Featured on Jun 18, 2012
"I want to put a ding in the universe. - Steve Jobs"
Rachit lived in India, Thailand and Singapore before the age of 15, eventually settling with his family in Durham, North Carolina. Valedictorian of his high school, Rachit attended Wharton before breaking with many of his business school peers by pursuing entrepreneurship over finance. In 2008, he co-founded Two Toasters, a mobile design and development shop with his brother, Adit, and two friends. Having moved back to Durham after college, he soon succumbed to the bright lights of New York and moved to Manhattan. He divides his time between the NY and NC offices of Two Toasters, overseeing all operations for the company. A lover of fast cars and great wine, he met his girlfriend (@missthea) on Twitter.
- Title: CEO, Two Toasters
- Age: 26
- Location: Tribeca
- Contact: @rachitshukla
Starting your own mobile design and development shop with your brother instead of going into the well worn path into finance must have been a difficult decision. How did you build up the clientele and make the proper connections to become as big as you are today?
It's no secret that the vast majority of Wharton grads go into finance and consulting. I saw a different path for myself and wanted to try the entrepreneurial route. My first couple of companies were more conventional startups building web products. My foray into mobile was serendipitous as my co-founders and I started building iPhone Apps to checkout the SDK the day after the Apple App Store was announced. Eventually we started building Apps for other entrepreneurs and six months into it we realized that we had a much stronger business opportunity and decided to focus on it full time.
The company slowly gathered momentum through a combination of persistence, producing solid work, and having the flexibility and determination to pursue the opportunities that came our way. Having taken on challening projects like AirBnB's Android app, we're now able to attract top-tier clients and make the case that we produce best-in-class products.
We also spent a long time building relationships. Our general approach is one of patience. It's not unheard of for a deal to come through a year after an initial meeting. To some extent, we also create our own luck. I co-organize tech dinners, happy hours, and events, and I try to be helpful to others whenever I can. It all comes back eventually. Additionally, happy clients leads to referrals, and increasingly our business is about responding to the people that come our way.
Generally speaking - as a company we have ambitious goals, both in terms of our success and the the level of satisfaction our client's have with our work. It's important to us that our clients leave happy and we've been good at making that happen. Fundamentally, our reputation is tied to the quality of our work. New clients notice when we've pushed envelope on design or development. However, I think our biggest success has been to put together this incredible team. Aside from the level of pure talent we've assembled, we have a really strong culture and close-knit team, which is a big priority for me, and perhaps the achievement I'm most proud of.
We noticed in your bio that you met your girlfriend on Twitter. Can you elaborate a little more?
When I moved up to New York, a high school friend announced my arrival to other NYC-based North Carolinians on Twitter. The idea was to help me meet new people, since I was new to the city. I got a couple of followers out of it, one of which was @missthea. I checked out her tweets (as you do) and started following her back. She was living in Brooklyn but also grew up in North Carolina (coincidentally about 20 minutes from me - now our parents hang out). During a period of a couple of months of mutual Twitter stalking we realized we shared a love of food and restaurants. @missthea actually made the first move and asked me out for dinner (by this point we were Facebook friends so she had apparently decided I wasn't an axe-murderer). We started exploring restaurants and...the rest is history. We've been dating for over two and half years at this point (and still follow each other on Twitter). Just another Twitter love story...
What do you think about the exponential growth of the mobile sector? Do you think this sort of growth will continue for long?
The growth in mobile is explosive and really needs to be considered from a global perspective. It's old news that consumers in developing countries are skipping traditional computers and going straight to mobile. However, the growth in those countries will continue to feed the exponential growth and appetite for hardware and apps above and beyond what we're seeing here in the U.S. Focusing on just mobile commerce - its doubling year on year. It's a driving force to companies like Fab, and clearly a priority to Facebook and Facebook investors. I think this all signifies a fundamental shift: going forward, mobile will be the dominant way that we consume and interact with information.