In The Hot Seat - Meet Anoushka Jolly, The Youngest Entrepreneur Who Raised 50 Lakhs Funding From Shark Tank India | Interview
Anoushka Jolly is the youngest entrepreneur from India who was recently seen on Shark Tank India Season 1. And with that Anushka received funding of ₹5 Lakhs at Pre-Valuation of ₹50 Lakhs for her Anti-Bullying app Kavach. Today team ISOS got an amazing opportunity to interview the youngest entrepreneur Anushka for our most popular series "In The HotSeat" by ISOS Digital Media. So let's start the interview,
#1 Anoushka please tell us about yourself?
-I'm 14 years old, and I am the founder and CEO of Inner Arc. It's a mental health startup that has been working on adolescent mental health issues for the past four years now. I started my journey by working on an issue called Bullying in Schools, and now I have progressed to focusing on mental health as a whole. So far, I've impacted 20,000 plus different schools, and recently I gave my first TEDx Talk.
#2 What made you start entrepreneurship at an early age? What's the story behind it?
-As I said, I started with bullying, and the reason I started with that issue is because I experienced it myself when I was really young. When I was in third grade, I got severely buried by two girls who I thought were my closest friends, and it really affected my mental health. I became a really sad, reserved person, and it was difficult for me to make friends or trust people after that. But ultimately, when I finally overcame it with the help of my parents and my teachers, I decided I want nobody else to go through what I did. So, keeping that in mind, at the time, I was also very interested in entrepreneurship because both my parents are entrepreneurs. So we used to have a lot of conversations about the topic. We used to watch Shark Tank USA. I was very drawn towards especially social entrepreneurship, so I decided that I wanted to do something about the issue, and I decided to take it forward.
#3 What tips you would like to share with the innovators and entrepreneurs who are looking to raise funds at Shark Tank India? What was your experience at Shark Tank India?
-Okay, so speaking about my personal experience, Shark Tank was a great opportunity for me, not only to just get the opportunity to pitch and win funding but also to gain exposure to what it is like on a TV set. And I got to interact with and meet such wonderful entrepreneurs, such wonderful people.
And over the journey, there was one incident that happened with me the night before my pitch where I had almost a nervous breakdown because I was so scared of messing up my pitch in a way. And at the time, there was an other entrepreneur who was also shooting the same day as I was. And he basically came up to me and he asked me several days, and then he said something like if you have reached so far right now here if you're at Shark Tank at this age, then even if you don't get through and win the funding, it really doesn't matter because you prove that you're passionate enough and you go very far in life with the same passion. I think not everybody who will apply to Shark Time, even if you have a great idea, is going to get in and necessarily win the funding.
So I think what you should keep in your mind is belief, is hope, and not sorry, you don't get demotivated if you don't get in because it's not a shark tank. How successful an entrepreneur is, how successful the business can be. so that's first. And second, I would say probably to be very careful about how you talk to the sharks as well. If you actually get through the final round. And I would say make sure your ask is reasonable and your product is required and try to understand the point of view of other people as well on Shark Tank, like the sharks or the people that help you behind the set or your peers. So get a lot of feedback and if you get through on the show, then just have a good experience and don't worry too much about winning the funding.
#4 Doing entrepreneurship at a young age can be stressful. How do you deal with bad mental health/stress/anxiety?
-Yes, sometimes I do experience that and the way I deal with it is just two things. So firstly, I take a break and I let myself relax by just doing something I enjoy, like reading a book or watching something or spending time with my family. And second, I talk to someone about it. I usually talk to my parents, I think they understand best. And if I don't like talking to them, then I talk to my friends or somebody. So I talked to someone about it and I take a break.
#5 What's your business revenue model?
So as of now, we weren't generating any revenue. And it's because my business was nonprofit earlier, but now that I've properly started this one, we're working on a new model that's basically a new version of the app that I created on Shark Tank. So it's going to basically make mental health more accessible for adolescents and for teenagers. And the way we learn through that is to the way most apps are in a premium model or subscription model that would still be affordable so that people are able to access mental health.
#6 What tips would you like to share with budding entrepreneurs?
-My advice would be probably there are many things that make up an entrepreneur. And in my opinion, I think the biggest thing would be confidence. So if you don't have confidence in yourself, you won't be able to get through places and get through opportunities. For example, when I applied for Shark Tank, the age was actually supposed to be 18 plus. But I somehow did it. I somehow found a way in a way that was fair. I applied for Shark Tank, and initially, I did have second thoughts. I was confused. But then I just thought that the worst thing that would happen is that I would get rejected and I should have confidence, and I should go ahead and do it. And just that 20 seconds of confidence that I exhibited has led me here so I would say, just have confidence.