Startup Diaries: The Scenic Route from Goa to London

I could never have imagined 4 years ago that I would be sitting here writing about my experiences of my pursuit to launch an innovative health and wellbeing concept in London.

I wanted to take this first piece to write about how I got to where I am today, a journey riddled with twists, turns, detours, and surprises (some good, some not so good). It’s been anything but lackluster and very happy to report that this venture is on the entrepreneurial highway to launching (Estimated Time of Arrival: Autumn 2013). 

But Caution: Uncertainty and possible Roadblocks ahead.

…But with it perhaps the most scenic routes of a lifetime.

To candidly recount my current status and our ultimate destination, which I will detail in later entries, I wanted to take readers through in reverse chronology my ambition to pursue entrepreneurship in London and even more importantly the journey I took to get here.

Flashback 1: ‘Exit Strategy’- Winter 2012

Last week I spoke to an Unnamed legendry Angel Advisor/Investor who shuttles himself between New York City, London, and Shanghai listening to hundreds of entrepreneurial pitches. A Godfather of sorts in the Tech world, on the occasions he offers his blessing, the fortunate startup is quite certainly guaranteed a rocket speed launch.

He asked me what was my ‘Exit Strategy’. Like other entrepreneurs I had a definite plan which he then deliberated over for several minutes and agreed it made sense.  I had a more philosophical epiphany at that moment- and that was - my personal destination was not the Exit Strategy, but actually this drive- this long sometimes tiring, sometimes self-doubting, but usually euphoric, emotional roller coaster was my actual destination.

Flashback 2:  London’s Financial District- The ‘City’- Winter 2011

A little over a year ago, I left my City job to pursue ‘entrepreneurial ambitions’ as my resignation letter stated. 

It took months of thinking, timing, courage, and conviction on my part. But what came next was perhaps harder.

A few of my colleagues, thought I was raving mad: “You want to leave now? Like before bonuses? Are you sure? Were you made redundant?”

And I replied: Yes; Now or never; Positive; and No.

Retrospectively, I had to take a leap of faith. At a time when I had financial commitments, felt an uncertainty about world financial markets, and not to mention was the recipient of respect-envy from my colleagues. It wasn’t easy hearing negative comments made by a revolving cast of characters but I tried to ignore the noise and simply focus.

I later found in a study conducted by London Business School that a third of the female population would start a business if it wasn’t for the fear of failure. Am I a bit scared- well yes of course.  But of failure? No.

I was far more terrified of not pursuing my entrepreneurial dreams and the consequences I might have to live with, my regret, of not having tried.  

Flashback 3:  MBA Graduation- July 2011

It was a great day, our MBA graduation- a culmination of 2 years of learning and making life-long friendships from all over the world.

I had a good job at a global company. But something deep down in the recesses of my mind was bothering me, as I craved creating something of my own. This ever-present yearning would soon catch up with me. 

Flashback 4: Goa- where it all started – February 2010

As part of our MBA, we completed a Second Year Project  (or 2YP as it’s affectionately known as). My group landed a project in Mumbai, India writing a paper on a woman’s healthcare products company, interviewing the CEO and other management.

We then travelled to Goa to unwind and start our paper.  Whilst bonding over late night paneer dosas, lamb biriyanis and copious amounts of masala chais,

I realised I had a passion for several things:  1) entrepreneurship   2) health & wellbeing and 3) founding a venture in London, the best city in the world to grow a global business.

Excited by my thoughts and one tummy bug away from my perfect dress size, I vowed to continue the conversation when I returned to London on ideas I’d like to explore.

This utterly random, yet life-altering trip re-emphasied the importance of: looking after oneself, sleep, yoga, healthy eating, meditation, and a balanced lifestyle.  The seeds of REYNA were planted but would not be fully realised until a year later.  

 

When she's not devoting every waking moment to her startup, REYNA, Priyam can be found at her favourite Bikram yoga studio or running along Regent's Park. REYNA, a postnatal recovery and wellbeing company, was born from her desire to transform the women's health landscape in London.  

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