These #25 NewGen Entrepreneurs on How They Are Doing The Next in India
The Genxers of today are different from yesterday and will be different from those in the future.
1. Strong With The Wind -DEVANSH JAIN l 30, Director, Inox Wind Limited
2. When Friends Become Family
3. Towards Infinity, Digitally - VIVEK BIYANI l 32, Director, Future Group
4. Blending Art With Science - VIRAJ G KALYANI l 27 Founder, Kalyani Studio
5. Living The London Dream! - KESHAV SURI l 32, Executive Director, The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group
6. Brewing The New ! - AVIK CHATTERJEE l 25 Head – Innovations and New Formats, Speciality Restaurants Limited
7. Business Beyond Beauty - ISHAAN JAIN l 27, Director, Biotique
8. Youth Is The New ‘VIP’ - RADHIKA PIRAMAL l 39, Managing Director, VIP
9. The Power Of Disruption - RATUL PURI l 45, Executive Director Moser Baer India Ltd
10. The Prince Of Gold - SIDDHARTH MEHTA l 27, Chief Strategist, Rajesh Exports Limited
11. On Finding A Tech-Fix In Electronics - AKSHAY DHOOT l 25, Head of Technology & Innovation, Videocon
12. Pharma’s Path Forward - ARJUN JUNEJA l 31, Director, Mankind Operations
13. Spinning Success Across Diverse Domains
14. Tailoring New Ideas Into A Century-Old Business - NAVEEN PISHE l 47, KETAN PISHE l 38, Partners, PN Rao
15. Tiling Success With Great Interest - RISHI KAJARIA l 38; CHETAN KAJARIA l 42 Joint Managing Directors, Kajaria Ceramics Ltd.
16. Batting For A ‘Clean India’ - DIYA BURMAN l 18, Founder, RogFree
17. Back To School - ABHISHEK MOHAN GUPTA l 33 CEO, Jagran Lakecity University
When Entrepreneur thought about doing a family business special, the concept wasn't new. But India is a fairly large market with family businesses contributing about 70 per cent to the GDP. How each generation thinks new in the business is something worth an eye for entrepreneurs. Adding layers in new feats, new segments, new ideas and newer opportunities is far more interesting from a group's perspective.
The Genxers of today are different from yesterday and will be different from those in the future. When you are a start-up, it might seem okay to blow up some money and say I failed. But if the money belongs to your family and a family that has a name with which you are recognized then things might work differently. Putting everything at stake doesn't come easy to GenXers but they have done it all.
The stakes are always high as you are constantly compared to the stalwarts from the previous generations. To make a mark, they have to constantly innovate around the existing business as taking the business forward isn't much of a challenge. They don't just do it, think through it. The current issue is an ode to such entrepreneurs who thought about new innovations, a new start-up outside the family business umbrella, or creating a highly profitable enterprise in the existing family business set up. Read on to find out more.
(This article was first published in the June issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)
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." 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.
Working with the ethos of equal partnership, Priti A. Sureka (45), Aditya (42) and Harsh (41) are all directors and are involved full-time in the company. Goenka's sons Mohan (44), Manish (43) and his nephew Prashant (44) are also full time directors in the company. Both Agarwal and Goenka's children had an early introduction to family business right after their school and were inducted in the organization on a fulltime basis right after they cleared their college levels.
Priti Sureka, one of the Executive Directors on the board of Emami, the FMCG flagship entity of the group, looks after major brand portfolios like Boro Plus, Kesh King, Vasocare and Emami 7 Oils in One. Priti also heads critical verticals such as quality assurance, R&D and consumer research.
While Priti, Harsha Mohan and Prashant are running FMCG business from the forefront, Aditya and Manish are driving the other major business interests of the group like edible oil, cement, paper and bio-diesel.
Buoyed by the success of the Future Group, Vivek Biyani joined the family business in 2007 following his uncle and father's footsteps. Prior to this, he did his graduation from the University of Michigan and held various leadership positions such as analyst at the Michigan Interactive Investments.
At the Future Group, Vivek was instrumental in setting up the home solutions business and looks after its recent foray - Home Town, the home building and improvement retail chain. Vivek also launched the e-retail portal Futurebazaar, one of India's most popular shopping portal and also spearheaded the digital business growth with BigBazaar Direct.
Finding the need to infuse creativity and design into highstrength engineering solutions is what spurred Viraj Kalyani to start his entrepreneurial venture - Kalyani Studio. Being entrepreneurial and starting something on his own has been in his blood, who happens to be the nephew of Baba Kalyani, Chairman and Managing Director of Bharat Forge. Viraj comments, "It's all about taking risks."
Working at Kalyani Forge, Viraj realized that high strength components lacked creativity and to fill this gap, he started thinking about Kalyani Studio. He says, "It involved a lot of interaction with people in the industry." Kalyani Studio does a lot of design and engineering at the early stages of product development, right from working on the initial concept with the innovation team and the R&D team.
For Keshav Suri, hospitality was in his DNA. His father, Lalit Suri had built Bharat Hotels and he was sure as a teenager that one day he would be joining the family business under the guidance of his father.
But as destiny had it, Keshav lost his father when he was 21-years-old. Remembering how as a young man he coped with the situation, he says, "It was difficult to get to terms with the reality. The best way was to immerse myself in my studies and learn the ropes of the trade, so that I could help my mother. I studied law and business to broaden my horizon."
Lalit group became a pioneer as a hotel chain to launch food trucks across the nation. And the most recent one has been launching The Lalit London.Talking about the global expansion, he says, "It was my father's dream to own a hotel in London and we are the first Indian hospitality group, to both own and run a hotel on the English soil."
Burning the midnight oil wasn't really a good idea for Avik Chaterjee. Starting MadBites - a midnight food delivery service at the age of 18, Avik had to shut it down in two years to put an end to his sleepless nights. The son of India's renowned restaurateur Anjan Chaterjee, Avik wanted to follow an entrepreneurial path just like his father. However, treading the path didn't seem easy.
Talking about his first failure, Avik says, "My key hours of focus were only three hours. That's where the concept killed it." After pursuing his under graduate degree from Kingston University in London, Avik returned to India to join his father's company in 2013. .Already, Avik has worked on four concepts. Zoodles, Hoppipola and GONG, a modern Asian restaurant and the fourth one is coming up next month in Mumbai named - POH, in collaboration with a renowned chef.
A finance and management graduate from Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, Ishaan Jain was working in the private equity sector before joining Biotique. "I felt that Biotique has a tremendous growth opportunity in the future as being perfectly positioned in the cusp of the FMCG sector in the personal care sector," he says.
At the time when Jain had joined the company, it was already a profitable and a well-run business so there wasn't a requirement for a drastic change. "My mother is a bio-technologist so I never interfered in the R&D part but I realized a lot had to be done for growth and expansion of the product. So managing and implementing those changes were critical for me," Jain adds. For example, he hired a large number of sales force and expanded the distribution strength which required a lot of changes in the management. Under his leadership, Biotique opened 100 company owned retail outlets across the country. Beside, they also focused on international expansion.
A fruitful future of "VIP", Radhika Piramal, Managing Director, VIP industries, joined her 50-year-old family business in 2010. Since she took over charge, the company has grown well, primarily due to their excellent products, visible ad campaigns and new stores located in the high streets and malls.
At present, VIP and Skybags are two of their largest brands, selling in range of soft-side and hard-side luggage, along with backpacks and duffel bags. "Business conversation was always part of our family life. New developments and sales interested me from a very young age," says Piramal. Prior to this Radhika worked for DGP Securities Ltd, Bain & Company in New York. Encouraged by her father Dillip Piramal, Radhika has made VIP Industries as the current market leader in luggage and backpacks in India, beating international competition.
Soon after completing his engineering degree from Carnegie Mellon University, Pennsylvania, Ratul Puri had joined his father's company, Moser Baer, leading manufacturer of computer storage devices, in 1994. Later in 2001, he was designated as the Executive Director of the company.
But, the career at the existing company failed to inspire Ratul and in 2008, he started his own company as Hindustan Power Projects Pvt Ltd (HPPPL) which started with manufacturing solar panels and today, it is considered as one of the leading company in the power sector. Ratul says, "Becoming an entrepreneur is not by design but by orientation. One must remember that I grew up in an environment where nurturing business was the way of life. Hence once the preparation was complete, I started my career from the ground and worked my way to understand the nuances of running a business."
Like most kids in India, Siddharth had a penchant for playing cricket when he was in school. But the legacy which was getting formed as he was growing up, 19-year-old Siddharth had already started learning the nitty-gritty of business from "way bottom" (as he puts it), on all of his innocent visits to his father's office.
Today, his role in the organization is of the 'Chief Strategist'. He says, "I look at strategy and innovation and in all the divisions, if something is not right, I jump into it and make sure everything is up and running well."
Indeed this is a huge responsibility which Siddharth took on his shoulders at a very young age when he realized that Rajesh Exports is the world's largest manufacturer, processor and refiner of gold. Siddharth tells, "In school and college days, my father never had the time to attend the AGM. It was always my mother. But I have understood that and learnt one of the best traits from my father that is to be punctual. If he commits a time, he is present there no matter if anyone else is there or not."
The 25-year-old scion of India's multi-billion dollar conglomerate - the Videocon Group, Akshay Dhoot, now the head of Technology & Innovation, wants to refurbish the company as a 'Technologically luxurious brand'. An engineering graduate (manufacturing and automotive designing) from University of Warwick, Akshay joined the company out of his own will.
Even before completing his education, he regularly visited the factories and took utmost interest in the day-today administration. He joined full time in 2013 and in 2015, he was made the Technology Head at Videocon. "I had a passion of working on different kinds of electronics," says Akshay. When he initially joined the company's product division, he observed that the company had been putting a lot into cost innovation and R&D, reducing the cost of manufacturing so that the customers could afford products at good prices.
Arjun Juneja, an MBA from University of Strathclyde, UK, is a second generation business leader in the Mankind family. Presently, the Director of Mankind (Operations), he has been a prominent figure in the company's management team, along with his father RC Juneja, the Founder, and his cousin Sheetal Arora, the Managing Director. Along with being a passionate professional, he has also been forever eager to achieve new heights and explore new business avenues.
Mankind was founded in 1995 and post Arjun's joining in 2008, he has taken the company to the next level through his innovative ideas and openness towards change. His major focus areas are R&D, manufacturing, supply chain, quality assessment, IT and regulatory services.
Arjunn Ranga and Kiran Ranga, the third generation entrepreneurs at the NR Group, a company that had started their journey right after India's independence, from a simple agarbatti manufacturing company took the art of perfumery to the home care and fine fragrances domain. The company also forayed into electronics and aerospace. But the third generation continues to believe that their organization is built on a foundation of being socially conscious.
"We realized that there are a lot of drivers that can create markets for fragrances in different domains. We decided to build on our existing competencies and take the concept of fragrances to feel-good products. This includes room and care fresheners and aroma creating products," Kiran Ranga said. Brands like Ripple Fragrances and Iris - NR Group has built markets for itself in the new consumer markets.
Naveen and Ketan Pishe, both third generation entrepreneurs at PN Rao - one of the oldest and largest familyled corporations in the suiting industry - were determined to professionalize the business and give it a structure by putting systems in place. But, before doing anything, they decided to hone themselves with industry skills through education and work experience and then join their family business. The cousins went back in time to reveal that they used to visit the stores as kids and how they decided to spearhead the firm as new-age entrepreneurs.
Ketan introduced the concept of 3D-body scanning back in 2002 - wherein you don't have to physically get measured. Ketan and Naveen, along with their other family partners, decided to expand their retail footprints aggressively. In order to professionalize the section, they beefed up the hiring process and handed over the key responsibilities to new people, which were earlier exclusively held by family members.
For these brothers, their true calling was forever into their family business. While elder brother Chetan did Bachelors in Petrochemical Engineering from Pune University, and later an MBA from Boston College, Rishi went to Boston University for his Bachelors in Science and Business Administration. But they both came back to join their family business of manufacturing ceramic tiles and help their father grow it further. Chetan took a dive into marketing and operational management of the business, but when Rishi had come back in 2000, the IT revolution in India had just started.
Soon, they travelled with their father to China and found that they could import and sell vitrified tiles into India. They started selling these in India from 2003 and soon saw the volume rising, so much that they also set up a plant for vitrified tiles in India.
Creating her own space in the professional segment, 18-year-old Diya Burman, daughter of Amit Burman, Vice Chairman Dabur India Ltd, started her own nonprofit venture at a very tender age. RogFree, a not-for-profit venture started by her, is aimed at creating a healthier and hygienic society, in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of a Swachh Bharat.
The first seeds of this venture were sown while working on community development projects with Dabur's CSR arm SUNDESH, which provided Diya an opportunity to interact with people from rural India and understand their needs and aspirations in a better way. "The idea struck me when I was washing my hands in a hotel room. I noticed that the housekeeping staff in all hotels replaced all the used soap bars, even if they have been used just once," says Diya.
For Abhishek Mohan Gupta, family business was his top most priority even when he was graduating from college. Although he has represented India and a British University as a cricketer, he dreamt of joining his family business to see it progress and grow.
Interestingly, after he joined the family business in 2008, Jagran Social Welfare Society has grown from just two schools and two free schools to adding another school, one free school, two higher education institutes and a university. Since joining the family business, Abhishek has embarked on building diversity in the organisation and has focused on digitalization and globalization. Also, brand building, has become a major focus of the society that has made it look standard.