Over the years Indian startup ecosystem has fleshed out several rags to riches billionaire stories. These stories undoubtedly serve as great inspiration for today ’s generations and they will continue to do so even for the coming generation. But in case some of you as budding as well as startup entrepreneurs want inspiration at this very moment then this article will offer you more than a helping hand. In this article, we have brought brief stories of 5 entrepreneurs, who once started their companies with humble beginnings but over the years their efforts transformed these companies into mammoth success.
As fortunes of these companies grew so did the fortunes of their founders, propelling them to the long list of India’s self-made billionaires. So without wasting any further time let’s check out the inspiring stories of these entrepreneurs.
Company: Zoho Corporation
Employee strength: 7000
Top competitors: Google, Microsoft & Salesforce
Today as CEO of Zoho Corp. (formerly AdventNet Inc.), Sridhar Vembu is heading a company whose market valuation surpasses beyond $1 Bn. His company has achieved this stellar market valuation without taking help of any external funding. But what makes his success appear even more stellar is his humble background. Having grown up in a modest middle class family, taking tough challenge of entrepreneurship was a far cry for this young lad. The only option that he could have possibly settled for was to take up a secure job and forget about his entrepreneurship pursuit forever.
But after working as wireless systems engineer at Qualcomm for a considerable time, Vembu decided to take incredible leap of faith. This Buddha moment led him to start Zoho Corp in 1996. A company that offers online business, network, and IT infrastructure management applications.
Over more than a decade, Vembu’s small humble company has grown into one of the most respectable companies in the I.T. industry. Today the company successfully competes with big giants like Google, Microsoft and Salesforce.
Currently, Zoho Corp is on such a strong financial footing that it continues to resist external funding. In a day and age, where fundraising is considered as a stepping stone to success, Vembu is immensely proud that his company remains a completely bootstrapped. In all probability, this highly successful I.T Company will remain bootstrapped as long as he is in the helm of the affair.
Thyrocare’s market valuation: 3,377 crore
Number of Thyrocare branches: 1,122
Today Arokiaswamy Velumani is the owner of the world’s largest thyroid testing company. But this is just one part of the story, the other part of the story is far more compelling and the one that will fill you with huge inspiration.
Velumani was born in a poor landless farmer family in a remote Tamil Naidu village. His crippling poverty meant that he had to take the help of government subsidies to complete his BSC degree. His financial troubles, however, did not end even after his college education.
His first job as a shift chemist at Gemini Capsules paid him measly Rs 150 per month. Worse, the company shutdown barely three years after Velumani had joined, leaving him jobless. But as luck would have it, he soon found a job at BARC in Mumbai, where he worked for almost 14 years.
Before quitting his stable job, Velumani had more than made his mind to start a thyroid testing company. To start this new venture, all he had in his hand was merely 1,00,000, which actually came from his provident fund. Back then odds were clearly staked against this man, who neither had the pedigree in entrepreneurship nor the networking clout.
However, Velumani was too tough a person to let his business fizzle under pressure. If anything, his company Thyrocare kept rising above the challenges that kept coming in its way. And today this thyroid testing company stands as a subject of great envy as well as inspiration for all.
Today Thyrocare boasts 1,122 outlets across India, Bangladesh, Nepal and the Middle East. Listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange, currently Thyrocare is worth approximately Rs 3,377 crore. Velumani owns 64% stake in the company, which makes him worth 2,158 crore.
Company: Quick Heal
Market Valuation: Rs 200 crore
Employees: 1200 – 1500
Kaliash Katkar is the brainchild behind Quick Heal, India’s best known computer software security company. This is a man who is a school dropout and once did odd jobs to survive, but today owns a company that is worth almost Rs 200 crore. Mr. Katkar’s s story has all the virtues of a perfect underdog story.
Katkar’s inspiring success is even more overwhelming, considering that before starting Quick Heal his knowledge about computer software was almost zero. This brings us to an intriguing question as to how did this man thought of starting an anti-virus company. Well, Quick Heal’s genesis was laid by Katkar’s younger brother Sanjay, who developed a basic model of antivirus software. This was way back in 1993, when computer was on its way to become predominant force in India.
Both Katkar brothers sensed a fantastic market opportunity. They somehow knew that increasing computer penetration across India would pave way for the need for an affordable anti-virus software.
Their gut instinct and hard work was slowly and steadily vindicated. And today Quick Heal stands as India’s most successful anti-virus company.
P C MUSTAFA
Company: ID Fresh
Revenue: Rs 100 crore
Employees: 1,100 to 1,500
P C Mustafa knew very early on what it means to be a poor. Born to a father who worked as coolie, Mustafa had endured worst poverty even before he could properly stand on his feet. However, poverty somehow failed to tame this young lad as he kept vying for opportunities that could give him and his family a dignified life.
Interestingly, he saw this opportunity in Idli batter. Feed up with low quality Idli batters that were sold across the shop, Mustafa decided to start a company called ID Fresh. The idea behind ID Fresh was to offer high quality Idli batter at affordable cost.
Mustafa’s idea not only clicked but soared so high that his once small company is today making revenue of more than Rs 100 crore. From producing 10 packets of Idli batter in 2005, today ID Fresh produces more than 75,000 packets. Currently, the ID Fresh brand is so popular that it is reaching millions of homes across all the prominent Indian cities.
Achievement: Successful owner of restaurant chains
Earning: 2 Lakh per day
Today Patricia Narayan is running chain of successful restaurants and is earning almost 2 lakh every day. She may not be running a million dollar empire, but this hardly diminishes her success. In fact, the odds that stood in her way makes her success story even more special.
A failed marriage had left her absolutely broke. Worse, she had two kids to feed and take care of. This grim reality forced her to make living from selling eateries from mobile cart on Marina beach in Chennai. In those tough days, Patricia would have never thought even in her wildest dreams that one day she would be earning in lakhs.
She started making inroads to success when she started expanding her eatery business and this eventually lead to starting of a full-fledged restaurant. Today this full-fledged restaurant has grown into chain of restaurants, with more than 200 employees working under Patricia Narayan.
Of course, this awe-inspiring success was not achieved in short span of time. It took this gritty woman almost three decades to redeem her life and proudly stand on her feet. She even won the prestigious FICCI Women Entrepreneur of the Year in 2010.