Meet these 5 entrepreneurs who quit their corporate jobs and built successful businesses

Leaving behind a stable, corporate role is no easy decision, but many entrepreneurs find success and big rewards along the way. Here are the stories of five founders who made the difficult choice to leave their comfort zones and step into the world of uncertainty, only to find success.
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Quitting a steady job can be a risky move, especially amidst the surge in unemployment due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recent data from Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) revealed that the national unemployment rate jumped to 8.32 percent last month from 6.96 percent in July this year.

Leaving the corporate sector can be even more nerve wracking for those who want to start their own business, as many view it as replete with risks. But India is an ambitious country, and many budding entrepreneurs have taken a leap of faith to quit their jobs and start a business.

SMBStory has curated a list of five founders who made the difficult choice to leave their stable jobs, stuck with their decision and eventually, found success with their businesses:

Bharat Kalia - Lifelong Online

Bharat Kalia, cofounder and CEO, Lifelong Online

In 2015, sitting in his Gurugram office at Bain & Company, Bharat Kalia mulled over the idea of launching a consumer durables brand.

Bharat had been using the same home appliances his parents used for around 20-30 years. And now he was convinced the consumer durables sector needed a digital revamp.

He felt ready to leave behind his cushy corporate job and take a leap into the unpredictable world of entrepreneurship.

“So, I decided to start making these products myself, according to customer needs and at price points that were honest and transparent,” he says.

Bharat’s strong conviction led him to quit his management consultancy job and start Lifelong Online in Gurugram in 2015, and came out with the first product – a mixer grinder.

Over a span of five years, Bharat added a wide range of products in the home, kitchen, grooming, and lifestyle categories, and built Lifelong Online into a fast-growing, digital-first consumer durables brand

As of last year, Lifelong Online team saw Rs 40 crore revenue in the peak months, Bharat claimed.

Read the full story here.


V Srinivasan - CFO Bridge

CFO Bridge founder V Srinivasan

On his daily morning walk, V Srinivasan used to encounter founders of SMEs and startups who lived in the same apartment complex. Over time, they became walking buddies.

At the time, Srinivasan worked as CFO at Bharti Axa Life Insurance. But during his walk, his new friends would tell him the challenges their companies were facing, especially in attracting and hiring top talent in finance.

“They told me that only large corporations and firms like the Big Four would visit campuses and hire the top talent. Also, they said not all SMEs and startups could match the salaries offered by the bigger players. Looking at this gap, I decided to quit my job and start a shared financial governance service for mid-sized enterprises and startups,” Srinivasan says.

In 2012, he launched CFO Bridge in Mumbai to provide shared CFO services in the form of bookkeeping, MIS, analytics, business planning, fundraising, taxation, and more.

Srinivasan claims, over the years, the organisation has worked with over 350 mid-sized enterprises and startups across manufacturing, services, trading, and other sectors.

Read the full story here.


Kishore Indukuri - Sid’s Farm

Sid's Farm founder Kishore Indukuri

Like many of his peers born in middle-class families, Kishore Indukuri aspired to study and work in the US. He managed to achieve this dream and landed a US job at Intel.

But six years in, Kishore realised his real passion was agriculture. His family back in India owned some land in Karnataka, and Kishore used to join them in visiting the fields and interacting with farmers.

He says, “I decided to quit my job and return to my agricultural roots. Moving back to Hyderabad, I realised that there were limited options for affordable, unadulterated milk. I wanted to bring a change not only for my son and my family but also for the people of Hyderabad.”

This inspired him to start his own dairy farm and milk brand. In 2012, he bought 20 cows from Coimbatore and set up a dairy farm in Hyderabad. Kishore started supplying milk directly to consumers in the city on a subscription basis, and his business began to grow.

Now, the brand, named Sid's Farm, delivers milk to over 10,000 customers daily, and achieved Rs 44 crore turnover last year, Kishore claims.

Read the full story here.


Arun Nathani - Cybage Software

Cybage founder, CEO and MD Arun Nathani

After five years of working at a US-based manufacturing company, Arun Nathani decided to pack his bags and return to India.

Arun’s story began in 1987, when he moved to the US to complete his masters, find a job, and settle there. He graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and found work in Chicago.

But he still wasn’t happy.

“I fit the bill of a regular, next-door Indian who had an extended overseas stint. My favourite weekend hobby was to discuss returning home,” he says.

Arun maintains he was never a visionary who had spent his time thinking about how to build a business empire. Yet, today, he is the Founder and CEO of Pune-based Cybage Software, a technology consulting organisation he started after quitting his US job and returning to india.

Providing technology consulting and professional services to global Independent Software Vendors (ISVs), the 6,300-employee strong Cybage Software recorded Rs 1,106 crore revenue in 2019-20.

Read the full story here.


Rahul and Rohit Verma - Frubon

For over 40 years, DD Verma was actively involved in the dairy industry. Besides setting up Rajasthan’s first private sector dairy under the name Lotus, Verma worked for state cooperatives as well as a dairy plant and machinery manufacturing company.

So, it was only natural that when his sons Rahul and Rohit expressed their interest in working in the dairy industry, they would team up with their father.

“Rohit and I worked in the corporate sector. But, having seen our father work with dairy farmers throughout our childhood, we longed to join this industry. We didn’t think twice before quitting our jobs. In 2017, we started FRUBON- a dairy and ice cream brand along with our father, ” says Rahul.

Leveraging DD Verma’s extensive experience, network and strong relationships with dairy farmer societies and cooperatives, the bootstrapped business claims to have scaled up to 250 societies with over 2,500 farmers supplying 20,000 litres of milk per day, and is now a Rs 36 crore revenue firm.

Read the full story here.

Edited by Anju Narayanan