At The Helm: Meet The Next Generation of Indian Entrepreneurs
This year in our GenNext special, the list goes beyond the cliched names and provides a fresh perspective of business from different genres
Nerves of Steel - Abhyuday Jindal
ABHYUDAY JINDAL, 32, MANAGING DIRECTOR, JINDAL STAINLESS
Being born into a business family didn't earn Abhyudhay any brownie points, as he had to start off as a regular management trainee at the $3 billion Jindal Stainless. Later, he played a prominent role in the stake acquisition of Ispat Industries and the post acquisition integration of Japan Steel Works and Ispat.
The Wind Beneath Her Wings - Nidhi Tanti
NIDHI TANTI, 32, VICE PRESIDENT AND HEAD OF THE BUSINESS REVIEW COMMITTEE AND NEW BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT, SUZLON GROUP
After completing her studies, Nidhi had joined the Boston Consulting Group, where she witnessed financial markets dipping down. At that time, her brother was also a part of the business. She came to India in 2009 on a break when her father suggested her to look into the family business. As her interest grew, Nidhi stayed on. After spending four years in streamlining operations, she took a break from 2012-14 to do her MBA from University of Toronto.
Perfecting The Flavour - Siddharth Ladsariya
SIDDHARTH LADSARIYA l 34 l DIRECTOR, EVEREST FLAVOURS AND ANGEL INVESTOR
Siddharth is the second generation entrepreneur at Everest Flavours - a name synonymous to the mint related products market in India. He had joined his father Anand Ladsariya in 2010 after a brief, close to two years, stint at the ICICI Bank as a relationship manager. Siddharth and his father, however, are counted among India's most prolific angel investors, having backed around 110 start-ups. Nonetheless, the face of investments has always been his father, while it was Siddharth's call to get into the funding sector. "We had never done angel investing until I took this as an initiative two years before joining the family business," he recalls.
Siphoning Success - Brahmani Nara
BRAHMANI NARA, 31, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, HERITAGE FOODS
In India, there doesn't exist a culture wherein we see a daughter-in-law spearheading family-business. But, there are always exceptions! One such superwoman is Brahmani Nara, the Executive Director of Heritage Foods. She is also the daughter-in-law of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu.
The Royal Host - Lakshyaraj Singh Mewar
LAKSHYARAJ SINGH MEWAR, 33, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, HRH GROUP OF HOTELS
For Lakshyaraj, the scion of the 1,500-year-old House of Mewar, in Udaipur, cooking and brewing coffee and tea came naturally. This passion further led him to go to Australia, where he graduated from Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School and along with that worked with several reputed restaurants, caf?s and hotels to further polish his skills.
The New-Age Biker - Ajinkya Firodia
AJINKYA FIRODIA, 37, MANAGING DIRECTOR, KINETIC & MOTOROYALE
After completing his studies, Ajinkya worked with JP Morgan for two years, to get a hang of working in a corporate environment. Later, his father formally invited him to join the family business via email stating that he wishes Ajinkya should be a part of their further extension. "During my college years, many of my friends rode kinetic motor vehicles. I was quite proud of the fact. Having received the mail, I decided to take a plunge into the business," says the 37-year-old.
Hand-Crafting New Ideas - Yogesh Chaudhary
YOGESH CHAUDHARY, 32, DIRECTOR, JAIPUR RUGS
Yogesh had no intention to join the family business till his father landed in a major crisis and needed a helping hand. Eventually, his technical knowledge and expertise in international marketing took the company to even greater heights. In fact, Yogesh is the sole mind behind taking the company to over 50 countries within nine to 10 years.
Cashing in on 'Pride of Cows'
AKSHALI SHAH, 28, SENIOR VP – STRATEGY, SALES & MARKETING, PARAG MILK FOODS
I was in my early 20s when I started developing an interest in my father's business," says Akshali. She was enthusiastic to learn about product planning to execution to supply chain process etc. However, Akshali formally joined Parag Milk Foods only after completing her MBA. Today, she is the brain behind its premium product Pride of Cows. And, it wasn't a cakewalk. "Since I have grown with the brand, the bigger challenge was to adjust within the system," she says.
Carving a Niche- Shobhan Mittal
SHOBHAN MITTAL, 38, CEO AND JOINT MANAGING DIRECTOR, GREENPLY INDUSTRIES
An avid traveler, Shobhan's primary aim of visiting various countries has been to learn new technologies to add value to his father's company, Greenply Industries. "I never really got a chance to think of doing anything else. It was instilled in me that whatever my father was building is for me and my brother," laughs Sobhan. After completing his higher education, he joined Greenply as a director in 2006. Within years, he was able to gain his father's trust and from 2011, he was heading a new branch. Eventually, he has proved to be a major asset for the company. He feels blessed to have his father as a mentor, who gave him space to make mistakes and then rectify those.
Adding The Cool Factor - Abhishek Singh
ABHISHEK SINGH, 32, PROMOTER & DIRECTOR, MANPASAND BEVERAGES
Abhishek always knew that someday he would join the business too. "It wasn't a forced decision. As a child, whenever I was asked what I aspire to become, I would say - I want to do meetings," he says laughingly. To his amazement, he didn't have to make drastic changes in the business when he joined, he says, "Everything about it seemed perfect" and his only focus has been on expansion. He is working towards increasing the distribution channel, for which he has entered in a tie-up with Parle product's distribution centres. "My vision is to have my products in over 4-5 million outlets," sighs Singh.
Grasping a Golden Opportunity - Saurabh Gadgil
SAURABH GADGIL, 38, DIRECTOR, IBJA & CMD, PNG JEWELERS
To enter a 185-yearold family business and change the existing mindset without causing any conflict within the family, is not a cake-walk. "We used to stay opposite to our oldest store in Laxmi Road, Pune -- the only PN Gadgil Jewellers store at that time," recalls the sixth generation entrepreneur, adding, "As a child, I often visited the store and observed what was going on, helped in counting cash, and so on." During his MBA, he was offered to go to Singapore to resolve an issue regarding an export order, which he successfully handled. This further boosted his morale to join the business full-time. "I immediately realized that there was a lack of digitization and the use of modern technologies was very minimal," says Saurabh.
Moving Out of The Comfort Zone - Ankit Gupta
ANKIT GUPTA, 29, VICE PRESIDENT, MARKETING, DOLLAR
With the induction of the third generation entrepreneurs - Gaurav Gupta, Ankit Gupta, and Aayush Gupta - Dollar has got new wings to fly. The company, which started its journey as Bhawani Textiles in 1972-73, got listed on National Stock Exchange in 2017. Recently, it has entered into a 50-50 joint venture (JV) with Pepe Jeans to market fashion innerwear, loungewear, gymwear and sleepwear. Ankit Gupta, son of the Managing Director Vinod Kumar Gupta, says, "We want to create products which are more towards fashion because fashion is the future. Today, the youth want varieties, designs, colours, fabrics, new cuts, etc. Innerwear too has become a status symbol." He believes that the JV will be beneficial for both.
The Timekeeper - Pranav Saboo
PRANAV SABOO, 30, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, ETHOS WATCH BOUTIQUES
A highly ambitious second generation entrepreneur, Pranav started his career at 22 by setting up Dream Digital Technology Limited, a greatly respected digital marketing and technology solutions company. As a part of Ethos, he designed its website and developed an omnichannel business culture. Under his purview, many luxury watch brands set foot in India. Speaking about the trend, he says, "Like jewelry, watches are also being considered as an investment, thereby increasing the demand. Ethos is India's largest retail chain of luxury watches and an authorized retailer of over 60 luxury watch brands with over 40 stores across the nation." The brands include Rolex, Omega, Breitling, Chopard, Carl F. Bucherer, Cartier and few others.
Working in Unconventional Spaces - Karan Virwani
KARAN VIRWANI l 26 l MANAGING DIRECTOR, WEWORK INDIA
Business used to be a conventional topic of discussion between Karan and Jitu Virwani, the founder of Embassy group. However, the junior Virwani turned out to be an independent son. "I disliked to ask for my expenses from him and it helped me to be more independent," shares Karan. With that vision forward, Virwani started his entrepreneurial stint in the hospitality sector. "I launched Bengaluru's two most stylish restaurants - Sanchez and Singkong," remembers the Kent University Alumni. Gradually, he got his hands on building modern and technologically driven community spaces, marking the entry of WeWork in India last year. "The idea was to revolutionize co-working spaces in this country," adds he.
Nurturing Few Bright Ideas - Gurumukh and Gitika
GURUMUKH, 24, AND GITIKA, 27, UTTAMCHANDANI, EXECUTIVE DIRECTORS, SYSKA GROUP
With Gurumukh and Geetika entering the business, the Syska Group is aiming for greater heights. In his role, Gurumukh handles the day to day strategic planning and operations of the segment, while his sister Gitika has established the digital and social media footprint of the brand. Having pursued industrial engineering, Geetika's job initially was to overlook the working of their factory.
Taking a 360 Degree View - Mayank Ruia
MAYANK RUIA, 36, FOUNDER AND CEO, MAIA ESTATES
Mayank used to be the residential director of Phoenix until early 2016, post which he started his own venture Maia Estates. It is a partnership owned by Mayank along with Dr Ranjan Pai and Mohan Das Pai of Infosys and Abhay Jain. They invested in Maia in the middle of 2016 and its very first project was launched in the last month of 2016.
The 'Smart' Investor - Pragun Jindal Khaitan
PRAGUN JINDAL KHAITAN, 22, MANAGING DIRECTOR, JINDAL ALUMINIUM
One of the youngest MDs of a corporation of this size, Pragun was nurtured by his industrialist grandfather Dr S. R. Jindal. Since his joining in 2013, the company saw a marked jump in its revenue. Further, it expanded into other sectors - renewable energy and real estate. Currently, he is planning to fund artificial intelligence focused startups in India.
Lady Pharma - Namita Thapar
NAMITA THAPAR, 41, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, EMCURE PHARMACEUTICALS
For Namita, the family business was never served on the platter, which she could just grab. In fact, throughout her childhood, she had to prepare well for it, and at each step, had to prove her mettle. "My father repeatedly reminded me and my brother that we needed a solid education and work experience; and only if he felt we deserve it, we would get to join the business," shares Namita.
The Number Cruncher - Harshita Jain
HARSHITA JAIN, 23, FUND MANAGER, IIFL GROUP
After completing her Chartered Accountancy, Harshita joined IIFL two years ago. It served as a good training ground for the young 'girl', who is now all set to pursue her MBA at Stanford, much like her father. Talking about her plans post MBA, Harshita shares, "I haven't planned anything. I might start something on my own or work with a global company for about five-six years and then come back to India. I still have to figure things out."
Kick-Starting a New Game - Annanya Agarwal
ANNANYA AGARWAL, 26, CO-FOUNDER, RUNAYA METSOURCES LLP, & PRESIDENT, SESA FOOTBALL ACADEMY
Passionate about football and entrepreneurship, Annanya co-founded Runaya Refining, one of the few startups in India to focus on innovative manufacturing. Born and brought up in a business environment, it didn't stop him from trying and achieving something on his own. An affiliate of Runaya Metsource LLP, Annanya's baby brand is an innovative-solution start-up, which solves two major issues: firstly, it recovers pure aluminium from waste products. Secondly, it converts residual materials into value-added products which is further used by the steel sector. Recently, the company has bagged a partnership with a Bahrain's Taha International.
From Hotelier to Luxury Developer - Adarsh Jatia
ADARSH JATIA l 37 l MANAGING DIRECTOR, PROVENANCE LAND
After completing his graduation from the UK, Adarsh was working at Arthur Andersen in 2004 when his father was in the process of acquiring substantial land in Mumbai and had asked him to join in. Traditionally, the Jatias were into building green field projects and had developed Hyaat Regency in Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai. Adarsh's father R.K. Jatia had just broken away from the family business. Post this, the father and son duo worked together in bringing forth the Four Seasons Hotel.
The Taste-maker - Vishal Rajkumar Chordia
VISHAL RAJKUMAR CHORDIA, 41, DIRECTOR OF STRATEGY AND MARKETING, PRAVIN MASALEWALE
Born and brought up in a staunch business family, Vishal drew his inspiration from his grandfather. He remembers, "My grandfather used to narrate the tales of how this business was a way of survival for the family. Then my father gradually turned it to a commercial one." This drove him to join his family business in 1999 at the age of 22, post his MBA.
The Farm to Fork Legacy - Narendra Kumar Pasuparthy
NARENDRA KUMAR PASUPARTHY, 40, CHIEF FARMER AND CEO, NANDU’S CHICKEN
While Narendra hails from a business family, he chose to work outside it for over a decade, in order to learn how to be an employee before becoming an employer. He worked in several roles that include finance and accounting, marketing, sales and production and quality control among others.
The Saree Soiree - Lavanya Nalli
LAVANYA NALLI l 33 l VICE-CHAIRMAN, NALLI
Lavanya spent most of her childhood in the ancestral home, which was right above the flagship Nalli showroom, in Chennai. The store was set up in 1928 by her grandfather. Though he had two sons and two daughters, it was Lavanya's father, the eldest son, who actively took part in the business. Sharing one of her childhood memories, Lavanya says, "Most days after school, I would finish homework and go to the store where my grandfather would be working every single day."