From flunking 12th grade to dropping out of MBA to becoming a millionaire at just 24, Rishabh Lawania’s extraordinary story is undoubtedly fit for the big screen. Coming from a non-tech background, Rishabh, inspired by the greats like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, launched his first startup at the tender age of 17.
Since then, he has gone on to launch two more startups, one of which i.e. Xeler8 got acquired last year by Chinese accelerator and venture fund ZDreams Ventures.
Today, Lawania is a prolific investor with connections spanning across India, China, Japan and the US. For his latest venture, WeeTracker, he has set his eyes on Africa, the land of untapped opportunities. Leveraging his expansive network across some of the world’s most developed tech economies, Rishabh Lawania is now looking to help up-and-coming African startups to build sustainable businesses that have the potential to scale up.
During a candid interaction with Inc42, Rishabh Lawania shared interesting anecdotes from his unusual journey as a serial entrepreneur and investor. As part of our hour-long conversation, he also offered some valuable insights into the lessons learned from the failure of his second entrepreneurial venture as well as his plans for the future.
The Formative Years: Failing 12th Grade Exams, Starting A Company At 17
While everyone around him was dreaming about qualifying engineering entrance exams, Rishabh knew he wanted to do something beyond the usual i.e. start a business. However, the major hurdle was not having any guiding hands, since he came from a non-business family. “So, nobody expected that I would start a business, much less a technology startup because I have no technical background whatsoever,” he uttered.
Undeterred by this obstacle, Lawania started his first venture the year after he flunked the 12th grade. In fact, during the gap year immediately after his 12th board exams, he launched Red Carpets Events. Conceived in 2010, the event management company helped organised/co-organised 70+ promotional, corporate events across Delhi-NCR and Jaipur.