Surrounded by stacks of used university textbooks gathering dust on his bookshelf, Nikhil knew there had to be a more convenient and easier way of selling these textbooks.
"I found the idea of selling textbooks quite overwhelming and would try a couple of avenues, but the textbooks would inevitably end up in my over stacked bookshelf at home," he says.
This is when Nikhil Challa, a UNSW Business School alumnus, founded Flipspot.
Flipspot differs from traditional marketplaces by combining the key features of a real-time trading platform, revolutionising the way users trade textbooks globally.
Unlike conventional platforms, the market sets the price for the textbook on Flipspot. This is beneficial to sellers as they are instantly matched to the highest bidder at that moment. Similarly, buyers have more bargaining power by setting a maximum budget for each trade, while the platform automatically negotiates the lowest price on their behalf.
To start, select the textbook you're looking to trade, upload a photo or description, enter your location, and be matched instantly with nearby students. Once matched, a chat is unlocked, so you can complete the sale, all in under 60 seconds without any fees or commission.
As Nikhil had zero development and management experience, creating a sophisticated tech product like Flipspot was an extremely challenging yet rewarding experience. He resigned from his job at Macquarie bank, in the hope to learn how to code and build a working prototype.
However, Nikhil quickly learnt that you don't need to know everything.
"Instead, my job was to find the right people to work together to build the same vision," he says. His lesson is simple - don't be held back from starting a business due to a lack of experience, all it takes is genuine passion and discipline to get started.
"The decision to start your own business is not a small task, but rather a life-changing moment. You'll be stretched past your limits, and there will be times you'll doubt yourself.
People don't understand the sacrifices you have to make to give your business the best possible chance to succeed in an already competitive marketplace."
He also said the reality of rejection is everywhere, regardless of how great your team, idea or product may be. When faced with rejection, Nikhil used it as motivation to work harder, but to also learn, improve and grow from that experience.
"It's a natural human tendency for us to be negatively affected by failure and rejection. Any successful start-up such as Facebook or Amazon was not an overnight success story."
Entrepreneurship and creativity were fostered during his Commerce degree at UNSW, which provided him with numerous mentors and opportunities to compete in pitching competitions.
"I was extremely lucky to get the right support and guidance from UNSW to create an application that can potentially revolutionise the way people buy and sell across the globe."