EXCLUSIVE | Shivank Agarwal, Mitron: Giving back in a year of tumult [Year-Ender 2020]

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Shivank Agarwal, CEO, and co-founder, Mitron, created the free short video platform for next generation with an aim to start a home-grown app that showcased local talent and created bite-size entertainment videos for the Indian consumer. In 2011 he created BufferInfinite, which marked his arrival as an entrepreneur. Shivank also enjoyed an illustrious career as Senior Computer Scientist at Adobe, and served as Tech Lead at Makemytrip.

In this exclusive piece, Shivank writes about how Mitron was conceived during the pandemic, how the continuous support from users has motivated them to innovate, about their contribution towards the Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative, and more.

Read on.

You have to seed internal disruptors. You need sources of internal disruption. They don’t guarantee your survival, but you have got to try: Anand MahindraThese sagacious words by Anand Mahindra serve as great advice to all of us. His words particularly ring true, given the adversity, hardship, and uncertainty that the world faced in 2020. Last year will forever be etched in all our memories as one of the most tumultuous years of our time.

It was a year that caused many businesses to come to a grinding halt. However, it also made businesses and people resourceful. The world not only survived but as a result, we have emerged stronger and more resilient.

For me, 2020 will always be an eventful year. Amid a global pandemic, my ex-Makemytrip colleague and friend Anish Khandelwal and I came together to found Mitron. As you can imagine, starting a business in such difficult times came with its fair share of challenges. As I made my journey from an engineer to an entrepreneur, my immediate priority was to build a rock-solid team in a short duration of time as the market was changing rapidly.

I learned and unlearned many aspects of working- and routine life. There is always an opportunity to do something only if we are determined to take that first step. That is when the real journey commences: Shivank Agarwal

We also had to learn how to meet the users’ expectations in a short period. The entire phase was overwhelming, but also rewarding. I learnt the solution to both these challenges was to continuously attract like-minded people who compliment you and are not risk-averse. I am proud to say that we grew our team from 2 people to a head-count of 40, who are as passionate about the business as I am.

I learned and unlearned many aspects of working and routine life. There is always an opportunity to do something only if we are determined to take that first step. That is when the real journey commences. Every day, Team Mitron embarks upon this unknown path fraught with challenges and learnings as we come closer to our destination of success.

We were spurred by the phenomenal response that Mitron received, right from the start. In fact, in just a few months since our launch, we clocked over 40 million app downloads.

I will forever be grateful for the widespread support we received from the nation. It was immensely encouraging and compelled us to continue with our journey to build one of the best made-in-India products in the short-format video apps space. Fortunately for us, 2020 was a year that we remained relatively unscathed. I was also lucky that I got to spend a lot of time last year bonding with my family.

After witnessing the adversity faced by so many Indians, it was imperative for us to give back. I was very conscious of how important it was to empower Indian app developers by fostering a sense of self-reliance and strengthening home-grown technology.

For me, the one positive aspect that emerged from the pandemic was the loyalty and commitment demonstrated by Indians for ‘Make-in-India’. It is quite remarkable to see what can be achieved when the country comes together with a common vision and a clear goal: Shivank Agarwal

Hence, we decided to pay homage to the ‘Made-in-India’ apps that are doing exceptional work in keeping India running, with the launch of Atmanirbhar Apps, a discovery platform for Desi apps.

We wanted to make it easy for Indian consumers to identify domestic apps to meet their various needs. This is a small gesture on our part to give back to the Indian app ecosystem. It also signifies our contribution towards realizing the vision of our Prime Minister Narendra Modi for an Atmanirbhar Bharat.

For me, the one positive aspect that emerged from the pandemic was the loyalty and commitment demonstrated by Indians for ‘Make-in-India’. It is quite remarkable to see what can be achieved when the country comes together with a common vision and a clear goal.

Perhaps, this was one of the biggest takeaways for me in 2020 and I hope that all of us can carry this spirit and attitude forward, even once the pandemic is over.

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