Ayaan Chawla is India’s youngest CEO. At 16 years of age he is founder and CEO of four thriving companies. Juggling these firms - Asian Fox Developments, Global Web Mount, Mind-In Advertising, and Group For Buddies - keeps him busy with board meetings and business deals. He has no time for glitzy soirees and hanging out. He parties only “once in a while.”
Sample this. Asian Fox Developments is a leading IT solutions company; Global Web Mount is a domain and hosting firm; Mind-In Advertising is an advertising and marketing firm; and, Group For Buddies is a professional networking online forum. Ask him about how he manages such diverse entities and he answers pensively, “I manage everything with good planning. I never leave everything to my staff; I study every project and understand it well. I may leave the details to the teams but I am always cued in.” He adds, “Continual study and learning is important. With God’s grace everything has always been well-planned till date.” Excerpts from the interview:
Tell us about your early influences at the professional level.
I am, basically, a Delhiite. My mother, Kunjam Chawla, is a fashion designer and my sister is a civil engineer.
My parents bought me a computer when I was 8 years-old. Being a child who had a thirst to pick up skills, I soon began to create movies with editing tools such as Adobe Software. One fine day, I thought it will be great if I learn to create websites, softwares, and apps. When I was 11 years of age the idea of starting a social utility for people to connect with each other took form in my mind. What followed was a year of homework. In 2011, I launched it.
I, persistently, browsed the internet to find relevant reading material. I read many technical books. I never consulted anybody. I just locked myself in my room and worked.
To what extent do you consult your mother at work?
My mother looks after the legal and financial matters of the company. She is chairman of my company. However, she is not from an IT field and does not interfere with my work at all.
She is a supermom who takes personal care of my routine though we have many servants around the house. At work, I hardly have time to interact with her.
Many in your teams must be senior to you. Tell us about the work dynamics. How do they perceive you?
All my employees in my companies are senior to me. They have a B.Tech and/or an MBA to their credit. Many of them are experts at what they do. All my teams are very cooperative and disciplined.
At office, I work like a professional and never faced a difficulty due to my age. Age does not matter in a professional field.
Tell us about your growth since you were 8 years-old.
When children of my age were busy playing games on computers, I was surfing new things regarding my interest in the field of software. I founded Asian Fox Developments in March the same year I founded Group For Buddies. Global Web Mount and Mind-In Advertising followed after two years.
Today, I get invited as a speaker at conferences, seminars, and webinars of many companies across India and world. I also speak at universities. I spoke at Dronacharya College Of Engineering where I shared dais with well-known entrepreneurs. This was at CareerFest 2013. I was invited to speak at Enterprise Connect 2014-2015 event in Orlando, Florida, U.S.
I am excited to reveal that, recently, Asian Fox Developments signed a deal with film director Ikram Akhtar and producer Rajesh R Tripathi for their film India Mein Lahore as an IT & online media partner!
What do you do in your free time?
I do party rarely. I visit government schools to teach there. I love share my knowledge on IT and encourage children.