Azhar Iqubal’s Inspiring Journey from IIT Dropout to Shark Tank India Judge

Azhar Iqubal’s Inspiring Journey from IIT Dropout to Shark Tank India Judge
Azhar Iqubal - Co-founder and CEO of Inshorts

For the Millennials and Gen Z, it has always been tedious and boring to sit with the elders at home and watch the monotonous news channels. We have always searched for a way to escape that situation. The biggest constraint was the lack of time and the content's length and mass. But then came the savior- Inshorts.

Inshorts, with its brevity and simplicity, brought about a massive change in how the youth consume news.

We live in a world where we are flooded with information all around us. Also, from Instagram reels to YouTube shorts, only short forms of entertainment have gained popularity. That being the scenario, Azhar Iqubal, had foreseen this almost a decade ago and co-founded Inshorts, an app that delivers the latest news in less than 60 words.

Let’s explore the journey of this young entrepreneur who turned from an IIT dropout to a Shark Tank India judge.

Azhar Iqubal - Biography

Name Azhar Iqubal
Born 7th October 1992
Birthplace Bihar, India
Nationality Indian
Education Mathematics and Computer Science, IIT Delhi (Dropped out)
Position Co-founder and CEO, Inshorts

Azhar Iqubal- Early Life
Azhar Iqubal - Career
Azhar Iqubal - Personal Life
Azhar Iqubal - Inshorts
Azhar Iqubal - Shark Tank India
Azhar Iqubal - Journey So Far
Azhar Iqubal - Challenges Faced
Azhar Iqubal - Investments
Azhar Iqubal - Awards and Recognitions

Azhar Iqubal- Early Life

Born and brought up in India, Azhar’s early life, marked by curiosity and a passion for information, laid the foundation for his journey. He joined IIT Delhi to pursue his bachelor's in Mathematics and computer science.

As he navigated through his college life, his hunger for knowledge and an innate entrepreneurial spirit began to blossom. Soon, he dropped out of IIT, to co-found what is today a multi-million dollar business.

Azhar Iqubal - Career

In 2013, Azhar Iqubal, his IIT Delhi classmate Anunay Pandey, and IIT Kharagpur student Deepit Purkayastha established the News in Shorts Facebook page.

It instantly attracted users' interest because it included summaries of news items together with links to the actual stories.

They were accepted into the Times Internet-backed TLabs startup accelerator some months later.

Azhar Iqubal's journey from those formative years to the inception of Inshorts is a testament to the power of curiosity, resilience, and a vision to make information accessible to all.

Following the success of Inshorts, he also established a Public App in 2019 with the goal of bringing together Indian local communities on a digital platform.

Success Story and Business Model of Inshorts

Azhar Iqubal - Personal Life

Azhar Iqubal hails from the state of Bihar and currently lives in India. He is fond of driving and traveling. He also loves to go on road trips with his friends.

Being one of the most successful young entrepreneurs in India, he is followed by thousands of his young fans.

Azhar Iqubal - Inshorts

Inshorts Landing Page
Inshorts Landing Page

Inshorts provides daily 60-word summaries of news updates to its customers at just a click away. While, according to the founders, in December 2014, there were just 100,000 users, currently the count has risen to nearly three million.

Also, over the years, the company has created numerous creative advertising concepts that have assisted them in bringing on more than 250 brands. Working with household names like Vodafone, OnePlus, Mercedes, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Myntra, and others helped Inshorts become operationally viable within five years after its inception.

Public App is a platform that allows users to engage with their community through verified updates from media organizations, lawmakers, authorities, and content producers. The Public App gained more than 50 million active members in the first year after its inception, making it the largest location-based social network in India.

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Inshorts is an mobile news application that offers news stories summarised in 60 words or less. Lets look at its business model, revenue model and more.

Azhar Iqubal - Shark Tank India

Shark Tank India Judges- Peyush Bansal, Namita Thapar, Azhar Iqubal, Amit Jain, Anupam Mittal
Shark Tank India Judges - Peyush Bansal, Namita Thapar, Azhar Iqubal, Amit Jain, Anupam Mittal

In the latest, Shark Tank India, a business reality television series, has announced that Azhar Iqubal would be one of the judges along with the other latest entrants, OYO’s CEO Ritesh Agarwal and Zomato’s CEO Deepinder Goyal, in the third season of the show.

As the news was announced, it created a wave of excitement and inspiration among the young entrepreneurs.

Azhar Iqubal wrote on his social media,

“On Shark Tank India Season 3, I want to tell the youth of India that where you come from and whether you have a degree or not does not matter; what matters is whether you have hunger, discipline, and focus. And if you have it in you, I am here to support you in fulfilling your entrepreneurial dream.”

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Azhar Iqubal - Journey So Far

From being the co-founder of Inshorts, which has evolved to be India's top-rated English news app and has maintained that ranking on Android since January 2014, to being a judge on Shart Tank India, Iqubal’s journey has stood as an example of sheer dedication and hard work.

To quote Azhar Iqubal about his journey,

“Dreaming big or later achieving is not that much difficult, but convincing people around you certainly is. I was not taken seriously or, should I say was mocked for my zeal. Once, when I was born in the village Sadogoda of Kochadhaman, Kishanganj, I wanted to get through IIT, which I achieved eventually as IITD. Later, people around ‘cautioned’ me the same way when I decided to drop out of IITD in 2012. Not listening to their concerns, which they raised of sincerity and affection to me, made me founding a company of 150 Crore Investment. Believing in you is the first step to achieving a goal, small or big, though I have yet to set my goals.”

Azhar Iqubal - Challenges Faced

During the pandemic, though, just like every other business, Inshorts faced a lot of challenges; the zeal and adaptability of Azhar and his team not only kept the business running but made Inshorts one of the top three applications that were suggested by the Play Store for reliable updates on COVID-19.

Also, the Public App experienced significant growth as users began to rely on it for all authenticated local updates in real-time, including information about nearby grocery stores, hospitals, and quarantine policies.

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Azhar Iqubal - Investments

Azhar Iqubal invested in in April 2023. Below are the details of this investment:

Announced Date Organization Name Lead Investor Funding Round Money Raised
April 27, 2023 - Seed Round - $1.14 Million

Azhar Iqubal - Awards and Recognitions

Here are the prominent awards and recognitions of Azhar Iqubal:

  • Business World 40 under 40
  • Fortune India 40 under 40
  • Business World Young Entrepreneur Award
  • The Most Enterprising Brands
  • Leaders of Asia Award
  • Forbes India 30 under 30
  • Forbes Asia 30 under 30


Who is Azhar Iqubal?

Azhar Iqubal is an Indian entrepreneur and Co-founder and CEO of Inshorts. He is the most recent shark in the Shark Tank India season 3.

Where is the headquarters of Inshorts?

Inshorts was founded in 2013 and is headquartered in Noida, Uttar Pradesh.

What is Public App?

Public App is an Indian social network app for local news, with updates on nearby events, business, employment opportunities, and classified ads, among other things.

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