Pulkit Madan is the founder of two impressive startups Backit and Coffee.io - a collaboration platform for geeks. If you're not impressed by this fact alone you will be once you've heard the odds Pulkit had to overcome to reach here. Suffering from terrible allergies and forced to drop out of regular school should spell the end of good education for most students but not Pulkit. He turned the overwhelming odds in his favor by using all his free time to code. We had a chat with him about his journey so far. He almost makes it sound easy.
How did it all start? At what age did you start coding? How did you get your first PC?
It all started back when I was in the 8th Standard and joined a sort of class/competition after the school in which they teach you the basics of flash for 2 weeks. At the end of that course we needed to create a flash movie on the topic they assign us to and the best movie was to win the prize. I won, and started getting more interested in multimedia. I landed on photoshop’s tutorials. I started coding when i was 15 years old and i remember it was a simple html website. It’s really hard to tell exactly when i got my first personal computer but it was when I was around 13-14 years old. But yes I remember it was a 256 MB RAM which was considered good at that time.
What has been your parents’ reaction to your startup?
My parents have been supportive since day one. We usually discuss everyday about what I’m building and how I will take it further. I have seen many parents forcing their children to pursue engineering or any other career the parents decide for but I must say I am lucky to have such good and understanding parents.
Earlier you had mentioned health reasons because of which you had to take a break. Could you share more?
It was back in 9th standard when this health problem started becoming more aggressive. Basically I am struggling with a strange kind of allergy which causes a bad itch. Soon after that it used to burn like hell due to me rubbing all over the skin. We went to various doctors and got many tests done but there was no end result. Due to that, many a times i was not able to attend the school. At the time of filling board forms, the principal said that the board has rejected my form due to the number of holidays exceeding the limit. However, the vice-principal told me that the board said nothing about it and had accepted the form as the leave applications was already provided. It was the principal who had a problem. Don’t know what happened there but I was not allowed to give the exam and I had no option but to opt in for NIOS (National Institute of open schooling). In open school’s you don’t have to attend a class but just prepare yourself for the exam. And this was the time when I got some serious coding bug as most of my free time went in programming and designing.
Lucknow? How's the city to create a tech startup?
Lucknow is a decent place to stay – good food and a small city. But there are not many resources available for startups here. There are no too many good places where you can sit with your friends and work on creating awesome things. I think it will take a lot of time for this city to become a place for startups.
What has been your friends’ reaction?
Nice question there. I only have a few friends because i usually don’t interact with too many people – maybe because of different interests. Many of my friends still don’t know what I am up to so i think we will have to wait for sometime to see the reactions.
What about the reaction from your school/teachers?
I think there is nothing to answer in this question. I started working on something interesting after joining NIOS and there are no kind of teachers there. But I do hope that one day my old school principal realize what I was going through.
Right now I am planning to finish with my 12th standard exams and concentrate on both of the ventures - Coffee.io (Real time collaboration tool for developers) & Backit.co (One click website/database backup solution). I am planning to drop out for a year and apply to NID (National Institue of Design) next year for further studies in designing.
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