Crazy Dreams Do Come True, So Dream On…

Nikhil Gupta
5 min readJul 1, 2020

--

Dream Big

Dream big and dream often — As dreams do come true if you never give up” this was the first thought that crossed my mind as I signed the final paper to sell my startup, Avid Secure, on Jan 8th, 2019. Several people have asked me how I accomplished such a fast yet successful exit in just one and half years: which included company inception, building a product with a globally distributed remote team, fundraising, marquee customer acquisitions, being acquired by a large public company, Sophos, which yielded a tremendous ROI for the investors and for employees.

What they don’t know is that the success didn’t come overnight, they were actually seeing fruits of 25+ years of hard work, countless failures, and heartbreaks, and overcoming 100,000+ “NO”s. Most of you must have heard the famed Silicon Valley billionaires, entrepreneurs, and VCs tell you the stories of obscure failed startups that they had to shut down, and the few that succeeded. Well, here is my story!

If you have a crazy idea to make a difference in this world but you are hitting roadblocks or people are saying you are crazy, I am here to tell you, never ever give up. I hope my personal experience may inspire you to dream on and make those dreams a reality.

This is the first of the many blogs I plan to write to share some of the insights I gained while founding and leading Avid Secure. This blog is not about me, it is about you, a die-hard entrepreneur, or any person who wants to realize their dreams. As you very well know, in today’s fast-changing technology landscape, a couple of years is more than the shelf life of an idea. My desire is to help you save a few crucial years from your own time-sensitive entrepreneurial journey. I hope these will help you avoid many of the mistakes I made and choose accelerated paths that I discovered. Many mentors have helped me in my journey so I want to pay it forward.

When I was about to start Avid Secure, my family and close friends exclaimed are you crazy, why are you leaving a company that is going to go public soon and that too without a salary? The problem you are trying to solve is already being solved by so many venture-backed companies in the market — exclaimed my mentors. Others noted that I didn’t have the right track record or know the right people to succeed in this. The worst was, of course, the small voice within me that used to pop up once in a while and tell me that I am crazy to believe that this will work.

But fortunately, another voice deep within me asked me to remember why I started this in the first place, it reminded me that customers aren’t happy with the existing solutions and thus there is an opportunity to serve them by building a great product that they would love, so it egged me to take a risk and act fast without waiting any further. It said time is of the essence. I did and it paid off in a big way, for my customers, my team, and me.

Through these blogs, I will cover subjects such as:

· Closing a large enterprise deal sitting in your pajamas without ever meeting customer

· Building a successful startup with a co-founder you have never met in person before

· Inspiring top world-class talent to join your startup with minimal money in the bank

· Bootstrapping a lean company to finding the right investors

· Building the right founding team with the right culture

· Defining and evolving your product to achieve market/product fit

· Winning a deal against the largest competitor without giving 90% discount

· Marketing and launching a company in a shoestring budget

· Having the grit to handle seemingly endless rejections

· Having clarity about IPO vs M&A Options — “When to hold and when to fold” as the famous Kenny Rogers’ song goes

· And, last but not least… balancing entrepreneurship with personal life

I will keep it honest and will share the successes as well as setbacks. I will also share how I turned numerous setbacks to my advantage. Entrepreneurship is an emotional roller coaster and can be a very lonely journey sometimes, especially for the founders. It’s a journey with many self-doubts, seemingly endless rejections, and many confusing choices; However relentless perseverance and passion will help you emerge as a winner.

Through these blogs, I hope to be with you and share a part of your transformational journey.

In the end, entrepreneurship is not just about money. Any smart individual can make more money in several different ways, which are much less painful with much better odds. In fact, if it is about money the smartest decision you can make is to find a good company like Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, and spend a good 25 years. So this is not for the faint-hearted. It is not about logic, it is about inner passion and drive. Not everyone is an entrepreneur and it’s OK. I believe entrepreneurship is overly glamorized. For every successful entrepreneur, there are 99 failed ones. So don’t under-estimate the impact a startup can have on your professional, financial, and personal life. I challenge everyone to look inside and identify whether entrepreneurship is for them or not. Just by doing this self-discovery, one can save years of pain and agony. But if you believe entrepreneurship is for you, you will be on a ride of your lifetime, one that will transform you, your team, and probably businesses and industries through several trials and iterations. The products you build may come and go but the changes you bring will probably stay on, sometimes long after you are gone from this world.

In the next blog, I will cover how to discover if you are truly an entrepreneur. “WHY” I want to be an entrepreneur, is the real “MILLION” dollar question that everyone should ask before embarking on the entrepreneurial journey. So, stay tuned.

If this blog resonates with you, please share it with other people who may benefit from this. I invite you to connect with me on LinkedIn and direct message me to provide candid feedback, or ask the stories you would like me to share.

--

--

Nikhil Gupta

Entrepreneur | Dreamer | CEO & Co-Founder @ ArmorCode