These entrepreneurs started with little money and lots of ideas, they now clock crores; plus other top stories of the week
The size of your beginnings don’t determine the scale of what you can achieve. This week SMBStory traces the journeys of foodpreneur Manvir Singh Anand, and architect Behzad Kharas, who despite their small beginnings hustled their way up. Today, their companies are clocking crores. Also, don’t miss reading about KSP Inc., a domestic manufacturing company which is building for the world, and DailyObjects, a tech and lifestyle D2C brand that pivoted and persisted during the coronavirus pandemic.
Manvir Singh Anand, Founder, Knight Gourmet
At 22, Delhi-based management consultant Manvir Singh Anand became a foodpreneur. In 2013, he invested Rs 30,000 to launch Knight Bites, a midnight food delivery startup to work from 10 pm to 4 am. Manvir’s passion for food eventually led to him leaving his corporate job behind and diving into Knight Bites full-time. After it was acquired by a private investor in 2015, he did not give up on his passion. In 2016, he launched Knight Gourmet, a catering and event production company.
The acquisition of his first startup, and booking advances from the company’s first clients allowed Manvir to start the business with an initial capital of Rs 30 lakh.
“Our business model, which started with catering, has evolved over time. Today, we are an integrated event hospitality solutions company. We manage end-to-end solutions for food courts at events, as well as hospitality requirements for VIP and player lounges and crew, police, and support staff,” he says in an interview with SMBStory.
The business, which clocks a turnover of Rs 4.6 crore, operates from two 1,000+ square feet facilities in Mayapuri Industrial Area and Greater Kailash.
Behzad Kharas, Founder, Chairman & Managing Director, The BNK Group
Behzad Kharas has seen a lot of ups and downs in his pursuit to become an architect.
He grew up watching his father work as the chief project architect of the current King of Bahrain, Sheikh Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa.
After pursuing his Class XII exam, Behzad earnestly wanted to pursue architecture, however, due to scoring low in his entrance examination, he was told he could never be an architect. But, he didn’t lose hope.
Behzad re-applied for his exams and this time, he stood 56th in the Maharashtra state entrance exams and received a scholarship seat in Mumbai. Having topped the degree exams, he began prepping for his Masters. It looked like the road was clear for him to get an architecture degree and make a good living out of his profession, but life didn’t plan out as he wanted.
His dad was struck by paralysis, and with difficult times at home, the family also had to undergo an economic downfall. Behzad considered quitting architecture to become an airline purser with Etihad Airways, which was about to be launched around the same time.
In conversation with SMBStory, he says, “We needed money. My mom was the sole bread winner and was working in Mumbai. After my dad got paralysis, he and I moved to Nashik as we had a bigger house here and my mom stayed in Mumbai. I was desperate to get a job and support my family and decided to pursue the airline.” Behzad kept talking to many people to get an idea of the industry and this was when a conversation with his mother's boss made all the difference.
“He told me ‘the world belongs to the brave’ and these words kept echoing in my ears,” he recalls.
So, Behzad decided not to give up on architecture and worked relentlessly to pursue his dream. After years of struggle, grit, and determination, Behzad founded The BNK Group with Rs 20K in 2005, and in 15 years, the organisation has scaled to make a turnover of Rs 20 crore annually.
Other top stories of the week-
Pankaj Garg, Founder and CEO, Daily Objects
In the last decade, India has seen a technology revolution panning out.. For example, internet penetration and the availability of cheap data has given rise to the sale and use of millions of mobile devices in India. This has given rise to another market in the country — mobile accessories.
From mobile covers and cases to earphone holders, tablet sleeves, laptop bags, and more, tech-related lifestyle products are on the rise and how. DailyObjects is a tech and lifestyle brand that is manufacturing accessories for your electronics. From trendy mobile cases to earphone holders, along with other lifestyle products such as bags, wallets, backpacks, etc., the brand has grown to be a name to reckon with in the market. The story of this Gurugram-based D2C company began in 2012 by Pankaj Garg, Founder and CEO of the company.
Growing up in Mubarikpur, Alwar, Rajasthan, Pankaj says that the scope of doing business was limited in that area and he always harboured dreams of entrepreneurship. “I grew up with a lot of ambitions,” he recalls.
After finishing his bachelor’s in commerce from Rajasthan University, he moved to Mumbai to work with Patni Computers. Eventually, he also worked with Amdocs. During the late 1990s, when the world was witnessing the so-called ‘dotcom bubble burst’, Pankaj says he was convinced about the great power of the internet and how it would influence the coming times.
He adds, “When you are working with a big company, you are a very small part of it. I always wanted to do something of my own.”
Pankaj says he even got a chance to work in the US while working with Patni Computers but he chose to quit the job and started working with his friend on a startup in 2009 called SalesDekho.com, a portal that listed companies giving discounts in Ahmedabad.
Pankaj says that 50 percent of the company’s customers are Apple users. The company clocked Rs 24 crore in FY20 and is expected to close Rs 40 crore in the coming year.
Puneet Bery, Founder of KSP INC
In the 1980s, Puneet Bery’s father, Santosh Kumar Bery, used to manufacture diesel engine crankshafts, with around 20 employees in a single manufacturing unit in Meerut. At the time, Puneet was observing the shifts in the industry. He realised that crankshafts are going to become redundant and fade out with technology advancements in the sector. This got Puneet thinking about a global exports opportunity to be leveraged with existing resources and capital. After brainstorming, he decided to focus on manufacturing pipeline flanges, which was particularly in high demand in the Middle East. Puneet says that in those days, countries in the Middle East had contracts with US companies for maintaining and upgrading their oil refineries. Wanting to tap into this market, Puneet started Noida-based KSP Inc in 1987.
KSP was launched as a B2B company that manufactured pipeline flanges for the US companies. The business did well for a few years. However, in the 1990s, the US put an embargo on stainless steel flanges from India and China, causing a fervour in the industry. Puneet saw this opportunity to evolve the business and look for another business opportunity.
He recalls, “During my travels abroad, I was very fascinated with the leisure spaces. In the US, I saw stores with temporary sheds with a garden and a space for recreational activities.”
This inspired Puneet to launch garden decor products in 1991. While this business vertical was doing well, Puneet saw a dip in sales.
Not wanting to fall behind in the market, he decided to diversify his product line once more and in 2001, KSP Inc launched bird feeders. The company even landed a contract from a US company, and currently, exports bird feeders to more than nine countries. Puneet says customers are intelligent and know what they want. As a supplier, he needs to be in tandem with the sensibilities of the end-buyer.
With this as the core principle, KSP further diversified its portfolio and launched home decor products in 2004. Looking back, the founder says that pivoting and diversifying ensured that the company has ample work during all seasons.
Today, KSP manufactures several products including bird feeders, lawn and garden decor, furniture, fireplace tools and accessories and home storage. It exports to several countries, including the US, the UK, Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Canada, France, and Australia. Some of its clients include Walmart, Lowes, Tesco, Sainsbury, Staples, among others. The company employs more than 750 people, has three manufacturing units spread across Noida, and clocked a turnover of Rs 110 crore last year.