Rohan Lunawat put risk aversion on the backburner when he returned to his home country India to enter the fiercely competitive mobile apps market. He talks to us about the experience of working in a start-up environment and whizzing through the city of Pune on a scooter.
Rohan, 29, got together with three partners to create the Pune-based mobile apps development company Script Lanes in January 2011. The company has now grown to an 11-person team and has plans for further expansion.
Rohan took the decision to dive into Indian entrepreneurship after completing the full-time MBA at EMLYON Business School, France, in 2010. Prior to the MBA, he had worked as Product Manager for Honeywell, the Fortune 100 company that invents and manufactures technologies from domestic thermostats to cluster bombs.
This role gave Rohan the opportunity to live and work in places as diverse as Singapore, Australia, and South Africa but Rohan’s priority on completing the MBA was to give something back by contributing directly to the economy of the city he had been brought up in.
At Script Lanes, Rohan is the Director of Business Development, making sure all their projects run smoothly. Having gained his BEng Instrumentation and Control from Pune Institute of Computer Technology, Rohan wanted an MBA to build his strategic and finance skills. During the MBA programme, Rohan spent three months on exchange at Cass Business School, and also competed in two business plan competitions during the year; experiences that have been helpful in running Script Lanes.
He says, "The business plan competitions were the best part of my MBA. I worked with two colleagues to present our venture Anastom Technologies at the European Business Plan Competition and at the Mootcorp Business Plan Competition in Austin, Texas. I still employ the entrepreneurial exposure of these experiences on a daily basis".
Rohan tells us that Script Lanes is self-funded with the four partners putting up their own money to engage their skills and expertise when designing and delivering mobile apps that can be used across all major platforms including Apple products, Google’s Android and Microsoft Windows Mobiles.
“We’re big fans of smart phones. One of our partners worked in apps development and has extensive knowledge of the apps industry. We know that in the next ten years everything will be mobile and we want to have a hand in that”, says Rohan.
Rohan admits that deciding to set up on his own rather than going to work for someone else has been extremely challenging. “The opportunity cost is huge. If I had stayed in Europe, I would have lots of money and an easy life.
"It’s also extremely challenging to find the right resources especially human resources; there are not many like-minded people for start-ups. I got married in the same period... and I’m glad to have the level of family support I do”, he says.
Thus far, life in a start-up has been exciting for Rohan. When he's not whizzing through the streets of Pune on a scooter, the company is getting a lot done. They have already built apps for several firms including management consultancy KPMG, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, and international learning solutions provider Cengage.
"We can make any app. If a client tells us what they would like, we suggest the right way to develop it, make a mock-up of it and then the real thing. Depending on the functionality required, we can do this in as little as a month and a half", he says.
Rohan says that Script Lanes has also sustained good links with associates in the US, UK and Japan. Script Lanes is currently working on a product launch for the education sector. The interactive learning product will first be considered in the Indian market says Rohan.
They also have an office capacity of 25 people and Rohan says they are planning to make more hires in the near future.
He says, "I'm glad we're all doing this now. We've come a long way from our cash flow issues and now our expansion plans are huge."
Read more about students doing an MBA in Europe here