Arjun Nagarajan: I Believe We Have a Lot of Perseverance and Resilience Which Has Been Drilled to Us Because of the Oil and Gas Industry’s Teachings and Experiences

Arjun Nagarajan

Arjun Nagarajan of Syook.

Tell us about yourself.

I am Arjun Nagarajan and here is my story…

I grew up in Hyderabad. As a kid, I was active and participated in extracurricular activities. I was into debating, quizzing and much more. I cleared the JEE (Joint Entrance Examination) and got into IIT Guwahati to pursue my bachelor’s in civil engineering. 

From the campus placements process, I was placed at an oil and gas giant, Schlumberger. I spent 10 years at Schlumberger before I embarked on the entrepreneur’s journey. The dream of entrepreneurship gave birth to Syook. 

Syook was conceptualized as a solution for the day-to-day issues my co-founders and I faced while working at our respective jobs. The intent is to transform the world digitally with Syook. We could never imagine working with clients like Unilever, UPL, FCA, Fortis Hospitals, Indian Railways and many more.

What do you think is the single biggest misconception people have when it comes to startups?

Startups are often romanticized, but it is a very challenging journey. The funding helps with the risk element but there are plenty of challenges when it comes to building a startup.

If you could go back in time to any moment from your journey and give yourself one tip, what would it be?

I would say that with five years of experience, one can start the entrepreneurship journey. Since you tend to get more comfortable as you get older. 

What makes you stand out as an entrepreneur?

I speak for the founders of Syook- I believe we have a lot of perseverance and resilience which has been drilled into us because of the experience we had in the oil and gas industry.

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What are some of the best working habits you’ve gained over the past couple of years?

One thing which helped me a lot is waking up early. I wake up at 5-5:30 am every day and this has enhanced my productivity. Additionally, I am also trying to do jogging (which I am still working on).

Give us a bit of an insight into the influences behind the company.

The co-founders and I have worked in countries like Yemen, the USA etc. That is when we realized that there is a huge scope for improvement in efficiency across the industry. 

Where do you see your business in five years?

In 5 years, We see Syook as a truly international company with a presence on all continents. So if any Fortune 500 company wants to improve their digital operations, they should think of ‘Syook’.

What do you think the biggest challenge will be for you in getting there?

The biggest challenge is the length of sales cycles of an enterprise. It may take a couple of years for a multi-million dollar to close. We are trying to reduce the time by giving use cases that can be shown to upper management to speed up the process. 

Talk to us about your biggest success story so far.

I believe our biggest success story was getting our first client- Unilever. There were a lot of challenges in the initial stage, but when it worked, it felt like magic.

How do clients and customers find you? Are you much of a salesperson for yourself?

Initially, you find customers. I am an introvert and not really a salesperson. This is where my co-founder, Saurabh Sharma comes in. As an extrovert, he has the ability to get people to listen to him. We also have a great network and have partnered with Bosch and Microsoft. 

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What one tip would you give to fellow startup founders?

I would advise fellow startup founders to make sure that they are up for the long haul. It is important to chalk out the timeline and make a fair estimate. It helps you a great deal.

And finally, what do you hope the future brings both you personally, and your business?

The three of us are first-generation entrepreneurs. So stepping out of the traditional workplace to start a business is a great achievement for all of us. We love what we do. So we enjoy working beyond the regular work hours as well. I am personally inspired by Sir Richard Branson, when it comes to tenacity I look up to him. 

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