Friendship Day: These close friends became co-founders and started successful businesses
This International Friendship Day, SMBStory is celebrating friendship by bringing you the stories of some business founders whose friendship helped them scale new heights.Rishabh Mansur
In India's vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem, startup and small business founders often find suitable co-founders among their close friends. Whether its for brainstorming, financial backing, complementary skills, or pushing back when required, its always helpful to have a friend running things alongside the founder.
And when the business succeeds, the world celebrates the founding team's entrepreneurial spirit.
But how often do we celebrate their friendship - the glue that held the founders together and helped them overcome challenges?
So this International Friendship Day, SMBStory is celebrating friendship by bringing you the stories of some business founders whose friendship helped them scale new heights:
One day in 2016, three MBA friends got stuck in a relentless shower of rain in Gurugram. Ankit Magan, Priyank Jain, and Neeraj Chauhan were there for some work, and had to wait more than 45 minutes for the rain to stop. Because of the rain, the roads were water logged and the drainage systems were choked up.
“There was so much wastage of water, so we asked ourselves, what would happen if the city had to pay to receive rainfall? Would so much water go to waste?” says Ankit.
As the friends contemplated this, they decided they must do something to preserve rainwater. Six months later, in December 2016, they left their jobs and started Retas Enviro Solutions in New Delhi to design, manufacture, and install water tanks and modular rainwater harvesting systems.
In just two years, Retas has started servicing large clients such as TATA Steel, Reckitt Benckiser, SIEMENS, Hi-Tech Gears, HPCL, Government of Delhi, Government of Uttarakhand, and more.
PostFold Founders Ashish and Aashray met in the US in their hostel building. They soon became friends, and then roommates. Since they were in the US for a long period of time, their clothing requirements too changed.
Ashish says, "We used to get a variety of options ranging from casuals, office wear to party outfits. But after seven years when we came back to India, we experienced a dent in the Indian apparel market and analysed that affordable apparel is low quality and quality apparel is excruciatingly high priced."
They also found out even if the fabric used is of higher quality, the price still does not justify the 10X mark-ups.
"Hence, we came up with a business model where we manufacture and style apparel using high-quality fabrics and keep the fixed costs low, and curate clothes with experienced stylists so that we can suggest attire from ‘Desk to Dinner’. PostFold was founded with a bootstrapped capital of Rs 5 lakh. And last year, the startup recorded a turnover of Rs 1.6 crore," he says.
Having spent a few years in their respective jobs, friends Hitesh Rathi and Shrey Kumar decided to explore the organic food market and bridge the gap within the farm-to-table model. And the idea of processing camel milk came up in a discussion among his group of friends.
Shrey says, “People in other parts of the world were already selling camel milk. Hitesh, who comes from Rajasthan, thought why not create a source of income for the nomadic camel herders. Thus, the company was founded by Hitesh with a bootstrapped amount of less than Rs 10 lakh. A couple of months later, I joined as a co-founder.”
Though they had a slow start because there were no initial takers for this product, today, Aadvik Foods clocks a total of Rs 4 crore due to its immense health benefits, claim the founders.
Incorporated in 2017, the company has its offices in Delhi, Nokha, Bikaner, and Bhuj, and pasteurisation plant is in Baroda. At the plant, they have incorporated new technologies like the ‘freeze drying’ process to manufacture milk powder without compromising its quality, taste, flavour, mineral, and nutrient contents.
When Avesh Sharma decided to set up a resort in Himachal Pradesh, he wanted to bring the complete Himachali experience to tourists so that they’d stay for longer.
“I remember talking to my school friends about this idea. All of us were in different sectors but we all wanted to come together to launch the resort,” he says.
“We intended to meet the customers’ needs for such venues for stay, as they are very few in number, especially in and around Shimla," he adds.
Since Himachal was famous for tourism, and Kufri was an ideal tourist hub, they were motivated to setup a resort there. Avesh had also seen that entrepreneurs from outside Himachal were coming there to setup resorts. But he and his friends were born and brought up in that region. They knew the area very well, had the right connections, and understood its culture.
Further, his friends were from diverse backgrounds, such as engineering, management, hospitality, online marketing and influencing, sales and marketing, etc. Driven by the passion to leverage all this know-how to start a resort, the friends conceptualised Woodays Greenhub in 2018. Under this business, they decided to work on a number of resorts and other projects.
Founded by Harsh Vardhan Singh and Noreen Sodhi in November 2014, Paper Weight Entertainment is a film production house and advertising firm that creates video content with a virality quotient, targeting mass audience.
Born into Army families, Harsh and Noreen are childhood friends. Harsh was preparing for his civil services exam and Noreen was already into a cancer research programme when they set up Paper Weight Entertainment.
Paper Weight was initially set up in Noreen’s flat in South Delhi. They invested Rs 50,000 from their savings to get things going.
Today, the company works with clients all across India for running their brand campaigns and has around 42,000 followers on their YouTube channel. It has recorded an annual turnover of Rs 35 lakh.
The company has worked with brands across India, including Sprigfit, Xolo smartphones (having won the award for Best CSR campaigns), Petfed, Dogsee chew and has Sony LIV, TOI, The Logical Indian, The Quint, Witty Feed, and TATA Sky as its outreach partners.