The name Yugadi or Ugadi is derived from the Sanskrit words yuga (age) and ādi (beginning): “the beginning of a new age”. As entrepreneurship has dawned in India, it’s important to look at its roots. One can easily point towards southern India as the pioneer of startup revolution in the country. There’s much to defend the argument with front-runners like Flipkart, Freshdesk, InMobi, Myntra and redBus.
This post is to recognize the most promising emerging entrepreneurs of southern India who are certainly going to take the baton to the next level and ahead. The Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) also awarded them recently after a rigorous shortlisting procedure implemented by Boston Consulting Group and Grant Thornton. These entrepreneurs are from various walks of life; from an online trading firm to the manufacturer of machines; from a filter coffee chain in Bangalore to India’s largest chain of beauty & hair salons.
The current revenue of these companies is over INR 5 cr and they have been in existence for more than three years. VCs, corporate and legal experts evaluated the companies for their robustness, scalability and future prospects. In fact, Samir Agarwal, Principal, The BCG, was confident that these companies have the potential to clock 100+ cr revenue in next two to five years.
YourStory along with CII presents the pride of South India, the disruptive 8 entrepreneurs:
- U S Mahender: He co-founded HattiKaapi in 2009 to revolutionize the experience of drinking filter coffee by providing high-quality, authentic and pure filter coffee at affordable prices to the coffee drinkers of South India. Riding on a stupendous wave of customer satisfaction and business, he has expanded to 16 Hattis across Bangalore including one in Bangalore International Airport(KIA) within a short span of four years. Today, Hattikaapi is known for its consistent long term relationship with the customers, continuous improvement and quality management while keeping reasonable pricing constantly in sight.
- C K Kumaravel: He is a super star in Chennai startup ecosystem who can be spotted very often speaking and motivating young entrepreneurs at various events. He started his journey a decade ago with a dream to change not just the way people looked but to add ample positivity in their attitude to life. He has nurtured his brand, Naturals Beauty & Hair Salon on the sheer strength of performance and positive response from patrons, to become India’s most prominent chain of hair and beauty salons with 300+ salons across the sub-continent. Today, all the stores of Naturals are owned by women entrepreneurs.
- Nithin Kamath : He started trading at the age of 17 and has spent more time on trading than education in his college days. The inevitable came in 2001 downturn and he went bust. But this didn’t deter him. Today, he can be distinctly rewarded for popularizing ‘discount broking’ in India, a concept already in vogue in developing markets. He founded Zerodha in 2010 to empower the retail trading community by sharing knowledge, providing superior tools and intuitive support, all at minimal costs. The company handles upwards of 4000 cr of business everyday with a team of under 100 people and is one among the fastest growing, top volume contributors on the Indian stock exchanges.
- Saumil Majmudar: Saumil’s friend complaint that his kid preferred to watch television rather than sweat it out on the playground triggered him to start EduSports in 2009. Based out of Bangalore, EduSports works with schools all across the country (and in few cases outside as well) to implement a best-in-class Physical Education & Sports programme to offer the same rigor in it as in academics. This ensures the children learn holistically through physical activity and sports in addition to helping children improve their health and fitness levels dramatically. In the journey of five years, EduSports has been able to rapidly reach up to more than 200,000 children serving over 400 schools in 80+ cities across India.
- C A Anzar: He founded a health care organization based out of Bangalore in India specializing in standardized herbal extracts, nutraceutical formulations and cosmeceutical products. Olive Lifesciences’ business model of working directly with cultivators to grow, process and market biopharmaceuticals of an international standard has made its products accepted and certified globally and have seen traction in the market through their sales offices and networks in Japan, USA and Europe.
- Karunakara M Reddy: He has ensured the transformation of our environment through his products. His company, Smaat Aqua provides end to end solutions for water, air and energy management system offering products which are green, user friendly and with zero maintenance. One should credit his leadership for achieving a rapid growth while being able to sustain margins in an industry riddled with financial misfortune.
- Mohammed Kunju: Do you remember the taste of the best cake/pastry you’ve had. Well, Mr Kunju’ Crust ‘n’ Crumb Food Ingredients might be the baker behind it. It is a global player in the Baking & Confectionary industry, specializes in developing, manufacturing and marketing of creative and innovative baking solutions. They offer a wide range of ingredients/products across the globe in collaboration with Millbo, Italy, a brand presence in food enzymes and bakery ingredients. His path-breaking innovation, quality and pricing advantage has put him far ahead of his peers in this highly competitive business.
- Srinivasan: Do you remember seeing your grandmother sorting grains to remove the unwanted particles like stones, mud etc before consumption. Srinivasan’s Orange Sorting Machine does exactly the same. He has made the job of sorting grains based on their physical characteristics easier. He envisions taking this solution across the globe and has even crossed 1,800 successful installations and counting in all over India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal.
Tell us how many of these wonderful companies were you aware of? These enterprises are not just contributing to our GDP but improving our quality of life.