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Inside IIT Madras: Ace startup mentor Ashok Jhunjhunwala says entrepreneurs must be ready to fail multiple times

Mar 22, 2023 / 11:35 AM IST

The renowned academic advised them to be ready to fail multiple times, be realistic that they would not be able to draw any salaries at first, and develop skills in multiple domains in order to make it big as entrepreneurs.

IIT Madras Research Park president Ashok Jhunjhunwala has seen it all. In a career spanning over four decades, he has seen first-hand the transition from India being massively import-reliant in the 1970s and 80s to a point now where the country has 108 start-up unicorns (more than 1 billion valuation).

Starting off as an academician at IIT Madras in 1981, he set up the IIT Madras Research Park (IITMRP) in Chennai, in 2008. It has been responsible for the incubation of over 200 deeptech companies, including unicorns such as Uniphore and Ather. The 70-year-old Jhunjhunwala’s experience and knowledge in the field of innovation and entrepreneurship are undeniable.

Also read: Inside IIT Madras: Meet the professor who is cofounder of 6 deep-tech startups

In fact, when Moneycontrol visited IITMRP earlier this month, most start-ups incubated at the IIT Madras Incubation Cell (housed within IITMRP) credited Jhunjhunwala, who was awarded the Padma Shri in 2002, for shaping their start-ups’ journey. So, when Jhunjhunwala talks about entrepreneurship and innovation, people tend to listen.