Nistha Tripathi Left Wall Street For Her Start-Up 24NorthStar

Nistha Tripathi, the founder of 24NorthStar has worked as a counsellor, entrepreneur, and author who wants to revamp the Ed-tech industry.

Nistha Tripathi is the Founder and Director of 24NorthStar. She has worked as a counsellor, entrepreneur, and author. She has written five books, one of which won an award for being a top-seller in the field of startups.

Her journey has been defined by her strong academic performance and willingness to take unconventional career paths. Nistha Tripathi has worked with over 750 Indian and Asian individuals, helping them achieve their goals.

She pursued education at UIUC and NYU in the USA, which played a crucial role in shaping her career. In 2011, she decided to leave a traditional MBA program at NYU. Nistha Tripathi has had a varied professional background, including roles on Wall Street and in a data startup that has achieved tremendous success.

Nistha Tripathi also assists others in navigating the tech and business world in the USA, having earned certification from the NeuroLeadership Institute.

nistha tripathi

Can you share more about your inspiration for starting 24NorthStar and the vision you had for the company when you founded it?

After spending years working with several startups and feeling confident that I had learned enough to start my own venture, I decided to come back to India. I was disappointed with the guidance that was given to students in the name of academic counselling.

This became the inspiration to start my venture in the academic counselling space. My vision was to create a platform where students of all ages and backgrounds could access tailored guidance and support to excel academically and develop essential life skills.

I believe that if a person does anything that aligns with their persona, then the result can be magical, and this is exactly what drove me to stick to the field and work to change the face of it. And since then the journey has been never-ending.

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What’s a valuable lesson from Unacademy’s journey for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Early on in their journey, the founders of Unacademy identified a revenue-generating opportunity by selling test papers for UPSC. However, this was distracting them from their original goal of building a platform, ‘YouTube for education’.

So, one fine day, Gaurav Munjal just decided to take a bold decision and sent out an email to everyone that they were killing their test paper product, which was the only revenue-generating product for them.

The team was shocked because it meant giving up on a steady income. However, by eliminating this distraction and refocusing on its core goal, Unacademy was able to channel its resources, time, and energy into building a comprehensive online education platform. This decision ultimately paid off, and the rest is history.

Can you highlight an unconventional strategy from Unacademy’s success that stood out to you?

Certainly! Unconventional strategies help startups make a place for themselves in the traditional industry and capture new markets, which often contributes to the long-term success of the business. Unacademy was the first one in the ed-tech space to launch a subscription strategy for their courses. Until then, most ed-tech startups monetized by selling tablets and content. This kind of original thinking was a game-changer for them.

This allowed Unacademy to position itself in the industry and cater to a new set of audience. By just doing things differently, they gained a significant advantage over their competitors. So, for startups, thinking outside the box can be the key to not just survive but thrive in the market.

You mentioned the importance of simplifying complex business concepts in your writing. How do you strike a balance between making your books enjoyable and informative for your readers?

Readability is extremely important to me. I frequently ask myself questions while writing, and this helps me a lot in balancing my writing and making it valuable and engaging.

  • Would I want to read what I am writing?
  • Would I enjoy reading what I am writing?
  • Would I find it useful to read what I am writing?

If the answer to any of these 3 questions is no, I rethink my approach. I strongly believe that business books have to be useful but also simple to read and entertaining, and I think I was able to achieve this successfully in my books like Unstartup and No Shortcuts.

Given your extensive experience in both technology and education, what advice would you give to students or professionals looking to pivot into the ed-tech industry, especially in India?

The field of ed-tech is a dynamic and exciting sector and has immense potential for growth in the upcoming decades. But like any promising sector, this space also comes with its own set of opportunities and challenges.

And hence, it is essential to do things that you fundamentally believe in. Simply chasing financial gain without a genuine commitment to improving education may not lead to long-term success.

The startups that have operated too much out of greed have struggled to maintain traction and survive in the longer run. Only when your passion and purpose align with your future goals will you be able to make a true impact and set yourself up for success in this dynamic industry.

As someone passionate about education, what do you see as the biggest challenges and opportunities in the Indian education sector, particularly in the context of ed-tech?

Education in India needs a revamp, and the government’s thought process in this direction with the New Education Policy is a welcome step. However, I still believe that the real transformation will come only by investing more in Research and Development because that machinery prepares researchers and scientists. By properly rewarding people in academia, we can create a workforce of teachers who can handle the growing load of our education requirements.

We are too ill-equipped to handle the needs of 1.3 billion Indians, and this is why we see such a massive exodus of Indians who seek better opportunities abroad.

Are there any plans to write similar books about other successful startups in India, or perhaps explore different genres in your future writing projects?

I wish to write a book about career exploration for Indian kids at some point, which will help them make informed decisions about their future because that is what led me to start 24NorthStar in the first place.

Can you tell us about your journey from working on Wall Street to becoming a career coach and entrepreneur? What motivated you to make this transition?

My role in Wall Street was new and exciting when I began, but I soon found myself stagnant in a structured environment. I still remember the question I asked myself at that moment, do I want to run the corporate race and try to climb the corporate ladder which involves a fair bit of politics and manoeuvring or do I want to explore something of my own?

And, to further equip myself with the skills needed for entrepreneurship and management, I went for an MBA at NYU Stern School of Business. I learned a lot and fast in my first year and armed with this newfound wisdom, I was able to land full-time job offers from 2 startups in Manhattan.

So, I dropped out to join one of those startups. All this served as a stepping stone and prepared me for my own entrepreneurial dreams, which awaited to unfold when I came back to India.

What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs based on your experiences?

Start with a strong WHY. If you start an idea just out of greed to make quick money, you will end up frustrated. Startups have their own challenges and to survive in those times, you require a strong why. Purpose is the bedrock upon which successful ventures are built.

Without a strong and genuine “why,” your career path can become a dead end with no help in sight.  Those startups have the best chances to succeed, which fundamentally interests you.

If you don’t know why you are building something, you won’t be able to survive the down cycles in the market. I started a fashion startup when I came back to India, and I had to quickly shut it down. Later, I realised that I was never very interested in fashion myself.

So, it was not surprising that I struggled to find the motivation to keep going. Choose something you don’t mind working on even when times are bad.

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Image source for Nistha Tripathi Left Wall Street For Her Start-Up 24NorthStar: Courtesy Nistha Tripathi

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