Prabeer Sarkar On How He Started His First Business With 19000 Taka In Pocket
Prabeer Sarkar is the founder and CEO of Dhaka Distributions, a cybersecurity company in Dhaka. Mr. Sarkar started his career as a banker. In an interview with Future Startup, he says his journey into the world of business is full of serendipitous events. That he was “foolish” to start a business without fully understanding what does it take. Here is an excerpt from the interview. You can read the full interview here.
On his first job and entrepreneurship:
My first job was with a nationalized commercial bank. I joined in 1986 and left in 1992. If you ask me, I have to admit that my journey into entrepreneurship was not exactly what I had dreamt or planned for. It happened. Life takes us places. I am not the legacy technology entrepreneur with the computer science background. I am a literature person. And I came with a completely different perspective of the technology business. And I pretty much enjoy doing it.
On how he started his first business with 19 thousand taka:
I was with the bank for around 6 years. I had started as a general banker, but around the end of 1988, I received a surprise call to sit for an aptitude test for the upcoming Computer Division of the bank. I was lucky. Don’t ask me how or why, but I did very good in the test. I got selected as a Programmer. This was the third transition in my life. I landed into the realm of technology.
I left the bank in 1992 and joined a World Bank-funded project as a Programmer. The fourth transition in my life. I worked there for a year. Around that time, I came across a friend who was supplying computers to the project. He was working for his brother’s company and he invited me over to meet his brother. Meeting him, was my fifth transition. He offered me a GM’s position in the company. I don’t know why, but I accepted. And I landed myself into the world of business. Unfortunately, the company failed within a year because of internal partnership issues. And I ventured out to the sixth transition of my life.
I had 19 thousand Taka in my pocket. A load of confidence. And had started to dream. It was a daring attempt. I started Technics Computers Pvt. Ltd. It was August of 1994.
I took a small 800 Square feet office in Segunbagicha. There were about five people who also joined me from my previous company. They took a chance and endured the challenges with me. We started in a lean manner. It was not a fancy office. My first computer in the office took me six months to get. I used to send handwritten quotations to clients in the first few months. But business did not stop, we did deals at that time!
How he made the decision to start his first business and how he got his first client:
To be honest, I was foolish enough to do that. I was too young to understand the magnitude of starting a business. But when I formally started, I went into it with a lot of confidence. That helped.
Nowadays starting a business is a lot easier. Helps are available. You can get the information and support regarding how to start, manage your banking, manage your HR and so on relatively easily. That was not the case when I started. We did not have access to any of these facilities. Options to get support was limited. Regardless, we started. It was rather an intuitive decision. If I tell you now that I started with a proper plan, doing projections and all that, it would be a lie. It was more like following a dream. I followed my confidence.
I think we got our first mentionable customer after one and half months of starting our operation. I had a friend who was an IT manager. So he put his bet on me. That was about seven or eight computers.
Note: This is an excerpt from our interview with Prabeer Sarkar, founder, and CEO of Dhaka Distributions, you can read the full interview here.