from other education apps?
All the education apps out there today are very conventional in the nature of their approach and what they teach. One is that they are solely and wholly focused on academics. Because most parents feel like their kids need to be better at academics. But DIY doesn’t believe that to be entirely true. Rather, we believe that there are other skills out there that every child needs to learn as they grow.
We not only provide a platform for children to learn co-scholastic skills but also the inspiration to pursue them.
4. What is the best business advice you would like to give to those who are planning to start out?
For me, it is mainly about surrounding yourself with the right team members. The initial core team that helps you with setting up the business is extremely important.
Also, as an early-stage start-up, you have to be very agile which means you have to keep conforming to the constant changes happening around you.
5. What is an important lesson you’ve learned from running your own business?
My personal experience over the last three years has taught me to not get married to an idea. What’s extremely important when running a start-up is focusing on how you execute your ideas. They may sound fabulous on paper, but when you start executing them and they don’t work, it’s okay to drop them, move on, or pivot.
6. What would you say are the top 5 skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
As I said, the most important skill is agility. The next on the list is humility because if you sit in a room and think your idea is the best, you won’t be able to achieve much. Stay humble and grounded. The third most important skill is patience. Not every entrepreneur gets successful on their first try, sometimes even the second or third try doesn’t do the trick. So you’ll need a lot of patience and rigor to keep going at it. The next one is honesty. I’ve recently read in the papers that not many founders are honest with their employees or investors. Honesty is a very important trait in an entrepreneur. And the final one is the ability to build relationships. People that work with you and put their trust in you will support you in your next endeavor if the current one fails.
7. What is your favorite mantra or affirmation that you say to yourself to keep you going?
It is very important to love what you do so work doesn’t feel like a burden. Our company, for example, is completely remote so you can go into a 12 to 16 hours work shift very easily. If you don’t love your job, you won’t be able to put time and effort into it. On the same hand, it is also very important to find a work-life balance.
8. How do you keep yourself productive and motivated the entire day?
The kind of work we are doing is very closely related to our child’s development so productivity comes naturally. We are in a constant “on-mode” where we are continually getting feedback and doing research on what kids are into these days. As an entrepreneur, you are surrounded by people who trust you and look up to you so you keep pushing yourself for them. So I think it’s my team that really motivates me.
9. What does success mean to you?
It comes in two forms. One is what success as an entrepreneur means and the second is success in terms of business. At this point in life, I relate success to what happens in the business. Success for me is what we are building today. My vision for the future is to enable kids around the world to have access to learning content that helps them pick up skills that stick for life.