Varun Agarwal is an Indian author, entrepreneur, film maker, teacher, motivational speaker, and investor. He is known for being the founder and CEO of the online e-learning platform Mento. Varun is also known for being the author of the national bestseller book ‘How I Braved Anu Aunty and Co-Founded a Million Dollar Company.’
Varun Agarwal was born on Sunday, 6 December 1987 (age 34 years; as of 2021) in Bangalore. His zodiac sign is Sagittarius.
He did his schooling at Bishop Cotton Boys’ School, Bengaluru (1990-2004). He studied Science in class 11 and class 12. Thereafter, he attended the CMR Institute of Technology, Bengaluru, to pursue a Bachelor of Engineering in Telecommunications. LinkedIn- Varun Agarwal While he was studying in class 11, Varun desired to become a filmmaker. The fact that one could showcase what’s going on inside his head using a camera, amused him. However, his mother, after being influenced by her best friend Anu (Anu Aunty for Varun), pushed him into engineering. Varun failed the examinations in the first year of college, before eventually passing. Bangalore Mirror In an interview, while talking about it, he said,
I failed thrice in Network Analysis (one of the papers) and only pushed myself to clear it after I knew I couldn’t afford to fail anymore.”
Soon, he started making YouTube videos. While he was in the middle of his course, he received a job offer from a production company and decided to quit engineering. However, his mother persuaded him to complete his course. After completing his graduation, Varun relocated to Mumbai and started working as a director.
Height (approx.): 5′ 10″
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Black
Parents & Siblings
His mother’s name is Purnima Agarwal. He had a younger brother named Mayank, who died due to COVID-19 on 16 April 2021.
Varun is unmarried.
As a YouTuber
While in college, Varun started making videos and uploading them on social media. In 2007, he created a music video for Pentagram, a music brand, which went viral and amassed around 1,00,000 views.
As a Video Director
While he was in the second year of college, a production company offered him a job of directing music videos. He wanted to grab the opportunity. However, his mother convinced him to complete his graduation first. Soon, after completing his graduation, Varun moved to Mumbai, and started working with the company Phat Phish Productions. In his first assignment, he directed a music video for A. R. Rahman.
He has also directed a music video featuring the Bollywood actress Preity Zinta.
Later, he collaborated with a Bangalore-based stand-up comedian Sanjay Manaktala to make a music video called ‘Anu Aunty, Engineering Anthem.’ The video was based on his book titled ‘How I Braved Anu Aunty and Co-Founded a Million Dollar Company.’ The video was featured on The Enthu Cutlets, a YouTube channel promoted by Varun in 2014 to showcase Bengaluru’s comedians.
As an Author
In 2012, he launched his semi-autobiographical book ‘How I Braved Anu Aunty and Co-Founded a Million Dollar Company.’ The book was published by Rupa Publishers and soon became a national bestseller. In the same year, it hit the number 5 spot on the Amazon India Bestsellers List.
Later, the book was also published in the Vietnamese language.
In 2022, the Bollywood directors Ashwini Iyer Tiwari and Nitesh Tiwari decided to make a film based on Varun’s book ‘How I Braved Anu Aunty and Co-Founded a Million Dollar Company.’ The film was named ‘Bas Karo Aunty!’
As an Entrepreneur
In 2005, while Varun was in the first year of his college, he started a production company for online video content like music videos, corporate films, and ad films. The company was named ‘Last Minute Films.’ The company’s first video received around 3 lakh likes on YouTube.
After working as a video director for around two years, Varun returned to Bangalore from Mumbai for a break. In Bangalore, while he was out on dinner with one of his friends, he came upon a business idea. The idea was to make merchandise for school and college students across India and sell it online. In 2009, Varun, along with his friend, founded ‘Alma Mater,’ an online store that provides customised merchandise for schools, colleges, and corporate sectors. The company struggled for around 2 years and later, touched 1 million dollar revenue in 2011 after finding appropriate investors. The company has also launched a customised online T-shirt maker tool called PLAY. He was also featured on the cover of India Today magazine for it.
As of 2022, Alma Mater is associated with around 3500 schools and colleges, 800 corporates, and 400 private groups in around 350 cities across India. In 2010, he started a social media marketing firm named Reticular. Subsequently, he founded an online e-learning platform named Grades Don’t Matter. The company is India’s first Ed-tech platform for creative courses. It was later, renamed as Mento.
As a Motivational Speaker
As a motivational speaker, Varun has shared his success story on various public platforms like Google India HQ, Cisco India HQ, Yahoo India HQ, HP India HQ, at Unilever (London), to employees of tobacco firm Philip Morris in Macau.
He has also appeared as a speaker on INK Talks to share his story of becoming a successful entrepreneur from an engineering student.
Varun has given guest lectures in various schools and colleges across India.
He also promotes the sapling challenge, an initiative to make Bengaluru a green city.
He has also been the brand ambassador of Lenovo’s Flex product. Talking about how he got the opportunity in an interview, he said,
The creative agency 22 feet got in touch with me. They wanted someone young and also someone who manages to live two lives at once. They liked what I had done so far and I ended up doing a commercial for them. Which I think is great because for an entrepreneur to endorse any brand is a major step forward.”
- Author: Ernest Hemingway
- Food: Biryani
- Cuisine(s): South Indian, Italian
- Actor: Farhan Akhtar
- Actress: Carrie Fisher
- Singer: A. R. Rahman
- Colour(s): Black, Blue
- An avid dog lover, Varun once owned a pet dog named Cookie.
- In an interview, Varun disclosed that he was an extremely shy and quiet kid in his school days.
- During an interview, when Varun was asked about the idea behind his book ‘How I Braved Anu Aunty and Co-Founded a Million Dollar Company,’ he said,
I used to write blogs on the Alma Mater Facebook page, they got famous, and somebody suggested that I write a book. I ended up writing the book in 7 days, put it together, and send it to Rupa Publishers. One month later it was ready. It’s very good to fail because unless you fail, one never succeeds. Indian society encourages one not to fail, but I disagree. I’ve learned the most from my failures.”
- Varun follows a non-vegetarian diet.
- During an interview, while talking about a film being made based on his book, he said,
I wrote this book in 2012 and I had no idea that one day a movie would get made on it. I still remember when I was writing the book I wondered who would read it and probably it’s a foolish thing to write the book. Once a great man said ‘stay hungry and stay foolish’ and I assure you that every word of it is true.”
- In 2020, he was chosen as one of the jury members of the Forbes India 30 under 30 list.
- In his Instagram post, he once revealed that he suffered from clinical depression for around three years. He came out of it through constant therapy and medicines. Apparently, after launching his startup Grades Don’t Matter, Varun did not feel like going to his workplace and preferred staying in bed all day long. Later, he discovered that he was suffering from clinical depression. Instagram- Varun Agarwal