Thursday, April 17, 2014

How I met CEO Naidu Darapaneni?

It was December of 2009 - I had recently resigned from my job at Onida and was serving my mandatory 3 months notice period. Those 100 days helped me a lot in my transformation from an employee to entrepreneur, and that is one advise I give to every working professional who wants to leave a job to start a company - use your 100 days for net practice before the actual match. But this story is about my dear friend, Naidu Darapaneni, CEO and founder of Meraevents + Versant Inc.

I was on a panel at NMIMS College for some discussions on angel investments on behalf of Mumbai Angels, and Naidu was in the audience. Shradha Sharma of Yourstory was on the panel and firing her questions at all of us (yes, I am giving a hint about what my next story :-)). As soon as I got off stage, few people surrounded me asking for visiting cards and contacts. Shradha came forward and told me I should meet this very exciting entrepreneur who has launched a "Wikipedia for events"!

"Sure, why not?", I said and Naidu stepped forward. I was instantly intrigued about his ideas about Meraevents, which was just a month or two old website, beginning to build a customer base and get event organizers on board. It was much later that I got to know about the other side of Naidu's entrepreneurial personality - he was already Versant for last 10 years with multi-million dollar business and nearly 100 employees that was into software services!

I launched Nurture Talent in January 2010, and from day 0 I have been using Meraevents platform for hosting our events - in some ways it has been my best decision for NTA workshops. Every thing that was wrong about executing an event, we could avoid due to this simple call - we do not accept payments offline, there is no on the spot payment, all attendee information is available in advance, there is no "registration desk" even - just come and start. Being a single person responsible for all operations of the workshop, I anyways had no other choice. As we grow, many things change, but what matters most is what we do when we start.

One thing that I learned dealing with Naidu is that friendship and business can go together! When I am in Hyderabad, I stay at his place, he treats me for dinner (yes, he pays!) and I do not even have to ask him to pick or drop me to airport. At the same time, I am an advisor to Meraevents, have a vendor relationship between NTA and Meraevents, and lots of work related stuff - plus a few arguments lot of times.

Last year, he had a major win when he sold his software business and made lots of crores - and one of the reasons was to focus on Meraevents and build it into a global business. I am sure that will happen soon with Moozup, Venues and other big launches coming up. Hats off to Naidu and Meraevents team and gun for the next billion!

If you need any help in connecting with Naidu or Meraevents' team, I will be glad to make an email introduction.
I have met over 30000 people personally, and everyday I will tell a story about someone who has been a part of my life.  
If you have a suggestion or feedback, feel free to connect with me on my social networks or mail me.
Till then, just be awesome!