Last week an entrepreneur, Rajesh Koppula, was referred to me by a friend. He has a vision for a new lending platform for consumers with credit worthiness scores (FICO) between 600 and 700. These are not terrible credit risks but not the best either. He knows these people because, for the last 10 years, his job was forecasting bad debt for credit card companies who issued credit cards to these very same consumers.
Koppula is known in the credit risk industry. Every week he turns down six figure opportunities. He now devotes himself to the idea of helping this market.
He is 34 years old, married for 2 years and has a new baby boy. They live in a two bedroom apartment. His in-laws visited from India and stayed six months. They left, and his mother arrived and is staying the next six months.
His vision is to create a lending platform to serve higher credit risk consumers. He really thinks he can help them and make a difference in their lives, offering them loans when others will not even talk to them.
To accomplish this vision, Koppula will have to create an entire ecosystem of partnerships surrounding his lending platform. I asked him “How do you even get started?” He told me, “I start by working on the programming of the lending platform. I can only do what I can do. Then I must trust, over time, the necessary partnerships will happen and my vision will become a reality.”
Only a true entrepreneur has the guts to pursue his idea with everything he’s got. How many people have you met in life who, after knowing them for a long time, finally tell you their dream? You are surprised to hear it and wonder why they never pursued it. Many of these people will die with regrets. Not entrepreneurs.
Here is where entrepreneurs are different from the general population. They can’t wait to work on their idea. Here is why.
They Know They Have What It Takes
Koppula has been employed in the credit card industry for the last ten years. He wrote the risk assessment formulas and programs which measure default risks by borrowers. He did this for two brand name international banks. He is experienced, well trained and well educated with an MBA from a nationally ranked program. He has the gifts it takes to make his vision a reality. But not all the gifts.
They Have the Right Network of Relationships
He has an industry network, and he is building an investor network. Koppula talked to me, but I was not the right investor. In spite of this, he made such an impression that I’m writing about him and now you are reading about him. This is how relationships work.
Koppula knows he needs to muster the courage to go back to his network and share his vision. He has the network and the credibility within his network. If there is a real need for his lending platform, people will join him in his quest. His network is filled with people who are looking for a vision which gives their lives purpose. Koppula may be their visionary.
They Were Created to be Entrepreneurs
There are a ton of people in the lending business. Why is Koppula stepping out of the crowd to build this platform? Others, I’m sure, see the same problem for the same constituency. They stand frozen in place and ignore it. He quits his job, puts his family’s financial future at risk and pursues it.
This man is called to do this. I believe this is true because he is laying it all on the line. There is a voice in his head, I call it God, telling him he has to do it. His alternative is to do what others around him are doing and take the safe route. Follow others and he would not be true to himself.
Shakespeare writes in Hamlet (Hamlet Act 1, scene 3, 78–82):
“This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.”
This is the path of the entrepreneur. He must do what he is called to do.