It was after working in the IT industry for almost a decade that East Delhi-resident Nakul Kundra decided to take the entrepreneurial plunge by establishing Devnagri—an AI-powered translation platform. With a great passion for marketing and technology, this 37-year-old launched his start-up with an aim to make content accessible for those who use the internet in their native languages. A self-proclaimed travel buff, Kundra has globe-trotted across the world (he has been to more than 30 countries including France, Japan, etc.,). In this interview with The Morning Standard, he gets candid about his travel experiences and the many lessons he has learnt while building Devnagri.
Tell us about your start-up Devnagri.
I worked in the IT sector for almost a decade; I was developing applications. At one point, we wanted to create something like the Google Play Store—the India app store where we could get all Indian language applications other than others. At that point, we created a community of Android developers to help us with our work. The community consisted of 10,000 developers at that point, but when we started speaking to them, we realised the problem was that content [on the internet] was not available in Indian languages. Manual translation houses would often take over two months for a 10,000-word text. This is when we realised that it was not a scalable solution for the B2B sector, and we started working on Devnagri.
How do you spend your time when you’re not working?
The majority of my time usually goes into planning for Devnagri—how to scale it, and how to take it forward. If and when I get time, I like to travel and read. While the latter helps me enhance my knowledge, the former allows me to unwind and clear my head so that I can think clearly.
Since your work is in the realm of language and technology, do your travel experiences help you unwind?
I have been to over 30 countries—Belgium, Luxembourg, etc. When I travel, there are multiple things I observe—the language, the people, and the culture. For instance, when I went to Japan, I realised that people there talk in their local language. Japan is also very advanced and is one of the most productive economies in the world. If a country like such has 95 per cent of their population talking in their native language, then why can’t India do the same. If we promote this concept of [communicating in] Indian languages, especially in this time when the internet is on the rise, India too can develop the same way.
Tell us the one place that’s on your travel bucket list next?
Now, I look forward to travelling to Switzerland because it seems like the perfect place. I can go to, relax, and just be at peace for a while. Such an experience will also help me be more productive later.
You have also mentioned that you enjoy reading…
I like to read about managerial concepts—experiences of people, new ideas, and more. So, for instance, I like the books written by internet entrepreneur Ankur Warikoo [he is the founder of Nearbuy, a public speaker, and a YouTuber]. Warikoo talks about the practicality of business and how one can take things forward.
Are there any lessons you have learnt while setting-up Devnagri?
Yes—to be focused and confident about what you are doing. If you are focused and consistent, you will achieve something for sure. I also feel that in your journey to achieve something, there will be several people who question you, criticise you, or even demotivate you. But, if you are confident about your idea and resolute about achieving something in life, people’s mindsets won’t be able to digress you from your path.