Passion alone can never fuel you dream.
It is a sum total of many things such as hard work, devotion, belief, failures, new learnings, persistence, support from the ones you love and definitely some grace. But, most of all it is the people who come together to make a dream real! This is my story of meeting the most inspirational figure Dr. Devi shetty and how under his guidance Lollypop reached the fame of being among the top ux ui design studio. I have also shared the most important learning from Dr. Shetty and family and that’s precisely our secret success sauce.
Lollypop’s journey in the past years has been nothing short of a roller coaster ride! And, 2018 marks the golden lining to this beautiful journey. I am honoured to share the big news – Dr. Devi Shetty and Family is investing in Lollypop; their trust and confidence in us just makes everything looks so achievable, even, the dream to ‘Put India on a world map as a digital design destination’.
Back in 2009, when I was based in New Zealand, I stumbled upon an extremely inspirational video of Dr. Devi Shetty that made me stalk him. He envisioned affordable healthcare for all; he believed that the less fortunate should be able to avail the best medical care too, and he worked hard to make this belief, a real. The more I came to know about this man, the more I felt inspired and awe struck with him. I shared his video with my colleagues and felt a proud Indian every single time. It was much later that I realized, how strongly Dr. Shetty had impacted me and instilled me with strength to chase my dream – something that marks the birth of Lollypop.
Fast forward to 2012, I was back home in Bangalore – the silicon valley of India and had just founded Lollypop. Among our first few clients was a young lad full of passion and vigour, you all know him from the name Varun Agarwal, aka the man who founded the infamous Alma Mater. In the process we became good friends and he happened to introduce me to Dr. Varun Shetty. I couldn’t believe my lucky stars! To this very day, I’m extremely grateful to Varun, and will continue to do so.
Dr. Varun Shetty, at the time, was looking to build a specific app for surgeons that could revolutionize the surgical log keeping into a digital platform and create a seamless learning experience. In a span of about two months of thorough research with surgeons and doctors, we began to design an app. Surgeon Logbook was extremely well-received and had a few thousand active users in just a blink of an eye. While working to build this app I couldn’t help but keep hoping and wishing to meet Dr. Devi Shetty – a feeling that most definitely gave me butterflies in my stomach.
I was in my hometown, Hampi, a beautiful, historic place in Karnataka, when my phone started buzzing. It was Dr. Varun Shetty and he informed that his father wanted to speak to me and would call in next 15 minutes! Suddenly, everything froze around me, and the only thing I could think of was running to a place where the signals were better. With a spinning head, I just sprinted as fast as I could, after what felt a like an entire lifetime of waiting, my phone finally rang, and I heard Dr. Devi Shetty’s voice. I really struggled to find my voice and words – I was actually speaking with him!
I experienced so many emotions in just a moment. I felt relieved; I felt hopeful; I felt sure about myself – I felt like everything was falling finally into place. It was that conversation that truly made me think my dream could indeed come true – the dream of putting India on the map as a digital destination.
I then returned to Bangalore for my first meeting with him— an unforgettable meeting that took place in a moving car! We travelled from his residence to the Narayana Health City, and for the first time ever, I was thankful for the traffic in the city. The same traffic which I abuse and curse every single day was like a boon to me; it allowed me to spend more time with the man who was the very source of my inspiration.
During this journey, we talked about technology and design. I enjoyed every bit of this enlightening discussion, but there was one thing that I still carry in my heart, “Anil, the future of healthcare is in not medicine, it’s tech. Where do we start?”. A man of his stature, a face of medical science, believed that design and technology were the future of healthcare; not the medicine. I couldn’t fathom what I was hearing, probably, this is the very quality of visionaries, to be a step ahead of others. At this moment I knew that I had found a mentor in my idol. Later we went on doing multiple projects together.
By this time, Dr. Shetty was already advising me and was enjoying the design-first approach; there is so much to learn from him. He introduced me to his eldest son, Viren Shetty, Senior VP NH; he is a man of few words, but his knowledge is infinite; having him on the advisory panel was nothing less than a miracle. We made sure we discussed everything with him before taking any steps and he always managed to make time for us from his ever hectic schedule, it is largely because of him that we have been able to take right decisions at the right time and scale Lollypop to new heights.
I have learnt voluminous from them and I will share few which are gold for every aspiring entrepreneur:
First, there is no shortcut to success.
You need to learn business the hard way, it is only through facing the challenges, you will be groomed to face any adverse situation with a smile and that’s why Dr. Shetty and family has always pushed me to grow organically.
Second, always make time for what you love to do.
The very reason for us to be in business is the passion and love for what we do. In hustle and bustle of entrepreneurship, don’t forget that and stay true to your roots. Dr. Devi Shetty till date makes time to operate patients and I spend time on design.
Third, you are never self sufficient.
Everyone needs a team of right kind of people who works towards making a dream come true. These people are your real asset and investing in them is going to be your smartest move.
At last, seek expert guidance & mentorship not funds.
Money will follow you if you master rest of the things. So, look out for your mentor, they help you not just with experience but also a vision. These people have faced almost every challenge and have come through them, the knowledge they give is priceless.
After five whole years of growing organically, and building a team of more than 70 people, we realized it was time to expand and create a presence for ourselves all over India. But, this demanded funds and hence, with zero hesitation I approached Dr. Shetty and Viren for help, and they backed me up with no questions asked. This gesture that displayed their unrelenting trust in me and my team, was truly touching, and motivating.
No amount of words are enough to express my gratitude towards Dr. Devi Shetty, Viren, and their entire family for being there for us, and supporting us throughout. The journey was definitely challenging, but they made it easier. They never doubted us, and always believed in our vision, which is something I’m extremely grateful for. We’re so happy to welcome Mr. Viren Shetty to Lollypop family and on our board as one of the directors, and look forward to a more fruitful, and memorable journey.
To conclude, I’d like to say just one thing: investment is a part of success and growth but your true asset is and always will be the right kind of people, who truly believe in you, as well as your vision. I can’t believe how lucky I am to have found my mentors. And it’s because of them, that Lollypop is successful today. To me, this is a story worth telling, and I’m going to share this for many years to come.