Know the success stories of 10 Indian entrepreneurs who successfully started in the small towns of India with big dreams, who never left their home towns to get foreign education or decided to work a few years abroad. They are young and innovative and have built empires from their homeland. These stories hopefully will inspire you through your startup journey and will keep you motivated.
- Vinod Khutal grew up near Indore and studied architecture, before studying computer science. An ad by game developer Gameloft on Naukri.com led him to a job in their Hyderabad office, where he eventually became a game designer. In 2009, he founded Twist Mobile, with apps such as Age Effect. He tied up with VServ to use their app-wrapper technology for ads embedded in apps. Success stories included becoming the first Asian company with 10 million downloads on Noki’s Ovi store. “Today’s killer app is tomorrow’s delete,” says Khutal, who has now branched out into Android and iPhone apps.
- Sriram Subramanya grew up in Pondicherry and started work in the auto ancillary business, with postings in Chennai and Bangalore and training in Germany. He later moved into the desktop publishing business, migrating from print designs to digital content. Sriram’s wife had to sell her jewellery at one stage to fund the growth of the company, Integra. A tight focus on quality, precision and business culture helped grow the company into one of the world’s Top 10 in publishing BPO. The company also won the Gender Inclusivity Award from NASSCOM.
- Rohit Bhatt grew up in Udupi, Karnataka, and studied computer science. He started off with a Japanese company making Mac products. Exposure to Japanese passion, determination, pride and quality inspired him also to strike out on his own, in the area of Indian language computing. Rohit was also inspired by Taiwanese companies who started off with contract manufacturing then branched out with their own brands such as HTC and Acer. His company, Robosoft, also spawned product companies Global Delight (utility apps such as Camera Plus) and 99 Games (such as Wordsworth and ‘Dhoom 3’ games).
- Sanjay Vijaykumar, Sijo Kuruvilla Georgeand Pranav Suresh were engineering students in Trivandrum, and started off their first business by selling SIM card packages for students. Their company MobME began with mobile content for movie and TV promotion. Investment also came from wealthy Keralites in India and overseas. But their biggest idea was to amplify their success via Startup Village: to create an innovation hub like YCombinator and ultimately create a ‘Silicon Coast’ – which eventually found support from the government and private sector. As a result, Kerala has become the first state in India with an official student entrepreneurship policy.
- Deepak Dhadotti grew up in Belgaum in an agricultural family, studied engineering and then joined the UK Company, Moog, in the area of servo-controls. He travelled extensively in Asia and Europe, building deep experience – and also causing worry to his parents that he may marry a foreign woman. They arranged a marriage for him with a local bride, and he moved back to India eventually. Deepak started Servo Controls India with his brother, bagging orders from HAL and then the steel and power industry. Tie-ups with Russian companies and the Tata group have also proven lucrative.
- Dilafrose Qazi grew up in Kashmir, and refined her business skills while studying in a government college. She stared part-time courses for women, and eventually set up the SSM College of Engineering, the first private engineering college in all of Kashmir. She ploughed on ahead, despite having her brother and husband kidnapped and being attacked by militants. Qazi even opened a sister college in Haryana for Kashmiris, helping ensure that the next generation would have sources of livelihood.
- Nand Kishore Chaudhary grew up in Churu, Marwar, and started off his carpet business with weavers from the ‘chamar’ caste, regarded as untouchables. Today, Jaipur Rugs is India’s biggest exporter of hand-knotted carpets. The company connects woven products directly to global markets, and employs a range of weavers, including tribal women. A focus on local inclusion and global trends led the company to be profiled as a case study by the late great Prof. C.K. Prahalad.
- V. Jacobgrew up in Kolencherry, Kerala, with his father working in the construction industry. He started off in the resin industry, when a trip to Japan exposed him to oleoresins, or liquefied spice extracts. Jacob returned to India, picked up know-how from the Central Food Technology Research Institute in Mysore, and started the firm Synthite. He later on set up joint ventures in Europe and a factory in China, and his firm is now the world’s largest company in oleoresins.
- Parakramsinh Jadeja grew up in Rajkot and excelled in cricket and chess as a student. He mastered lathe technology in school and eventually got into computerised numerical control (CNC) machines. Partnership with Siemens and exposure to machine tool fairs in Paris led him to master the tool business based out of India as Jyoti CNC, and the acquisition of a French company turned out to be a win-win situation. As the largest manufacturer of machine tools in India, Jyoti CNC is planning an IPO.
- Jagjit Singh Kapoor’s parents were displaced from Pakistan during the Partition, and he grew up in Doraha, Punjab. He started off in the wine business but then moved into beekeeping and exporting of honey products. A trip to the UK to chase a non-paying customer ended up opening his eyes to a whole new world of quality, processing and technology. Today, Kashmir Apiaries is the largest exporter of honey from India, and Singh started the National Bee Board to increase awareness and networking for beekeepers.
The book Take me home by Rashmi Bansal focuses on the life history of many such young entrepreneurs.