Successful startup founders seem to have it all sorted. They run huge companies, they are worth enormous sums of money, and budding entrepreneurs cling on to their every word for advice. But the path to success is rarely smooth. What happens behind the scenes is usually hidden, and before they hit it big, there are many twists and turns.
So when the hashtag #FirstSevenJobs started trending on Twitter in which people shared what their first seven jobs were, entrepreneurs also chimed in. And it made for fascinating reading – entrepreneurs have held an incredible assortment of jobs before they hit it big with their startups. Right from mowing lawns to toilet cleaners, successful founders have done it all.
1. Kunal Shah: Kunal Shah held a wide variety of jobs, including that of a Mehendi Cone Supplier and Data Entry Operator, before he sold Freecharge to Snapdeal for $400 million in 2015. It is one of India’s biggest tech acquisitions to date.
Mehendi Cone supplier
Data entry operator
D2D chemist Salesman
— Kunal Shah (@kunalb11) August 7, 2016
2. Paul Graham: Y-Combinator founder Paul Graham started off mowing lawns and scooping ice cream as a kid, and then had a resume that was fairly common to Silicon Valley – he was a programmer in 4 of his first 7 jobs.
scooping ice cream
working in a library
— Paul Graham (@paulg) August 7, 2016
3. Kashyap Deorah: The Golden Tap author and HyperTrack founder Kashyap Deorah had a rocky start to his entrepreneurial journey – he lists his first job as ‘failed entrepreneur’. He found success in 2013 when his startup Chalo was acquired by US-based company OpenTable.
intl biz dev
ceo of acquiring co#firstsevenjobs
— Kashyap Deorah (@righthalf) August 7, 2016
4. Carl Pei: OnePlus cofounder Carl Pei had humble beginnings to his career – he’d worked as a nurse assistant, and even as a toilet cleaner.
Game store clerk
Smartphone market strategy
— Carl Pei (@getpeid) August 7, 2016
5. Anand Jain: Burrp and CleverTap founder Anand Jain had an unconventional career for someone who started tech companies – he’d worked as a soap seller and a “saree fall purchaser”.
saree fall purchaser
lucknowi dress seller
door 2 door survey
— Anand Jain (@helloanand) August 7, 2016
6. Tonmoy Goswami: Tonmoy Goswami has jumped from tech to media, having worked as a programmer for most of his life before he founded popular content website Storypick in 2013.
Programmer (1st startup)
Programmer (2nd startup)
Programmer (3rd startup)
— Tonmoy Goswami (@7ONMOY) August 7, 2016
7. Mahesh Murthy: Prolific investor Mahesh Murthy has had a rather interesting career. He dropped out of college, and worked as a vacuum cleaner sales man and graphic designer. He then headed Channel V in India before becoming an investor and getting big exits with Redbus and CarWale.
Vacuum Cleaner Salesman
— Mahesh Murthy (@maheshmurthy) August 7, 2016
8. Sachin Bansal: Flipkart Executive Chairman has a secret hobby – he’s apparently a very good gamer, and plays Age of Empires and Quake 3. He jokingly lists down ‘Professional Gamer’ as one of the jobs he’s held. When he’s not being a delivery person, he heads India’s most successful startup.
— Sachin Bansal (@_sachinbansal) August 7, 2016
9. Santosh Panda: Explara’s founder and CEO Santosh Panda seems to have an interesting start with stints as a milk seller and dairy cow feed shop owner, before founding and heading one of the top lifestyle and event portals in India.
Dairy cow feed shop owner
2 Failed startup founder
Founder – Explara
— Santosh Panda (@santoshpanda) August 7, 2016
10. Vijay Shekhar Sharma: VSS has been at the entrepreneurship game for a long time – he started One97 Communications all the way back in 1999. He had a steady career progression, starting off as a programmer, working his way up to a tech lead, to finally hitting gold with Paytm, which is now valued at over $5 billion.
— Vijay Shekhar (@vijayshekhar) August 7, 2016