What I've Learnt: Sanj Mahal, Owner & CEO at AndCo

Charlie Spargo's picture
by Charlie Spargo
Sanj Mahal, AndCo

AndCo brings together freelancers and venues to bolster the food and drink industry in London, and change the way that people co-work. 

Sanj founded AndCo in 2017, after inspiration from his wife, who had struggled to find attractive meeting space and was discovering lots of empty venues.

The app helps freelancers easily find vacancies at the best, often independent pubs, cafés, restaurants and more for a monthly subscription fee.

We found out what makes him tick.  

Which single daily habit or practice could you not do without?

Going on my daily run. This is great for clearing my mind and staying focused, and active. As an entrepreneur, fitness should be a huge part of your personal strategy. Keeping healthy is important, especially when running a business. You’re good for no-one when you’re ill and run-down. 

What's been your luckiest break?

Managing to get the first few great venues to believe in AndCo, even when it was just an idea. We couldn’t work if it wasn’t for the venues, and having them believe in the company, and what we are trying to achieve is amazing and encouraging, and allowed us to bring on new venues and build the business.

What's your best failure?

I have failed many times, and I have learned from each failure. All entrepreneurs should fail and embrace it. We are so scared of rejection and making mistakes, but all this shows us is that we are trying. 

What is the best investment you've ever made, either financial or time?

My family, and my children. Spending time with them is the most important thing in the world, and I work hard to achieve a work/life balance that ensures I spend as much time with them as possible.

Also building the AndCo app, of course. 

How would you describe your work/life balance?

At the moment 90% work - which is not the way I want the scales to be tipping. But as a start-up, with so much to do, it is difficult. I think it’s hard to find the right balance, and anyone who has, please teach me! 

Which book would you recommend others to read and why?

'Superforecasting: The Art & Science of Prediction'. This is a great book, and provides a clear understanding of how to forecast and predict trends, future topics, business issues, etc. It’s great for anyone wanting to understand business better, and gain real insights. 

What one piece of advice would you give your 21-year-old self?

Read everything! Immerse yourself in books and learn as much as you can.

Knowledge really is power. I now understand the benefits of reading, and definitely should have read more when I was younger. 

Who or what has had the single biggest influence on your working life?

My wife. She was the person who inspired AndCo and gave me the idea. She’s amazingly supportive, and is a powerhouse in her own self. I’m lucky to have her by my side. 

Tell us something about you that would surprise people.

I have had an art exhibition.

What does success look like to you?

When the business is accepted, not just by investors, but by your customers. When they are perfectly happy to invest in you and continue to use you. That loyalty is real success.