Interviews Start-ups

People don’t take you seriously: Avii Ahuja on being a young entrepreneur

Proving that age is just a number, Avii Ahuja – a class XII student from DPS Faridabad and an NTSE scholar, who has always been motivated to solve problems and develop solutions for them, is a tech-entrepreneur with three companies to his credit at the mere age of 17 years.

The young tech-entrepreneur, who created foodsamurAI and also co-founded a Healthcare product for the elderly – Senior Saathi (www.seniorsaathi.com) and Ploutos (www.ploutosmoney.com), recently received the TiE Young Entrepreneurs Award from Conrad Turner (Counselor for cultural affairs, US embassy).

In a conversation with us, Avii shares intricacies of his journey, the advantages and disadvantages of being a young entrepreneur, challenges, and much more.

Q. When did people around you started realising that you are so good at what you do? Was it from within or someone suggested you start the company?

Mr. Ahuja: I remember at the age of 12, getting frustrated sharing the Television in the family room and asking my parents for a Raspberry Pi. They looked at me with adoration, thinking that he just wants something like an apple pie. The little gadget arrived, and I quickly learned some working Python and had soon configured that into my personal media player for my room with every channel on my fingertip. The thrill of solving an average everyday problem with the help of technology put me on the path to learn various programming languages and delve deeper into the tech world.

Q. With technology upgrading so fast, how do you stay up-to-date with what is going to come in the next 1 year?

Mr. Ahuja: I thrive on exploring new avenues in technology. I explore articles on Medium, analyse AI research papers and attend PyData Meetups. 

Q. What are the advantages or disadvantages of being so young and working?

Mr. Ahuja: A big challenge that I face constantly is my age or shall I say lack of legal age. People don’t take you seriously at face value. One has to go above and beyond to sell one’s product or skills. The basic tasks of creating a company, bank accounts, applying for copyrights etc. become herculean.
On the flip side, age is also on my side as I can invest my energies into constantly learning and evolving my skill set instead of getting slotted in a box or role.  

Q. Since you are in class 12th, how do you manage the pressure of company and studies?

Mr. Ahuja: Balancing the roles of an entrepreneur and a student simultaneously does not come easy. Being an entrepreneur, there are times that some tasks take precedence over my studies. For example, there could be a critical bug in the app that needs immediate attention or there is an app update schedule to adhere to. At those times, my studies do take a back seat. Or I could have school examinations and then I have to switch off the entrepreneur mode and give my schoolwork full attention. Being a scholar badge recipient, my schoolwork is of utmost importance too. Because of this balancing act, many times I had to decide on achievable goals as an entrepreneur. 

I use a three S principle to juggle my school studies and my entrepreneurial projects – Set Priorities, Sub-task, and Schedule. Step one is to prioritise the tasks on a daily basis, step two is to divide the task into smaller achievable sub-tasks, and lastly, step three is to schedule and plan the timeline for these subtasks. These three principles have steered me through this journey.

Q. What are you planning to pursue after class 12th?

Mr. Ahuja: I would like to take my projects to the next level and put in a suite of features that I couldn’t, due to my hectic school schedule. The added features would make the user experience more wholesome. Actively monetising the products is also on the agenda. In my opinion, this is just the brink of the iceberg – there is so much to learn, discover and incorporate. On the education front, I want to broaden my horizons. To that end, I would like to get into a university and pursue my passion for technology and artificial intelligence.