Entrepreneur Name: Nachappa Kalengada
Business Name: Otakuvillage.com
Today we interview Nachappa Kalengada founder and CEO of, otakuvillage.com. Otakuvillage is India’s Largest online portal for anime gaming merchandise, reviews, blogs, fan art and more. Otaku for those that don’t know is a term that refers to those who are major fans of Japanese pop culture. Nachappa has been a fan of anime for years and has built his niche online business around his passion. Otakuvillage ships it’s products all over India and will be expanding to worldwide shipping soon. Enough of the intro, lets hear from the master himeself…
Hi Nachappa, welcome to #eoindia, lets get started…
1) How did you get your idea for this business?
Starting a venture on a safe note boils down to 3 things for me.
a) You need to be passionate and have a connection with the product you are launching ( Anime has been a big part of my life since 10 years )
b) You should be happy to do your job day in and day out ( I was always involved in the tech startup space in my previous job )
c) You should generate constant revenue to keep the ball rolling ( E-Commerce is a rapidly growing industry in India )
All these 3 points came together, and we wanted to contribute to the anime/gaming community as there was nobody close to what we were planning to build. This gave birth to Otaku Village.
2) What was stopping you from becoming an entrepreneur?
Nothing can really stop anyone from doing what they want. For me, it was a matter of time, and I always knew that i would be an entrepreneur someday. I realised that commitments , bills, responsibilities and family are always going to remain at any point of time in life. There is no perfect moment to start off. Start now and make the this moment a perfect one. So in terms of my age, I ended up choosing the path of entrepreneurship earlier than i expected.
3) What was the reaction from your family when you first decided to start your business?
I have to say I have been lucky there so far. There was a lot of doubts within me in terms of financial security, failure of the venture, and the overall decision to quit my full time job. In spite of all this my family has been very supportive, and believed in my abilities. They never believed in mediocrity, and expected me to do something outside of the box.
4) What was your biggest failure in business and what did you learn from it?
Failures are a part of any venture. Big or small, you need them sometimes to reflect back on your actions. I do not have any incident that is worth being the biggest failure of my life, since I take most of the things positively . But there are a couple of challenges faced by us and many ventures around us, and these may lead to failures if not rectified:
a) Understanding the vision of the company and being on the same page in terms of inter-team communication.
b) Understanding the skill set of a resource and using the right talent effectively .
c) Government policies and processes that take too long in this day and age.
d) Timing. You cannot be too late or too early with your product. The market has to be ready.
5) When did you realise that your business was going to be successful?
We realised there is a good scope for our business through the various surveys we conducted. Also, the pop culture in India has grown exponentially. Events like anime cosfest, comiccon, social media responses, analytical reports in web, all these factors gave us confidence in going forward with the business.
6) What habits contribute to your success?
I am still in the process of getting to the point of “success” . It is a strong word, but some of the things i believe and follow are:
a) Hold yourself accountable for every work you do. It is very easy to get carried away when you are the boss.
b) Don’t burn yourself by working long hours for small tasks. Do short bursts of important tasks with a small break in between.
c) Never forget to encourage and appreciate your employees efforts on a regular basis. They are a part of your dream too.
d) If you are not a morning person, make your nights count!!!
e) Never put money into anything on impulse or gut feeling. Use the data available to validate your actions.
7) If you had to start your business again what would you do differently?
I would inculcate a stronger team-work culture, we are already working on it at present. And also a deeper relationship with our clients in sectors like supply chain, customs, artists, tech, purchasing, and other operational hurdles . Overall, we have tried to do most of the things right, so I don’t have any complaints here.
8) What is your favourite inspirational quote?
“Money is like gasoline during a road trip. You don’t want to run out of gas on your trip, but you’re not doing a tour of gas stations either.” —Tim O’Reilly
9) Where do you find inspiration?
don’t need to look too far away for that. Imaginations and dreams are a strong source of inspiration. India has a lot of amazing entrepreneurs and they continue to inspire me every time I meet them.
10) What is your favourite book?
Losing My Virginity – Richard Branson.
11) What advice would you give to someone starting out?
As an avid trekker myself, I just ask one thing. Would you rather die knowing you failed ? Or would you die without trying?. Mountains always look round and smooth from a distance. But if you want to reach the summit, be prepared, endure it, love it, don’t look back, for once you reach the top, you are that much far away from mediocrity and closer to glory.
Thats it. As usual a massive thank you to Nachappa for taking the time to answer those questions.
If you want to check out the book Nachappa mentioned (it’s fantastic by the way – Richard Branson’s autobiography), you can purchase it on Amazon India – check the links out below.