I met up recently with Akhil Nigam, one of the founders of MassChallenge. You may have heard of this incubator. This year, over 1,200 entrepreneurs from 34 countries applied to be among the 125 companies that MassChallenge hosts.
What most people don’t know is that Akhil and his co-founder left very lucrative positions at Bain & Company, the management consulting firm. They both worked in the Private Equity Group, which tends to attract some of the hardest-working and most analytically-gifted consultants. Many people leave P.E.G. for extremely high-paying positions at buy-out firms, like a Bain Capital.
Yet, Akhil walked away and started MassChallenge.
As Akhil re-counted their early fundraising days, in 2009, during the heart of the Global Recession, he said there were a lot of skeptics who questioned what they were doing. I’m sure many thought they were crazy. Right now, there are 275 people crammed into their incubator, feverishly working on start-up ideas. Who thinks they’re crazy now? IMO, you cannot as a founder be doing what other founders are doing. Hence, you know you’re onto something when many people think you’re crazy (see “You’re Crazy”).
Akhil is a true entrepreneur.