It is late evening when Ankit Nagori logs in for our scheduled video call but he is buzzing with infectious energy. The 36-year-old IIT Guwahati graduate paces all over his home office and beyond as he tells me how much time he spends on his feet throughout the day.
Nagori started out at Flipkart and was the online retailer’s chief business officer. Soon, he was itching for a new challenge — in 2016, he joined hands with his Flipkart colleague Mukesh Bansal to start Cure.Fit. Nagori, who grew up in South Delhi and played cricket at various levels, believes growth stops the minute one becomes comfortable and that’s what he loves about the challenging environment of a start-up.
In 2020, Nagori started Curefoods. This time, it wasn't just the challenge, but the potential in the sector that forced hand into starting the cloud-kitchens operator.“It was an obvious decision because there is so much room for growth in this sector,” he says.
Based out of Bengaluru, the company was hived off from Cure.Fit and now operates as an independent entity. It has over 125 kitchens across 12 cities. On the side, Nagori has also bought a badminton team and a volleyball team and has fallen in love with badminton so much that he has started playing it regularly.
In this interview, Bengaluru-based Nagori speaks to Lounge about why he wakes up early, why he prefers being a mentor rather than a boss and why sports is very important in his life.
Who do you consider your mentor?
There are various people that come your way at different stages of life and inspire you. Throughout my academic career, various professors inspired me. There was also Mr Rajeev Karwal, who is no more, who taught me a lot at the beginning of my career. Even in the last few years, there have been different people I have met who have inspired me to be what I am today.
One major insight you worked on with your mentor's guidance?
My cricket coach Vijay Mehra, an ex-India player, had mentioned the importance of waking up early and I think I have been able to imbibe that in my life very well.
What does being a mentor mean to you? How do you mentor your colleagues at work?
There is a very fine line between being a mentor and being a boss. I prefer being a mentor and I implement that in my daily life. A mentor needs to focus on bringing the strengths and positives of a person to the forefront. If you’re able to focus on the positives, you’ll bring the best out of any person. I embrace this approach at work and even elsewhere.
What's your morning schedule like?
I am a morning person; I wake up around 5:30 am. After the kids go to school, I go to the gym followed by badminton. Then, I look at my work, starting with emails and other tasks. This covers the first three hours of my day.
What are some of the productivity principles you follow that have made your professional and personal life much easier?
I follow the two-by-two approach which is very reliable in helping you prioritise your work. If you plot everything on a scale of importance and urgency and are able to cut out the non-important and non-urgent tasks in your life, then your tasks become much easier and you end up getting a lot of bandwidth and time. I also consider my time poorly managed if I have more “urgent work” rather than “important work.” So, an ideal situation would be where I have more “important work” than something that is “urgent.”
What is the one thing that excites you about new ventures?
The fact that I now own a badminton team and a volleyball team comes from exploring new ventures and trying to stay uncomfortable. When the space around you becomes comfortable, the growth stops. I have always made sure that every time I go into a comfort zone, I try to venture out and explore new territories. Owning sports teams has been a completely new, unique, and enriching experience.
Since you were a key part of Flipkart, what is your golden rule for shopping online?
99% of all the things I buy are online. My golden rule is to go with the ratings of any product, and accordingly decide my choice. I will also choose a fast-shipping option so my priorities while shopping online are products with options of fast shipping, high ratings and popular products.
What's the one positive work routine you have developed during the pandemic?
As the pandemic hit, everyone’s schedules changed and I realised that this is going to be a much longer projection. So, I went back to my original schedule. I cannot think of anything positive that I have added because the pandemic was, overall, a bad time for following any particular schedule.
Any book or podcast you would recommend about mentorship and growth?
There is a book called The Decision Book: Fifty Models for Strategic Thinking by Mikael Krogerus and Roman Tschäppeler which gives very simple but great tips on decision-making and how we can take the right decisions in tough situations. It is also a great book for guidance on problem-solving for the long term.
How do you unwind? Do you pursue any serious hobbies?
Watching sports, playing sports, and reading about sports are all serious hobbies. This helps me unwind, in fact, on a daily basis. It is my only way of unwinding. I am a sportsperson, and a lot of my planning is focused on that.
Monday Motivation is a series featuring founders, business leaders and creative individuals who tell us about the people they look up to and their work ethics.
Edit: An earlier version of this article's headline identified Nagori with Cure.Fit. This has been amended to reflect his current position as the founder of Curefoods.