This Third Generation Entrepreneur Changed Track of 70-Year-Old Family Business to Follow His Dreams Varun Manian emphatically states that he works for profit and not for glory

By Baishali Mukherjee

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Coming from a family with a strong business background, he was introduced to the tricks of the trade quite early on in his life. "The mind is like a parachute. It works only when it is open' – is what he lives by. A believer in ingenuity, he strongly advocates not to follow what parents or grandparents do, but to find the inherent flair and focus on that. "A major part of the battle is to like what you do. If you like what you do, the rest will fall into place," he enunciated.

Meet Varun Manian, a third generation entrepreneur and the Chairman & Managing Director of Radiance Realty Developers India Ltd., one of leading property developers in Tamil Nadu. The family business was founded in 1949 as National Asphalt Products & Construction Co. (a partnership firm) by his grandfather, BS Manian, who wanted to undertake road projects. Later, NAPC Limited was founded in 2005 by KS Manian (BS Manian's son). It took over the business of the partnership firm in 2007. NAPC Ltd. is into road construction and has orders on hand worth INR 1,850 crore. Currently, it undertakes civil construction projects involving the construction of roads, airport runways, buildings and mining contracts.

The Initiation

A graduate in Business from New York University, Varun worked as an investment banker for a year. He then moved back to India to gain expertise alongside his father with NAPC.

"Being born in a family of entrepreneurs automatically makes you an entrepreneur. Our parents are very good sounding boards to each other and whenever one has a problem; they speak about it to the other. As we grew up, both my sister and I heard a lot of this and it automatically fuelled my entrepreneurial spirit," shared Varun who won prominent contracts such as the Chennai outer ring road and Delhi airport runway as the Chairman of NAPC.

Eventually, NAPC sold its stake to Eurovia the road construction arm of Vinci, a 35-billion French construction major and the largest infrastructure company in the world. Vinci entered the Indian market by buying out the stake in NAPC Ltd.

"When the Modi government came into power in 2014, it decided not to give concession contracts and hence Vinci decided that their concession company and Eurovia would exit NAPC. We were able to mediate between Vinci and the NAPC staff and thus the NAPC Welfare Trust was started. Vinci transferred the shares to the Trust. The company is still owned by the Trust," informed Varun who launched his initiative Radiance Group in 2012 providing real estate solutions for customers.

Following the Dream of Making the End-User Happy

With 2 million sq. ft. of developed floor space and 1500 + lifestyle homes in various stages of delivery, 10 current projects and one million sq. ft. of projects in the pipeline, Radiance Group has now expanded its wings to Coimbatore, Coonoor, Bangalore, Mumbai and Dubai.

"When my father and I were running NAPC, we had completed so many large contracts, built so many fancy airports and roads, but the ultimate joy of seeing the end-user happy was somehow missing. This enticed me into real estate- helping people build their dream homes and witnessing their happiness has given me tremendous satisfaction and continues to motivate me," he enthused.

The group companies include Radiance Facility Force – solutions for all facility management requirements, Radiance Home Interior – providing home interior solutions, Radiance Total Care – a specialist in home-services, Radiance Address – resale and rentals of land/apartments. The company also has under its belt, Radiance Sport, a cricket and football team which won the Chennai League Championship this year. Varun himself is a keen tennis, snooker and golf player and encourages sports among youngsters and overall development of young sporting talent.

RERA and Roll-out of GST to Help Meet Customer Demands in Cost Efficient Manner

As a businessman, Varun feels cash flow is more important than profit. "It is very important to keep generating cash flow and only take projects that are profitable for us. And this has eventually helped me manage my cash flow and profits at Radiance and keep the company healthy. At NAPC, I found that contracting is a very difficult business and the attention to detail has to be immense; this has helped me in Radiance by increasing my attention to detail with respect to construction and finishes," shared the young entrepreneur who boldly proclaims that as a businessman, he works for profit and not for glory.

Varun is optimistic that government policies in terms of RERA and roll out of GST are going to make players like him much better suited to cater to the demands of the customers in a cost-efficient manner. At Radiance, his main focus is on customer and quality.

"We care about our customers and manage to give the best quality in Chennai and this is why people come back to us to buy their second homes. In the future, we plan to look into affordable housing and also venture into housing finance," concluded the spirited entrepreneur who sees technology integration in a big way and admits the need to sell a new-age-experience going forward.

Baishali Mukherjee

Former Freelancer

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