Muklesur Bharuya (Bar Vocational Studies, 2021) joined the City Launch Lab to follow his passion for technology and entrepreneurship. In collaboration with the Launch Lab, he is about to release a new podcast series, Launch Lab Podcast, to help others find their footing as entrepreneurs and consider a career as problem solvers.
“Since childhood, I was always interested in tech,” says Muklesur Bharuya.
Despite this early interest, Muklesur found it challenging to choose a career path and studied Economics and Law in his home country, France, before moving to London to continue his legal education.
“I think it’s kind of unfair to put pressure on children at such a young age, to actually have to choose what you’re going to do for the rest of your life.”
Muklesur graduated from The City Law School in 2021 and is now a registered barrister in England and Wales and an attorney in France, with expertise extending to a wide range of legal issues, including corporate law, intellectual property law, and commercial law. When he was presented with the chance to join the City Launch Lab at City, however, he couldn’t resist the opportunity.
“There was a short period between my graduation and when I got my job for the Crown Prosecution Service,” Muklesur says. “And during these few months when I didn’t know what to do, I saw this email about the application process for the City Launch Lab.”
The City Launch Lab is an incubation space for City’s student and graduate entrepreneurs. Its offerings include a 3-month accelerator programme to kick-start a business, expert startup coaching, mentoring and access to training sessions, and free office space for up to a year. Muklesur met up with the Launch Lab’s manager for a chat and found himself deeply interested in the conversation and the energy of the Launch Lab environment.
“I saw joining the City Launch Lab as the natural step after finishing my training as a barrister, as it would allow me to combine my legal expertise with my passion for technology.”
Muklesur’s first project was to write the book Smart-Contract: The Rise of Decentralised Finance, published in November 2022.
“Because my way of expressing myself was through legal jargon, I decided to write a book on the legal areas of tech,” Muklesur says. “This was my way of expressing an interest in contributing to this part of society; the tech industry.”
Having rediscovered his passion for technology and entrepreneurship, Muklesur is working as a Barrister-at-law at the City Launch Lab, where he provides legal guidance and advice to startups in order to help them navigate legal challenges and achieve their goals.
“I believe that the startup ecosystem in London has immense potential, and I am committed to promoting and supporting the growth of startups and entrepreneurship in the City.”
In addition to providing legal advice, Muklesur, in collaboration with the Launch Lab, is about to release a weekly podcast called Launch Lab Podcast. The aim of the podcast is to help budding entrepreneurs bridge the gap between the theory they might have picked up during their studies and the reality of creating an innovative product and business from scratch.
“If you have some deep concern that you’re passionate about, then I would say founding a startup is way more powerful than anything else you do.”
Each episode of the podcast will bring City and Bayes academics together with experienced entrepreneurs to discuss different topics, for example, funding and regulation.
“Our whole purpose is to educate people. We’re not here to sell; there is no hidden message,” Muklesur explains.
He hopes that the listeners will gain the knowledge many founders have had to learn through trial and error because there is a lack of support in the industry.
“No one is actually holding you by the hand and we would like to fight against it because we believe that it’s kind of unfair, and it doesn’t have to be this way.”
For Muklesur, the startup world brings great satisfaction. It’s an ecosystem where success goes beyond financial compensation.
“It’s way more rewarding because you have ownership of your work.”
And even if the project doesn’t succeed, there can still be a sense of accomplishment.
“I tried to build something I wanted to own, but not for the sake of my own arrogance, but to actually solve a problem to help people.”
There is also the joy of working in an environment where others share a similar mindset and are prepared to risk some of their creature comforts to simply pursue an idea.
“More than ever I feel that I’m part of the right community,” Muklesur says. “And to this extent, I think that, yes, the Launch Lab is one of the best accelerator programmes because of the number of connections you will make.”
He was surprised to learn how experienced many of the Launch Lab members are. According to Muklesur, it’s not uncommon that members have given up successful careers within large companies to branch out on their own.
“In the end, they were not enjoying what they were doing,” Muklesur says.
However, startups are not for the fainthearted; many do not succeed, so even though Muklesur wants more people to consider a career beyond the “big names”, he acknowledges that it’s not for everyone. Instead, he would like to see a change in attitude.
“I think there is a lack and a failure in the educational system to encourage entrepreneurship,” he says.
Where does Muklesur see himself in the future?
“You never stop being a lawyer. There’s always a deal, there is always a contract that you can have a better look at than any of your colleagues, and there has never been a time when lawyers are more needed, but from the inside in a startup ecosystem, not from the outside coming in and just trying to charge startups.”
Having said that, when Muklesur looks at the next five years, he hopes to have broken the mainstream idea that recent graduates need to go into specific roles after they graduate and might instead consider becoming entrepreneurs.
“It can even be a social enterprise,” he says, giving examples of how tech can help solve issues like hunger and climate change.
Muklesur also has his own startup within the trade and finance sector.
“It’s a wonderful project,” he says, but would rather show results down the line than talk about it now.
Finally, Muklesur wants to give something back to the City Launch Lab, its community and the City ecosystem for introducing him to a career trajectory he hadn’t previously considered.
“I hope that, in one way or another, I’ll be able to contribute at least as much as I’ve received. In what form, I’m not yet sure; I think only time will tell, but I’m quite committed.”
A big thank you to Muklesur Bharuya for sharing his story! You can find out more about the Launch Lab Podcast, moderated by Muklesur, at launchlabpodcast.com.