THE YOUNG GUNS OF INDIA: How Indian Students Are Evolving Themselves As Startup Entrepreneurs?
During the 80s, the average Indian student was worried about getting good marks so that they can get a good (read a stable government) job. Then came the liberalized generation and they lapped up the corporate jobs created by the liberalization, the IT boom, and the outsourcing flood.
The 90s saw the rise of the New Indian, the likes of Sabir Bhatia and Vikram Pandit made waves in the land of opportunities, the United States of America, while India was still taking baby steps. Then came the Internet, and the Indian intellect, so far chocked by the slothful bureaucracy of the welfare state, was unleashed. Within a few years, the Indians were ruling the world. As we write this article, some of the biggest companies are being led by Indians, e.g. Google, Microsoft, Pepsi and on and on.
While those born in the 70s and 80s were busy cornering the best jobs, the Millennial in India has other plans. Unlike their predecessors, they are not looking for the “stable job with a good salary”; they are out there to make a difference and do their own thing. The Internet is their friend, philosopher, guide, tool, and weapon.
While the IITians have taken the lead, and Sachin and Binny Bansal are the poster boys of this tribe, there are several other student entrepreneurs who have accomplished in months what their predecessors could not do in decades. Some of them are special mentions:
The Boy Wonder: Ritesh Agarwal
A CEO @ 17, he had to sleep on the stairs of his flat when the landlord locked him out because he couldn’t pay the rent on time. But, that didn’t make him give up on his dream and take up a “regular job”. Today, his company OYO Rooms gives shelter to thousands every night.
Brilliant Brothers: Shravan Kumaran and Sanjay Kumaran
14 and 12-year-old brothers are the founders of Go Dimensions, an app development company founded in 2011. Numerous apps later, their company is going stronger than ever.
Record Holder: Suhas Gopinath
The Bangalore-based founder, CEO, and Chairman of Globals INC, holds the world record for being the youngest CEO (at 17 years) in the world. He started his company from a cyber café and today, his multi-million dollar company has offices worldwide.
Jack of all Trades: Varun Agarwal
Perhaps, the most colorful of this tribe is Varun Agarwal, the co-founder of three organizations, even before he turned 25. He founded his first business venture ‘The Last Films’ when he was studying engineering in Bangalore. He launched Alma Mater (the idea was to sell customized sweatshirts to alumni of various schools). His cool idea brought him fame, ted talks, money and a best seller named “How I Braved Anu Aunty and Co-founded a Million Dollar Company”. He also owns a social media marketing company, Reticular. Now that’s cool!!
The Bad Boy: Rahul Yadav
You can’t let this list end without the mention of the Bad Boy of India Inc, Rahul Yadav – the young IIT drop out (many call him India’s Steve Jobs) and the founder of Housing.com. A whiz kid, who founded a successful company and was, later, kicked out of the same in a way that uncannily mirrors Steve Jobs. India is eagerly awaiting him to make a comeback.
While it is great to see these young guns fire, there are a few very clear trends that question the new India’s ability to really tap the booming young talent. Almost all of these entrepreneurs are concentrated on tech, to be more specific the IT sector. It just makes it clear that any sectors that have a lot of government, legal, or infrastructural dependence will take a long time to grow in India. For instance, one big reason that PepperTap had to shut shop was the creaky infrastructure of India.
Whatever said and done, at the end of the day, in spite of infrastructure or the lack of it, or a muddy legal/political framework, Indian student entrepreneurs are shining and making India proud.
Related Article: Interaction with Student Entrepreneur
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