The Metal Man Naivedya Agarwal, co-founder and CEO of Runaya aims to leverage technology and sustainability to create a positive impact on the world
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Naivedya Agarwal, co-founder and CEO of Runaya still has a vivid memory of the business trips that he took as a child with his father Navin Agarwal, executive vice chairman and brother of Vedanta's chairman Anil Agarwal.
One such trip he fondly recalls is the visit to Jharsuguda Aluminium smelter site, which at that time was in the project phase. "I was 14 and I remember the long review meetings that went on for hours on end and how my father was able to focus on not just the big picture but also drill down into the details," he says. This is a lesson that he has always tried to incorporate into his journey as a leader of his own business.
"I also spent all of my summers in college shadowing my father as he went through his workday, even sitting through all of his meetings as an observer. At the end of the day in the car journey home we would debate the various meetings and brainstorm on what went wrong and what worked," he says.
This gave Naivedya a 360-degree view of what running a business actually looks like and what aspects matter the most.
When building Runaya, a metal recycling business, along with his brother Annanya Agarwal, the most defining memory of those early years was the stress and anxiety to get started. "We spent two years identifying not just the areas in which we would operate but also how we wanted to build the company and what our core values would be," he says.
With Runaya, the Agarwal brothers aim to leverage technology and sustainability to create a positive impact in the world. The startup has a 65% diversity ratio in it senior leadership, more than 50% of its workforce comes from economically less developed backgrounds, 60% of its power consumption comes through renewable sources and will be water positive by end the of FY2024.
Talking about why they decided to build Runaya instead of joining the family business, he says, "Being a part of only the second generation in our family business, I had grown up hearing about how my tauji and dad built the business from the ground up. This really inspired me to see if I could start something on my own rather than join the family business right away. I knew that the opportunity to join the family business would always be open to me and building a business from the ground up is the perfect training if I ever decide to take the plunge," he says.
While he builds a new company, he carries forward the family's values, two key ones being 'Build in India for India' and 'Dream Big but remain Humble'.
"This is something that I have always stood by and continue to inculcate. All of our businesses derive most of our value from sales to Indian businesses and we are also amongst the highest contributors to the Indian exchequer for any business of our age," he says.
• Age: 34
• Current turnover: INR 700 crore
• Number of employees: 675 approx