How Vipin Bootstrapped Webkul To $1 Million In Revenue (Part 1)

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[This interview is sponsored by workspot.in , India’s leading aggregator of co-working spaces, meeting rooms and shared offices. If you have additional office space and are looking to rent it, please do list it on workspot.in. If you are looking for space for your startup, do visit workspot.in]

 

Without having any computer science background, Vipin with his roommate and now co-founder bootstrapped Webkul to $1 million dollar in revenue.

Lets start from the very beginning, where did you study and where do you come from?

Vipin: I graduated from JSS academy of technical education in Noida. I am from batch 2005 – 2009. My schooltime, my hometown is in Fatehpur (500 kms from New Delhi) , it is between Kanpur and Allahabad. I studied till 12th there. I always wanted to build things, i was not aware about computing. I am from regional board (UP board)  and i was focussed on physics, chemistry and maths. Here is a funny story, I was very focussed on maths ,physics and chemistry, I did not even go to a cyber cafe as it was considered that people go there to watch not so proper things. I could not get into IIT exam, i was very sad, jss is also very good, people were mostly pre-IITJEE cleared.

The cut off for IIT was 84 marks and I got 82 that is a sad part. I don’t want to be a computer engineer in my starting days , I always wanted to be something in the space or aerodynamics or in the mechanicals something like that. When I could not get into IIT , I just joined JSS which is very reputed college under UPTU. The eco system in the college at that point was very good, most of the people were IIT-JEE pre-cleared and they were very good. I chose electrical engineering because I did not not want to be computer engineer.

I was so so bad at computers that I could not type. The condition was really bad. If I had to type “S” or “R” I really use to struggle to find where it was because I was never interested in computers and also there was no computer in school also. Although my rank was very good but still choose electrical engineering over computer science. In my first sem I tried to build a robot with my room partner , now my business partner as well. Though there was help provided by the faculty for building the robot but the resources was really expensive around 5000 to 10000 at that time. My father was a retired person from postal services so I could not manage that much money as private college have a good amount of fees as well. I always wanted to build something, I learnt from my seniors that there is a something called open source, where you don’t have to buy anything. The code is open and you can create your own thing from there, you do not have to spend a single penny and everything is free. You just have to buy a laptop or a computer. I did electrical engineering with very good marks and learned computing in my college days.

While in college were you taking some introductory computer science classes like algorithms or other things to learn about computer science?

Vipin: When I started college there was this C class in the first semester but I could not type, my condition was very poor. So a lady teacher walked into the class and started giving instructions like create a folder, save a file, it was like some alien in the room and I did not follow anything. I always thought in terms of forces like there will be mass, there will be acceleration, then force will be created and there will be movement something like that. I was not able to correlate things. I had never used computers before, never listened to a song in the computer , never touched it so the condition was very poor. In my electrical engineering I was a topper but in computers class in first semester I was on totally opposite side. As soon as the class got over , I ran back to the hostel , covered my face with the blanket and cried a lot. People were talking see he is a topper but could not create a file or type. It was really really very scary at that time. At that point I thought I have 2 choices lets forget about computers and focus on electrical or lets work on my weakness and go on. At that time most of my batchmates would leave the college by 4pm  as there were seniors all around the campus. The college time was  9 to 4 but the computer lab was open till 9 so I use to sit there. Many times I had to copy my seniors assignments but I learned a lot from that lab.

When you passed out of college, did you already have a job offer or did you start looking for job after passing out?

Vipin:  I got selected in the first company in my 3rd year of college. I took that job but it was not that interesting so quit within 14 days.

So you took the job and quit after 14 days, so did you learn anything in that job. Was it related to programming? Or It was totally unrelated to what you are doing currently?

Vipin: It was totally unrelated. It is like the startup culture and MNC’s culture does not match. If you want to do a startup kind of thing then people in MNC do not understand the feeling. There a culture in MNC’s in India where people are part of the race. Even among your own batchmates everybody is part of that race. They want to get to some point or some mark. I decided not to be a part of that race.

In India there is so much peer pressure to work in MNC’s, so much family and society pressure as well. Given your background you did not have a formal computer science training, to take a call at that point of time to chuck your job and start something of your own. What gave you the confidence to do that?

Vipin:  Even I had to go through a lot of pressure as my father was retired but it happens in India. It happens to everyone. 4 years of my college time, I worked very hard in development side and had around 3.5 years  of experience. I was the winner of shell programming in my college. I started things at my college time like web development, open source, plugins. I did not have any industry experience at that time but I was quite mature for development. At the time I passed out of college I was very much aware of everything in development like Ajax etc.    

 

[This interview is sponsored by workspot.in , India’s leading aggregator of co-working spaces, meeting rooms and shared offices. If you have additional office space and are looking to rent it, please do list it on workspot.in. If you are looking for space for your startup, do visit workspot.in]

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