WATCH: That week that was - from a fighter pilot who fixes potholes to Ola's untold story

We bring you inspiring stories from Haptik and Pepperfry along with the story of a boy whose dream was fulfilled after meeting Ratan Tata.

WATCH: That week that was - from a fighter pilot who fixes potholes to Ola's untold story

Saturday October 26, 2019,

5 min Read

Prathaap B, a former Indian Air Force officer, popularly known as ‘PotHoleRaja,’ started his journey for social improvement back in 2015 when he was teaching values and life education in schools and colleges.

He recounted, "Community development was part of the curriculum. The kind of projects the students created and the kind of impact these had on the society were so significant. I wondered, if a 15-year-old could do a project for school and create an impact on society, then why not me with all my background?"

He fixed his first pothole in 2016. And one day, when Prathaap was filling in a pothole in Koramangala, Bengaluru, a volunteer, Sourabh Kumar decided to join him. After working alongside Prathaap, fixing potholes for almost a year, Sourabh left his comfortable job at Hewlett Packard Enterprises.

It was then that they decided to start their full-time initiative and lead the charge on improving Bengaluru’s roads with ‘PotHoleRaja’.

In 2010, two IIT-Bombay students, Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati, wanted to head out on a weekend trip. Like most people did at that time, they found it difficult to book a cab. Being techies and engineers, they thought of an idea, “Wouldn’t it be cool to be able to book a ride on an app?”

The same thought led to the birth of Ola Trips, a Mumbai-based tour and travel operator.

While Bhavish would be out in the field trying to sell trips, Ankit would stay back in an old apartment near IIT-Bombay, coding the website. Ola Trips quickly transformed into a ride-hailing service when the duo realised the demand for taxis in the market.

Two years after setting up operations and getting an angel funding, the team decided to shift base to Bengaluru. And, there was no looking back. Nine years hence, Ola has become synonymous with easily available rides and more.

The Bengaluru-based unicorn, with a valuation of close to $5 billion, has a presence in over 250 cities across the globe.


Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati - Founders of Ola

As the Co-founder and Chief Technological Officer (CTO) of Haptik, Swapan Rajdev’s journey as an entrepreneur is filled with passion and many challenges. 

From building a gaming app for iOS, which was ranked number four on the App Store in the US within a few days of launch, to building business tools for marketing and sales professionals at Radius Intelligence, a startup in Silicon Valley, Swapan is known to have built products from scratch, pushing against the tide, every time.

Today, at Haptik, a B2B solution for enterprises, which builds chatbots that companies can deploy on their websites, apps, and other platforms, Swapan handles the product and technology segments, and brings in, as he says, a balance between the long term and short term.

Techie Tuesday Swapan Rajdev

Swapan Rajdev, CTO and Co-founder Haptik

Online furniture startup Pepperfry opened its doors for the YourStory team to take a look inside its new warehouse in Bengaluru. The state-of-the-art supply chain of this eight-year-old startup can help you get that favourite couch in just a few clicks.

“You cannot change the doors, windows or tiles. But you can make comfortable nooks inside and give a character to the house using furniture. Your personal touch converts a house into your home,” says Ambareesh Murty, Co-founder, and CEO, Pepperfry, on starting an online furniture store in 2011.


Ashish Shah, Co-founder, Pepperfry

It is a job profile that any Ivy League professional would give a tooth and nail for. But for 27-year-old Shantanu Naidu bagging an enviable executive position in Ratan Tata’s office was the unplanned result of ‘giving’ of another kind.

Shantanu has been working with the legendary business leader, investor, philanthropist, and Chairman Emeritus of Tata Group Ratan Tata for the past year-and-a-half. His job includes assisting Ratan Tata in his startup investments and providing executive assistance. What better learning could a young millennial ask for?

Though Shantanu graduated with an MBA from Cornell University, for all practical purposes he may as well be onto his PhD under the tutelage of Ratan Tata. In a telephonic conversation, Shantanu says, “It is an honour and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be working with Mr Tata. It is full of learning every minute, every day.”
Ratan Tata

An engineer by profession, Alok Mittal has always enjoyed solving problems. Before starting up his entrepreneurial journey, he worked in the satellite communication field during the early days of his career.

Later, he quit his profession and started JobsAhead, a job listing platform that connects employers with job seekers in India and abroad, in 1999. Six years later, the startup was sold to, which was expanding in the Indian market at that time.

After selling his first startup, he took a short break from entrepreneurship during which he founded the Indian Angel Network along with his friends.

Siddhartha Ahluwalia, Founder of 100x Entrepreneur Podcast and Co-founder of SHEROES, caught up with Alok Mittal in this episode of the podcast, a series that features venture capitalists and angel investors.

Alok Mittal, founder and CEO, Indifi

Alok Mittal, founder and CEO, Indifi

(Edited by Suman Singh)