16 Feb, 2019E27.CO
AstroTalk.in Founder Puneet Gupta
He never believed in astrology, and made fun of people who followed what he termed a “pseudo science”. To him, astrology was not something a learnt and educated person would follow.
However, his destiny was already written when he was born. And this destiny brought this entrepreneur to the very pseudo science that he once rejected with derision.
Puneet Gupta’s story is a perfect example of how destiny plays a big role in one’s life, and how human beings, at times, end up doing things they never wanted or expected to do.
“I was working for investment bank BNP Paribas in India back in 2015. I was not satisfied with the corporate life and always wanted to start a company on my own. But my earlier experiences as a founder deterred me from launching another one,” he tells me.
Willy-nilly, Gupta once again decided to take the plunge.
“When I was typing my resignation letter, a colleague of mine came over to my desk. She told me ‘You look lost. Are you okay. Do you need any help’. I showed the resignation letter and also shared with her my past struggles as a startup founder. After listening to my story, she asked me to share my birth details and that she would tell me what I should do next. She had a fair knowledge of astrology,” Gupta says.
“But I categorically told her I did not believe in astrology. But when she started sharing some of the experiences that I had had in the past, I had no option but to believe her. It was as if she knew my past life well enough. I was still unconvinced. But she persuaded me to go ahead with the decision to quit BNP Paribas and pursue my entrepreneurial dreams,” he reveals.
She predicted then that the coming two years looked very promising for Gupta’s startup. But the business would still face some challenges in the initial months. She also prophesied that his co-founder might leave him after two years and then the business would be pivoted. Once pivoted, it would flourish. The colleague also asked him to stay in the IT domain and explained to him how ‘Saturn’ and ‘Rahu’ in his birth chart would support IT.
As she advised, Gupta started an IT services startup, called CodeYeti, in April 2015. The business grew fast and bagged around 15-20 clients, including big ones like Yamaha. The startup also clocked a revenue of US$500,000 in the first year.
“After one and half years, my co-founder (who was my school mate) came to me and said he was not happy with the services business and that he wanted to launch products. I agreed with him, and we together started investing a lot of our time researching, and then launched a few new products. But none of these products saw the light of the day. The products were shut down, and I decided to focus on the the services business again,” Gupta reveals.
“True to the prediction of my former colleague, my co-founder resigned exactly after two years of starting our business. This is when I realised that there is something about astrology that is addictive. It doesn’t matter whether you have faith in it or not, but once someone starts telling you about your future, it is very fascinating and you want to know a lot more,” he goes on.
After his co-founder’s departure, Gupta dialled his the former astrologer colleague to apprise her of the events occurred in his life, and told her that all her predictions came true. She smiled at him and asked if he wanted to check his birth chart once again to know what future holds for him.
“I paused for a moment. And then I proposed an idea: how about I start a product in the field of astrology and I become your first customer?’,” Gupta adds as he narrates the story. “This was the beginning of AstroTalk.in.”
Launched in October 2017, Noida (near Delhi)-based AstroTalk is an online astrology predictions destination. One can talk to an astrologer over phone, or over chats, and get answers to all his/her worries by seeing the future life through ‘Astrology Kundli Predictions’ from the best astrologers in India. One can get predictions related to marriage, love life, career or health over phone calls, chats, queries or reports.
AtroTalk targets people in the age bracket of 23 to 25 as of now. According to Gupta, the company receives enquiries not just from different parts of India, but the US, Canada, the UK, Singapore and Dubai as well.
“We offer an e-wallet for customers. They can recharge it and then speak to an astrologer. We have more than 125 astrologers on our panel,” Gupta adds. “We charge on the basis of the duration of the session. Customers have an option to end the session at any time or else it ends automatically when they run out of balance.”
The company banks on multiple monetisation models. In addition to charging a customer for every session, AstroTalk also allows users to get a detailed report from the astrologer for a charge. Additionally, users can get online puja (offering) performed, or buy gemstone, Rudraksha, Yantra etc.
Gupta reveals that since inception, AstroTalk has had many interesting customer stories. “We had a customer in India, who asked us when can he change his job. Our astrologer told him that he will be working on a foreign land after three months and will be earning quite well. But he was unconvinced, since he had no contacts outside India and has not applied in a foreign company,” Gupta reveals.
“So, he left a very bad review of the astrologer and even complained to our support team. We then gave him a complimentary second opinion from another astrologer, who also predicted on the same lines. He got frustrated and left a ‘one star’ review on the app and said we are fake. We were disappointed to lose a customer. But after four months, he updated his review and told us that he was messaging from the UAE. He also sent a personal gift to the astrologer. Since then he is our regular customer,” Gupta smiles.
Well, Can AstroTalk also predict whether an entrepreneur/startup would be successful or not? And what do astrologers say about the success chances of AstroTalk?
“That’s an interesting question. When we started AstroTalk, we were told that the period till October 2018 would be tough. As he predicted, we went through a lot of ups and downs till July 2018 and our numbers were stagnant. However, in August 2018 (instead of Oct 2018), we achieved the product market fit and started scaling up. We have been growing 25 per cent month-on-month since then. As per Astrologer, AstroTalk would see an exponential growth when Ketu Antardasha starts in Rahu Dasha after April 2019. Rahu supports online business and Ketu supports spirituality,” he concluded.
(Disclaimer: Neither e27 nor this writer doesn’t believe in/promote astrology).
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