6 inspiring stories of entrepreneurs who made it big

The rags-to-riches stories of many entrepreneurs across India will
serve as an inspiration for those hoping to make it big in the start-up
world. ET profiles six success stories of people who made it big from
the scratch. Read on…

Shashank Paranjape’s Rs 1,500 crore Paranjape Schemes

Shashank Paranjape’s Paranjape Chemicals started operations with nine
people on board. However, six months into the business his luck ran out
and he was duped by his friend.

In 1987, Paranjape came to know of someone who owned a vacant plot in
Pune measuring 10,000 sq ft. He expressed his wish to construct a
multi-storey building and the person readily agreed. Paranjape paid him
Rs 1 lakh and got into an agreement to give him two flats on completion
of the project. Paranjape the new company Paranjape Schemes

Paranjape’s approach was simple. He would reinvest every bit of the
profit back into the business to expand operations. Last financial year
his company registered a turnover of Rs 1,500 crore and made Rs 225
crore in net profit (2013-14). This year he has a target of Rs 2,000

Dinesh Agarwal’s IndiaMart

Seed Capital: Rs 40,000

After acquiring a B.Tech degree in computer science from the Harcourt
Butler Technological Institute, Kanpur, Dinesh Agarwal took up a job as
systems analyst at HCL Technologies.

Finally, he settled on building a platform for businesses to display
products via dedicated Web pages. He named the venture, IndiaMart
InterMesh. The idea was to help the small and medium enterprises in the
country market their products and services. Convincing customers to
first buy computers, which, in turn, would help in the promotion of
their business was quite a task.

As business started growing, he had to deal with several issues and
the most irksome among these was looking for bigger office space. In
2007, he invested Rs 7 crore to purchase a two acre plot in Noida and
build a new office. He has around 1 crore products and almost 15 lakh
suppliers. In 2013-14, the company generated a turnover of around Rs 200

Nitin Shah’s Rs 1000 crore fire protection company

Seed Capital: Rs 500

Nitin Shah did not have even Rs 20 to start out with. He took a loan
of Rs 500 from some of his friends and started working at a friend’s
auto garage. This was in January 1984. By then I had completed a diploma
in mechanical engineering.

While working with my father, he built useful contacts. One of them
was a senior advisor to the Department of Atomic Energy. He told Shah
about a maintenance contract for fire extinguishers at the department.
The contract required repair and maintenance of firefighting cylinders.

Within 6-7 months, he had saved enough to buy a 1,200 sq. ft space at
Ghatkopar for around Rs 20 lakh. The company was named Nitin Fire
Protection Industry. Based on work for the DEA, he got a maintenance
contract for ONGC in 1986.

On June 5, 2007 he went public to fund expansion plans. The size of
initial public offering (IPO) was Rs 65 crore. Shah’s company is now the
world’s only company to offer all types of fire protection products
including inert gases, chemical gases and water. He is aiming to be a
$1-billion firm in the next five years.

Dheeraj Gupta’s vada pav chain Jumbo King

Seed Capital: Rs 2 lakh

After Dheeraj Gupta completed his MBA in hotel management in 1998, he
decided to start his own venture. The idea was to establish a sweets
manufacturing and distribution business. Within two years, he lost
around Rs 50 lakh.

What caught his attention, in particular, was how successful food
chains such as McDonalds, Dominos and Subway primarily focused on one
product — burger, pizza, sandwiches — and, yet, had a huge customer

Vada pav is a spicy Maharashtrian snack. He found that there were
hundreds of vendors selling the snack on the city streets. The market
was huge but unorganised. he decided to get into the vada pav snacks

Gupta somehow managed to raise around Rs 2 lakh to start the
business. He leased space for an outlet just outside Malad railway
station. The idea was to outsource the manufacturing of the patties to a
vendor for a small fee. We would fry them in the store and concentrate
on sales. Last year, Jumbo King crossed a turnover of Rs 25 crore and
Gupta is hopeful of revenues of Rs 45 crore in 2014-15.

Ajjay Agarwal’s Maxx Mobile

When Agarwal was 15 years old, he dropped out of school to join his
father’s electronic trading business in Mumbai. He launched his own
company in January 2002.

Agarwal began with a seed capital of Rs 10 lakh, which came from his
savings. The first step was to have his proprietorship firm registered
in the name of Max Mobiles and Phone Accessories; it was only in 2004
that he set up Maxx Mobile as a company. Initially, he would stamp my
brand name on imported mobile phone batteries and sell them to dealers
in Mumbai.

At the beginning of 2004, he figured that he should set up his own
manufacturing unit for mobile phone batteries. The next obvious move was
to expand the operations.

The next crucial year was 2008, when he started importing mobile
phones and selling them under the brand name Maxx Mobile. In 2009, he
signed on M S Dhoni as the brand ambassador and the advertising campaign
during the T20 World Cup helped get eyeballs. Next on the cards is the
manufacturing of Android mobile phones. In the meantime, he is looking
forward to a turnover of Rs 1,500 crore by end-2017.

Pardeep Jain’s Karbonn

Seed Capital: Rs 5 lakh

In the mid-1990s, mobile phones were just beginning to make a foray
in the country, so Pardeep Jain decided to make the most of it.

In April 1996, he opened a small showroom at Kailash Colony and
started dealing in mobile phones from top companies, such as Nokia and
Samsung. Two years later, he went into an expansion mode by opting for
national distributorship. By 2005, he had a team of 150 spread across
the country and became the India distributors for players like HTC, LG
and Motorola.

Having a huge dealer network in place, he was able to keep track of
the market pulse and this is how he realised that the time was ripe to
introduce his own brand. He joined hands with Bangalore-based United
Telecoms Limited (UTL) to launch his own brand of cell phones, Karbonn.

These handsets are manufactured in Shanghai, Taiwan and Korea, though the product designing and testing is conducted in India.