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Feb 26, 2024
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Data is all-powerful. If you keep an open mind, and be curious enough to explore its hidden treasures, there is no limit to what you can do with it

-Ankit Das, Co-Founder and Chief Data Officer, Data Sutram.

 

Ankit Das, Co-Founder and Chief Data Officer, Data Sutram,

shares his startup journey from idea to execution to overcome challenges, in an interview with 100X.VC team.



  1. How did the idea of
Data Sutramcome up?

Rajit, Aisik, and I met when we were studying together in Jadavpur University, a well-reputed institution in Kolkata. Although known for its placement record and job offers, the three of us were adamant about “starting something of our own.”  

It was a particular problem statement that we came across, regarding why a brand’s convenience stores were not having good sales numbers, and the attempt to answer that question with data. That led us to discover the potential of alternate data and very soon we knew; if you are curious about it enough, you can unravel a whole new world. And that’s how Data Sutram came to being.

 

  1. What made you start working on
Data Sutramand executing this idea?

Once you go deep into the universe of data and AI, you realize how ingrained it is with every aspect of the world, be it finance, development, technology or whatever. It’s something everyone is always coming across or using somewhere in some way, but no one actually realizes its potential. Once we learned the potential of data we couldn’t wait to share it with the world. So many problems to solve and so many new avenues to discover. The next steps were very clearly visible, and soon “mission Data Sutram” began. We had to invest everything to enlighten not just ourselves but give millions like us the opportunity to harness this extraordinary power. 

 

  1. When did you realize the need to raise Venture Capital - Seed funding?

Very soon, our ideas started bearing fruit where we could solve real-world problem statements and help businesses utilize data and grow themselves one way or the other. And consequently, we realized the need for proper resources, as well as the financial backing to experiment and discover more and more. Luckily, we started seeking venture capital as soon as our solutions started hitting gold. We had to turn our ambitious vision into reality and take things to the next level. So capital was of course required more than just our enthusiasm. And beyond just the funding, a very important thing to have in every entrepreneur’s journey is someone else believing in your vision and validating your ideas, isn’t it?


  1. How has 100X helped you at the beginning of your journey?

I think 100x and Sanjay Mehta coming into our lives was a blessing. What was just a random cold call in search of funds, at a time when we knew nothing much about it, quickly turned into something huge! When your vision is validated in such a manner you have nothing else to do but let yourself completely immerse in the experience, be overly joyed about raising your first check and begin shaping the future. 

We underwent a dynamic 2 weeks of mentoring where we networked with some of the most brilliant minds in the industry, interacted with fellow startup founders who share our energy and passion and learned everything there is to learn about launching a new business. And the support never ended, 100x has always been at our side and stood in the forefront to help us catapult our growth, 

 

  1. Has your startup pivoted? If so, What has the pivot been?

In the beginning, we had positioned ourselves as a Location Intelligence company but along the journey, we discovered countless possibilities of data! Leveraging this opportunity, we transitioned to a B2B SAAS company building multiple products driven by data and technology, helping various enterprises get answers on Markets, Growth, Consumers, & Risk. So, I wouldn’t say that we have pivoted, we have simply built on our offerings by formulating ourselves into a product company.


  1. What challenges did you face & how did you overcome them?

Initially, we faced stiff resistance from our families! My own parents were not from an entrepreneurial background, they were skeptical about me skipping placements and starting a company from scratch. I still remember that my father had sent me MBA preparation materials when we were starting “mission Data Sutram”. 

Well, over four years into our journey, I can satisfactorily say that not just my parents, Data Sutram has successfully broken the prejudices and barriers of a new business starting from unorthodox places, and we have surpassed the expectations of the market, our own investors and many around us and convinced them to believe in our vision. There are many more hurdles to face, but I can confidently say that if you are focused and you have the right team, your persistence can overcome anything. 

 

  1. What stage is
Data Sutramat present?

Today, we are a growth-stage company, with a team of 60+ in various disciplines of data, engineering, product, business, and more who are working in unison to help our clients tap into the unexplored potential of Bharat. We also have an expanding senior leadership team of veterans who constantly drive us in the right direction, while providing the expertise and wisdom required for growth in a volatile economy. Of course our mentors and investors are always there to support us whenever we need them. We have also recently raised our Series A round, and are currently working with 50+ clients spanning across the BFSI, CPG, & Retail sectors. Seems like the only way forward is up!

 

  1. As founders, what are your goals for the next 1-2 years?

We are growing continuously in the SAAS space and we have translated data into interactive and easy-to-consume products to cater to a wide audience. Our main focus in the next year is to achieve complete product-market fit and scale our solutions across the industry. The goal is to eventually become the standard for how these products and data is consumed.

We are also testing global waters and hope to be validated by a bigger audience in the next couple of years and showcase the innovations built in Bharat, to the world. 

 

  1. What keeps you motivated & keeps you going?

As a founder and a “prior-college student” who took a chance to build on his dream, I am always motivated by the thoughts of everyone who has believed in us and is constantly working towards a vision; a vision that three college students saw but is now shared among more than 60+ people and partaken by many more businesses and individuals in some way or the other, right? I have to always keep the fire going, the drive in me to build great things.

 

  1. Your message for Startup founders building in this sector?

For my fellow founders, I would want to highlight only two very crucial things. First, data is all-powerful. If you keep an open mind, and be curious enough to explore its hidden treasures, there is no limit to what you can do with it. And if you ever have doubts, always share your findings with the world. We will all grow together. And second, the secret sauce of success behind every great founder, is having the right team. A team that will always have your back. Your business is only as good as the team who is helping you build it. That’s it! Never take your eye off the ball. And keep going. Cheers!


About Ankit Das-

 

Ankit Das, the Co-Founder and Chief Data Officer at Data Sutram

, excelled as a university topper in statistics and has nurtured a lifelong passion for economics. With a strong background in building and implementing econometric models for solving problems with alternate data, Ankit leads the data division at Data Sutram. He is renowned for building solutions that have leveraged data to answer questions of growth and provide intelligence. He was also featured in the Forbes - 30 under 30 list in Enterprise Technology in Asia.

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