Devansh Jain might be operating out of a corporate set up which his father, uncle and grandfather had built over the years but from the beginning, he wanted to carve his own niche, as entering an existing business would not challenge him.
Entrepreneurship being in his DNA, he just couldn’t wait to get started. Sharing some early memories of his tryst with entrepreneurship, he says, “Even as a teenager, I tried building smaller ventures like I had a printing business, then I tried selling t-shirts and from those I would earn around Rs15,000 to Rs70, 000 which was enough as a pocket money.”
After graduating with a double major in Economics and Business Administration, Devansh ditched the placement offer to join Inox Group, contrary to everyone’s belief that one should gain some job experience before joining the family business. When he got back, he realized that the group was into multiple businesses, there were cinemas, gases, engineering, and flouro-chemicals. Initially, he juggled between various businesses, he says, “I spent about two years learning about operations, sales, marketing, plant issues, execution of new plants, but at the same time, Gujarat Fluorochemicals limited (GFL, the parent company under which Inox Wind is operational) was working on a diversification study with Mckinsey to get into the wind energy space.”
At that time, the group made some investment in wind farms. While operating in the field they realized that they were entitled for some tax breaks. “We started working with Mckinsey to work out a way and how to make this business robust and what came out was that we needed to control the turbine. Which meant that we needed to make the turbine. That is how the whole process started. I spent next one-and-half-years travelling across the globe figuring out how to make turbine.”
Devansh spent almost six months in China looking at the whole supply chain and understanding how to make a turbine. Next, he got into manufacturing of cells, blades and towers - all the three components at the same time.
Setting foot into the wind space at that time was becoming tricky. By then lot of incentives were cut off like GBID. People like Reliance, Shri Ram, Seva Sankaran, Kalyanis and several other bigger groups had already failed in this sector. “We started with small operations despite people asking us not to venture into the field,” remembers Devansh.
For him, it was four years of no sleep and madness. He went bankrupt in the next two years. The group had money and he could have easily gone back to them but he decided not to. Sharing the amount with which he started, Devansh says, “I had Rs 40 crore with me for starting the venture, Rs 30 crore came from the promoter family and Rs 10 crore from my immediate family.” Today, Inox Wind has the highest EBIDTA margins globally and has the highest PAT margins.
Inox Wind was structured to be lean and cost sensitive which enabled it to succeed in the market today. Meanwhile, several incentives were re-introduced after Modi Government came to the Centre. It probably became the most subscribed IPO in one-and-half-year time. “BSE chairman Ashish Chauhan told me that at that point, I was the youngest CEO to ring the bell,” shares Devansh gleefully. Today Inox is India’s third largest wind turbine company.
Talking about the success achieved in just five years, he says, “I had to take risks to survive because there was nothing to go back to. I have seen my father building businesses and we became an industrial group after my uncle and dad came.” Now, Devansh is aiming to double his business in next one year.
After wind went beneath his wings, Devansh is all set to look at the consumer space vertical. This marked his entry in the FMCG space. Sharing more on this move and not staying with the wind all along, he says, “To be honest I am a business person and I build businesses. I am very passionate about what I do but it’s not that I am a wind man or it is my life.” He is now keener to expand his eight-month-old FMGC business and expand it further through more acquisitions.
Putting crazy targets excites the youngest Jain. Talking about his newest focus which is FMCG, Devansh concludes, “FMCG means anything and everything like nachos, popcorns, and everything. Eventually, it is going to be the whole gamble of FMCG. Anything from shampoo to soap, pesticides to cosmetics. The aim is to make a 1000 crore FMCG business in next three years.”
(This article was first published in the June issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)