Akhil Chandra, founder and CEO of Studio Mosaic and Epiphany Labs has explored the depths of the mobile app industry through a multitude of roles he has played over the years. Here, in conversation with MobileAppDaily he shares his experiences as a first-generation entrepreneur and his vision on App Marketing and Product Development with a few other ideas.
Most business schools teach competitiveness, committing to deadlines and excellent presentation skills. Additionally, the course curriculum demystifies different aspects of a business such as finance, marketing, statistical modelling etc. which is hard to master anywhere else, especially if you don’t come from a business background. I would say that IIFT helped me develop all of these skills and also enabled me to grow over my fear of failure in times of uncertainty thereby building my confidence in my abilities. Looking back I recall Entrepreneurship being one of my most enjoyable subjects and I ended up scoring one of the highest marks among my peers. Apart from the personality and behavioural developments, my time at IIFT helped me gain clarity on the vitals of industry and the role I should pursue. I ended up getting selected for Bharti Airtel’s prestigious Young Leader Program which allowed me to enter the telecom industry and ultimately paved the way towards the app ecosystem.
When I started in 2013, the app ecosystem was in its infancy and showed a lot of potential without the usual barriers like dependence on mobile carriers, capital investment and distribution challenges. I remember when I started, I wanted to build a business which would serve as a portfolio of widely accepted and appreciated apps that consumers love to use and of course, generate substantial revenue in the process. But after 1st year, things didn't go quite as smoothly as I had planned and I pivoted to start offering consulting services related to mobile app businesses and became a solopreneur. Soon, my wife Chetna joined me and the consulting gig evolved into a growth-based marketing agency which has now delivered 500+ apps successfully for clients from all over the world. In that aspect, Studio Mosaic has developed into something different from what I had planned in the beginning. Though, my original vision of building a portfolio of apps is now being fulfilled by my other company called Epiphany Labs.
Incredible! Like Steve Jobs said, you can only connect the dots when looking backwards. And as I look back, I find that all my career choices, whether intentional or unintentional, took me where I am today. What I do today lies at the crossroads of technology and marketing. I started in the technology industry and then moved to the marketing/business role. Along the way, I got the opportunity to experience the working cultures of Fortune 100 companies and fledgeling startups, all that helped me understand how a lot of things in the business and IT world work.
It has been a long journey and one that has been full of ups and a few downs. There have been instances when I had doubts about my ideas and decisions. But every tough situation made me tougher than before, more careful and less impulsive. My experiences have not only helped me become a better professional, but it has also shaped the person I am today and the leadership style I have developed. Looking back humbles me down.
I didn't have a set objective to accomplish when I was working. Later, the goals I made could have only been achieved by founding my own company. I would say that life evolved very organically for me. I got a great opportunity in something I was good at, the timing was right and the potential was imminent. Therefore, I jumped into it instinctively.
Like with anything in life nothing is black or white. As of now, it seems like a boon. But if not reigned in and used properly, can become dangerous as well.
After we successfully established Studio Mosaic as a leading marketing agency, I hived off my app development team into a separate entity called Epiphany Labs. The goal here is to create amazing apps that users will love to use. We focus on apps for Apple’s ecosystem and monetise our products directly through the end-users. I started with this idea but later deviated to start the agency. Now it seems that life has come full circle.
We would like Studio Mosaic to become the preferred growth partner for all mobile app businesses in the world. Studio Mosaic should be at the top when people look for innovation, deep domain knowledge and reliability in an agency, that’s our goal.
It made me believe in the power of apps and the fact that a well-made and well-marketed product can stand out even in a crowded ecosystem. It was also a testimony that I had made the right choice by following my dreams, which was a relief and also gave me the confidence to continue making more apps that we would love to take to the users.
It was not easy! Product development is perhaps one of the hardest things to do. It is an ongoing process that requires persistent updates because of the rapid advancement in technology, which makes it even more challenging.
You cannot get the same level of from anyone else other than yourself. With my wife working with me, it is like having another person with the same qualities.
Additionally, the fact that she is from the same industry makes things even better! Apart from understanding each other, we understand the industry and its demands. Together all this has helped us form a rather successful partnership personally and professionally.
I think finding an idea is a fundamental requirement for a sustainable business. Without it, one cannot even start. However, a lot of people get multiple ideas every day and eventually it boils down to execution. Building a high-performance app with modern features is much harder than it seems and it often becomes the difference between success and failure.
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