By Ashish Wesley
Embarking on an entrepreneurial escapade is a dream for so many, and yet so few of us get to experience the exhilaration, freedom and joy it brings. Fortunately, this opportunity was something that life indeed afforded Gagan Daga, and he has str8bat to show for it. str8bat is an enterprise that uses state-of-the-art IoT based technology to provide real-time, actionable insights to budding and professional sportspersons.
That’s not where it all began for Gagan, however, the Co-Founder and CEO/Captain of Str8bat. Before this, he was a Business Strategy & Transformation industry expert, with over a decade of leadership experience in management consulting, sales, business strategy and product development, armed with a strong background in Information Technology, and a CV that included names such as SAP, SAP Labs and Infosys. This wasn’t quite the career path he wanted to continue on, however, and feeling an early onset of a mid-life crisis, he had an intense longing to be in an “intellectually stimulating environment” and one “where you get challenged”. It was this desire that prompted him to apply for the INSEAD Leadership Programme for Senior Executives (ILPSE)– a one year, part-time, multi-modular, General Management and Leadership programme with immersions across global campuses of INSEAD — an institution Gagan claims was his ‘romantic’ choice.
A concept is born — Str8bat, the genesis!
Subsequently having been selected for the programme, it was at the ‘Blue Ocean’ Strategy Module at ILPSE where he had his very own eureka moment, and where he conceptualized the idea for Str8bat. Reminiscing about it, Gagan says, “I had a ‘keeda’ to do something, and I remember very well that the concept of Str8bat just came to me in the Blue Ocean class. I was thinking, how would you democratize technology in sports, so that it’s accessible to all, and create a completely new market for people who never knew it existed. ILPSE really, really helped me change my mindset. What success is, what failure is. How do you want to lead your life?”
Cricketers and entrepreneurs need coaches
At the start of his entrepreneurial journey, Gagan was fortunate to receive the right guidance from the right coaches. Speaking about this, he added, “Towards the end of the ILPSE programme, we had been assigned executive coaches. And it was at this time that I was really struggling and thinking — should I quit this or not? So, I consulted T.V. Srinivasan PCC (Certified Coach at Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder Centered Coaching) and he helped me realize it is tenacious learning that makes me happy and not money, position or power”.
Str8bat three years on
Today, after a three-year electrifying and stimulating journey with Str8bat, punctuated by the inescapable thrills and spills,Gagan, along with his partner and Iron Man, Rahul Nagar, can look back with a great deal of pride on how far his enterprise has come. As many others, including Greg Chappel will attest, “Str8bat will be a game-changer for batting-coaching, and will also revolutionise the way we watch batting in the future.” Besides helping many budding cricketers and established pros, Str8bat has also been selected by the Rajasthan Royals for use in their performance camps leading up to their IPL match days and Cricket Australia is one of their esteemed customers. However, it’s not just cricket, Str8bat is also looking to spread its wings, and revolutionize other sports as well.
Keen to pass on advice to others who decide to take up executive programmes, Gagan says they should be prepared to “unlearn” what they’ve learnt, be absolutely clear as to why they’re taking up the programme, what he calls “clarity in the abstract”, and finally he implores them to work hard as, “Nobody’s going to give success to you on a platter!” It’s that kind of advice and knowledge that allows Gagan to live out his dream, while his product helps so many sports persons live out their own.
Applications for the upcoming cohort of INSEAD Leadership Programme for Senior Executives (ILPSE) are open now. Click below to learn more: