Don't Be Afraid To Dream Big And Take Risks: Yuvraj Singh

The former Indian cricketer is on the Digital Cover of Entrepreneur India for September 2021

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With nearly 12,000 international runs to his name and a handful of important wickets, star Indian cricketer, entrepreneur and humanitarian, Yuvraj Singh has been one of the best limited-overs match-winners to don the India jersey.

The left-hander had made some massive contributions for India over the course of a 17-year international career which began all the way back in 2000. It is not a stretch to say that Singh has been the protagonist of some of India’s biggest victories, with the Chandigarh-born all-rounder starring in the team’s run towards the 2007 World T20 and 2011 World Cup titles. Tributes poured in for the batsmen as his retirement made the cricketing universe emotional.

While he is now far away from the hustle and bustle of international cricket and the Indian Premier League (IPL), the former India man is relishing his post-retirement life.

“Cricket has given me everything and I am grateful for all the experiences, learning, and opportunities. However, there comes a point in life where you realize that in the quest of your ambitions, you have been running at a fast pace from one phase of your life to the other, and not able to appreciate it. Moreover, I played all my life with utmost integrity and honesty and was able to achieve great things for my country. Putting things into perspective, I made the decision to move onto a different phase in my life and it has been great,” he told Entrepreneur India.

The Comeback Man and Entrepreneur

Singh’s remarkable story includes his valiant fight to beat cancer successfully in 2012 before making a full return to India duties. The former India all-rounder is now aiming to create awareness about the affliction through his foundation YouWeCan (YWC) which was established in 2012.

YWC Ventures is a result of his passion to make a difference. He believes there are many talented people with unique ideas but no access to resources that will help build the idea or grow the business.

With YWC Ventures, Singh is empowering these aspiring entrepreneurs to fulfill their dreams with financial support, mentorship, brand building, strategizing effective marketing campaigns, developing monetization of the business model, and more to help them scale up to new levels.

“We look at businesses/ideas that have foundations strong enough for me to take ‘smart’ risks and make me believe that if the risk backfires, the business will still be sustainable. After all, if you don’t take risks, you will lose valuable opportunities in this highly competitive world of startups.”

His advice on budding entrepreneurs is a quote he came across and it stayed with him and that is: “Don't be afraid to dream big and take risks. If you succeed, you'll be happy and if you fail, you'll be smarter.”

The Investor

Former cricketer-turned-entrepreneur Singh has invested an undisclosed amount in Wellversed, a full-stack nutrition brand. The pre-Series A investment from Singh’s YWC Ventures values the two-and-a-half-year-old startup at INR 100 crore, according to a company statement. Besides investing, Singh will be the brand ambassador of the startup for 3 years and will be closely working with the founding team to scale the business.

Singh had earlier made investments in diagnostic labs aggregator Healthians, AR/VR-based tech startup HoloSuit and JetSetGo, a marketplace for private jets and helicopters.

According to him, he was able to create job opportunities for people out there and to give people the opportunity to live their dreams as when we were young kids, we always wanted some kind of push from someone who can help us live our dreams and it's probably the right time to invest in startups.

The Social Worker

The former international cricketer Yuvraj Singh urges startups, innovators, and research institutions to join his mission to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic by providing innovative, affordable, and scalable healthcare solutions. Singh through his venture YWC has launched a mission to set up 1,000 beds for critical care of COVID-19 patients across the country in government and army hospitals.

The cricketer-turned-venture capitalist is working to create a forum to consolidate efforts made by various entities to tackle challenges posed by the pandemic.

"I want to share it for all start-ups, entrepreneurs, and scientists, whoever are innovating and leading research institutions. I just want all of them to join our mission by bringing new technology solutions, quicker and more affordable healthcare solutions for Indians," Singh stated.

YouWeCan has already started rolling out beds in Delhi-NCR, Punjab, Haryana, UP, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Telangana, Karnataka, and MP.

"You start to feel like you are in a war and soldiers are getting injured and the injured do not get hospital beds for the treatment. We decided that we just can't sit at home. It was just not unacceptable to sit and do nothing. That's when we decided to set up 'mission1000bed'. Everybody deserves to get treated and get hospital care," Singh explained.

According to YouWeCan's estimate, a 1,000-bed hospital would have cost around Rs 1 crore with greenfield (new) infrastructure. Hence, the venture opted for adding additional beds to the existing facilities which will cost around INR 24 crore.

"Once the COVID-19 pandemic is over, the beds will be later used for cancer patient treatment," Singh shared.

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