Tell us briefly about your upbringing and how it may have played a part in you becoming a serial entrepreneur in adulthood.
My family & I came to UK in the early 90s as immigrants. We were living in a council flat in Woolwich (South-East London). My mum would take me and my brother to all the Tamil classes during the week to learn the language and additional activities like singing, tabla and veena. On weekends we would take a long train ride to the other side of London to learn keyboard. All this was done with only our dads minimum wage salary working at a corner shop.
As I reached the age of 13, my dad had passed away from pancreatic cancer and we had to find other ways to make income. My brother had started to give keyboard classes around London while studying in university to give us that extra financial support. A few years later, I also followed his footsteps in teaching keyboard. We both went on eventually on getting full-time jobs but our first side hustle is what got us thinking in an entrepreneurial mindset. He would then sing for events for the weekends and I would be making music for African singers. We started to get our name out from that point.
We now have built the Bosco Academy together in which we have over 200 students learning keyboard and piano so that we can encourage more youngsters to get into the music field. We also teach them about the music business side of it.
What was the inspiration behind creating Singify? What was the goal and what ended up being the actual final result of this experience?
The idea initially came from Yathavan who was the Founder of Singify. He was looking for a Co-Founder with music experience within the South-Asian community. I had just completed some movie projects in Chennai and loved the idea so I came onboard. The goal was to help South-Asian talent globally to get into singing and to showcase their talent. The app would track the notes of their voice and match it to the original notes to give the user a score. This would enable them to improve and get a better score each time. We built a very cool gaming experience and got around 30,000 users onboard. We only know of the singers trying to show their talent on shows like Super Singer but the vision was to get any bathroom singer to sing on the app and share it. You didn’t have to show your face. Growing a start-up comes with it’s own challenges. We had to acquire licenses for some of the leading music labels across the globe. Eventually we had found an investor that shared our vision and sold Singify to him.
You went from the world of music to a healthcare app called Gogodoc. How did you stumble across this opportunity and how did the team come together? How are things going currently with the business?
During my musical career, I met some amazing people. Dr.Vijay and Raj were one of those people. We were brainstorming for an innovative healthtech idea that could make it easier for a patient to see a doctor without leaving their doorstep. That’s when Gogodoc was born. We had built the technology similar to Uber in where you could track a Doctor coming to your house with just a few clicks. The company has now grown over the years and we had launched our first physical location in Paddington last year. We’re continuing to grow Gogodoc by adding more services in the coming months.
You created UMM Digital, a digital agency servicing clients like Mercedes Benz, Amazon Logistics & Lycamobile. What made you shift gears from starting product-based companies to more of a service-based one?
UMM was founded by Santhosh Palavesh. He’s a serial entrepreneur I met him in Chennai 10 years ago. He has launched many successful startups around the globe. He had done the digital marketing for Singify when we had launched. I was really impressed with the quality of work his team provided. Several years later he had contacted me about launching in the UK and if I was interested on coming onboard as a director. We have now successfully passed 2 years in the UK with UMM digital and servicing many blue-chip companies. There is always a demand for service-based company especially as there is a need for traditional companies to adapt to the customer needs. And it’s always been an evolving sector.
I know you have a passion for music and myself as a fan of all creators, NFTs is going to be a generational-changing technology to help recoup more value back to the creators (vs the current mechanisms in place). What made you create your own NFT collection with Millionaire Monkey Club?
During my years in tech and music, I have come across many influential people that had changed the ways I approached certain projects. There have been very few Tamil Crypto-moguls that have made it in the Metaverse already such as MetaKovan. I have always been passionate about Crypto and wanted to make my mark in the Metaverse space too. Having managed many Crypto portfolios for high net-worth individuals, I discovered that NFTs are a game changer and I always aim to be a part of the next big thing. I’m creating an NFT community enabling in creating opportunities with exchanging knowledge, ideas, making community decisions, connections, collaborations and building a network.
The Millionaire Monkey Club’s aim is not only to create digital collectibles and a game in the Metaverse and share profits, but also to allow the community members to learn from successful entrepreneurs, technology experts, investors, real-estate moguls, celebrities and influencers. This club can allow you to have access to all features such as community rewards, utilities and benefits, giving back to charities, VIP network, private parties, business events, speakers events, workshops and social experiences etc.
What does success look like for you with this project? What’s a big challenge you’ve experienced so far in these early stages?
A successful project would be to sell out all 10,000 NFTs. Our biggest challenge was getting the first 1000 members to join the discord community. We are now over 13,000 members and growing.
Can you tell us about a failure you’ve experienced in the last 5 years and what you learned from it?
Failure is common in most start-ups and it’s the only place you get to learn the most. I’ve experienced being part of large organisations in where making a simple decision of changing a ‘Buy Now’ button position on a website would take 4 weeks for sign off whereas a start up could get this done in a few minutes. A start-up also requires more work as you have less resources to work with. A few years ago, I was part of an e-commerce project and their primary product was selling face masks. The project was just about breaking even in it’s second year, but the team were not patient and wanted to see quick success. That led them to close the company and move on. It was a niche product at the time but there was no marketing plan or resources to execute and take it to the level they had expected. In the start up world, you need patience to succeed.
What role has your family played in the choices that you’ve made in your life so far?
My family have been extremely supportive in my life and business choices. In my early stages of my music career, they had the patience and helped me build a name for myself. My brother and mum have been the foundation to what I have enabled to achieve. My brother is extremely supportive and been involved with most of my businesses. His financial background has helped me forecast and grow all my projects. My mum has been there even if she doesn’t understand any of the start-up projects but supporting me emotionally.