Do you believe in astrology? What if we tell you that a non-believer in astrology ends up in launching the biggest brand in this field? Sounds interesting, right? Let’s know the exciting and surprising story of Puneet Gupta who is Founder & CEO of AstroTalk.
Puneet Gupta is a young entrepreneur who founded AstroTalk in 2017, after working with investment bank for 4 years & running an IT services company for 3 years. At AstroTalk, the team is working dedicatedly to make Astrology, the ancient occult science from India, available across the globe by a click of a button. With genuine Astrologers, easy access & 24*7 customer support, they provide the best future predictions to counsel people during their tough phase of life.
Puneet Gupta who mocked everyone who ever talked about astrology is now a successful entrepreneur. However the question is, “What led him to build a brand in a field that never mesmerized him?”
It all started back in 2013, when he quit his job with Nomura to pursue his dreams but things didn’t go as planned and he struggled for a year and exhausted his savings. In order to make ends meet, he went back to Mumbai and did some odd jobs as he was not getting shortlisted for any technology job interviews, sighting a gap of 1 year. After some networking, an old colleague referred him to BNP Paribas and he got the job at a pay cut.
He worked there for a year until he got in touch with one of his school friends, who later went to IIT Delhi, and they both planned to start an IT services company. This was the turning point of his life as he typed the resignation letter with full enthusiasm but he got very anxious before sending it, as the old struggling days started haunting him.
As he was staring dead at the resignation email, one of his colleagues came over and inquired if everything is okay as he looked lost. He showed her his resignation letter and told her how his own negative thoughts were not letting him do what he really wanted to.
Puneet Gupta remembers, “She looked at me with empathy and said, I can see your birth chart and tell you what to do as per Astrology. What are your birth details?” and she opened one very badly designed app on her phone to input my details. He was shocked and amused at the same time and promised himself to hire good UI/UX designers to develop better apps than that.
“Like seriously? Do you really think I believe in all this? Padhe likhe hoke aap andh vishwas faila rahe ho!” He scolded her but at the same time he wished he could get some help.
She waited for him to complete and demanded, “Are you done? Now tell me your birth details. I don’t care if you believe or not but let me try to help.” He shared the details as he would rather not mess with a senior. But knowing her coding skills, he could totally judge that she would screw up in Astrology as well.
While she was analysing my chart, he waited curiously to know the outcome just like a student waits for his board exam results. “There is something about Astrology, it doesn’t matter whether you believe in it or not, but it fascinates you like nothing else,” says Puneet Gupta. However, as he didn’t trust her at that time and would never have liked to take a biased decision based on Astrology, he quickly sent the resignation letter and locked his screen. Meanwhile, she was done with her calculations and yes, it was time for the results based on astrology.
“You are Leo Ascendant and your Sun is exalted…” he interrupted her in between and immediately asked, “I don’t understand all this. Tell me something about the past to make me believe you.”
“Beta, jitna tu bhaagta hai na isse, aage jakar utna zyada believe karega is par (Dear, as much as you are mocking this today, you will believe in it much more, in future),” She mocked him this time and by that time he was convinced that she knew Astrology as good as Database designing.
“You don’t choose Astrology, Astrology chooses you,” she said.
Eventually, she started telling me many things about his past to make her point including the date of his accident in school days, which was quite shocking for him to hear. As soon as she observed the change in his body language, she stopped telling about the past and came to the main question. She not only predicted the past correctly but was also a really nice observer of behaviour. “Oh God! Why the hell was she a MySQL developer?,” he thought.
She smiled and told him that he could quit his job as the upcoming 2 years were very promising for an IT business as per the placement of Saturn and Rahu. “I am still not sure if that smile was for a positive prediction or for the virtual win over me,” he recalls.
“Just 2 years,” he exclaimed with a sheepish laugh as he wanted to pretend as if he was not interested.
Like every other story, this story was also filled with some twist and turns, so here comes another twist! The twist was that his business partner might leave after 2 years from then and he would face some issues in resuming the business operations. Also, it might take a year for him to pivot to a new venture. Having said this, she also assured him that he would make it after observing his not-so-good body language.
“You can press the send button,” she finally said something with a real smile as she observed that he wasn’t mocking anymore and had already surrendered himself, unlike a Leo.
Later on, he served his notice period and came to Noida and started an IT services company named CodeYeti in April 2015. He managed to scale up very quickly to 45 employees, successfully serving about 15-20 clients at a time and clocked a revenue of $0.5 million in the first year itself. He started working for big enterprises like Yamaha, GreenPly along with some other startups.
Everything was going well until the day his partner told him that he was not getting a kick from the services business and wanted to do a technology product. Both of them spent 6 months on 2 products but ended up wasting capital as nothing seemed to work and his partner eventually quit in March 2017 to do something else.
This incident reminded him about the prediction, his ex-colleague had made about his partner’s exit. He called her after a gap of 2 years, and told her about the incident and how her prediction turned out to be true.
As he told her everything, he could sense the happiness in her voice as her prediction came true but she showed concern as it was a loss for me. To my surprise, she knew everything about CodeYeti as she followed their social media platforms and congratulated him for what they had achieved in such a short span of time.
She asked him if he wants her to check his chart again. He paused for a moment and subsequently proposed an idea, “How about I start a product in the field of Astrology and I become your first customer?” Yes, she got surprised and halted for a few seconds and said, “Hmmm…I had quit my job 4 months back for some personal reasons, and I can take out some time to work with you but I won’t be able to work very actively, so you will have to find more astrologers. I can surely connect you with a few more those are in my network.”
“Yes Yes!! You can work whenever you have time.. you can interview and train other astrologers and we will keep hiring. You can become their mentor and take care of the department of Astrologers”, he said out of excitement and curiosity.
“Hmm…So, when are we going live?” she straight away asked for a deadline, the way she did at BNP as some people never change. ☺
And then, there was the ultimate U turn – he started working on developing the product and launched an MVP (minimum viable product) of AstroTalk within a month. He even assigned a dedicated technology & operations team to it. He then called her as a customer and asked, “How would AstroTalk do?”
Want to know the answer? Let’s have a look at the current statistics:
Total Installs: 900,000+
No of Astrologers: 300+
Daily Transactions: 1000+
Repeat Rate: 7+ (Higher than Swiggy)
Rating: 4.7/5.0 (Highest in this industry)
Within just 1.5 years of launch, the team at AstroTalk have changed the way people interact with Astrologers and gave 20+ years old companies a run for their money. There were 2 basic fundamental problems with companies in this industry, which they claim to have fixed very precisely.
According to Puneet Gupta, companies have been traditionally run by Astrologers who lacked technology expertise and made a very low-quality product with the worst possible customer experience. Companies have also been run by some decent technology people, who still lacked a good UI/UX design and had no idea about how to build a business. They just focused on money making business and offered no customer delight. As a result of all this, customer support was also so poor that they had a very poor repeat rate in an industry with such high demands.
Astrotalk’s Current Offerings
1. Get a detailed handwritten astrology report
2. Chat with astrologer live
3. Talk to Astrologer on call
Market Competition & USP
“Depression, stress and anxiety are our competition. We want to kill all of it,” tells Puneet Gupta. He feels the biggest reason they could do really well in this area was that he never believed in Astrology as he had seen so many fake astrologers his entire life who predicted everything incorrectly, which made people like him hate the concept of Astrology.
However, as he got to know an accurate prediction about his business partner’s exit, even before starting the partnership, he started believing in it. This is how he realized that “the Astrologer could be wrong, but Astrology is always right.” So, he made sure that they appoint the best in the list of professional Astrologers available online for astrology today.
Recruitment of Astrologers
“It is not easy to get a place on our panel as we have a special recruitment team that reaches out to the best Astrologers in India, and we make them go through multiple case studies and interviews, to be sure about their prediction quality and communications skills,” shares Puneet Gupta while talking about the recruitment process.
He often come across this question from his friends in a very astonishing way, “How come you into Astrology?,” as he had mocked everyone who ever talked about astrology. However, today he feels proud to share his journey with everyone.
Journey So far
For Puneet Gupta, his journey has been more about understanding this market and he is still working on it. He wants to understand how and when they can help people in reducing their anxieties.
Market Growth & Post COVID World
The team at AstroTalk believes that they can see a 50% YoY growth for the next 3 years at least as they have been penetrating easily into a market where people had not consumed astrology before.
The team says that they have no plans to raise funds as of now.
Fight Against COVID-19
Sharing more details about their fight against coronavirus pandemic, Puneet Gupta says that there has been no impact of COVID on their business. In fact, it has taken a little positive turn.
Currently, the team is focused on solving customer problems. They are working on improving the product to help them in every possible way.
Message for Budding Entrepreneurs & Young Generation
“First and foremost, to all those who might be struggling in some way or the other, let me tell you that nothing comes easy in life but if you keep trying, right opportunities will find you, eventually,” says Puneet Gupta with a view to inspire young generation to follow their dreams with passion and hard work.
“If you believe in something, then nothing can stop you from reaching there. Do what you believe in and then don’t worry about anything,” he concludes.
Hope this success story would motivate all the aspiring entrepreneurs. It is a part of our startup profiling feature story/interview series. We are on a mission to put forth the inspirational journey of successful entrepreneurs in order to spread some motivation during these tough times.
Please visit and share the below link with your network of Startup Founders and we would love to publish their success story for our readers across the globe.