Money & Me: Dubai-based Cosmos Group chief happy to take a risk

Gaurav Aidasani is the chief executive of the Dubai-based Cosmos Group – an angel investor in start-up companies that has just sold its stake in the online deals website Nailthedeal for an undisclosed sum. The 31-year-old, from India, has spent most of his life living in the UAE.

Describe your financial journey so far.

Growing up, I was never denied anything financially. Having said that, financial values were instilled in me from an early age and I think that has a lot to do with who I am today. A big credit goes to my parents for that. I started my career running an outsourcing unit in India. I eventually bought that company out and pivoted it to what is today know as the Cosmos Group. Cosmos Group owns several digital media, marketing and eCommerce businesses such as advertising network Al Nasher and digital publisher Yazle Media. The company also recently exited Nailthedeal, which was sold to a local business group. When we first started, we were about seven people and today the team is about 40 in our India office with over 80 globally. We moved our headquarters to Dubai and there’s been no looking back since. I’ve had my fair share of failures and success. I think financially, the most challenging moment for us was when we bought an outsourcing unit with no clients and a full payroll running. However, necessity is the birth of all innovations.

Are you a spender or saver?

Anyone who has been successful has been a bit of both. Although I’d like to consider myself as more of a spender, I’m a risk-taker. I believe in living the moment rather than worrying about the future.

What is your philosophy towards money?

I’ve come to believe that you should never take on debt. All good businesses were built with the right investors – smart money is usually the difference between making and breaking a business.

Have you made any financial mistakes along the way?

Yes, several. I guess most entrepreneurs would. I’ve invested in the wrong businesses and people who were not a fit to our core values. But, with every mistake I made, I grew stronger and wiser. I could say these mistakes have probably saved me more money in the long term.

Have you ever had a month where you feared you could not pay the bills?

Yes and no. I always knew I could depend on my parents to pay the bills if I could not keep up. However, at the beginning of my first venture I had months where it was a struggle.

If you won Dh1 million, what would you do with it?

Definitely set up an incubator and invest it in businesses. Give a part of it to charities and social development funds.

Do you plan for the future?

Yes. Even though I live for the moment, a bulk of my day goes in planning and executing yearly strategies rather than daily tasks. Life without planning is living without substance.

Where do you save your money?

For me, a safe investment is property and bonds. I do invest in the stock market and funds. My investment strategy is always bet against the turn.

What do you enjoy spending money on?

I am extremely passionate about the outdoors. Most of my holidays are on exotic beach getaways. I love spending time with my family and most of my holidays are with my close folks. Maldives is my favourite destination. Another avenue to spend money for me is making investments in brilliant and disruptive businesses. Making investments to me is as good as exploring the unexplored.

What is your most cherished purchase?

I would have to say the first property I purchased trumps the first car, and the first car trumps the first gadget.

What would you raid your savings account for?

A business or an innovative idea that I would be passionately involved in. I’ve removed funds in the past for a disruptive business idea.

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