Ashutosh Sharma is just like any other teenager, but with a strong passion for technology and extraordinary skills to match. Instead of going to university and getting a degree like his peers Ashutosh chose to walk the path of an entrepreneur. Just upon graduating from Auckland Grammar Secondary School he was offered an 8-month full-time internship position as a software engineer at New Zealand’s largest Software Vendor, Datacom. Throughout his childhood and during his schooling Ashutosh was obsessed with coding and building software. Till today, on average, he gets about 4-5 hours of sleep per day as he loves the work he does around building new apps and software.

During his time at Datacom Ashutosh gained many valuable skills surrounding value proposition, design and customer experience.

Working alongside his colleagues and mentors Kerry Topp, Lyndal Stewart, Craig Carpenter, Michael Murphy and Husain he was more determined than ever to finish what he started. He then took these newly acquired skills along with his knowledge and applied them to his first venture which is an online platform that allows anyone over the age of 13 to earn money from selling unnecessary items or save money through purchasing bargains free of charge within their local community. He started coding the website when he was 10 years old and launched it at the age of 13. He ran the website for about a year before having to close it down due to the legal age issue to run the website.

However, in 2017 Ashutosh set a goal to rebuild the website and relaunch it. While he was part of Datacom’s Mobile Innovation team, he learned about the 21-day challenge approach. Ashutosh took on the 21-day challenge for his first venture and setting a target to reach 1 million users, and 100k listing is in a mere 21 days.

This target was surpassed within 14 days, making it one of the fastest growing marketplaces around. This Marketplace is set to hit 400 million page views by the end of September and is also well on track to reach 1 billion dollars in gross merchandise value by the end of 2017. “Building such a large user base so quickly was the easy part, maintaining and ensuring that the users are legit is the hardest,” says Ashutosh. Currently, it has 1.1million verified users and $$1,021,200dollars of transacting value

Ashutosh built a maths Q&A app called Extreme Math before co-founding a company called ARCOM with Ruofei Rao. ARCOM has the vision to create computer accessibility software on both virtual realities and augmented reality platforms. ARCOM was the first company in New Zealand to publish a Holographic App on the Microsoft Windows Holographic Store. Ashutosh has a lot of young followers, and in his spare time, he mentors start-ups such as Preserve and other young high school entrepreneurs.

Hon Nikki Kaye, the Minister for Youth, has also recently announced that Ashutosh is amongst one of the four recipients of the 2017 International Leadership Award. The announcement of the award was news to Ashutosh when The Indian Weekender had contacted him after the announcement to speak to him about the award.

Q. What sort of advice do you have for young entrepreneurs?

A.“I believe there are three key pieces of advice I can share which has been passed down to me from my mentors and Crimson Education.”

(1) During a conference held by Jamie Beaton, another young entrepreneur, Beaton said something along the lines of “ideas are important, but they is 5% of the excitement. The execution is what turns an idea into game-changing reality and requires detailed thinking around strategy, financing, and numbers”. Thus, I will pass on the same advice to all other future entrepreneurs. Your financing is essential and you want to make sure you are making a right decision on how to go about it.

(2) The Second piece of advice is something I have chosen to share from Raphael Nolden, “Hard work.” While working for Osnova – Creators of Amy (an artificial intelligence private tutor) I learned that real key to success is simply hard work, period. No matter how much funding or mentors or emotional support you have, if you are not willing to work hard, you will never achieve your goals.

(3) You could fail or make mistakes at some point along the way, and this will help you learn to recover. Failure a stepping stone to success. If you do not fail, you are not innovative. One of my High School Teachers, Mark Crook, gave me this advice. He told me that when you fail at something, you know that you are doing something innovative and no has dared attempted before.

Q. What are three key tips you have for young entrepreneurs?

A.(1) Always know your market and your key audience.

(2) Take one step at a time and celebrate each milestone.

(3) Continue to work hard. When you are running a company, you are working for others as well, and you must keep them in mind, not just yourself.