During the 90s, we heard so much about the Silicon Valley and entrepreneurs. That one seemed too far away and out of reach to be of much significance. Then in the 2000s, we started hearing about Bangalore. Nearer and more real. Today we are overloaded with jargons like start-ups, angel investing, B-plans, crowdfunding and so on. But to be completely honest, the concept is not that new, since businesses have been set-up, expanded, closed down, started again millions of times over, for centuries.
Bengalis, the thinking race of India, is known for its lack of business acumen. Historically, this cannot be further from the truth. Presently this cannot be nearer to the truth. Start-ups attack the most fundamental trait of this race – risk averseness. Which is why I have to share the story of this start-up with you. And everyone else.
An architect friend of mine (my classmate at JU) had an idea. He hated sitting in a chair and banging at the space button on AutoCAD all day long. He loved architecture, and buildings. Most of all, he loved travelling. And so he had an idea. Architectural Educational Tourism (In case you are wondering what that is, here’s a heads-up. As per the Council of Architecture, architectural tours are mandatory to the academic curricula. Students are expected to tour various locations of architectural significance and undertake various studies and exercises like measure drawing. They provide an excellent medium for students to learn the fundamentals of being an architect – being a sponge for ideas and designs.)
The co-founders of his start-up (my brother, a Techie and my seniors, also architects) had pretty much the same story. Sitting on a chair, staring at a laptop and jabbing at the keyboard was not their thing either. And who doesn’t love travelling, music, photography and the finer things in life.
It seemed like the perfect time to start up a start-up. One small problem though. Leaving the job that sustained them was not an option. Luckily, the parents agreed (or allowed), some readily and some reluctantly. But there was no angel funding! Yes! A start-up (or a start-out, as I like to call it) without any investors or funding or apps (well as of now, at least). Just a mind-blowing idea, and lots and lots of hard work. And then some more hard work. Shortly after they narrated the idea to me, they sprang into action! One took a short sabbatical from work, the other two worked late nights and early mornings. For months, and months. Many parties were missed, and weekends meant more work.
The name was finalized, the logos were designed, a brochure and a presentation to pitch the idea to prospective clients. Easy and smooth. Well, which architect does not know photoshop and design! With the company registered and the official formalities completed, they set out to find the bunch of kids and the willing professors for their very first trip. Eventually they found 2 willing groups.
But then came the hard part…the preparations! Organizing for 2 trips for a total of ninety odd students for 25 days with a man power of 3 was not exactly easy. By any stretch of imagination. Hotels, food, travel, workshops and everything else at places where they have not gone before themselves! Fifty night shifts, a hundred plan documents and a thousand calls later, they were ready! To embark on their first journey as explorArchi!
To be continued…
Well, doing what you love is easy, but making that your profession is not always. Yet sometimes, easy is not what you are looking for. That’s when miracles happen. That’s when explorArchi happened. It’s not going to be easy. But we are ready. To get, set and go.