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THE STORY OF A TRULY INDIAN SPORTS BRAND THAT COULD GO PLACES BUT FAILED
Prashant Desai was seven when he lost his father. Growing up in poverty, his single-minded focus was to become wealthy and successful. Ranking fourth on the all-India Cost and Works Accountants exam at the age of twenty-one, joining the corporate world and working with leaders such as Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, Kishore Biyani and Jignesh Shah was a dream run that Prashant enjoyed, one that very few could even imagine and achieve.
In April 2017, Prashant Desai founded a venture to build the first truly Indian sports brand - D:FY. In six months, Rajiv Mehta, who started Puma India and led it for seven years, joined him as a partner. They opened seventeen stores in seven cities, riding on great aspirations and confidence. The business lost Rs 30 crore in thirty months, virtually wiping out all that Prashant had earned for nearly thirty years. The venture failed not because Prashant did not possess the necessary vision, determination and courage; it failed because the number of things Prashant did wrong exceeded the number of things he did right.
One could weep over the fuselage or decode the black box. So, when Prashant decided to decode it, new possibilities emerged, revealing a treasure trove of success secrets. The Biography of a Failed Venture provides a brutally honest account of why D:FY failed and how entrepreneurs can avoid these pitfalls to make their business ventures successful.
'When one becomes an entrepreneur, one must start with an assumption that anything that can go wrong - will. Also, when we fail, there is a tendency to externalize the causes of failure. Prashant Desai neglected to remember the first adage but has pitilessly analysed the reasons for his venture not succeeding by refusing to externalize the causes. A must-read for would-be entrepreneurs. The book underlines the need for solid expertise in all facets of the business, a true understanding of the customer mindset and requirements, a proper appreciation of the competitor's strengths and weaknesses, but, most of all, the need to temper enthusiasm and passion with deep knowledge.'
- ARUNDHATI BHATTACHARYA, chairperson and CEO, Salesforce India; former chairman SBI; member, board of directors, Reliance Industries Limited, Wipro Limited, Piramal Group
'The great Austrian poet and author Rainer Maria Rilke wrote that "The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things" and that, in essence, is the journey of an entrepreneur. It's a never-ending marathon with no end, several defeats and where the journey itself is the joy and the destination. Prashant is still on this journey because he is an entrepreneur at heart and brings his touch to various businesses. I have had the pleasure of working with him and observing him for many years. Watch this space. The best is yet to come.'
- SAMEER SAIN, co-founder and CEO, Everstone Group
'For every page that makes it into a final script, a hundred pages are lying crumpled on the floor. But they aren't worthless, as they paved the way for something better. Failure is like that, never the end but always a new beginning.'
- FARHAN AKHTAR, actor, director, singer, producer, writer
'Success is often about learning to fail well. One has to have the ability to let go of the unwanted baggage that failure brings and to learn from the experience and move ahead. My compliments to Prashant Desai on bringing this out so well in this engaging narrative.'
- ABHINAV BINDRA, five-time Olympian and Olympic gold medallist
'Everybody reads many stories of successful ventures by entrepreneurs, not many talk about their failures! But failed ventures teach us much more about life, adversity and how to overcome obstacles and succeed. Every failed venture has many lessons. We need to have the courage to accept failure in our lives and carry on. This is a rare book where Prashant Desai discuses his failed venture and the many lessons it taught him. A brutally honest book of immense courage.'
- T.V. MOHANDAS PAI, chairman, Aarin Capital and Manipal Global Education; former CFO and board member at Infosys; co-founder of Akshaya Patra; board member of the National Stock Exchange of India
'Everyone makes mistakes. Be it in cricket, business or life. It takes courage to share them so that others can benefit from them. Prashant has been fearless with his book, just like me. All the best to him.'
- VIRENDER SEHWAG, former Indian cricketer
'To fail is not a crime but to give up on one's passion after a failure is fatal. Prashant Desai's The Biography of a Failed Venture is a courageous step stemming from his reflections in the wake of a failed start-up. This book is not just a testimony to Prashant bravely accepting his debacle but is also his way of selflessly enabling others to learn practical lessons on coping with failure, learning from it and using it as a springboard to bounce back.'
- RITESH SIDHWANI, co-founder and producer, Excel Entertainment
'I have always known Prashant as a real entrepreneur in corporate India and wished him well when he decided to take the start-up plunge. Things didn't work out, he made mistakes - we all make mistakes. We learn the most from our mistakes, yet very rarely do we share them. It is very bold of Prashant to document the mistakes he made and share them in this very readable book. I hope many of us embark on our own start-up journeys but make new mistakes instead of repeating the ones Prashant made. Wishing him the very best in his future adventures.'
- ASHISH RAMESHCHANDRA KACHOLIA, founder and CEO, Lucky Investment Managers Pvt. Ltd
'We all make mistakes, even though we all like to think we do not. Whilst we all learn from our mistakes, very few consistently remember them. And even fewer share theirs. Through this book, Prashant has attempted to celebrate mistakes. He has shown us how not to be afraid of making mistakes, how to try and avoid them, as well as consistently learn from them. A lot of insights for budding entrepreneurs in Prashant's book. A highly recommended read.'
- ATUL KAPUR, co-founder and CIO, Everstone Group
'This unusual story of failure is really the story of all our lives - what makes us fail. It is important because it explains what we don't need to do to fail, written by someone with first-hand experience.'
- MUDAR PATHERYA, analyst and writer