We’ve had a lot of people in this space but rarely have we ever interviewed someone who claims to have had a turnover of Rs 2.5 crore while still in college. In this edition of Almost Famous, we spoke to a man who has become synonymous with entrepreneurship in IITR, Sonesh Jain, co-founder and creative head of “Audegn”.
Despite his name being mentioned in KBC, winning numerous awards and competitions every year like the BRICS summit, the ANDC trophy at the NASA Convention 2012, he manages to be amazingly amiable through his humility. But he is extremely proud of one particular achievement- he has managed to pelt stones at every electric pole on the campus. Sonesh takes the wraps off his college life at IITR as we indulge in an interesting conversation with him over a glass of cold coffee (which is exactly how one should treat their interviewers).
WONA: Your first crush on campus?
Sonesh: My first crush on campus was Sukhjit Saroa. She was my senior (It’s always a senior, isn’t it. Playing safe?) After that, there were no crushes as such. (Yeah, right. We believe you).
WONA: What is the craziest thing you have ever done?
Sonesh: (After mentally filtering many episodes) It’s hard to reckon, but there was a friend, BOT(Anshul Gupta) as we called him. And it was the Thomso season of our first year. We celebrated his birthday at Nesci with around 150-250 people participating in his GPL. He was dragged by his legs and thrown in the mud. (This must have been more entertaining than most of the Thomso events!)
WONA: Tell us about your inspiration and motivation for the startup.
Sonesh: Audegn was something that evolved from all the previous campus-based start-ups that I had taken up with my friends. Those didn’t make it to business transactions. But there is this flame of optimism in me that never dies out. And this is where it has brought me. Even after 3 of my startups failed, I did not give up. My diligent endeavours and strong faith in optimism have brought me where I am today, and I am still learning.
WONA: What do you have to say about the people who have influenced you significantly over the years?
Sonesh: Shreyansh Thakur was a very inspiring senior and had led the initial set-up of Audegn. In my first year, I read Punit Jaggi’s interview in WONA’s Almost Famous (so we did inspire people back then) and I have always looked up to that guy since then. Then there have been seniors like Siddarth Mahim Bansal and Arnav Thakur, who taught me what hard work and patience can create. And not to forget Sheru who would always carry that cheerful demeanour no matter how terrible the situation might have been. Also, my friend- ORAI(Shivam Gupta)
WONA: The claim of crores of turnover gets a little hard to digest at this stage. Explanation?
Sonesh: Well, it defines the value of the projects we have been involved with. Frankly, I don’t have an idea what the exact numbers are right now. But when I filed the taxes, the gross turnover had been around 2.5 crores. (and we are still counting the zeros)
WONA: Where do you see yourself 10 years down the line?
Sonesh: I still don’t know how to answer this. But I want to dominate the entrepreneurship sphere in India. (We handed him aviators at this point)
WONA: The best and the worst moments that IITR has brought your way?
Sonesh: The worst was 3 attendance backs in the second year that left me crestfallen. I cried for days when after toiling so hard and being honest on my part, my grades and degree were in peril. I was working on multiple startups then and I bunked most of my classes. As for the best moments, designing with my team members has been the best part of my life at IITR. An overwhelming moment was when Prof. Mahua Mukherjee acknowledged my work and skills for ANDC presentation. This was the first incident when I learned that some professors appreciated Audegn’s progress, that they believed in my work and supported my passion. Also, there have been many prizes that I won in my third year. (Too many for him to mention, too many for us to print)
WONA: What do you do in your leisure time?
Sonesh: Well, I play harmonica, I write poems, I sing wildly, I read about animals, I love to flip from one Wiki article to another and I am always pondering upon things. That is something that gives me clarity. (Just to be sure, there are 24 hours in your day too,right?)
WONA: What are you going to miss about Roorkee?
Sonesh: The thing I will miss the most is independence. Roorkee has given me the all the experiences possible in college. And yes, I will miss the discussions with 5-6 people every night on random topics. These discussions have broadened my horizons as I firmly believe that by talking to people in a group, you get to learn something from everybody and that helps you grow.
WONA: Your message to the people of R?
Sonesh: Fight marte raho. Positivity is all that is needed. At any time in your life, you should be humble enough to consider other’s opinions and learn something every day from anyone and everyone you can.
WONA: Finally, your views about WONA? Sonesh: WONA has always been an interesting group. But it needs to be the kind of magazine everyone wants to and gets to read. I suggest Increasing the number of issues and making the content more informative. (Duly noted!)