IIT Dropout Series: Farmer’s son left IIT-Delhi to start a startup

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When Sagar Patidar from Madhya Pradesh passed the difficult Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) in 2011, his family’s happiness knew no bounds. On the verge of becoming his village’s first engineer, Patidar was content with his success and knew he would at least get a well-paying job in a company to live a respectable life.

Originally from the Mandsaur village of Madhya Pradesh, Patidar belongs to a family of farmers. He was a bright student from childhood and studied in a public school in his village until class 5. For class 6, Sagar participated in the entrance examination for admission to Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya (JNV ) and passed through the Central School for talented students from rural areas.

This is where his college life took a turn, Patidar said.

“Joining JNV was a turning point in my life as peers, elders as well as teachers guided and helped me in all areas of life. My teachers understood my talent and encouraged me to pursue a career in genius. They trusted my ability and suggested I go to Kota after class 10 to prepare for JEE,” he told indianexpress.com.

“However, it was not easy. From financial constraints to lack of confidence and very little engineering knowledge… I faced all kinds of difficulties in Kota. However, my only goal was to pass the exam anyway and get into IIT. The goal was to get a good paying job to support my family and that kept me going for those two years,” he added.

However, even after qualifying for the JEE, Sagar was unsure which stream he should opt for. “In the struggle to clear the JEE, I never thought about which stream I was interested in. It was only after the results that I realized this real question. After much research, I decided to opting for computer science because of my interest in the subjects,” he said.

Sagar Patidar joined IIT-Delhi in 2011 for a BTech in Computer Science. To support himself financially, he started working as an intern in various start-ups during his summer and winter vacations. This is where his interest in software development grew.

“My roommate and I interned at various startups and were also working on our first payment app – Cibola. While working on the software, we both realized our passion for tech entrepreneurship and decided to leave BTech and pursuing our dream full time,” Patidar said.

He decided to leave IIT during the fourth year of his graduate degree. To his surprise, his family supported his decision but refused to invest financially in his start-up project.

Although Patidar dropped out of college to start a payment app, the app failed due to various Reserve Bank of India (RBI) standards. “It was a setback but also a lesson in understanding the product market before embarking on entrepreneurship. Therefore, I decided to work with a software development company for two years to understand the structure of the market,” he said.

Patidar worked at his company for more than two years and then quit to start his own custom software development service, Primathon, in 2018.

“I believe in the ‘10,000 hour rule’. If a person works rigorously for 10,000 hours in his life, he can reach any milestone. I followed this rule during my preparation for the JEE, then during my work to understand my interest and even after launching my own start-up. Hard work always pays off and it’s the only way to succeed,” Patidar stressed.

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