(May 22, 2023) Atul Koul Randev, a tech industry executive at Signicat, has found success with his debut novel ‘The Hundred Million Bet.’ His book found a spot on the WH Smith Fiction bestsellers list and is a bestseller on Amazon, with a 4.6 rating. Global Indian looks at the Oslo-based techie’s journey to becoming a bestselling Indian author …
Most of Atul Koul Randev’s childhood was spent reading books: Enid Blyton, C.S. Lewis (The Chronicles of Narnia), JK Rowling (Harry Potter) and Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time. He would wander around in the library for hours, picking and reading whatever he liked. After all, his mother was a librarian and a writer of short stories.
All of this reading started to flow into his school essays. Atul started writing some short poems and stories, which were appreciated at school and home. He left the country to study and work, going to France and Norway, but never stopped writing. “I’m a dreamer, writer and a poet, in the guise of a techie,” smiles Atul Koul Randev, author of the best seller ‘The Hundred Million Bet’ in an exclusive chat with Global Indian.
Atul, who is the Chief Strategy and Mergers & Acquisitions officer at Signicat, a tech firm in Oslo, Norway, describes his book as a crime thriller at heart with strong doses of romance and philosophy. “We have a survival storyline combined with a heist where the hero (Caesar) stands to win or lose 100 million euros,” says the author about his book, which has been a bestseller on Amazon, rating a good 4.6, and has peaked at No.3 on WH SMITH Fiction best sellers list.
The Hundred Million Bet
Caesar, elaborates Atul, wins the money to begin with but the mafia boss that he’s beaten, wants his money back and would go to any lengths to get it.
“Life is never just action, it is never just a chase. There is a lot of thinking, questioning, and loving that we do in our lives, and Caesar is no different,” feels Atul, adding that the hero of his book needs to face and answer some questions related to what he values and why he exists before he’ll be ready to face the antagonists.
The response to the book has been very humbling, he says. “People liked the grey characters and found them relatable even though these people are living in the high-stakes world of 100 million poker games,” says Atul, who received most appreciation for the structure of the story told through several different timelines, characters, and in different cities.
“I planted a lot of easter eggs in the book, and a few astute readers have caught those and appreciated them,” smiles the 33-year-old, who has written a few short novels in the past.
The techie life
Born in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, Atul’s school days was all about reading books, playing table tennis or cricket. An above average student when it came to academics, Atul studied mechanical engineering in YMCA University of Technology and Science in Faridabad.
He then worked as a software developer with Tata Consultancy Services, which took him to Oslo, Norway for a project in 2014. Thereafter, he moved to France did his MBA from HEC Paris in 2016. He returned to Oslo and worked with a Norwegian boutique consulting firm called Arkwright. Thereafter, he joined Bain & Company, one of the leading strategy consulting firms in the world, as a management consultant.
“At Bain & Company, I got the opportunity to work on key projects with some of the leading companies across the globe,” says Atul, who joined Signicat in May 2021 and rose to the position of Chief Strategy and M & A officer in April 2022.
Signicat is a Tech company bringing Digital Identity and Fraud management solutions to our customers which are mostly Banking and Financial services institutions.
“We are backed by a fund that gives us capital to invest in smaller companies. I lead a team that executes on that,” informs the techie, who has fairly intense workdays, which usually involves a few meetings with other companies that they may want to acquire at some point besides internal meetings and aligning with various teams on their views on these companies.
Life in Norway
Atul loves his life in Oslo. “I love food, so spend a lot of time in the kitchen with a glass of wine, and a cricket game on, cooking butter chicken or something else,” says the huge cricket fan, who does not miss a single game when India is playing.
Otherwise, he reads and writes a lot. “When it comes to reading, my guilty pleasure is fantasy,” informs Atul, whose favourite authors include Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson, James Islington and J.K. Rowling. He also likes to read philosophers like Spinoza and Schopenhauer.
“Reading a good book is same as traveling for me. When I read fantasy, I get to step into a magical world,” says Atul, who is a fitness freak and loves working out on a gym regularly.
View this post on Instagram
“I’m working on a couple of other projects right now, that would likely come to life in one form or another over the next couple of years,” informs Atul, who is presently working on a short non-fiction project with his wife. In addition, he is in the early stages of writing his next book. “It would not be a crime thriller but would hopefully be a thrilling book anyway,” says the author, who binge watches slow-burn but high-intensity TV shows. Some of his recent favourites have been Succession, Severance, Dark, and The Haunting of hill house.
Atul makes it a point to visit India twice a year. “Now that my parents are retired, I try to get them to spend more time with us in Oslo,” says the techie, who, was among the scores of people who escaped death during the flash floods in Kedarnath, Uttarakhand in 2013. “Everything was destroyed and I had to sleep on the floor of a police outpost for 10 days in the middle of a valley. We had to hike through about a hundred kms of broken mountains to get home,” he recalls.
Follow Atul on Instagram.