Rachit is a product designer at heart and the Chief Product Officer at CREO. Along with the co-founders, Rachit thrives on the idea that user experience should be prioritized while designing user interfaces, software or hardware. He is responsible for most product related tasks from conception, development and then maintenance. Scripbox speaks to Rachit to understand how transitioning from a large corporate enterprise to the world of start-ups has helped him understand his money better.
Scripbox: What is your start-up all about?
Rachit: CREO is about satisfying the connected consumer, by creating disruptive products for modern-day needs with focus on the power of connected experiences. All our efforts are oriented towards making a user’s experience smoother and better. You can see a reflection of this in all our products.
Teewe was our first product that was accepted widely and is now being used by over 50,000 families. Our latest offering is Mark 1 running on Fuel OS, which we believe will help shape the future of Android for the better.
Scripbox: How did you become a part of CREO?
Rachit: CREO has been started by my fellow classmates from IIT Kanpur. We were good friends since college days. While I was at my job at Citibank, I was in touch with these friends and we would meet often to discuss our ideas and their progress.
CREO is a product of these discussions. A lot of initial work and development of this product happened while we all had our own jobs.
Scripbox: Did you have a financial plan in mind before starting CREO?
Rachit: I did not have a very elaborate investment plan before starting the company. I invested in Public Provident Funds, Reality (property) in Bengaluru itself, and insurance policies, to have a parachute in my rainy days.
Scripbox: When you moved from Citibank to your start-up, did you have to make any lifestyle adjustments or compromises, while making that transition?
Rachit: Well, I was fortunate in the sense that, even while working a cushioned job, I did not have a very flamboyant or lavish lifestyle; there were certain compromises, but nothing drastic.
I reduced hitting expensive restaurants, instead I would visit slightly lower-end places. I had to reduce outings and expensive movie experiences, as one has to plan expenses when one’s financial situation changes.
At this startup, I was only earning about 30 % of what I was earning in my Citibank job, and that can cause a major setback in one’s lifestyle, if money is not managed properly.
I did not have a heavy crunch for money, as I had savings and enough liquidity to support the transition. In fact, by the time the funding kicked in, things were looking good.
During our startup bootstrap period, my savings definitely took a hit. I was not able to save as much as I would have liked to. But, I did continue to save some portion of my remuneration, however much I could manage to.
Scripbox: After being associated with a start-up for 3 years now, has your approach towards savings changed?
Rachit: I am back to saving a sizeable chunk of my earnings. From 2013 to mid-2014, I was not saving at all, but that phase taught me to make do with less and to live within my means. Now I am actually saving a lot as compared to my Citibank days, as a matter of habit and a change in lifestyle.
Probably if I were still in Citibank, I would be earning a lot more but saving a lot less. Right now I am not earning as much, but saving a lot more, I do not splurge anymore, because of that phase.
Scripbox: Would you say that your salary from your first job and your resultant savings gave you the confidence to leave a comfortable job and work with a start-up?
Rachit: Yes, definitely. In fact, that’s one advice I always give to my juniors from college as well, that don’t jump into the start-up universe straight out of college.
This is primarily due to two reasons, firstly, because a job in an established firm gives you a lot of exposure to global level of talent, you learn professionalism and the discipline of a full time job. Secondly, you would have some savings to fall back upon in the later years of your life, if anything goes wrong.
Because of my first job and salary, I was able to take this decision without taking a significant hit on my personal wealth.
Scripbox: After considerably scaling back when you joined the start-up, have you resumed investing?
Rachit: In the early days I continued with the insurance policies since not paying the premium was not an option. Off late I have resumed investing in PPFs, and property.
I also started investing in stocks, through Systematic Investment Plans (SIPs), I don’t actually trade in the stock market or keep a tab on the news, but I just make sure that a certain stipulated amount goes into a stable stock option, every month.
Scripbox: If you were to take another leap of faith and venture into something as risky in the future, would you then rely on your investments to back your transition?
Rachit: Yeah certainly! The first step towards taking a risk is to evaluate how risky a particular venture is. As far as possible, I would try not to touch my investments and see for myself if I have any liquid savings to compensate for any sudden expenses, for at least 5-6 months.
If you are not able to pull an idea or execute it in 5-6 months, and if it fails to resonate with your customers in that period, then it’s probably time to hit the drawing board. Then that becomes a wake up call.
Scripbox:Are there any specific lessons you would like to share with our readers
Rachit: In your formative years, when you start working without additional responsibilities, till you are not married and have added expenses, save a lot. Save as much as you can, so that you can use these savings to do whatever you want to in the next couple of years.
Once you get married and start a family, you will always have to worry about where the money will come from. Initially, continue to have a simple lifestyle, unless an expense becomes an unavoidable need.