How I Went From Being a Courier Boy to a Startup Founder

Some journeys are worth experiencing, however difficult or traumatic they may be.

This is my story – the one that made me realise that the one investment everyone should make in life is education.

This is the story of how a courier boy who used to make Rs 500 a month went on to bag a package of Rs 55 lakh.

My name is Dev Dave and I have seen struggles from close quarters right from an early age. My dad has polio – something that made it difficult for him to keep jobs on a regular basis, when I was a child. I quickly realised that the only way I could attend college was if I took care of my own fees and expenses.

The Dream, Broken and Repaired

So in the tenth standard I began to work at various odds jobs. I worked as a courier boy, a waiter, a promotion executive, a chess coach, etc., to support my family. Through five years of college, while every kid my age attended classes I was busy working those various jobs. Attendance wasn’t a problem since I played chess for my college, but the frustration of not having a regular college experience made me realise how important education is.

I attempted CAT like every MBA aspirant – and after failing miserably for three consecutive years, I managed to clear the entrance exam of MICA in my first attempt in the year 2014. But little did I know that fate would still test me. My education loan was rejected by every bank we went to since my dad had a bad credit rating. (He had been duped of Rs 8 lakh in a Nigerian scam after believing an astrologer who’d said he’d come into money from foreign lands.)

My dream was beginning to move far, far away from me.

I now started working seven days a week. The goal was to exhaust myself so much that I would not think about the dream college I couldn’t afford.

In September 2015 I met a parent of a student. Upon hearing my story he asked me, “What if you got the chance to get into MICA again?” He urged me not to give up and promised me he’d be my sponsor. This time I started working even harder. I even appointed a ‘mind coach’ who would share tips with me to maintain a positive mindset.

Everyday I would write this on a piece of paper: “I will get into MICA 2015 batch and my loan will get sanctioned”.

I finally managed to get in.

I finally managed to get in. (Photo Courtesy: Devendra Dave)

Yet, once again, all banks – except for one – rejected my loan. The bank manager was optimistic that my loan would be sanctioned – but I had no idea how since I had no collateral and my father and sister both had a bad CIBIL rating.

And that’s when my sponsor stepped in and paid my first instalment. The next day, the bank manager called to let me know that my loan had been sanctioned for Rs 10 lakh. I couldn’t believe my ears!

I recently graduated from MICA.

The last two years have been the most wonderful time of my life. The journey was definitely not easy. I had to take care of my family and my expenses in college with very limited savings. I didn’t know how I’d manage it.

But a lot of things worked out. I got a need-based scholarship from MICA for an amount of Rs 4 lakh. I started my own startup by mentoring people for the entrance exam to MICA.

And finally? I managed to come runner-up in a competition that got me a PPO of Rs 55 lakh.

(Devendra Dave has done his MBA from MICA, India’s premier school for strategic marketing and communication. He is fond of teaching and mentors MICAT and chess students in his free time.)