Ep 60 // Meet Introverted Investor & Operator Sherul Mehta

Ep 60- Sherul Mehta

If you've ever worked for a company or a family business and you didn't feel like it was a good fit, you'll be inspired by this episode as Sherul Mehta joins Akua to share how he leveraged his vast experience to become an entrepreneur, investor, and operator. 

Knowing the value of IT in business, Sherul studied computer science and business management while at university. He went to work at Goldman Sachs, then joined his family's diamond business. Finding himself bored and unfulfilled, Sherul went into business with his cousin, where he acquired two businesses that focus on helping entrepreneurs and businesses grow. Listen in to find out how acquiring these businesses helped him build his own! 

Sherul also discusses the three main pillars he believes are core in supporting entrepreneurs, gives his advice to founders and service providers, and discusses what it's like to work with family. 

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What's Covered in this Episode About Podcast Marketing

  • Sherul talks about his background and how he pivoted to entrepreneurship.
  • Learn how working for the family diamond business found him unfulfilled but how he kept his new ventures in the family. 
  • Sherul talks about how he acquired his first business and was able to use its success as a learning tool and blueprint.  
  • Find out the advice Sherul gives to founders who might be looking to get acquired. 
  • The two discuss the three pillars needed to succeed in business: a strong tech team, a marketing team, and a design team.
  • Sherul talks about his company Delesign, which offers dedicated design work at a fraction of the cost of an in-house designer.
  • Discover how he leveraged Delesign to build his business, Scale Your Podcast, which helps podcasters increase engagement. 
  • Service providers who are starting out should know their audience and who they're creating their service for. Sherul gives real-life examples.
  • Sherul talks about the difference between launching a business and running a business. 
  • Find out which Belgian national team Sherul plays for. 

A note from Akua: Enjoy this podcast content and guests? These are the kinds of conversations (and amazing humans) we will have in my new community and container. If you are an action-oriented and accomplished professional who is pivoting into service-based entrepreneurship and are ready to get out of theory and into practice, join my waitlist to cut through the noise and get to the money here: www.akuanm.com/cheatcode

Quotes from this Episode of Open Door Conversations

  • "Our company is called Next Sky. So Next Sky is the parent company. And all these are under the umbrella of Nexus. After five years, we want to reach a point where we are in a position to be able to release products, tools, services, that can help entrepreneurs be successful at their business." - Sherul Mehta
  • "I love spending time with family. I've been recently married. And when I say recently, it's been around three years. So I love spending time with my wife going on. Short. I live in Europe. So travelling around Europe is not too difficult." - Sherul Mehta
  • "We already hire designers that go through a screening process, an interview process, a training process, and even after they're assigned to the team, their projects are also regularly monitored for quality assurance." - Sherul Mehta

Get to Know this Episode's Guest

Website: https://mehtasherul.com/
Twitter: @mehtasherul
Delesign: Delesign.com
Scale Your Podcast: Scaleyourpodcastmarketing.com

Get to Know the Host of the Open Door Conversations Podcast

Learn more about your host, Akua Nyame-Mensah.

Akua is a certified executive and leadership coach, recognized learning and organizational development facilitator, speaker, and former startup executive. 

Since 2018, she has had the opportunity to partner with amazing organizations, from high-growth startups to multinational brands all around the world, to maximize people, performance, and profit.  Outside of her coaching and corporate speaking engagements, she is a regular mentor, coach, and judge for various entrepreneurship-focused organizations.

Stay in touch with Akua Nyame-Mensah, Leadership & Culture Advisor:

  • Read about Akua’s services if you’d like to learn more about how you can hire her to help you strengthen your organization’s culture.

  • Complete her contact form to jump on a call.

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Here’s the transcript for episode 60 about Startup Investing

NOTE: Please excuse any errors in this transcript; it was created using an AI tool. Akua Nyame-Mensah 0:07 Welcome to the open door podcast. My name is Akua Nyame-Mensah. I also respond to Aqua and I'm a certified executive and leadership coach recognised facilitator and former sort of leader that loves supporting reluctant buyer fighting and overwhelmed leaders. I've worked with them to help them clarify where they should focus their time and energy each and every day so that they can love themselves, love their work, and ultimately love their life. If you're looking to learn leadership information and hear different perspectives, you are in the right place. My aim in this podcast is to help you see that one of the most productive and profitable things you can do is deeply understand yourself. Understand how you show up, understand how you thrive and allow yourself to align everything in your work in your life, and in your business to support that think of this podcast as your weekly opportunity to receive leadership support. And remember, there is no one right way to lead yourself or others. Thank you so much for taking the time to join me today. Let's get started. Hello, and welcome to this week's open door conversations podcast interview. I am really excited about this week's interview because I interview an introverted entrepreneur, right who invests in companies and helps to operate them. He's going to talk about the three pillars he thinks that are core to building a foundation of supporting entrepreneurs around the world. If you've ever worked for a company, or a family business, and you didn't feel like it was a good fit, you need to listen to this episode because the entrepreneur that I interview shares his story and his journey to becoming an entrepreneur after going to school to be a computer science major interning at Goldman Sachs and working in his family's diamond business. Keep listening. I am super excited today, because I am joined by Cheryl to talk about becoming an investor and operator Cheryl. And I hope I'm saying that correctly. Welcome to the show. Speaker 1 2:27 Hi, Akua. Thank you so much for having me. Yeah, that's just about great. It's fine. Thank you so much. Akua Nyame-Mensah 2:31 You can feel free, honestly, to correct me if you need to. But for people who are meeting you for the first time, could you share a little bit about who you are and what you do? Speaker 1 2:42 Yeah, sure. So basically, I'm from India, Indian origin, based in Belgium. So my father moved here in the early 1980s. With his uncle to start work. And yeah, so since I was born, I've been brought over here went to an English speaking school over here, and then did University in the UK. And now I'm working in Belgium, as an entrepreneur, slash investor. Akua Nyame-Mensah 3:10 Really excited to dive into this. Everyone listening, he has such an interesting background. Maybe to sort of start off, can you tell us sort of what you initially started off with? What was one of your first jobs, just so people can have a better understanding of really the unique background that you have? Speaker 1 3:28 Sure. So basically, I did my degree in computer science with Business Management at the University of Manchester. Basically, when I was growing up, I always felt that obviously, it was the future for business. And so I wanted to do a combination where I could use it in business. And my first job I actually was I got an internship at Goldman Sachs while at University as a tech auditor, so my experience was good. I really enjoyed working in a big company. And just the experience itself was great, but it wasn't exactly what I was looking for in terms of the balance between tech and business. It was a lot more to do with a finance and I would have hoped. So after Goldman Sachs, I looked for other opportunities around in the UK market and abroad also, but didn't really get exactly what I was looking for. And since then, I was the owner of the two sons. In my family, I decided to join my family business. So I went to train. So my family business is in diamonds. And I went and trained in India and learned a little bit about it and then came to Belgium and started working in diamonds. I was doing well for myself, but after a point it was getting a little monotonous. And just just when I was feeling fulfilled my cousin came along with an opportunity and with a vision where he wanted to help other businesses and entrepreneurs grow and Then opportunity to acquire a company. And that's how our first acquisition happening. And since then we've acquired two companies and looking to acquire a third one now. So Akua Nyame-Mensah 5:12 yeah, I love that. And I think so many people will really be able to resonate with this story of sort of starting off one place, feeling like you have to do something, and then maybe something else exciting coming along. Speaker 1 5:22 Yeah, that's exactly how it went about. Yeah. Akua Nyame-Mensah 5:26 So tell us a little bit about your first investment. I believe it was a Shopify app. What was really exciting about that for you. Speaker 1 5:33 So what we were looking for, for our first business, especially we were looking for a simple product or a simple service. And something that will we could replicate, like, figure out why it's been successful, and then try to replicate that. And the thought process behind that was that it would just reduce our chances for failure, rather than starting something from scratch. So we wanted to find an app that was already doing well on Shopify. So our first acquisition was an app called invoice Falcon, which basically generates invoices for merchants on Shopify, and it's very tax compliant and more detailed allows customization on Shopify, which other invoice applications didn't allow, it had really good reviews on Shopify, and there was a growing app organically. So we acquired that look at what was working for it, what wasn't working for it, and how it grew on Shopify. And then we built a tech team around that, and have started building more as for Shopify, Akua Nyame-Mensah 6:33 that's, I think, so incredibly interesting. Can you tell us a little bit more? Or actually do you have any advice for for founders, maybe that are potentially looking to be acquired. So this could be software as a service, or even just service based businesses. Speaker 1 6:49 So in terms of advice, I mean, it's obviously different for each founder or owner of an app or service, in terms of what they want from life. The thing is, when they create a product or service, a lot of founders are very attached to it. So I generally tell them, it's a bit like a sending your baby or your your son or your daughter off to university. So you can train them until a certain period or schooling period, but then the next step is taking to university. And you can probably find an investor or someone who is just as excited about your product as you are, and how just brings in new ideas and has a new outlook on it, and can probably help you take the product to the next level. So yeah, I think it's an opportunity for founders or sellers to just help grow their own product. Akua Nyame-Mensah 7:38 Yeah. And I think that's really a great segue to how we actually were connected. And that's through, I believe, your second acquisition, della sign, tell us a little bit about how you came across that product and why you felt it was such a great investment. Speaker 1 7:50 So like I said, when my cousin came to me with the, with the idea, our initial vision was to help businesses grow, and how we can look to give them tools to be able to succeed. And for that, we thought that you need to have three strong pillars. One is a strong tech team, a strong marketing team, and a strong design team. So this is the vision we already had. And we were on the lookout for something that fits along these lines. And that's when we came across design, which is basically a graphic designing service, what we really liked about design is that the process is that the original owner already had it in place. It's basically the service is where, once you sign up, you pay for a subscription, and you get a graphic designer, dedicated to your own team. And why this makes a lot of sense to businesses and entrepreneurs is that they don't have to have any overhead costs. They don't have to go through a vetting process, because it's already done for them. We already hire designers that go through a screening process, an interview process, a training process, and even after they're assigned to the team, their projects are also regularly monitored for quality assurance. So they don't have to think about all of that. And it's a fraction of the cost of hiring an in house graphic designer. So we just loved how, again, how how good the people were, how quick and efficient they were and the quality they were producing. And just we thought that having a strong design team, we can leverage that and build more products around that as well. So that's how we came across that design. And that's around when also my younger brother who was working at Deloitte joined us because that's when we started growing. And that started when we actually really started building the team. So Akua Nyame-Mensah 9:41 I love that thank you so much for sharing that. And I think some of the things that you shared around how, you know as especially as you know, as an entrepreneur and primarily a solo entrepreneur, how tapping into a service, like della sign can be incredibly efficient, right? In the past I've actually interviewed the founder of Bella zine, and one of the reasons why I also wanted to end Interview you was because I felt like it's so incredibly unique what you do, because it's not just about investing, right, but you're also supporting and, you know, thinking about how these different businesses operate. So what's what's next, I know one of the new things you're working on as a product called scale your podcast, I believe that's something that you've created from the ground up, correct. So this is something that you acquired, what you're using, right is what you've learned from these other businesses that you've acquired to build this up. So tell us a little bit more about this new project. Speaker 1 10:32 Exactly. So. So again, this was in line with our vision of where we wanted to help people grow. So this time, it took us a particular niche where we wanted to help podcasters grow and help them market themselves. We found a particular pain point talking to people where they podcasters have so much to do, where they create the podcast, they find guests, they edit their podcasts, they edit their audio, and then on top of that they have to create marketing material, and then have that marketing material distributed on all social media platforms. So what we did was, since we had that design, working really well, the quality was really good. We decided to leverage our designers from the other side and build a product on top of that, which scale your podcast scale your podcast Martin, it basically works where a podcaster submits the episode on the website. And the episode is actually heard, a by content strategist who actually listens to the full podcast and picks out what he or she feels is the main highlights of the podcast notes it down, and then around that they build a Twitter thread. And graphic designer also works with them to create graphic material that includes audio grammes, video grammes, or small teaser of the episode, they create a transcript, which is also corrected manually by the content strategist. So it's all ready in place for people for the for the podcast, to just start marketing themselves. So the two main benefits are that you save time and energy, obviously. And the thing, the fact that it's done by a professional, makes sure that the content is engaging, it creates conversation, it creates conversation amongst the audience and builds that excitement towards the next episode. So that was the thinking behind it. And it's in its initial phase, right? No, but I'm really excited about that. Akua Nyame-Mensah 12:27 I'm also super excited about it as as a podcaster, I actually had the opportunity to sort of test it out a bit and I you know, exactly what he's sharing. As someone who actually has used dela sign in the past, I find that, you know, the graphics look amazing, right, they can integrate directly into the existing branding that I have. And to his point about getting that perspective, I'm really excited to share the content they came up with. So very, very, very excited about that new project. And I'm curious for entrepreneurs that are potentially looking to build a service based business, right? Because there are humans that are involved in this business, do you have any advice for them, or anything that you've learned, you think that would be helpful for people looking to build something maybe that's a little bit more service oriented. Speaker 1 13:14 So one particular learning I had, especially with scarier podcasting was trying to figure out my market, what I struggled with with scarier podcasting was targeting the right podcasters. So I know that there's a requirement for it. But you have different types of podcasters, where you have a small scale, podcaster, who's just doing it out of hobby, and just trying to do it for the fun of it. And that's one particular audience, then you have another audience, which is, which are big companies they already have in house graphic designers. So I think the first thing, especially when you're trying to release a new product, or a new service, is figuring out who your audience is, what their pain point is, and actually really try to target and hit that hit the nail on the head when it comes to creating the product. So when I when I created a scale your podcast or marketing, my only thought initially was I'm trying to save time and energy. And the more I spoke to podcasters were that time and energy wasn't their only problem. One of the main problems was that engagement between audiences, that conversation having more downloads, one podcaster told me that when I have a person, listen to my podcast and leave a review, that matters more to me, and I don't mind putting in that extra time and energy if I can, if I can get that result. So it's more about understanding what your audience is what they actually really want, and then building their product. So that's how I rewarded scalar podcasts how I got the content strategy strategist involved, actually try and figure out how we can achieve that when it comes to deliver those. Akua Nyame-Mensah 15:01 I love that. And as someone who has the opportunity to serve or to support, I guess you can say a lot of early stage, founders and startups, I think that's something that a lot of them tend to miss, right, they tend to miss creating the space and time to do some proper market research and have those conversations and to, you know, test their hypothesis, and maybe some of the assumptions that they're making. So I really just appreciate that you shared those bits and pieces, and that this is something that you're constantly evolving, and updating as you go, I would Speaker 1 15:31 like to also take this opportunity to thank yourself, for being one of my early clients, or at least testing out the product and getting your feedback that really helps also, especially for new for new people trying to create a new service, it's really important to find people who are honest, gives you feedback, and figure out how you can improve. So thank you, thank you so much for Akua Nyame-Mensah 15:52 that as well, honestly, like, I remember the first time we were introduced, I was so excited about it, and I'm still really excited about it. And also just appreciate that you're willing to sort of share this right on my podcast as well, because I think for many founders, many business owners, you know, they sort of feel like there's a certain what would be the right word a certain way they need to come across, maybe it's like all knowing they, you know, have it all figured out. And I think it's just really great that you're willing to sort of share a little bit of the background of how you got to this point and how you're leveraging, I think, lots of really interesting experiences to really build something that has a massive impact. Even beyond that, I think these these different products that you've initially invested in and now that you're building are so niche, but they are truly solving a problem, right? Like you mentioned eventually, like, you know, before, right before you're thinking about time and energy and like no, there's actually this additional piece where it's like, the content you're creating is helping to support and build a community. And I really think that's that, that is, that is an incredible thing. And that's probably not something you would have actually gotten to the root of unless you had those conversations. And unless you started to test those assumptions about the problem that you were solving, Speaker 1 17:02 ya know, for sure. And I still feel that I'm in very early stages of building a new think, not not crafted, but I think I'm well on my way of understanding on how to grow a business. But actually how to launch a business is two different things, and launching a business and more in a self learning kind of phase. And I think it's helping talking to more people taking their feedback in and a lot of trial and error and to see how it goes. So that's kind of the benefit of having a company and say like design where you can actually leverage what processes work for them in terms of how hiring works, how they assign projects within the designers, how you have a head designer that actually monitors that for quality assurance, things like that, which actually works really well with design, we can we can pull those things out and use that in our other businesses. So it's kind of an interesting phase for where, on one hand, we have a successful business. And the other hand, it's a growing business and how we can use the two different display experiences and then grow from here. So I'm kind of excited for the next five years on how we go about, especially for scaling your podcast. Akua Nyame-Mensah 18:11 Yeah, I mean, I think that's a great segue to what's what's next for the business. Speaker 1 18:15 So currently, I mean, we're working on scalar, podcasting. And like I said earlier, we really have a good, very strong design team and a very strong tech team. We are looking to grow in the marketing space, we are looking for a marketing business and something where we can acquire and just have these three strong teams in place, which can enable us to easily release any new product or come up with any new service. And we already have a foundation where we can build on top of so we're actively actually looking for a marketing business right now. So that's, that's a short term goal. Let's put it that way. And then yeah, eventually down the line. 510 years down the line are as a business. So our our company is called next sky. So next Sky is the parent company. And all these are under the umbrella of Nexus Nexus. After five years, we want to reach a point where we are in a position to be able to release products, tools, services, that can help entrepreneurs be successful at their business, basically, and anything which is currently moving things like say any of the blockchains, which are upcoming web three, we have the people and tools in place to enter those markets. And we're ready to be successful in those kinds of markets as well. So that's the invention cool. Akua Nyame-Mensah 19:42 I love that I love it. So really building that foundation so you can sort of leapfrog and add all these additional pieces to it. Amazing. Speaker 1 19:49 One of the things I think to to succeed in general is to be able to partner up with people and a lot of the things a lot of mistake entrepreneurs make That is it when they're on baby, they really want to do everything themselves. And I feel that there's only a certain point that you can take your company to. It's like tug of war, when you're playing against a competition and you're on one side alone, you can only pull to a certain point, but you need teams, or like, or team members of people that you can fall back on, to help you grow and pull back. And that's what we want to be. We want to be that team, to other businesses, where they can leverage us they can use our services and products and be able to grow themselves. So that's what we're trying to do. Akua Nyame-Mensah 20:35 Yeah, I love that. And I'd love to hear a little bit more about your team. What's it like actually working with family members? Speaker 1 20:41 Oh, I love it. i The thing is, I'm super close to my younger brother Shyvana, who's in London. So growing up, he's one year, apart from me and, and we basically did everything together growing up. And since university basically, he found a job in the UK at Deloitte, he was doing really well he was growing really fast. So he kind of settled over there, which canister completely comfortable with I wish he was over here. But this gives us gives me an opportunity to actually now see him everyday work with him everyday talk to him every day. So that's super exciting. And, and my cousin, who's my older brother, who actually came up with the idea, we were, we are super close. And the thing is, he's always been brought up in India. Now he shifted to the right. But he's always been someone I've looked up to his seven, eight years old to me. And he has been really successful in the E commerce space. Even before I was into this when I was in the diamond industry. And if he uncaged Qatari, he is basically like a marketing genius, like a marketing guru himself. So he already had very good experience coming into this. And it's given me an opportunity also to learn a lot from him, and see why he's been super successful and just pick his brains. And it's been amazing to work with family. It was not something I saw myself doing five years ago. So I'm really glad that the opportunity came along. And I can work with both of them. My older cousin, he also has a nephew. So sometimes on work calls, he just opens up the laptop, and he's sitting there and we're like when he's three years old, and he's talking about Bitcoin and stuff like that. It's a lot of fun. Working with family, for sure. Akua Nyame-Mensah 22:27 And it sounds like you all complement each other as well. So that sounds absolutely amazing. And I think let's continue on this. Who are you outside of work? Well, yeah, outside of work. Speaker 1 22:38 So I'm a personality wise, I'm an introvert. So I mean, I'm not so much into partying and things like that. But I love spending time with family. I've been recently married. And when I say recently, it's been around three years. So I love spending time with my wife going on. Short. I live in Europe. So travelling around Europe is not too difficult. I mean, we just did a road trip to Italy a couple of weeks ago. So exploring new places with her is something I love doing. And apart from that I'm I'm a huge sports buff. So since I said I'm from India, I mean cricket has been it's it's part of our culture and inspire our blood. So I grew up playing a lot of cricket over here, which I will also in our we call it a compound. I don't know what you call it in English, anything like this, like garlic. Yeah, so that's, that's where we grew up playing. And now we play. I play for the Belgian national team over here. So it's pretty cool in terms of the cricket it's really growing in this country also. And it's, it's the second most watched sport in the world. It's obviously it's the second most popular sport in the world also because one over 1 billion of the population is Indian nations around the world so but yeah, it's it's amazing. It's one of my biggest passions of badminton, football with friends. So I love playing sports. So yeah, that's that's me. Akua Nyame-Mensah 24:11 Now that sounds really exciting. But just thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much for being open to sharing little bit more about your entrepreneurial journey. Where can people find out more online? Speaker 1 24:23 So about myself? It's not a great website. It's a basic website. I put up myself just liberal HomeServe it's called Meta shill@gmail.com. Sorry, Meta chevrolet.com gmail.com is my email address. But that's a little bit about me. And then you have delis and.com, which is the graphic designers and graphic designing service. Then you have scale your podcast marketing.com, which is the podcasting service and you have the app for Shopify is called invoice amount and we can find on the shop Fight platform. So these are current products. And you can probably find all of it on on Nexus guy.com. There's a lot of links. Akua Nyame-Mensah 25:08 That's amazing. We'll make sure all those go in the show notes, so that everyone has access to all of that, including your personal website. This has been absolutely amazing. Thank you so much for your time today. Thank Speaker 1 25:18 you so much Akua for having me. This This is my first podcast actually. So I'm really excited we got you for this. So thank you so much for having me. And also thank you so much again, once again for all your feedback and your help for both design and scale your podcast marketing, it means a lot to us. Akua Nyame-Mensah 25:35 My pleasure. Thank you so much for taking the time to listen to today's episode. If you enjoyed what you heard today, please share it with your friends. We can continue this conversation on social media the links to my socials so that is LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter. You can find them in the show notes. If you tagged me in a story and include the hashtag hashtag ask Akua I will share a special little gift with you. Thank you so much once again for your time and I cannot wait to share my next episode with you stay safe and sane.


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