Startup no bar for suitable match

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Some 10 years ago, when Satish Reddy, a smart young engineering graduate employed at a well known IT firm in Chennai was bitten by the entrepreneurship bug, he gave up a secure job and a sizeable pay packet to start an IT design studio with a couple of friends. Effort and enthusiasm got the startup going, but revenues remained weak.

Around this time, since he was of marriageable age, his family started looking for a suitable match. Weeks and months passed, offers came and went, but no alliance showed signs of firming up. That's when the family realised that prospective brides and their parents were unwilling to take a chance since they were sceptical of Reddy's ability to sustain a family with no secure monthly income. Upon suggestions from friends and relatives, he eased himself out of the venture, joined an established IT company once again. Within a matter of weeks, he was engaged to be married.

Reddy had to give up his entrepreneurial dream and break away from his business partners in order to get a life partner. Today, however, young men need not make such sacrifices any more as startups are no longer setbacks in finding a suitable match. "Thanks to the evolution of the startup scenario in India over the past decade, things have changed for the better. There is a sense of pride in being part of a startup now," says K B Chandrasekhar, CEO, Jamcracker, who besides being an angel investor, is a serial entrepreneur and incubator.

Agrees T R Bharadwaj, a former MNC executive who now works with a marketing startup, CMO Axis, based out of Chennai. “I didn't have so much difficulty when I got married," he recalls. "Yes, the bride's family did have some concerns, but when they took a look at the company's website and figured out that it was a successful entity, they had no further issues,” he says.

“Given the general Indian social system and traditional mindset, parents were earlier more comfortable giving away their daughters in marriage to “well-settled” grooms. There were challenges and I myself have heard enough cases,” says Murugavel Janakiraman, founder-CEO of, which itself had gone through the birth pangs of a startup, before establishing itself in the industry.

“In fact, prior to marriage, I had told my prospective wife that I would be getting into entrepreneurship sooner than later. It was a sort of preparing her for the journey ahead. Fortunately, in my case, both the marriage and the venture turned out to be successful,” he confides.

Janakiraman though recalls that there were many employees in his own company who left to join a larger concern because they felt their chances of getting a life partner were greater in a bigger, well-established company. "But now people understand startups, they know the things they are getting into. More the awareness, more the success," he says. "In fact, the ability of risk taking actually turns positive when faced with problems on the personal front," he adds.

Besides, startups have become a breeding ground for successful employees too. These days, a lot of organisations are waiting to recruit people earlier working with startups. Because of the environment, the unstructured nature of work and multi-tasking, recruiters feel these people will perform better. The learning curve is also very steep and faster, while being part of a startup," says Vinod Harith, founder - director, CMO Axis.

“In fact, we just analysed a list of people who left us and where they were headed. Most of them have landed good jobs in organisations like Barclays and other big names. If one was to join a bigger organisation as a fresher, one would end up doing basic, mundane work for at least two years before one actually got a hands on exposure in the market. Whereas it starts very early in a startup environment where an employee ends up learning a lot more," says Harith.

As Harith feels, a person working for a startup is no longer looked down upon as lesser being. “It is the opposite now and people have started feeling that it is a good thing to do. Of course, the entry-level pay is low in startups. But for people who have stayed a little longer, say for more than a year and half, their pay scales are usually at par with the market," he says. Clearly, 'startuppers' need not fear prolonged bachelorhood any more, there is now a bride waiting out there, garland in hand.


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