CREATE-X Alumnus Launches to Acquisition

Parth Arora is the founder of Third Dimension Fitness, a platform for gamified cardio through mixed reality, which was recently acquired by Elbo, an education-focused company based in Singapore. He began his company as a project in the summer of 2022. Since then, it has gained thousands of users and made thousands in revenue each month. Arora is a senior in computer science. He participated in the Spring 2024 Startup Launch, the first cohort to be held outside of the summer program. Below is a Q&A with Arora. 

Did you always want to be an entrepreneur?

I always did. I had my first company, an educational technology app, when I was 16, which ran for about two years. I ended it in my first year of college. I'm from India originally and the vision was to provide resources to the larger mass market of India for extracurricular activities. But, we realized there wasn't a business model. When we tried to make money, we started serving the rich kids. When we tried to serve the market, we didn't make money, which doesn't make investors happy, though we did end up making enough money to repay them.

That didn't stop me; it just gave me more lessons. 

What other experience in entrepreneurship have you had?

I've been involved in entrepreneurship communities at Georgia Tech forever. I was co-director of Startup Exchange, which is where I met a lot of really driven people. I got a chance to build their fellowship program and initiate their first pitch competition, which is now called Summit. I've collaborated with CREATE-X for different events, and I try to attend any event hosted by CREATE-X, Startup Exchange, or ATDC.

Why did you choose to join the spring cohort of Startup Launch this year?

CREATE-X provides everything you need, like legal support, financial support, sales support, mentors, and an introduction to VCs, which is why I decided to join the Launch program. I think all of that boosted our startup’s growth.

Why did you feel like acquisition was the way to go for your company?

I think because I always knew this wasn’t “the” thing I was going to do. This summer I'll be starting to work for Apple on their VisionPro team, and it has a direct conflict-of-interest. They wanted me to stop working on this for a while. So, I felt like this might be a good time to explore the acquisition.  We had really rich content, which had proven to work. We had curated that content after hundreds of customer interviews, and we had advisors from Nike, Disney, and Netflix. I knew that was a strong point, so that's why I knew that acquisition would be a good exit. 

What support have you had in taking the acquisition path?

Seth [Radman, who has had multiple exits himself and is a Startup Launch alumnus] has been guiding me professionally for a while. I met him at previous events through Startup Exchange, but then he recently came to a CREATE-X event. Rahul [Saxena, CREATE-X director], has also been a great support for me since day one. He was the one who suggested Startup Launch to me.

In December of last year, we started monetizing. We were testing different things. It was helpful to share the numbers and the data points with Rahul, mentors, and other people in my cohort so that I was not blindsided, and I could take actions based on the educated analysis of a database. It helped me drive down our customer acquisition cost, increase our customer lifetime value, and didn't keep me in my own bubble.

How were you okay with letting that product go?

It was a tough decision; it was my baby. I'd been working on it 10 to 15 hours a day, at least for the last few months. Rahul and Seth convinced me that if this is not the thing you want to do long-term and you know the market isn't big enough, you should move on to the next thing and put your time and energy there. 

I had to use my brain, and not my heart.

What's the biggest piece of advice that you've received as you developed your company?

Try to never lie to yourself, which is harder than it seems. I've built two companies and worked with several others, and I still lie to myself. When you love your product so much, it's very easy to lie to yourself about how there is a market for it, or people are using it. I think even in the future, I’ll probably be caught doing that, but the best way I've found to overcome that is to surround yourself with people who can tell you when you are doing it and help you see your company the way it is instead of the way you want it to be.

How has this decision affected you so far?

My lifestyle has completely changed, from looking at a dashboard every 10 to 15 minutes, seeing how the product is doing, and burning so many fires every 30 minutes, to being pretty chill. Like, what am I supposed to think about before I go to bed? What am I supposed to do now? Who are the customers I am supposed to be thinking about? It's been interesting, but I think this gives me space to now work on that next venture and have more time to think about what I want to do next.

Do you think you'll want to return to entrepreneurship in the future?

Yes, for sure. All the money I received from the acquisition will also fuel my next venture. My main goal is to grow in this industry. I'm an entrepreneur at heart, so I will be returning to the space soon or building products that people like. 

How are you celebrating this win?

I did celebrate it on our last day with Rahul, my amazing mentor, Margaret [Weniger, who founded Rising Tide], and the other cohort members. I will be celebrating it with a few of my friends because my 21st birthday is coming around, so I'll be celebrating these occasions together. 

But I don't want to take the money out from the company or for anything else, because it’s for my next venture. It shouldn't change my lifestyle at all, so I've kept all that money in a separate place.

What encouragement would you give to students interested in pursuing a startup?

Relative to other colleges, we have a cushion, a sense of security that we will get good jobs. Entrepreneurship is a riskier and more unpredictable path, which I've seen, and I'm personally experiencing right now having to choose between Big Tech versus entrepreneurship. But once you start building it and when you hear from your first customer how you affected the way they live, then there's no going back. Statistically, you'll probably fail, but you won't know until you start building; and if you do fail, it’ll teach you so many valuable lessons that are applicable in whatever career path you choose.

CREATE-X will launch its 12th cohort of Startup Launch on Aug. 29 at 5 p.m. in the Georgia Tech Exhibition Hall. Register today to secure your spot.

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