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Madhukar, tell us about yourself and your business.
I have been living in Germany for about 10-12 years. I have experience working in the automotive industry. I am passionate about automobiles and when I joined the Kellogg-WHU EMBA Program, I had already been thinking of a couple of ideas in that direction. During the program, I met two great classmates and together we decided to take the next step and launch our own company DreamzVentures GmbH. DreamzVentures is looking to invest in start-ups and bring initial ideas to market maturity with a focus on Technology, E-commerce and Digital Media. MyNewCar.in is the first start-up funded by DreamzVentures GmbH. Basically, what we’re trying to do with MyNewCar.in is to create an online car portal for selling new cars, accessories, and services in India. As I originally come from India, I identified some of the unsolved problems and unmet needs there and that’s how we got started. Our goal is to create a complete eco-system around car purchase and ownership, a concept is not yet available in India. So, we are bringing innovation to the Indian market with the aim to change the way people buy and own cars in India.
How did you decide to partner up with your two other classmates? When did that happen?
It happened during the program. One partner was in my study group so he was one of the first people I met. In fact, I had met him even earlier than that, during my admissions’ interview at Kellogg-WHU. We already had a very good feeling about each other back then. I already had this idea of MyNewCar.in and pitched the idea to him. We also worked on some projects together during the EMBA program. He really liked the idea and that’s how I got my first co-founder! We started the implementation of the idea. We however quickly came to the conclusion that we needed a third partner, that’s how we found our third partner during the Global Elective in Hong Kong! We met during a coffee break in between classes. We had been in the same EMBA class but just in different study groups. At the time, we were all working on different ideas. The three of us started discussing our various ideas together including MyNewCar. in. We decided that we should join forces during that break and “sealed the deal” with a handshake before returning to class.
Did you use the required Master Thesis as your business plan?
Yes, the Master Thesis was actually my business plan for MyNewCar.in. This also helped me put the whole idea in writing. Having ideas is more or less the easy part but then putting it all down on paper, is a much harder task. I received full support from my mentor, Prof. Hienerth who is the Chair of Entrepreneurship and New Business Development at WHU.
What entrepreneurship tools provided by Kellogg-WHU did you take advantage of for your entrepreneurial venture?
We got a lot out of the entrepreneurship classes offered at Kellogg-WHU. The best thing was that we could apply our learnings right away on the job. It is really important that what you learn gets applied right away because that’s how you really learn. You also have to think about how you can apply what you’ve just learned in class and that experience has been fantastic. Let me go beyond entrepreneurship. All those things that we’ve learned during the program such as marketing, finance, economics, operations, could be directly applied right away not only in our current jobs but also in our new business. For instance, I am not a finance guy, I am an automotive guy but after taking a finance class and learning about cash flow analysis, I have now been able to follow and better understand our own finances. We also learned a lot about leadership in class and since then I have been able to better understand how to lead a team, which I am currently doing now leading a big team in India from abroad for the most part. We have learned a lot from all the modules we took during our EMBA and we are now trying to implement this learning within our startup.
Do you think that an EMBA is worth it for someone wanting to go into entrepreneurship?
The desire and passion to do your own thing has to of course come from within yourself. The EMBA program will not create the desire or passion for entrepreneurship. What the EMBA program really does is to provide you with the tools for you to understand the business environment and market. I had ideas even 5 years prior to the EMBA but I did not feel prepared enough to implement my ideas. The EMBA provided me with the tools, the network, and resources to bring my ideas to market. You always see entrepreneurs who are in their 20s but we are all in our 30s, so it is never too late to become an entrepreneur with a corporate history... It just needs the right moment, the right idea, the right team and passion!