MY WAY - Motilal Oswal PE Investee Companies

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MY WAY - Motilal Oswal PE Investee Companies



Motilal Oswal Private Equity Advisors (MOPE) is a part of Motilal Oswal Financial Services Limited, one of the most respected financial services company in India. MOPE was started in 2006 with the express intention to provide precious growth capital primarily to first generation entrepreneurs. MOPE closed its $125mn India Business Excellence Fund-I (IBEF-I) in December 2007. Today, MOPE also manages a $40mn India Realty Excellence Fund-I (IREF-I), which is a residential real estate-focused fund, and the $150mn India Business Excellence Fund-II (IBEF-II) where the first close has already been achieved at ~ $70mn in the last quarter of 2011.. MOPE’s strengths comprise a competitive advantage in deal sourcing, connectivity with Indian sensibilities, focus on adding value to portfolio companies, world-class equity research, brand image, access to quality institutional investors and deep corporate relationships. MOPE’s vision is to emerge as the most respected alternative asset manager across Indian midmarket companies with a track record of having funded and grown at least 10 companies into at $1bn in market capitalization in the next 5-7 years. Feedback is welcome at [email protected]


Entrepreneurs transform realities. Entrepreneurs inspire. These simple realities have formed the basis of this book.


Motilal Oswal Private Equity (MOPE), publishers of this book, didn’t have to look far. Since 2007, when MOPE launched its first fund, it has invested growth capital in mid-size, fast growing, profitable companies across sectors. The stories of the promoters of these companies have been inspiring. On how they made the big break of moving out of their comfort zones, how they grew their businesses, how they managed failure, how they differentiated their businesses and how they turned nascent ideas into successful companies. The 14 stories captured in this book provide inspiring material of how the power of ideas is transforming India.

A fa sc ina ting c o lle c tio n o f inte rv ie w s w ith p a ssio na te first g e ne ra tio n e ntre p re ne u rs w ho d e fie d the o d d s to e me rg e w inne rs

Motilal Oswal Private Equity
Motilal Oswal Tower, Junction of Gokhale Road & Sayani Road, Prabhadevi, Mumbai 400025 Ph : +91-22-39825500, Email: [email protected] Visit us and share stories of enrepreneurship at:












ROM TIME IMMEMORIAL, MAN HAS TRANSFORMED HIS CIRCUMSTANCE BASED ON THE POWER OF HIS CONVICTION. As a result, the sum of all total changes achieved by man has been the result of an entrepreneurial mindset. India has enjoyed a centuries-old entrepreneurial tradition. For centuries, this evident instinct was muted by the political system of the day - monarchic or invader-led. Even after India became independent in 1947, it was only in 1991 that the country began its real quest to catch up with the missed opportunity of the centuries. Interestingly, this inflection point converged with a number of realities: spread of globalization, emergence of capitalism, dismantling of financial controls, breakdown of information barriers, wider respect for unconventional businesses and a first-ever access to organised capital for first generation entrepreneurs. The result was that India wasn’t just secularly placed to benefit from this global shift: one of the world’s most entrepreneurial countries was attractively empowered at the sweet spot in the world’s history to transform the destinies of its millions. Motilal Oswal Financial Services







fastest growing segments of the Indian economy. In 2006, Motilal Oswal Private Equity Advisors Private Limited (MOPE) was started with the objective to catalyse the prospects of sound young businesses needing growth capital. The venture was intrinsically entrepreneurial; Vishal Tulsyan joined as CEO to spearhead the business. MOPE’s first fund raised in 2007 was fully and successfully invested across 13 mid-market companies and diverse sectors. One of the facets of private equity is to distill fascinating stories of successful entrepreneurs with the objective to ascertain the well-spring of their passion. This book is an extension of the many evenings of our lives. A book of inspiring stories; a book of passionate individuals; a book of entrepreneurship. This book is being created with the hope that the underlying theme of these stories will be replicated across people, regions, hierarchies, backgrounds, dialects – and time. Let a million entrepreneurs bloom!

WAS THE SON OF A HOMEMAKER AND INSURANCE SALESMAN WHOSE ENTREPRENEURIAL JOURNEY BEGAN AS AN EIGHT-YEAR-OLD IN 1970. MY MONTHLY POCKET MONEY OF ` 2 WAS IMMEDIATELY INVESTED IN SPORTSWEEK. The family almost called off the disbursement when it realized that the recipient was scissoring through the magazines to create thematic scrapbooks – ‘India versus West Indies, 1970-71’ and then a few months later, ‘India versus England, 1971’. Around such a seemingly innocuous foundation was built a career of editing plus copywriting plus designing plus interviewing, getting someone to pay for the skill, being sent to tour with the Indian cricket team as a professional writer, ghostwriting for Imran Khan/Sir Garry Sobers/ Kapil Dev, reviewing the weekly movement in equities, writing a regular multi-edition Sunday investments column in The Economic Times and finally giving it all up to start Trisys. Trisys. India’s first dedicated annual reports agency. September 1995. Two borrowed tables. A team of four. Seventeen years later, MOPE assigns Trisys to interview some first generation entrepreneurs for a book. So here we are.

Why would anyone want to read about first generation entrepreneurs? This is why: we all desire to make positive change. Some of the people making the most effective change are entrepreneurs (through wealth creation for their diverse stakeholders). The most driven entrepreneurs are generally first generation. The most dynamic period of their existence are in their first few years comprising dramatic terrain: dearth of resources, native capability, opportunity window, responsiveness, lateral thinking, fleeting hopelessness, managing failure, inspiring people, infectious passion and work, work, work. There is something more about such people that I discovered while actually doing the interviews. • They can charm; Sanjay Agarwal was into ‘Mudar, saab’ within three minutes of shaking hands. • They are people’s people; 16 of the original 19, who resigned Anil Jain’s erstwhile company to join him in the early Nineties, still work with him • They have high energy; S. Kishore Babu continued to answer questions while engaged in a rigorous padmasana that had to be suddenly abandoned when the question became interesting; thereafter he would skip to the iPad, touch fingers on it and suddenly there would be a ‘Helloooo’ from Germany and Babu would bellow, ‘Mr Horst! I need clarification for an interview I am giving…’

• They can be gutsy; Devendra Shah runs a near-` 1000 cr revenues company from a town most people will not even find on a map of India. • They can be emotional; one of them emptied his wallet to produce ` 221 in diverse currency notes given as shagun on the morning of his first assignment 17 years ago. In a world that is increasingly obsessed with the trivia of never-was has-beens, this is finally something about achievers. In a world that selects to write only about the large and visible, this is finally something about the deserving. Galileo once said that there was no man who couldn’t teach him something. By that yardstick, there is a university in here.

Limited (MOFSL) was a product of this convergence. The company was created by two first generation entrepreneurs Motilal Oswal and Raamdeo Agrawal drawn from humble rural and semiurban backgrounds, who moved to Mumbai seeking a Chartered Accountant degree and a livelihood. In the process, both these individuals met, developed a passion for analyzing and investing in companies, made humble beginnings as sub-brokers on Bombay Stock Exchange, capitalized on opportunities and formalized their engagement into a stock broking company. It has been two-and-a-half decades since and Motilal Oswal Financial Services Limited has emerged as one of the largest brands in India’s financial services industry, respected for quality equity research, superior service and complete transparency. Through this focus, MOFSL has transformed from a three-person shop into an integrated 1500-member financial services company servicing more than 600,000 retail customers and providing investment advice to the most competent institutional investors across the world. The company that started as a one-room outfit is now a ~US$ 310 mn market capitalization and ~US$ 230 mn net worth listed enterprise. MOFSL wasn’t merely a product of India’s entrepreneurial revolution; it has also been a catalyst. It saw an opportunity to provide growth capital to companies (small to mid-size) – the

Mudar Patherya, Principal interviewer and editor

May, 2012

PS. This book has largely covered the success of first generation entrepreneurs funded by MOPE; subsequent editions will cover other MOPE investee companies.



















06 16
Anil Jain Time Technoplast Limited

Devendra Shah Parag Milk Foods (P) Limited


S. Kishore Babu Powermech Projects Limited

42 54
Sanjay Agarwal Au Financiers (India) Private Ltd

Tushar Mehendale Electromech Material Handling Systems (P) Ltd

68 70
Aaditya Dhoot IMP Powers Limited

Akhay Chhabra Effort BPO Limited












82 94
Motilal Oswal

Raamdeo Agrawal

106 108
Vishal Tulsyan

Our Team


72 74
Nirmal Minda Minda Industries Limited

Rajni Bector Mrs. Bectors Food Specialities Limited

76 78
Sunil Vachani Dixon Technologies (India) Private Ltd


Vinod Agarwal GR Infraprojects Limited



HERE IS GLAMOUR IN INDIA ABOUT BEING AN ENTREPRENEUR BECAUSE OF THE TRAPPINGS THAT GO WITH IT; FEW WANT TO BECOME ENTREPRENEURS BECAUSE OF THE GRIND THAT GOES WITH IT. I had joined as the junior-most employee in BHEL in 1976. One day, the executive director walked into the large hall where I had a small desk, came up to me, held me by my arm and walked me to his room. Everyone was watching; would he sack me? When we were in his room, he said: “I THE STORY OF ANIL JAIN, MANAGING DIRECTOR, TIME TECHNOPLAST LIMITED want you to help me. There is a tender application that we have to submit. The executive, who was to do this a few weeks ago, has just told me that nothing has been done. I have only 72 hours left. Can you put together a team to complete it?” All I said was “Yes sir, ho jaayega.” This was easier said than done. The extent of supporting documentation required for a tender used to run into thousands of pages across nearly two dozen large files. But there is something I knew that the ED didn’t. Over the months that I had been at BHEL, I would volunteer for more work, which means that I would go to officers outside my functional areas and ask them to give me assignments so that I could broaden my learning. Inevitably, they would pass on clerical work so they could take it easy - ‘go and get this cyclostyled’ they would say without realizing that I would end up reading the document and educating myself. So I not only knew what information existed but also where it could be located. On the third day, my ED called me frantically. “What happened?” he asked. I said, “Done.” “Show me”, he said disbelievingly. Then he said, ”Young man, if I hadn’t given you this opportunity, you would have never been able to believe that you could have done this in just three days.” Years later, when I think of this, I realize that the biggest lesson I learnt was that what Mr Basu had given me as a deadline was not three days but 72 hours. When you see things this way, everything appears achievable. I called for dozens of files to be carted into his room. He realized that every sheet was in place. “How did you do it?” he asked. I replied that I had not gone home for three days, coordinated with the BHEL offices in Trichy, Bhopal and other centres, delegated work right across, got the back-end working and completed the assignment on schedule. I expected a big shabaash. On the contrary, he said, “Thank me!”



NUMBER OF EXPERIENCES FUSED TO MAKE ME WHAT I AM. My father rebelled against my feudal grandfather, left Moradabad and went to live in the family outhouse (meant for domestic assistants) in Dehradun, educated himself (MA, BA, B. Ed, M. Ed, LLB and doctorates in two subjects) before becoming a teacher. Money was always scarce; he would give tuitions from 7am to 11pm; on one occasion when my mother, with a pain in her tooth, needed urgent medical attention, my father made her sit on the cycle as he walked the cycle to the doctor. We couldn’t afford a tonga. When I went to college, I decided to stand for elections. My father (who taught there) was not pleased. ‘Beta, yeh Early days in school

‘Yaar, tum life mein naukri to karoge nahin…’
NE OF MY EARLIEST BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES CAME AT THE UNIVERSITY IN CHANDIGARH. Most district students would find the first year at the university particularly challenging. A number of them failed, which was termed in the university as ‘reappear’. The problem was not that the students would have to ‘reappear’ but that they would have to pay ` 45 per examination they would have to take before they could move into the second year. In this mundane reality I perceived my first business opportunity. I opened a campus insurance shop. This is what my shop offered: any Respected parents student sitting for the examination during the first year would be welcome to buy an insurance cover for ` 20 within half an hour of the examination ending. If he failed that examination (and was required to reappear), I promised to pay his entire ` 45 per examination paper in the second year; if he passed, he stood to lose the ` 20 he had paid me. Leader in the making The business did phenomenally well: within the first hour or two after the examination, most students would be nervous; in that state, they would be more inclined to buy my insurance. This insurance pricing was flexible: in normal circumstances, it was priced at ` 20; in certain cases of extreme collective nervousness, the offering was re-priced to ` 25. How was I to know that students were more nervous than usual even while the examination was going on and I was one of those sitting in examination hall? I resolved this problem through an unusual approach: I recruited accomplices to provide me with precious information: the guard at the toilet would count the number of students who had gone to relieve themselves; the bearer carrying water from desk to desk would count the number of students who had asked for a refill (the higher the number, the tougher the examination). As months passed, I was able to scientifically correlate the numbers in either case to the extent of nervousness within the examination hall, which helped me price the insurance accurately. The success of the shop also depended critically on how well I could crack the paper. It was important for me to complete every three-hour examination in two-and-a-half hours across my university career, so that I could collect the researched findings from my accomplices, price the insurance accordingly and open the counter early enough for all those who would have cracked the paper early as well. For the students who failed, I didn’t merely pay ` 45 and end the transaction; I would fill the student’s form for the second year, procure his hall admission card and hand it to him; my insurance shop became a single-stop solution provider. The business took off; I brought myself a motor cycle, three partners joined to widen our campus reach; the surplus helped us fund meritorious students who could not afford to continue their studies; in the final year, one of our partners wrote an excellent paper but scratched it all in the end and deliberately failed himself because if he passed and moved out, he would cease to be a partner in what was a more lucrative franchise than working in the real world for a mere ` 850 a month. That is when someone said, ‘Yaar, tum life mein naukri to karoge nahin…’

“Don’t let anyone overtake you from the wrong side!”

sub kya achhey logo ka kaam hai?’ he told me. During the course of the campaign, I was threatened by my rival (‘Utha ke le jaayenge’) and my father chanced to hear this. He told me, ‘Now you will not withdraw your name.’ The result was that I fought the elections, won and the principal contestant disappeared. One line that my father said became a lesson for life: ‘Don’t let anyone overtake you from the wrong side!’


“Join a company at the lowest level…”

most of my seniors were lazy; I would end up doing much of their work, which widened my understanding of technology, documentation, processes and people management. I was being educated every single day and being paid for it. I had made an informal pact with my seniors; if they took me to meet their seniors following the successful completion of an assignment, I would give them credit for project completion as long as they gave me more learning opportunities. When my boss moved to Voltas, he took me with him because I could be a good donkey. When the time came for me to

By Anil Jain

1 When an executive is coming into Mumbai to meet a senior executive of my office, I try to get from my office in Saki-Naka to the airport in 30 minutes and see him there rather than spend 90 minutes to see him at a south Mumbai hotel 2 Write clear memos for executives: what the individual is required to do, what others will do and how my executive assistant will follow up with them. The moment the executive sees that someone will follow up, speed picks up 20 per cent 3 When important issues are to be discussed with executives, the 7 to 8 pm slot works out to be three times more productive than the usual 2 to 5 pm slot 4 Use Skype rather than be willing to meet people at the drop of a hat. 5 Send people points of what you want to discuss with them in advance; then give them three time options of when you are open to discuss them. 6 Better to conduct a meeting in the cabin of the executive where he has an immediate access to all his papers, so that decisions can be concluded on the spot. 7 Collect your thoughts some seconds before a call so that you know what you need to speak about and in what sequence. No point getting on a call and asking ‘Biju?’ 8 I usually tell my executives ‘Tell me something that I do not know’. This helps them get to the heart of the matter in seconds.

“Anil, can you earn at least ` 40 a day?”

the promoter that in three years I would own a company with a higher turnover. When I got down, I called my wife from the Nariman Point PCO. All she asked was ‘Anil, can you earn at least ` 40 a day?’ I said, ‘I can at least do hamaali at Crawford Market and make that much.’ She replied: ‘Absolutely ok then.’ Uske baad badshah ho gaye! The next morning, the doorbell at my house kept ringing every few minutes. Nineteen Prestige HM employees came home. They had also resigned. Most companies have a business plan and no employees; I had employees, no office and no business. Since we knew something about our industrial packaging business, we explored adjacent opportunities. Prestige had been making 200 litre drums; we entered the 30 litre segment. The employees pooled their provident fund and cash savings to raise ` 9 lacs,


Time Technoplast Limited
Time Technoplast is engaged in the manufacture of technology-based polymer products and telecom batteries. The Company has more than 20 manufacturing facilities and strong distribution network in 350 cities and towns in India. It also has operations across seven countries (Sharjah, Poland, Thailand, Bahrain, China, Egypt and Czech Republic). The Company manufactures polymer and composite material-based packaging solutions, lifestyle products, auto-components, healthcare products and infrastructure products (like telecom batteries, HDPE pipes, prefabricated structures etc.). The Company was started by four technocrats in 1991 - Anil Jain, Bharat Vageria, Raghupathy Thyagarajan and Naveen Jain – who are actively involved. Anil Jain is the Managing Director, while Bharat Vageria is Director (Finance), Raghupathy Thyagarajan is Director (Marketing) and Naveen Jain is Director (Technical). The company achieved a topline of `15 bn for FY 2012. You may visit for more details

HEN I GRADUATED FROM CHANDIGARH UNIVERSITY, I HAD A NUMBER OF CAREER OPTIONS. People said ‘You can’t join a PSU because nobody works there’. I said that might be a good idea because if I end up doing the work of my colleagues, I will stand to learn things faster than any one of them. People said, ‘Stay in a big company where your career will be secured.’ I said I would start at the lowest management tier of a large company, leave it to join the middle-level management of a midsized company and then leave that to join the senior management of a small company. And with this perspective I joined the E1 level of BHEL in 1976. Sure enough,

leave Voltas, I selected to join an industrial packaging company called Prestige HM Polycontainers as CEO, responsible for technology transfer, marketing and commercialisation. It had taken me 10 years to move from the E1 level at a PSU to the head of a private sector organisation.

Anil with his wife

with which we bought our first moulds, raw material, telex and phone. The hall of my 900 sq feet residence

HAD AN ENRICHING TIME AT PRESTIGE HM POLYCONTAINERS FOR THE SHEER RANGE OF EXPERIENCES THAT THE STINT INTRODUCED ME TO. This stint came to an end when I was asked to sign some papers, which I was not in agreement with, and I refused. When I returned to my room, the lock had been changed. I got the message and resigned. Before leaving, I promised

doubled up as office; one of the bedrooms became the conference room. At the end of one month, I had to break into my children’s piggy bank for ` 5000 to pay our people. When our receptionist got her first pay cheque of ` 2500, she refused it on the grounds that she would rather dip into her savings and wait until the company did better. Meanwhile, our competitors attempted to block us by telling our vendors not to convert any material for us.

Anil Jain at his desk at BHEL


“You are the first man who has told me the truth. When do you want the machine?”
HEN YOU STRONGLY RESOLVE TO DO SOMETHING, THE UNSEEN FORCES OF NATURE CONSPIRE TO MAKE YOU SUCCESSFUL. We had no spare cash to buy equipment. So MIDC included our name in a category of unemployed professionals and we bought our first Boisar plot for ` 329,000 in 1992. We had only ` 7 lacs out of the ` 30 lacs required to buy a moulding machine. The equipment provider asked how long I would take to pay the rest. I replied that I would not be able to commit a date because our business was just taking off. The supplier replied, ‘You are the first man who has told me the truth. When do you want the machine?’ We had no advance to pay when we went to rent an office. One of the persons I went to was engaged in a phone conversation when I entered his Old office of Time Technoplast in Mumbai cabin. I spoke while he continued to be engaged on the phone. Suddenly, he opened a drawer, handed over keys and motioned me to leave. I said, what about the advance. That is when he put the receiver down for five seconds and said, ‘Do you want to negotiate or start your business?’ So we got 700 sq ft of office space without paying a rupee’s advance.

“We went to our competitors, offered them knowhow and got them into business to compete with us”
HEN WE STARTED OUR OWN FACTORY, WE WERE CONVINCED THAT CUSTOMERS WOULD SOON QUEUE OUTSIDE OUR DOOR FOR OUR 30-LITRE DRUMS. We were mistaken. Despite the pioneering nature of our product, some of them could not buy for an interesting reason: they would say ‘You are the only ones in your field to be supplying this. If you are not able to supply for some reason, it will affect all the shop floor equipment investments we have made. So we would rather buy a product where there are at least multiple suppliers.’ We had an ironic reality: our pioneering spirit was working against us. So we did something unthinkable: we went to our competitors, offered them knowhow to make 30-litre drums and then encouraged them to get into the same business so that our buyers could have a wider market to select from. The market for these products widened, more orders came in, we strengthened our competitiveness, carved out a larger market share and gradually emerged as the only supplier. There was another problem: we were fairly under-staffed to concurrently manage the office and factory. So I would take the 8.29 local from Andheri to Virar each evening, then take the Virar-Boisar shuttle, grab a bite at the andawala across the Boisar station, train our factory guard on how to hold a cycle for me while he rode his, get on to the cycle and then reach the plant by 11pm. Through the night I would check our output and quality, get to Boisar by 430 am, sleep on the station for a while, sleep again on the 515 local to Virar and then again on the Andheri local that would get me into Mumbai by 830 am. I would have my bath in office, put on a new shirt and tie and all those walking into office at 9 would see me smiling and wondering that I must have had a great evening at the club with the family. I worked like this for three years.

By Anil Jain

1 Whatever you do, try and be the best in the world. If you can’t get podium position, sell and exit. 2 Don’t get into a business because you like the balance sheet of someone who is already into that business. Check if the call is from within. 3 To see heaven you have to die first. I log 90.2 hours a week (I log my door-to-door time into an excel file every day), work 16 hours a day when I am abroad, work till 11 pm on Saturday to clear the week’s inventory and drop in at the office 11 to 5 on Sunday to read all pending mail. 4 Do extraordinary things with ordinary people. Passion always scores over intelligence. 5 Don’t rush success. I spent 15 years from the lowest position in BHEL to the time I started my own company. Fruit that matures naturally is sweetest; pluck early, put it in for carbide treatment for quicker maturity and you could catch an infection. 6 Look global. Better to be a sailor on a ship at sea than the captain of a boat in a lake. 7 Most people want to do it alone. There is a limit to what can be achieved by one individual. Good managers lead teams that accomplish what they would have tried to unsuccessfully accomplish all by themselves.



“The desperation to survive is always more powerful than the desire to win.”
OON THE TIME CAME FOR TIME TECHNOPLAST TO BUY SPECIALIZED MAUSER EQUIPMENT AND MOVE INTO THE NEXT LEAGUE. My previous employers blocked this through the legal route, insisting that it had an exclusive technology agreement with Mauser (which they didn’t). We fought this over months in the courts of Uttar Pradesh. Every month’s delay was affecting our prospects. Finally, when we won the judgment in the Allahabad High Court, we didn’t go home and celebrate. Since we knew that our competitors would block us through an appeal, I flew immediately to Moscow, chartered a military aircraft to Zurich, transported the equipment (which we had already negotiated) from Germany (where it had been manufactured) to Switzerland, bought it to Mumbai, paid the duty, transported it from the runway to the plant (where the foundation was waiting to be completed), had 300 workers to put the wall and roof back in hours and rolled the first batch of the end product out within just nine days from the time the plant had been shipped out from Germany. By the time we had paid for the machine a couple of weeks later, we had sold 14,440 drums for ` 50 lacs in revenues; the contribution derived from this was more than the freight incurred. I often say this: to beat Usain Bolt’s 100 m record of 9.58 seconds you can either rise early to practice hard or you can wear a red shirt and walk past a bull. The desperation to survive is always more powerful than the desire to win. By the time the Mauser technologists came down to get the plant up and running, they saw their equipment in full steam, so they rebooked their tickets and went off to see the Taj in Agra. Time Technoplast later went on to buy out the Prestige HM factories in Boisar. I remember telling the financial intermediaries who made that transaction possible: ‘Is factory ke neev ke neechey mera khoon aur paseena hai.’

“To beat Usain Bolt’s 100 m record of 9.58 seconds you can either rise early to practice hard or you can wear a red shirt and walk past a bull.”
By Anil Jain
• Employees at Time Technoplast are forbidden to compare their salaries with others because often remunerations are based on social considerations (ailing family members to be looked after etc.). So if someone comes and says that he / she needs to get a higher salary because someone else is getting higher, we call both individuals to the table and then ask the person getting the higher salary to take a cut to the level of the other. • If someone comes and says that he or she does not need a boss, we promote that person

The Time Technoplast family

immediately to a position of higher responsibility. • We do not have any vouchers and rules for travel. If we suspect the integrity of any of the bills that have been presented, we extract all the travel bills of that individual for scrutiny. • Indecision is no decision; people can fail, which is better than not having to take a call and escape unnoticed. • We run a tight financial ship – no show

Industrial packaging products from Time Technoplast

business. I continue to stay in a 900 sq ft apartment that I bought when I was an employee. I travel economy class even when I go abroad; the notional saving is credited to an

“Honesty pays.”

account used for general employee welfare. • We take people with specific competencies and put them in new areas with responsibility. They

my father’s words: ‘Never let anyone get past you from the wrong side.’ If we expected no one to overtake us from the wrong side, we shouldn’t be doing it ourselves. There is one instance that comes to mind. Time Technoplast had a serious disagreement with Mauser in 2011 related to the manufacture of 1000 litre IBCs that had been developed by them,

which we had been licensed to use. Mauser called off the agreement for no fault of ours. However, the reality was that we were not wrong in any way. Even though they were larger, we decided that we would fight. It would have been tempting to continue using their 1000 litre IBC technology while the fight was in

progress. But that would have been unethical. We discontinued its use, we developed an alternative technology from scratch, and the result is that because of our principled stand on their IPR, Mauser got back with the decision to work with Time Technoplast all over again. Honesty pays.

will work hard to save their reputation, benefiting themselves and the company. • When someone comes into my room, I have to

Because of our principled stand on their IPR, Mauser got back with the decision to work with Time Technoplast all over again.

add value to his insight in some way before he leaves. Now if I have to teach, I have to learn, so I end up reading a number of books on interesting subjects. If he stays, he adds value to the company; if he leaves, he spreads the company’s goodwill all over.



HE STORY OF THE GROWTH OF PARAG FOODS IS UNUSUAL FOR SOME GOOD REASONS. We emerged as a rural Indian success story with extensive urban implications. We created a business that succeeded in something that had absolutely no connection with our family’s existing businesses. We ventured into an area (milk products) that was about the ability to balance manufacturing competence, marketing penetration and branding excellence. We sought to grow our presence in a sector dominated by cash-rich giants (Indian and multinational) with relatively no space for anyone else. We grew our presence in a sector we knew nothing about compared with multinationals with longer experience, larger brands, wider reach and considerably larger investments. We succeeded in a high mortality business without ever needing to withdraw a single product across nearly two decades. THE STORY OF DEVENDRA SHAH, CHAIRMAN, PARAG MILK FOODS (P) LIMITED We did all this by setting up our factory and corporate office in a small town with a population of not more than 40,000.

1616 16


“I am a fourth generation entrepreneur. Business runs in my blood.”
Y GREAT GRANDFATHER MIGRATED FROM KUTCH TO MANCHAR (60 KMS FROM PUNE) FOR A CURIOUS REASON. He had heard stories of the fabulous wealth that Shivaji had accumulated following the plunder of Surat. Since much of that wealth had gone back to Shivaji’s capital Shivneri, my ancestor presumed that it would be best to settle in the vicinity and explore trading opportunities there. Since the Manchar community was largely agrarian, my ancestors traded horses and fabric. Gradually they recognized that farmers would complain about low crop yields, so my grandfather brought laarva lasan (garlic) from Rajkot, branded it as ‘Garlic King’ and sold it to farmers leading to enhanced yields. This farmer trust was soon tested. Seed competitors deployed a helicopter to

drop handbills across the region to impress villagers. My grandfather brought two new Rajdoot motor cycles, went to the mukhiya’s house, sat in discussion about some relatively flippant point, a crowd accumulated around the two gleaming vehicles, then my grandfather stepped out and took the mukhiya for a motor cycle trip around the village before dropping him back. It was an expert play in emotion; the competing brand disappeared from Manchar district in three months. Now that there were no disturbances in the market place, my grandfather leveraged the enduring trust: he began to market jewellery, fertilizers and

potato seeds. My father took this ahead; in 1972, he commissioned one of India’s first cold storage warehouses in Manchar, which made it possible for farmers to store potatoes during oversupply in exchange for rent. If farmers needed money while their potatoes were being stored, he gave them credit. As a result, the family graduated from one to multiple businesses – lender, landlord and material supplier. And all because at the end of the day, we had created the reputation that whatever we sold would be genuine and rightly priced.

The three Shah brothers share the entrepreneurial zest. (Devendra is seated)

Completely enmeshed with the farmer community - the company’s lifeline.

ORN INTO SUCH AN ENTREPRENEURIAL FAMILY, IT WAS NATURAL THAT I ATTEND THE DUKAAN FROM THE TIME I WAS IN CLASS TEN. When I went to college, it was like going to kindergarten. The result is that I got through college with a 30 per cent attendance, would study at the dukaan during the day and attend only during examinations. My duties were fixed: I would unlock the shop each morning; I would be shifted across our various businesses as they peaked seasonally. It was during one of the particularly nivraa periods between seasons that I ventured to ask the family permission to start something potta nu (own). Within months, I started the business of cattle feed supply. This was my routine: rise early, skip

brushing my teeth, skip breakfast, get to the market the same time as the farmers would come to sell their milk, take their indents for cattle feed, requisition the material, warehouse it and deliver to my customers. Then return to open the shop and sit in it. Within weeks, I had figured out that this supply chain could be strengthened. I would reach the market, take indents, inform the supplier of how much material needed to be delivered directly to each farmer, eliminate the need for warehousing, save money, reduce the selling price and widen my market share. Within months, my feed business had grown from scratch to around 100 tonnes a day. Interestingly, despite the cash surplus that was growing each month, this was still side business for the family. I could do this as time-pass; eventually I would have to return to the serious time-tested business of marketing seeds and textiles. Bhagyalaxmi farms, Manchar. The largest private dairy farm in the country.

“When I went to college, it was like going to kindergarten”



“Milk flowed in the drains of Manchar…”
OMETHING INTERESTING HAPPENED IN THE EARLY NINETIES IN THE MANCHAR DISTRICT OF MAHARASHTRA – THE BENEFITS OF OPERATION FLOOD – WHICH TRANSFORMED MY LIFE FOR GOOD. Farmers produced more milk than government co-operatives – their only customer – could buy. So on two days per week, the co-operatives would actually shut shop and on those days, the farmers would have to take all their precious milk and put it into the drains. Hamaare Manchar mein doodh ki naaliya behti thi. Literally. An estimated 112,000 litres a week aggregating into a farmer revenue loss of ` 3.6 cr a year. This would not have been of much concern to me but for one detail. I began to experience a slowdown in farmer payments for my cattle feed. They told me that the weekly waste had eaten into their revenues. Then one of them pleaded, ‘Please do something with the milk.’ Since I had a reasonable insight into refrigeration due to the family’s cold storage business, I made a suggestion: send me your milk in metal cans, I will refrigerate the milk and transport it to Mumbai for sale. They did. I took all the milk I could get on those two days, would give them 20 paise per litre more than what the cooperatives paid and soon there were people using all kinds of influence so that I would buy their milk as well. So I arrived at a deal: whoever would want me to buy their milk would have to buy my cattle feed as well. I did not make any money on the sale of milk; I more than made it up through the sale of cattle feed. I would have stayed with this business model had it not been for a farmer who made what then appeared like an impossible suggestion: ‘Why don’t you buy the milk we provide across all seven days?’ “Hamaare Manchar mein doodh ki naaliya behti hain.”



“My father refused to sign my loan proposal…and grew me in an instant”
LL SEVEN DAYS. IF I WOULD HAVE TO BUY ALL THE MILK OF THE REGION, I WOULD NEED A MILK PROCESSING CAPACITY OF 20,000 LITRES A DAY (COMPARED TO A COOPERATIVE PROCESSING CAPACITY OF 56,000 LITRES A DAY). So I drew out a business plan, approached the local bank (with whom we had been dealing for decades) for a loan and took my father along. The branch manager appraised the loan proposal, nodded and eventually asked my father to sign. My father refused; he said that if the bank was issuing the loan on account of his family’s credibility, then he would not sign any paper. The bank would need to appraise my proposal in my own right. The bank refused. We walked out. That day I wept like I have never wept in my life. I complained to my mother, ‘I never asked father for anything in life. Now when I ask him for one favour, he refuses to sign?’ After the wailing had been done, I resolved: soon the bank would have to appraise my loan proposal without a guarantor. This happened sooner than expected; the moment I raised the margin component from 30 per cent to 48%, my proposal was sanctioned. It took me years to appreciate my father’s decision. If he had signed my loan proposal that day, I would have remained an emotional dependent. Rotary milk parlour at Bhagyalaxmi Farms. He grew me in an instant.

“If people would not be able to consume milk, we would make milk-based products instead.”
ITHIN MONTHS OF COMMISSIONING THE MILK PROCESSING CAPACITY OF 20,000 LITRES A DAY, I DOUBLED THE CAPACITY. THE MILK AVAILABILITY WAS DOUBLE WHAT I COULD CONSUME. However, another problem emerged: there was a limit to the amount of milk that could be processed and sold. People would drink milk once a day and would not necessarily increase their consumption because it was abundantly available. Besides, one couldn’t sell cheaper because that would ruin the operational economics. We had a problem. So we could cap our milk processing capacity and wait for incremental

demand increases linked to increases in per capita consumption. Or we could stop buying the surplus milk and destroy the trust that had been patiently created over the months. Problems lead to opportunities. We decided to create downstream processing capacity for value-added milk products instead. If people would not be able to consume milk, we would make milk-based products instead. And that is how our company entered the manufacture of ghee and powder in 1998, cheese in 2009 and paneer in 2012. Because of a problem in allocating the excess milk supply, we entered the challenging domain of milk-based products dominated by the likes of Amul for decades. By the back door. ‘Pride of Cow’ – the only farmfresh milk brand available in the country today.


“From the edge of being wiped out by the stroke of a pen…”
milk-based retail products and all these PPORTUNITIES COME DRESSED AS PROBLEMS. BY THE LATE NINETIES, WE DOVETAILED OUR LARGE MILK PROCESSING CAPACITY WITH A MILK POWDER PRODUCTION CAPACITY. Nearly 80 per cent of our milk processing capacity would be allocated to bulk unpackaged milk powder. In 2004-05, we derived 17.68 per cent of our revenues from exports, emerging as India’s largest milk powder exporter. Then everything changed. The Indian government banned the export of milk powder. With ` 70 cr of debt on our books, we stood to be wiped out. We went to the Supreme Court and won. But I had learnt my lesson: Parag Foods would never again place all its chips on a business model that could be killed by a single stroke of the pen. The company would spread its risk across the broad Indian market, make a variety of would be branded to beat the commodity trap. The foundation of the sustainable growth of the company had been created. And none of this would have happened had it been happy sailing through the export of milk powder. Which brings me back to how problems don’t create problems; they only lead to solutions.

“Which brings me back to how problems don’t create problems; they only lead to solutions.”

By Devendra Shah

“We proposed a cheese capacity larger than the cheese consumption of the entire country!”
N LINE WITH OUR NEW BUSINESS MODEL, WE ENTERED THE BUSINESS OF CHEESE MANUFACTURE (3 TONNES PER DAY) IN 2001. WE KEPT THIS CAPACITY UNCHANGED UNTIL 2008 WHEN WE PROPOSED AN INCREASE IN CAPACITY IN VIEW OF A SWEEPING CHANGE IN DIET AND LIFESTYLE STANDARDS. The problem was not the increase: it was the extent. Around 2008, the size of the Indian cheese market was estimated at 27 tonnes per day. We were proposing an increase in our capacity to 40 tonnes per day. As soon as anyone would hear of this, he would dismiss us as reckless.

• Our farm, comprising 2500 of the best cow breeds, provides high yield and superior milk quality that is provided as a “We entered the business of cheese manufacture (3 tonnes per day) in 2001.” three Indian cities where our material would be in perpetual shortage; we reckoned that if we increased our production we would easily be able to market 8 tonnes in those markets. • We introduced shredded cheese Then someone asked: what if we market our block cheese in other cities as well? So the team said maybe we would be able to raise sales to 15 tonnes per day if we widened our marketing network. Then someone suggested: what if we add an SKU? So we redid our calculations and added 5 tonnes per day for our second SKU. And that is how a 3 tonne-per-day • We launched food products (chocolate plus cheese / tomato plus cheese) in a squeezy tube for the first time in India in 2011 endorsed by Disney characters Tom & Jerry as a packaged branded product for the first time in India in 2011 branded product (‘Pride of Cow) directly to consumers in South Mumbai – no intermediaries • We introduced fruit yoghurt for the first time in India (2009) with a folding spoon attached to each cup

But there was a method in the madness. We possessed a strong brand that had stood up to Amul in the marketplace. When Amul undercut us by 10 per cent, there was panic in our company. But the calls that came in from the urban centres told us something that we couldn’t quite understand; our dealers would say, ‘Zyaada maal do!’ Since we had limited capacity, we raised our selling price 5 per cent with the assumption that this would temper the demand of our product to the point where it balanced supply. However, the calls that followed from our dealers were ‘Bhaav badhaaya theek hai, lekin maal to bhejo!’ So when we sat to discuss the increase

in our production capacity, I argued from an unusual point: there was something unprecedented transpiring in the marketplace that we couldn’t quite place. We were making demand projections on the basis of an established track record but that past had no connection with how lifestyles were changing. As a result, we would need to base our capacity increase not on the basis of what was but on the basis of what could be. So the next question was: by how much should we increase our production capacity from 3 tonnes per day? We sat down to make estimations. We were marketing our block cheese in only

company drew out a business plan to seven-fold its sales in one year.

“We were making demand projections on the basis of an established track record but that past had no connection with how lifestyles were changing.”


“We negotiated a 40 TPD cheese manufacturing plant down to a 20 TPD equivalent”
HE YEAR 2008 WAS ONE OF THE MOST EVENTFUL IN OUR EXISTENCE. One, the slowdown. We had an option to scale down the 40 tonnes per day plant to 20 tonnes per day, which would have been in line with our sales plan. Everyone agreed. Then I had a brainwave: at a time when no one was buying any cheese manufacturing equipment anywhere in the world, I told the equipment manufacturer: things are looking difficult and we will buy only if you provide us a 40 tonne-per-day plant for the cost of a 20 TPD facility. They agreed. MOPE provided us with ` 55 cr and in a single stroke, we created a cheese manufacturing capacity 50 per cent larger than the entire Indian market at a capital cost per tonne that was half the prevailing international average. Two, when we had gone into cheese manufacture we had done so with the objective to liquidate excess regional milk supply and restore farmer viability. We now recognized that if we commissioned one of the world’s largest


Parag Milk Foods Pvt Limited
Parag Milk Foods is a leading ‘cow milk’ product company with a manufacturing presence in Western cheese manufacturing plants at a single location, the terms of trade would change: the day the farmers switched off their milk supply, we would be on our knees. So we de-risked by developing an alternative milk procurement centre in Chittoor district in Karnataka. Three, people warned us of the effects of the 2008-09 economic slowdown. We took a contrarian view: we said that the longer the slowdown lasted, the more people would eat. We were proved right; the market for cheese grew 35 per cent in 2008-09. Finally, we commissioned the 40 TPD plant in 2010 with a number of observers insisting that our asset underutilisation would soon make the company unviable. The reality is that by 2012, supply had widened product demand, our share of institutional cheese purchases in India had risen from 12% to 55%, the plant had achieved 80 per cent capacity utilization and we now intend to increase capacity to 60 TPD by 2013. We were right about being wrong. We had all missed the unseen change in India’s food consumption habits. Largest state-of-the-art cheese plant in Asia

and Southern India. The Company has a milk processing capacity of 1.2 mn litres per day at Manchar (near Pune) and 0.5 mn litres per day at Palamner (near Bangalore). The company markets liquid milk and UHT milk in tetrapaks as well as valued-added milk products like ghee, curd, yoghurt, butter-milk, cheese (mozzarella and cheddar), whey, table butter, gulab jamun mix and milk powder (skimmed and whole milk powder). The traditional consumer products like ghee, butter, pouched milk, curd and paneer are sold under the ‘Gowardhan’ brand while contemporary products like cheese, paneer, curd, flavoured yoghurt, UHT milk (tetrapak), butter milk and instant milk powder (‘Milko’ and ‘Dairy Whitener’) are sold under the ‘GO’ brand. The Company was founded by Devendra Shah and his brothers in 1992. They hail from a Gujarati business family, which has been in Manchar for more than a century. The company achieved a topline of ` 9 bn for FY 2012. For details please visit

“Do you want to be a contract manufacturer for the rest of your life?”

HERE COMES A TIME IN THE HISTORY OF A COMPANY WHEN IT MUST DECIDE WHAT IT TRULY STANDS FOR. At our company, that moment came in 2010. Since we possessed a considerably larger cheese production capacity than we could immediately utilise, our company was approached by a large multinational competitor with a conversion proposal. The company was willing to buy the cheese manufactured by us, which would then be packaged and marketed under its own brand. One school of thought felt that we should grab this lifeline or the interest burden incurred for setting up

production capacity would erode our viability. The other school of thought felt that the income we would make from this outsourcing arrangement would be negligible compared to the additional cost that we would have to incur on branding to fight the multinational competitor marketing our very products in the marketplace. The big question: should we look at the next quarter or plan for the long-term? Our relationship with Motilal Oswal Private Equity (MOPE) proved handy. MOPE asked us to look within. What is it that we wanted to be? A contract manufacturer for the rest of our life? We got our answer. We knew what to do.

“Parag Foods. Indian foods MNC. That is our dream”

HERE DO WE WANT TO TAKE THIS COMPANY? Let me give you a perspective. Australia and New Zealand produce considerable milk, which is processed into milk products, graduating some of their companies into large multinationals. India is the largest producer of milk in the world but there is no Indian dairy or foods company with a global presence.

Parag Foods aspires to emerge as an Indian multinational in this sector by catering to the tastes of the Indian (resident and expatriate) population, which account for a sixth of the global population, and through competent brand management that inspires product trust and credibility. Soon.

Parag Foods aspires to emerge as an Indian multinational



Y FATHER SAJJA SESHAGIRI RAO WAS A FARMER WHO GREW PADDY AND PULSES IN REPALLE, GUNTUR DISTRICT. He was hardworking; he would cultivate the tracts with bullocks. He was industrious; he progressively grew the 5 acres that he inherited as a 19-year-old to around 20 acres by the time he retired. He was focused; my mother Satyavathi and he stayed 5 kms from the nearest habitation. He was caring; he would pedal 13 kms to deliver milk and vegetables to us every alternate day. I say all this because somewhere this culture became my own. THE STORY OF S. KISHORE BABU, CHAIRMAN AND MANAGING DIRECTOR, POWERMECH PROJECTS LTD.



“I was de facto tutor to my fellow students in college”

HE CULTURE OF SHARING BECAME A PART OF MY DNA FOR AN INTERESTING REASON. My parents left the family my two brothers and two sisters - under the care of my uncle Kasukurthi Ragaviah and my aunt Peddamma who had no children and adopted us as their own. It was Peddamma who virtually made all the important decisions. One of her decisions was to have a big impact on my life: I would be left to pursue my studies uninterrupted and the result was that I joined Bhira Swamy Elementary School in class 1. I was a good student and ranked between first class and distinction up to class 12. After school, I decided to pursue a degree in Mechanical Engineering and tried to gain admission in Siddhartha Engineering College, Vijayawada – without success. Without wasting time, I decided to pursue my B.Sc. in Nagaram. Meanwhile, my uncle expired but told my aunt, “Kishore will shine in life. Do not hesitate to spend on his studies.” The following year I applied for a seat in Mechanical Engineering and got it. At the insistence of my aunt, my father sold that year’s paddy crop for ` 25,000 to mobilize the sum required for the admission fee. The monthly expenditure was met by my aunt with the paltry sum she received as rent and sale of milk from the few buffalos she reared. It is

around these sacrifices that the foundation of my career was built. At Vijayawada, I would stay in a hostel. The word of my engineering knowledge began to circulate; I would teach 30 fellow students; the study books you could read or not read, but my notes were something that students devoured. The word on the campus was that if you went though Kishore Babu’s notes, you were bound to pass. My success became my undoing; since I started providing tuitions, the hostel told me that I would have to seek alternative accommodation. They couldn’t possibly have a resident student running a commercial ‘business’. When I finished college, one of my close friends Jagan Mohan joined a power engineering company. The company required him to assume office in Korba. Since his parents did not want him to go alone, his father M.Venkateswara Rao convinced me to join the company, produced an appointment letter with a traveling advance and the result was that I got my first job at Indwell Constructions without as much as an interview. Destiny. INCE I HAD A DREAM OF BECOMING A PROFESSOR IN AN ENGINEERING COLLEGE, I TOOK MY BOOKS TO PREPARE FOR ENTRANCE TESTS. Interestingly, for someone who would have been keen about pursing a career in power engineering, there could not have been a more appropriate place to join than the NTPC plant in Korba in the early Nineties. The company was engaged in building a 500 MW plant. The core mechanical did not return home. In the fourth year, my company’s engagement with NTPC neared an end and I returned to Vijayawada. My friend left to join NTPC, I felt kind of lonely, I applied for jobs in IOC, BARC and ONGC, my managing director K. Rama Rao requested me to stay on with more responsibilities, and the result was that I was promoted to Project Manager, General Manager, Director and then Joint Managing Director. I was de facto number three in an organization of 200. I was only 28. When the time came for me to start my own company, I went to all the people I had known with the simple request: ‘Saab, kaam to dega na aap?’ And that is how Powermech Projects Limited was created by my customers in 1999. Kishore Babu was – and continues to be – a dasher

My father sold a year’s paddy crop for ` 25,000 to mobilize the sum required for my university admission fee.

“When I finished college, one of my close friends joined a power engineering company. ”

“Fortunate to be in Korba”

area was chocker-block with engineers from Germany and BHEL. In this invigorating space, I demanded more work. Within a year, I was promoted twice. I was so engrossed by what was happening that for a year-and-a-half I



“Going entrepreneurial – starting my own company”
OWERMECH’S OBJECTIVE WAS TO PROVIDE MECHANICAL ENGINEERING SOLUTIONS IN THE BTG SEGMENT OF POWER PLANTS. THE COMPANY DID NOT HAVE TO WAIT LONG FOR ITS FIRST ASSIGNMENT. Within a few weeks, we had a call from Tata Trombay. Would we help them balance their LP rotor? We said yes. When we went to conduct the job, the well-wisher there asked us to put all our signatures down on a sheet and then put a tilak on it for shagun. My mother gave me ` 221, which I still carry in my wallet. We received ` 3 lacs for an assignment that lasted a few days. The next big tender that Tata Trombay gave out was for ` 50 lacs. The usual practice was for BHEL to get the contract and then sub-contract it to a specialized vendor. Since we had not been registered with BHEL, we were prevented from tendering for the contract. But not quite. In an unusual initiative, Indira Narasimhan at Tata Trombay remembered her previous experience with us, wrote to BHEL specifying that it would be considered only if certain members (specified by name - ours) were engaged to execute the project and that is how we came to be sub-contracted for this prestigious assignment. Now there was considerably work to be done: to be registered with BHEL; we were required to produce a bank guarantee, so I went to Nagpur, requested a friend to lend ` 5 lacs, deposited it in Federal Bank, took the statement to show BHEL, which was all okay, but BHEL now said that it couldn’t possibly award us a contract on a single tender basis so our next headache was producing two competitors who would also submit their quotations for this assignment. As it turned out, we emerged L1, reported a profit of ` 40 lacs for an order that lasted for 35-days and at the end of that eventful first year, we had reported a topline of ` 5 cr with a 50 per cent margin. No looking back.

“A reputation for timely commissioning”
N THE NEXT FEW YEARS, WE BUILT A CREDIBLE REPUTATION. We excelled in working on the erection of gas turbines, a specialized area within a power plant. We became well known in delivering projects on or ahead of schedule, being meticulous in our planning and being present right through commissioning. A number of plant managers began to see us as some kind of insurance: "Have these fellows around and the plant will be up and running on schedule". A 250 MW plant commissioned one day ahead of schedule was likely to generate an incremental ` 3 cr in revenues (on the basis of power sold at ` 3 a unit). Preponing their cash flow, reducing their break-even point and enhancing their profitability. This capability was drawn from a deep competence. A major overhaul of V94.2 Siemens naphtha-fired gas turbine at Paguthan CCPP (Gujarat) carried out by us in a record 19 days was at least 11 days quicker than the nearest benchmark under Siemens 2002 supervision. A major overhaul of V 94.2 Siemens gas turbine at NTPC Dadri carried out by us in a record 35 days in 2001 was way below the prevailing national average. The result is Powermech jumped from a turnover of ` 8.8 cr in 2002-03 to ` 26.8 cr in 2005-06 and to ` 155.9 cr in 2008-09. However, all looked attractive only on paper. The truth is that we were always cash-stretched. Whatever profit was generated was usually ploughed back as security deposit with a client for a bigger project. Then there was money to be deployed in growing people resources, investing in specialized equipment, creating on-site offices and managing overheads. With more debt, we would have only stretched our balance sheet further. In turn, we would have weakened our case by buying into higher coupon rates, which in turn would have pushed us into a debt trap. What we needed was net worth and a credible partner. And that is where Motilal Oswal Private Equity came into the picture in late 2009.

“Failure as a teacher”
OWERMECH STARTED AS A COMPANY FOCUSED ON THE OPERATIONS AND MAINTENANCE SIDE OF POWER ENGINEERING PLANTS. However, seeing that the larger ticket size projects were on the erectiontesting-commissioning (ETC) side, we gradually graduated towards ETC side.

In the next few years, we secured a landmark order of our company’s history in 2002 – an assignment covering total piping and turbine erection for IOC (Panipat) for ` 4 cr. We did our scheduling, we did our calculations. We stood to make a tidy sum from the project. However, the scope of the project kept changing, the project kept getting delayed and the result was that by the time the project neared completion, we had been ruined:

there was no diesel in our on-site vehicles, there was no ration in the guest house and we finally finished with a net loss of ` 4 cr on that project. In retrospect, it was a valuable lesson early in my career. I would never make the mistake of embarking on a project with documentation loopholes ever again. And yes, we completed the project to the satisfaction of our customer. The ` 221 that my mother gave me when I first ventured out

With close friend Ravuri

Kishore Babu with his family


By S. Kishore Babu

“Credible private equity partner; credible customers”

• Specialize, specialize, specialize. Don’t profess to do everything • Explore synergies by exploring adjacent business spaces • If you are in business for the money, you will fail • There is nothing like the culture of urgency (‘Do it now!’) • The entrepreneur with the word ‘Yes, can do’ in his dictionary will always make things happen • Clear your inventory of things to be done by the time you leave in the evening. If there is something unfinished, delegate and ensure that this is finished • Capture the space you are present in and the business will come

We went with MOPE for some good reasons: my chemistry matched Raamdeoji’s within minutes at the first meeting; he decided he would invest in my company when I told him that I would never dilute my shareholding below 60 per cent even after I went public. Besides, MOPE brought rich value to our table: it taught me how to manage the cash flow better, how to strengthen the Board, strengthen the overall governance process and tighten what part of the business to report a stronger balance sheet.

My vision is to emerge as a onepoint provider of power sector solutions – thermal, gas, hydro and nuclear - the world over.

Since 2008-09, we grew to a turnover of ~` 700 cr in 2011-12. We entered into partnerships with most of the power majors operating in India - BHEL, NTPC, STATE GENCO, DVC, Reliance, Lanco, Adani, L&T, BGR, JSPL, Sterlite, GMR, Siemens, Alstom, GE, LMZ, Power Machines, SEPCO, STEPC, Doosan, Tata, IOC, HPGCL and Ceethar Vessels, to name a few.



Powermech Projects Limited

“Largest dedicated company of our kind in Asia”
O WHERE HAS POWERMECH REACHED IN A LITTLE MORE THAN A DECADE-AND-A-HALF IN A CHALLENGING BUSINESS? Powermech is the largest dedicated company of its kind in Asia. The company accounts for 65% market share in the BTG segment of India’s power sector. The company has more than 50 functional sites in addition to over 25 ongoing O&M sites across India and abroad. The company has been associated with a generation of over 40,000 MW of power to the National grids and is presently in involved in commissioning projects over 30,000MW. It is involved in one form or the other in every three out of four major ongoing power generation projects in India. The company provides gainful employment (direct and indirect) to around 20,000 individuals; engineers comprise more than 30% of its direct employees; worker attrition has been a mere 2 per cent per annum for years. The company stands for a peace of mind; clients provide land and equipment and Powermech commissions the power plant on schedule through the interplay of turnkey mechanical engineering and civil construction. The company is respected for pushing the envelope all the time; when the company entered the business, it began to work in 35 MW segment and is now engaged at the cutting-edge end of 800 MW. The company helps its customers go on stream faster; the commissioning of a 500 MW that would earlier take 49 months now takes 28 months. Never in the company’s existence have its bank guarantees ever been invoked; on the other hand, the company earns around 3 per cent of revenues through incentives for earlier-than-scheduled commissioning. Power plant at the Mundra Port on which Powermech worked Power plant at the Mangalore Refinery on which Powermech worked

Powermech is a leader in the erection and commissioning of boilers, turbines and generators for thermal power plants in India. The Company also undertakes the overhauling and maintenance (OHM) of power plants. In 10 years, Powermech has carried out 36 erections/commissioning of projects in India and over 250 OHM contracts in power plants. Powermech has worked for almost all the power EPC players in India like BHEL, REL, Lanco, Doosan and SEPCO. Powermech was promoted in 1999 by technocrat S. Kishore Babu, a first generation entrepreneur. Before promoting the Company, he spent 15 years with Indwell Constructions, a company in the same space. The company achieved a topline of ` 7 bn for FY 2012. Please visit for more details




FAILED IN CLASS EIGHT. THIS WAS A FAMILY SETBACK MORE THAN ONE REASON. Our paternal family was fairly intellectual: my grandfather was a progressive freedom fighter who inspired his two sons – my father and uncle – to become an engineer and a doctor. The result was that wherever my father went he was respected, but when it came to me, I would have to churaao aankh on account of my weak academic record, cousins would say ‘Yaar, tu to fail ho gaya!’ and the family pronouncement was that ‘Tum to bhai kuch bhi nahin ban sakoge.’ It appeared as if the destiny of my life had been written on the basis of how I performed in school. Then something happened. My father – THE STORY OF SANJAY AGARWAL, MANAGING DIRECTOR, AU FINANCIERS (INDIA) PRIVATE LIMITED he was Chief Engineer, Rajasthan State Electricity Board – was transferred from Jaipur to Alwar just after I had failed. Two things followed: I was required to move from a CBSE English-medium background to a Hindi-medium educational environment; because of my father’s audhaa, I did not have to repeat the year in class eight; I went one class ahead regardless. I came first in class nine. That’s right. First. I turned the academic corner, became school monitor, school cricket captain, best sportsman (and called up for trials with Rajasthan under-19 a few years later). When I look back, I recognise what caused the transformation. Since I was not good at conversational English, this had affected my confidence to the point that I would do terribly in select subjects and that under-performance pulled down my overall average. As a result, my entire academic career was being hostaged by the fact that I could not speak or write one particular language with competence. When this problem was relatively corrected by my going to a school that no longer challenged me from this perspective, I relaxed internally, my resident strengths asserted themselves and I was Sanjay Agarwal all over again. Pura confidence ka khela.



“Kindling the desire to make money”
RICKET WAS MORE THAN A GAME, IT WAS AN OBSESSION. Yahaan khelna, wahaana khelna. Aaj khelna, kal khelna. Khelna hi khelna. My dream was to make it big in cricket, play for the state, then zone and then who knows… But after I finished college, it was time to decide. Put more time into cricket or dhandhe mein lag jaao. I made my decision. I went and handed over my kit to a friend and never played again. I was walking into my residence on one of those days when I realized that a friend of my father was at our place. ‘Beta, kya kar rahe ho aaj kal?’ he asked. I mumbled something indecisive. He asked me to go and see his son who was running a chartered accountancy firm in Jaipur. And that is how I went to Anil Bafna & Company the following morning. Anil Bafna & Co. introduced me to a new world: fielding promoters, with business ideas, needing to raise money through an IPO, comparing one project with another in the same line of business, asking for more responsibility and getting it, being asked to go and deliver some document 20 km away by cycle, standing in a photocopy dukaan And that was the time for me to leverage my deductive capabilities and become a chartered accountant. I took leave from my job as an articled clerk in Anil Bafna and Company (Jaipur) to prepare for the first group (of four that I would eventually need to appear for). I was among the toppers of the Jaipur chapter for the first group (Inter). However, when I appeared for the second group (Inter) I failed. So I reappeared. Failed again. This was embarrassing. I would feel small when appearing in front of my boss. One could almost feel the entire office talking behind my back – ‘Sanjay zindagi bhar sirf accountant rahega.’ and seeing how employees would cheat on their companies by getting lesser number of pages photocopied for personal gain, assuming effective control of the firm when the seniors were away even though I was just an articled clerk. The result of this diverse chemistry was that for the first time in my life paise kaamaney ki ichha pehli baar dil mein jaag gayi. I cleared the second group (Inter) on my third attempt in May 1993. Now remained two groups of the CA final. I decided to take both on simultaneously in November 1993 and went to Delhi to train for three months. On the eve of the exams, I pulled out. I said I would sit for both in May 1994 instead. By April 1994, I had slipped into a mild depression, my tabiyat was affected (I would sneeze 500 times in succession) and concluded that pucca I would sit for the examinations in November 1994. In November when it appeared that the drama would recur, my friend Ajay Sankla came home, deposited me on his scooter, delivered me to the examination hall and ensured that I appeared for the examination. I would like to describe what happened thereafter with a cricketing analogy: when you think your team has a chance of winning, you will bat carefully, leave all deliveries outside the off stump and bat within the ‘V’. But when you are seven wickets down and 200 runs behind, then you hit out at everything and who cares. This was my state: I knew I was going to fail so I addressed the examinations with abandon. I had nothing to lose. The day the CA results were to be announced, I khiskoed to my masi’s house to fly kites. Ajay went to check the marksheet instead. He tracked me Budding cricketer. Note the way the head is inclined Winning was a passion from an early age down to my masi’s residence and what I will never forget is me standing on the roof and Ajay standing below, shouting ‘Abbey, tu CA ban gayaaaaaa!’ I almost fell off the roof. We went to the CA Institute and stood staring at the marksheet for four hours. We reread the line; we got others to read it as well. A few days later, another shock. I stood 39th. In our CA language, I had earned a Merit. The stigma of the number of times I reappeared for the examination and the number of times I detoured on the eve of the examination to return home was quietly buried. I had acquired ‘match temperament’.


Au Financiers (INDIA) Pvt. Ltd.
Au is a regionally focused nonbanking finance company. The Company operates in the states of Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Gujarat. The company recently entered the states of Goa, Punjab, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. It offers loans to customers in semiurban and rural areas for buying heavy commercial vehicles, multiutility vehicles, three wheelers and cars. It also offers loans against property and micro loans for small businesses. As on March 31, 2012 the Company had approximately 150 branches across various states. It recently promoted Au Housing Finance, a housing finance company registered with National Housing Bank to provide mortgage loans to customers in semi-urban and rural areas. The Company has been promoted by Sanjay Agarwal (MD & CEO) with over 15 years’ experience in financial services. He is a Chartered Accountant (all-India ranked 39). The company had assets under management of ` 25 bn at the end of FY 2012. Please visit for more details

“But after I finished my college, it was time to decide. Put more time into cricket or dhandhe mein lag jaao. I made my decision. I went and handed over my kit bag to a friend and never played again.”



By Sanjay Agarwal

• Create a hunger for doing something big; do not be happy with your ` 12,000 a month, increment to ` 15,000 a month; zindagi mein bade banne ka sapna should not be things that you would like to own (‘Ek bada ghar, ek badi car’) but how how you see yourself a few years from now, your work, your passion and life objective. • Take the big chance in life. Experiment with this or that, try something or the other. In your position, what is there to lose? When the ball is coming on to the bat, why bat as if batting for a draw on the fifth afternoon? • Become more secure; shrug when someone doubts your ability. When someone beats you with two outswingers, take fresh guard, don’t lose confidence and snick behind that very over. • Don’t be distracted by all the khilona of the world - mobiles, facebook and twitter. Spend much of this time productively in learning something, widening your knowledge. The memory of what film you saw last night will soon be forgotten; the benefit of a new acquired skill will be enduring.

“Turning down IDBI Bank and AF Ferguson to do my own thing”
FTER GETTING A CA MERIT POSITION, SHAHENSHAH BAN GAYE. Some of the best companies in India were now approaching me with job offers. IDBI, ICICI, HLL and the best of all was the AV Birla Group: I was an Agarwal, was from Rajasthan and was a CA. It was almost as if they were asking me ‘Where within our group would you like to work?’ I eventually decided on two – IDBI Bank and AF Ferguson – with a package of around ` 200,000 a year, work environment in Nariman Point and home accommodation provided for. That is when Anil sir (Anil Bafna & Company) asked: ‘What will you do in Bombay?’ I must have said something. He said, ‘Why don’t we start a financial services company in Jaipur?’ I said that I was disappointed by what CAs in Jaipur had reduced themselves to; one needed to know more tax officers than one needed to be intelligent. Anil sir said why don’t we start a fee-based company instead. I asked what kind. Anil sir

painted a fascinating picture: agar hum ` 10 cr ka bhi kaam kiye, then on the basis of a 2 per cent commission, we would make ` 20 lacs a year especially when there was no competition of the kind of services that we would provide in Jaipur. I nodded and we drew out our terms: I would get fixed remuneration (` 5000 per month) and unfixed remuneration (partnership with undecided sharing). The irony was that we started a company alright – BIFCO – but there was no money, no clients, no business plan, no role allocation. So I did what might appear laughable now: I went to the nearest SRF Finance outlet and asked ‘What do you do? How do you do it? How much will you pay me if I get you a car finance customer?’ And

then I went to Anagram and then more such financing outlets to get an idea of how they did business. After an initial survey had been made, I called some existing clients of Anil Bafna & Co.: ‘Sir, if you need a car to be financed, we would be happy to do it for you.’ And then we took companies intending to go public to merchant bankers. In a few months we realized that we need a stronger business model than just be calling existing customers for khudra-khudri business. Eventually few companies that did go public through our intermediation would ever get round to paying us our fees. Problem. And that is how one day I told Anil sir, ‘Why don’t we start a financing business of our own?’

“In a few months we realized that we need a stronger business model than just be calling existing customers for khudra-khudri business... And that is how one day I told Anil sir, ‘Why don’t we start a financing business on our own?’”

With Anil Bafna, a respected guide and mentor


“Four more businesses and all failures”
E DIDN’T HAVE MONEY. WE DIDN’T HAVE EXPERIENCE. WE HAD CREDIBILITY. And that is how three individuals came forward to fund our seed corpus with ` 25 lacs. They knew we could be trusted and would be safe financiers. In turn, we assured them capital protection, 9% per cent return on their funds, 50 per cent of incremental profits after their cost of funds and no fund management fees. We got friends to help with financing agreements from competing companies, photocopied them, created a reasonable corpus, extended our financing portfolio from passenger cars to three-wheelers, commercial vehicles and taxis and then extended beyond Jaipur. The singular focus: finance only those cases where returns would be in excess of 30 per cent and secured. It wasn’t a singular focus. My brother and I began to engage in job-work for garment exporters. The business failed. I started a granite processing unit, leveraging the experience of having worked with a number of granite processors who would come to Anil Bafna & Co. to get their work done. The business failed. I started the export of garments to Italy. Paise doob gaye. And that is when I decided to wind down. I exited Anil Bafna & Co., exited BIFCO and decided to access funds from a single source (chacha), drew out a broad arrangement with him (‘jitney paisey chahiye bol dena’) took over a company called LN Finco Gems Pvt Ltd., moved into a modest rent-free 2000 sq ft office and that is how Sanjay Agarwal was reborn. I entered the business of cement transportation from DLF’s factory but realized that the business was more about working with truckers and getting down to their level of language. I quit. I started a granite marketing business in Dubai and entered into a partnership with a granite processor. I exited (leaving it to my brother). Most people would have been disheartened and concluded that business was not for them. I sat down to think. I concluded that the businesses weren’t wrong; I was only managing them wrongly. These businesses required personalized attention; I was operating by remote control. These businesses needed an entrepreneur; I was only an organizer.

“Turning point”
OMETHING HAPPENED THEN. MY SISTER WAS DIAGNOSED WITH MULTIPLE MYLOMA. SHE REQUIRED BONE MARROW TRANSPLANT IN LONDON. The projected expenditure was estimated at 100,000 pounds. After about four months while we were in London, she passed away. That extended stay in a foreign land widened my exposure. For instance, when I was leaving the service apartment that we were staying in, I went to settle the bill. The man on the desk did not produce a ledger and check our name and tally it with the number of days we had stayed here. He simply asked me, “How many days have you stayed with us?” I told him. He calculated the amount. I paid. The bus conductor would not go from person to person checking whether one had bought a ticket or not; commuters paid anyway. The 7.01 train came at 7.01. My mother could commute from our place to the hospital by simply looking at the signages along the way. I returned a changed man. I decided that whatever business I would own or run would respect people. I would fight bebasi (helplessness) at all levels. If I prospered, I would share my wealth (our chauffeur has ESOPs and more than 1000 Au employees have gone abroad in the last three years to see the world, including our peon). These are the enduring gifts that my sister left for me. If they wanted the executive’s time, he or she would drop everything else, attend immediately and ensure that the customer could move on in quick time. If people entered my office, the gateman would smile and the peon would offer a welcoming glass of water. If they needed something to be done, the accountant would reply making eye contact.

“Create a hunger for doing something big!”

“Our chauffeur has ESOPs and 1000 Au members have gone abroad in the last three years to see the world, including our peon”

HEN YOU ENTER THE FINANCING BUSINESS, SOURCE CASH WITH SPEED AND FINANCE WITH RESPONSIBILITY, THE WORD GETS AROUND. In our case, the word got to HDFC Bank. Their executives noted that this new fellow in Jaipur had a ‘can do’ attitude, he would seek customers from way out places, he would report an attractive IRR difference for months in succession, he would turn some business away if he was not sure about loan quality (‘no chepna’), his people would treat customers well, he had sound documentation systems and his existing

customers were getting more of their friends and relatives to work with him. This fellow could be trusted. And that is how HDFC Bank gave us ` 50 cr for the first ever time in 2003-04 I kept a security deposit with HDFC Bank. The bank gave me a growing pipeline to funds. I would collect an attractive IRR spread. I would also bear the loss risk. HDFC Bank reported an appreciable increase in income. They gave me more funds to work with. The business grew for both. HDFC Bank reduced the proportion of security deposit I needed to keep with them (from 20 per cent to 5 per cent). A relationship had commenced. Life is a cricket match. There is more to be learnt about life on the cricket field than in most business school classrooms. • It is all about passion. Why else would a Tendulkar (not captain) with his hand in a cast be willing to travel with the Mumbai Indians team to other centres in 2012 knowing fully well that he would not be able to play? • Develop match temperament. A big score not made only by middling the ball. It is made by ignoring the abuse while you are in the middle, standing up to the heat, recognising changes in pace, bounce and field placement etc. Similarly, business is about managing the entire eco-system, not just about select competencies. • There is always the next innings. Losing business or market share is not the end of the world. It is simply a turn in the game when you have lost three wickets for 2 runs. The moment the other team puts on the wrong bowler and two of their fielders drop catches, the game can turn again. Stay prepared.

By Sanjay Agarwal

big goal should be to get to 30, and then 40 and so on. Similarly, don’t try and precisely plan your way into 2022. • The pitch will always keep changing. What was a firm wicket on the first day will be crumbling by the fifth. Adapt. • Teams become good when players deliver. Teams become great when average players deliver. Back team members to do big things (across roles and situations). • Pace your innings. Grow fast, then consolidate, then grow fast again. • Respect the umpire’s finger. Respects regulators and the laws of the land. • The best player is one who performs well in adverse away conditions. Most people hit big centuries at home. But when they go abroad, they fail. It is important to succeed in various geographies. • All players make a team. People remember Laxman’s 281 in the Kolkata Test when India beat Australia after following on, but there was a Harbhajan who also took a hat trick and others who held all the catches.

“The HDFC Bank touch”

“HDFC Bank noted that this new fellow in Jaipur had a ‘can do’ attitude, he would seek customers from way out places and he would report an attractive IRR spread for months in succession”

• Plan your innings in increments of 10 runs. When you are 20, the


“Managing a crisis”
HAD GROWN AU FINANCIERS PRIVATE LIMITED FROM A BOOK SIZE OF ` 5 CR IN 2003 TO ` 250 CR IN 2008. FROM A NET WORTH OF ` 1 CR IN 2003 TO ` 25 CR IN 2008. FROM A PROFIT AFTER TAX OF ` 0.2 CR IN 2003 TO ` 2.5 CR IN 2008. FROM A PRESENCE IN 3 On the one hand, a number of intending customers stayed away. On the other, we had a debt-equity ratio (gearing) that had already touched the prescribed limit. We recognized that the one way to grow was to put our earnings back into the business, even as a number There was only one alternative: get someone to put money into net worth from the outside. And that is how I LOCATIONS TO 42 LOCATIONS. Then came the slowdown of 2008. of marketplace opportunities would have to be forgone. The other way to grow was to put in additional net worth that would make it possible for us to borrow/lend afresh and expand the size of our book. But I had no spare cash; all my assets were in the business.

began to entertain the idea of broadening the shareholding, getting a decent valuation on my business, selling a part of the company’s equity for an attractive inflow of net worth and create the financial foundation to drive the company into its next orbit. We had excellent credibility in a competitive business environment. What we now needed was cash. And that is how Motilal Oswal Private Equity (MOPE) came into the picture. Agreements being signed with MOPE and IFC Washington

“The MOPE booster effect”
HEN THE GLOBAL ECONOMY WENT INTO A TAILSPIN IN 2008, BANKS SAID, ‘WE ARE NOT LENDING UNTIL THE GLOBAL PICTURE BECOMES CLEARER.’ But at Au, we needed to keep the engine running. We had scaled the organization to a certain size. If we stopped lending, revenues would decline, overheads would appear relatively higher, we would lose our positive body language and our deacceleration would begin. To grow we needed money. The two banks funding us at until that point were skeptical. We had a modest net worth of ` 10 crores. The first thing we needed to do was to strengthen our net worth, enhance lender confidence and widen our presence. When we went to Motilal Oswal Private Equity (MOPE), one of the first things that Raamdeoji said was, “I want to know how is it that HDFC Bank gave you ` 250 cr over the last five years even though you hardly had any money of

your own?” Then perhaps recalling his own days as a young entrepreneur, growing his resources from scratch, he said something that I will always remember: “You can do it!” And that is how MOPE invested ` 20 crores in a company with a net profit of no more than ` 2.5 cr in 2008 – despite its stated discipline of putting money only in companies that reported more than ` 10 cr in profits. They didn’t back our content; they backed our intent. At the IFC Washington awards in London

“Dreams and realities”
HE RESULT IS SOMETHING THAT ONE ONLY DREAMS ABOUT. In a mature business, we grew our net worth more than 50 times in just three years (ending 2011-12). We increased our net profit of ` 2.5 crores in 2008 twenty-fold to ` 55 cr (2011-12). We increased our book size of ` 250 crores ten-fold to ` 2,500 cr (2011-12). We grew from two states to seven states; we widened from 42 locations to 150; we extended from vehicle financing to business loans to home financing to insurance broking. We have numbers that any company will aspire towards: our net interest margin of 6 per cent is among the highest in India, our collection efficiency is around 100 per cent, our delinquency ratio of 0.4% is among the lowest, we write off bad financing cases within 360 days and our return on equity is more than 25 per cent. Only two banks were funding us in 2008; there are 35 today. Agreements being signed with Warburg Pincus and IFC Washington



Y FATHER CAME FROM A CONSERVATIVE MARATHI BRAHMIN BACKGROUND WHERE THE FORMULA FOR SUCCESS IN LIFE WAS: STABLE JOB, WORK, RETIRE. HIS FIRST BREAK CAME WHEN HE MOVED OUT OF A 50 ROOMS-A-FLOOR CHAWL IN DADAR TO GO OUT TO STUDY MECHANICAL ENGINEERING AND LIVE IN A HOSTEL. This widened his exposure, gave him chutzpah and the feeling that “What is there to lose?” The result was that my father had the khujli to do things through his life. So during the course of his career as a mechanical engineer he worked for companies in and around Mumbai. Then one day, in 1979, he and his colleagues left to set up two companies in Pune - one to manufacture hoists and another to manufacture cranes. This was largely unheard of within our community. In fact my father lied to his father that he had not quite started a business for the first few years. What times! THE STORY OF TUSHAR MEHENDALE, MANAGING DIRECTOR, ELECTROMECH MATERIAL HANDLING SYSTEMS (P) LIMITED



“I ran a softwarebased horoscope business while I was still in school”
OME OF THAT ENTREPRENEURIAL CHUTZPAH MAY HAVE BEEN GENETIC. In 1990 when I was 14, just when personal computers were becoming popular in India, my friend and I started a software-based horoscope business for ` 25 per horoscope. We sold these horoscopes to fellow students and other interested people. Almost every rupee that I earned translated into the bottomline for an interesting reason: A famous listed software company (which will remain unnamed) had its operations in a row house adjacent to my friend’s house. Once we had climbed into their balcony from my friend’s balcony and realized that they would leave the door open, so on many nights after all their executives had left, we would climb from our balcony into theirs and play games by inserting our precious 5 ?” floppy discs in their machines. Then one day, I loaded the horoscope software into their system, made some simulations and when I was convinced that the operational model was dependable, we launched our ‘commercial service’. NE CAN BE ENTREPRENEURIAL WITHOUT EVEN GETTING INTO BUSINESS. I had an interesting related experience when I went on a 100 per cent scholarship to the University of Wisconsin in 1997. Having been a university ranker throughout, I was offered a Research Assistantship that would have

completely funded my education. However, when I reached the university I realized that the research was in an area where I had no interest. So I had alternatives: make a compromise and agree to engage in a field where I had no interest, or pay my way through. I decided that I would do my own thing and find alternative funding. I refused the offer for Research Assistantship and suddenly, I was in the university with no means of funding my education. The university gave me a week to come up with an alternative funding line or told me that I would have to go back. So I immediately typed my resume and went from department to department within the university, checking whether they would in any way have any openings for research assistants or project assistants. I was refused in four places. Finally, I presented myself at the office of the Director of Industrial Engineering. I waited while he read my resume. Suddenly he stopped. He pointed to a word ‘AutoCAD.’ “You know AutoCAD, right?” I nodded. Frankly, I had only an inkling of AutoCAD at that time. AutoCAD was something that we had as a small part of one subject during the engineering course in India. I had indulged in classical resume padding as I did not have anything significant to put on the resume, being fresh out of my undergraduate training. So when he asked, “Will you convert some of the legacy drawings of my consulting client into AutoCAD? I can offer you a Project Assistantship,” I nodded again.

We struck an agreement. He would provide me paid work; I would completely fund my education through my earnings. Within seven days, I was alive again. I paid for my first year of Master’s course by being draftsman by night and student by day. I learnt something valuable: when you say ‘no’, a number of possibilities emerge.

“Within seven days, I was alive again. I paid for my first year of Master’s course by being a draftsman by night and a student by the day.”

A number of our classmates became our first clients; we would create their horoscopes on this software company’s computers and then roll print outs on their dot matrix printers! Looking back on this today, this was definitely riding on the wild side as there would have been serious complications had we been caught.

“You don’t have to be in business to be entrepreneurial”

Tushar on his graduation day at the University of Wisconsin.


ElectroMech Material Handling Systems (India) Pvt. Ltd.
ElectroMech is engaged in the business of design, engineering, manufacturing and installations of Electric Overhead Travelling (EOT) Cranes, Electric Wire Rope Hoists, Jib Cranes and Gantry Cranes. In the last 30 years, the company has supplied in excess of 4,000 cranes. The company is the largest manufacturer of work shop duty cranes in India with the widest product spectrum in the cranes industry. ElectroMech is led by Tushar Mehendale, a second generation entrepreneur, who stepped into his current role at the age of 24 in 2000. Over the last ten years he has catapulted ElectroMech into one of the largest players in India in terms of number of cranes produced and sold. The company achieved a topline of ` 1.8 bn for FY 2012. Please visit for more details RETURNED FROM USA IN SEPTEMBER 1999 WITH THE AGENDA OF ACHIEVING SOMETHING FROM SCRATCH. Life may have been different had it not been for something unexpected that transpired on 17 January 2000. While my father was on a badminton court in Pune, he suffered a fatal heart attack. He was 52 and I was 24. For years I had lived with the conviction that my father could keep his company and that I would create something of my own. From scratch. Do it my way. However when this happened, it took me a second to re58

By Tushar Mehendale

• Our intellectual capital, reflected in our flexibility to customize the right product around specific customer needs • Our possessing a small company soul in a large company body; customers know exactly where the buck stops in our business, which helps resolve issues with speed

“Getting into business and into a crisis at the same time”
decide. If my father was gone then this wasn’t his show any longer. If I dithered, then it would all go away anyway. Bus khatam. There was nobody else to step into his shoes. So in a way this was taking control from ground zero and building from there. What the team needed at this point was no strategic bhaashan. I gathered all the 100 or so employees who had turned up at the crematorium under a tree, rose on a slab to become visible and told them that from the following day it would be business as usual. At sharp nine the next day, I turned up in my father’s cabin, sat in his chair and asked, “Aagey kya karne ka hai?” Quality next to none State-of-the-art facilties in Pune

• Our sense of innovation; over the years, we have made a widespread use of cutting-edge technologies; some control and drive systems pioneered by us were used in cranes for the first time in India and are now industry standards. • Our scale; we are the largest in our industry space in India by a factor of three; this has translated into higher economies and quicker deliveries • Our range; we make small to large cranes, helping enhance our cash flow and reduce the risks arising out of project delays. We have the largest product mix in the industrial cranes segment in India • Our brand associations, which not only enhance our credibility among customers but also widen our capability to provide customers with whatever they want, irrespective of whether we make it or not • Our crane population in India of around 4000 compared to around 2500 by the nearest competitor, creating a larger market for us to service this equipment and generate annual service and maintenance income


“My lowest moment and fighting back”
HE WORD GOT take delivery a month later, but that never happened. We waited for another couple of months, but nothing moved. We waited another quarter, but there was no progress. Tata Projects had goofed up in their project execution details and as a result were unable to satisfy the requirements of their end customer to whom they were to supply our hoists. Conveniently, they passed on this burden to us and we were left holding on the baby. We were jammed. In servicing the biggest order in our existence, we had consumed all our working capital, our bank limits had been overdrawn and the shopfloor was packed with material that could not be moved. We met everyone who we thought could help from within the Tata Group; nothing moved. We were now stranded for more than 15 months with this order and no one in Tata Projects cared a damn. We considered going legal; someone said that we would bleed to death faster as we could potentially be The plant at Pune.

“In retrospect, the instance taught me the importance of fighting back. Against injustice, against adversity, against challenges.”
black listed by the entire Tata group. Which is when our lawyer suggested something lateral. He said that there was no point in filing a civil suit; what we needed to file was a winding up petition as the client was not in a position to pay us up and that if the client did not respond within 15 days, we could actually push for the liquidation of Tata Projects. As it turned out, nobody at Tata Projects even read the notice we had sent. When the deadline passed, someone in that company realized that the company could now be technically dissolved. The result was that we were paid the entire outstanding in a day, the delivery of goods was taken and we were liberated! We were fortunate. We survived that scare, the economy revived thereafter, our order book grew, revenues and profits increased and we were never in as difficult a position ever again. This incident was a trial by fire for me and was akin to learning to swim by jumping into the deep end of the pool. In retrospect, the instance taught me the importance of fighting back. Against injustice, against adversity, against challenges.

“Hands on. Not an absentee landlord passing through”
HEN YOU TURN IN ONE FINE DAY INTO A BUSINESS THAT YOU HAVE ‘INHERITED’ FROM YOUR FATHER, AND ACT LIKE SOME ABSENTEE LANDLORD WHO IS PASSING THROUGH, PEOPLE WILL SIMPLY NOD THEIR HEADS IN FRONT OF YOU AND TALK BEHIND YOUR BACK THEREAFTER. So my first test was establishing credibility in my father’s absence. These were some of the things that I began to do that were completely different from the way engineering companies would be run around Pune in those days. One, I got out of the air-conditioned comfort of my cabin. The company would not come to report to me; I would go to the company. Typically, a promoter would be accessible only to a couple of senior managers; in turn, they would be accessible to four more managers. This is where my egalitarian US exposure kicked in; I walked around the shopfloor, met people, shook hands, saw people in the eye, remembered their names and if anyone wanted to speak with me he was welcome to come to my open-door office. Two, I began to ask “What are you doing? Why don’t you show me?” In some cases I learnt. In some cases I advised. And in other cases I said “Let us crack this issue together.” A dialogue had begun. Three, I pushed the envelope. If someone said, “This has always been done this way” I ventured to suggest what could be another engineering alternative. The word got around. This fellow had an engineering degree from America and knew his stuff. Four, I opened every single file, reviewed every single customer relationship, understood every single product. There were drastic reviews; I quietly made people understand that I trusted whatever they had done in the past and they had done it with the best of their knowledge and intention. Five, I made only incremental changes. Only when the managers and workers had got a fix on this new guy who had come in from the cold did I start pushing the envelope. Six, I met every single customer, assuring them that old relationships would be respected, quality standards would be uncompromising and delivery schedules would be met. Seven, we would not run this conventional business in a conventional way. We would negotiate payment schedules with vendors as tightly as we could, but on the appointed date their cheque would be ready. “Us” would not mean Electromech alone; the term would refer to our vendors, customers, community and employees. Everyone.

AROUND THAT ‘THIS FELLOW IS DIFFERENT’. And just as it so happened, on 4 February 2000, just a fortnight after my father had passed away, our company received the biggest single order in its existence until then. ` 1.05 crores worth of hoists to be delivered to Tata Projects by May 2000. We had a total annual sales turnover of only ` 3.25 crores in that year and hence this order was pretty significant. However, when the goods were ready as per schedule, Tata Projects backed off. We concluded that due to some project execution issues at their end, they would



“Not knowing everything proved to be an advantage”
HEN YOU ARE RUNNING A COMPANY IN A MATURE BUSINESS, THERE IS A DANGER OF BELIEVING THAT EVERYTHING THAT NEEDS TO BE INVENTED HAS ALREADY BEEN DONE. This is especially true when you have managers who have spent years within the business before rising to positions of authority. Since they have seen the entire business from the inside, they feel that in a mature sector what was good will continue to remain so and there would really be no reason to innovate. We were fortunate. Even though I had been exposed to the business when I was young - most of my school vacations were spent on the shopfloor - I was not grounded within the industry. I could bring ideas from the outside. More important, the buck stopped with me so My ignorance proved to be an advantage. Soon. Even though we were a small hoists and cranes player catering to the demand of local players, we resolved to go national. Even as we addressed the broad demands of the marketplace through popular products, we resolved that we needed to develop niche, high lift, high speed winches (we delivered a 135m lift crane when the prevailing Indian industry standard was 30m for tunnelling projects, which surprised the customer, industry and ourselves). Even as people said that the future lay in India, we resolved to market products abroad. Even as most companies waited for the orders to come in, we created offices in metro cities supported by a sales and marketing team to travel the country, see who was going to buy what in a few Even as most companies within our business recruited old industry hands to interface with customers, we recruited fresh engineering graduates without any industry prejudice. Even as companies made pitches based on drab brochures given out by unimpressive sales people, we created a comprehensive catalogue that made us look like a multinational company, we transformed our logo and visual branding and we put laptops in the hands of our sales engineers. Suddenly, we were looking bigger and better than what we were. Even as most of the industry always focused on the ‘price’ part of their proposition, we extended the argument to ‘price-value’, the ‘value’ proposition comprising our rich engineering, network and delivery. Suddenly, a number of people were asking, “Is this the same ElectroMech?” I could not only bring ideas from the outside but also implement them. months and then exhorted the team with “Dhanda leke aao!”

“From local to global in one move”

N A NUMBER OF BUSINESSES, THE BRAND REMAINS THE SAME ACROSS THE LIFE OF THE BUSINESS. At ElectroMech, we recognised that if we needed to graduate from the local to the national, we would need to get past the doors of a number of decision makers. The problem was that in the early years of our existence the sole brand of Electromech was not likely to get us there. Then came an opportunity. While Tata Blue Scope Steel was being commissioned (engaged in the business of pre-engineered buildings), the company had a requirement of cranes. While Tata Steel was convinced that we could make the cranes that were required, Blue Scope Steel expressed the intention to stick with ABUS cranes they possessed in their plants in Australia. The simple thing for Tata

Blue Scope was to get ABUS into India. But ABUS was conservative; it had no intention of entering India on its own as its strategy was to expand its reach through strategic partners in different countries. We saw an opportunity: we would propose to be ABUS representatives in India. This is how the value proposition would work. Their benefit: we would be able to market ABUS products in India without ABUS needing to worry about anything. Our benefit: we would be able to leverage this international association and reach out to a higher category of customers, we would be able to provide ABUS’ existing products, we would be able to customize ABUS products to Indian conditions and client requirements and we would be able graduate from selling products to crafting solutions for our customers. In our cricketing equivalent, we would now be able to extend from the Ranji level to play Test matches. The result was that in 2005, this € 150 million German giant shook hands with a ` 12.5 crores revenue Indian ElectroMech to cater to the growing needs of the fourth largest economy. Coup.

Young and dynamic at 35!



“Growing our capacity sixfold!”
ROUND 2004, WE TOOK STOCK OF OUR BUSINESS. From the time I had assumed control of the business, we had consolidated our presence around 1600 sq metres of plot space. We now had to decide: if we intended to emerge as a national company, we would need more space. If we needed to widen our product mix, we would need more space. If we needed to engage in increasingly challenging products higher lift, higher speed - we would need more space. But the big question was should the business come first and the space thereafter - or vice versa. Eventually, one recognised that one needed to build capacities under one roof and if we ever wanted to time it - business first, space later - we would never ever be able to time it right. One would have to walk blindfolded and take a leap of faith. So in 2005, Electromech embarked on the big leap. The company enhanced its space capacity six-fold to 10,000 sq metres. The gamble paid off. The Indian This widening spread provided Electromech with the surplus to put back into its business. The result is that company grew every single year in the six years leading to 2011-12; the growth in revenues during 2008-09, when the world passed through a slowdown, was a significant 72%; in our worst year A birds-eye view of the facilities economy rebounded. It had taken Electromech 26 years to get to revenues of ` 12.5 cr by 2004-5; then in just one year, the company trebled revenues to ` 36.5 cr, by which time the company had emerged as the largest in India in terms of volumes. Upto 2005-06, nearly 90 per cent of the company’s projects were local in nature and 50% of the revenue mix was derived from the construction sector. Now that we had more space to work and a better product portfolio with addition of ABUS, we extended our presence to the auto, auto ancillary, power and windmill sectors; within the construction sector we made cranes customized to the precast technology that made it possible for construction projects to be completed faster. The result was that we now derive only 40 per cent of our revenues from Maharashtra, with a large 55 per cent from North and South India. (2009-10), we grew 1.5%. In the short space of seven years, the company enhanced its factory area nearly 50-fold and seven-folded the number of bays as a precursor of sustainable growth. In the following years, the company sustained its growth and reinvestments: revenues increased to ` 202 cr by 2011-12; corresponding factory space increased to 20,000 sq metres across a 76,000 sq. metre campus.

Playing the volumes game - and never making that mistake again
O SOMEONE WHO HAS SEEN THE SHARP GROWTH THAT WE REPORTED, IT MIGHT APPEAR THAT OUR BUSINESS HAS BEEN SMOOTH SAILING. It has not. We have made a number of business errors in the past but recovered with the conviction to never make them again. This is best explained by what happened in 2010. We entered the year with a revenue enhancing focus. We reckoned that since we possessed a large space capacity, we could easily become the only recall in the cranes and hoists sectors in India. We felt that we would be able to achieve this objective if we addressed every kind of order that came in - whether value-added or low priced. In our opinion, this would enable us to capture a large market share; create a relationship so that the next time the customer ventured to buy a crane, it would only do so from us. More importantly, the customer would be able to spread the goodwill of the experience to other industry players, encouraging them to work with us. Our strategy was vindicated recently On paper, this theory made sense. Not in the marketplace. We took a number of orders to enter specific industry segments at substantially low prices. The result was that our overall margins declined nearly 800 bps and the projected cash flows just did not happen. We were becoming bigger alright but not necessarily better. We made a course correction. We recognised that even though the profitability in this business was driven by volume, we needed to be selective. This business was not about topline ego; if the competition took some low realizations business away from us, then so be it. As a result, in the last couple of years, which were among the most challenging in the capital goods sector in a long time, there were times when production was consciously low on our shopfloor or else, paisa kheesey se jaata. The result is that in an increasingly commoditised space, we have gone back to our internal contribution benchmark of 30% plus, derived through valueadded products, savage cost reduction and an ability to roll products out faster through enhanced productivity. when we looked at the numbers reported by some of our competitors who took away a substantial chunk of business from us on low prices. They struggled to break even and some have even managed to wipe out their networth completely!

Eventually, one recognised that one needed to build capacities under one roof and if we ever wanted to time it business first, space later - we would never ever be able to time it right.

We made a course correction. We recognised that even though the profitability in this business was driven by volume, we needed to be selective.

By Tushar Mehendale Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. The principal message I derived out of it: you are your own architect and own enemy. Your best friend and fiercest competitor. I have read the book three times.



“The presence may be India, but the vision is global”
O WHERE DO WE TAKE ELECTROMECH? My vision is to create a globally respected capital equipment company. We have charted out a roadmap on how to get there: • We possess the largest volumes in our sector in India; we now need to report the highest profitability and in turn highest revenue in the sector. • We will widen our product basket to address the needs of a larger number of sectors through customised applications. • We need to extend beyond cranes and hoists to construction equipment, leveraging our scale and competencies. • We need to emerge as the first panIndia crane maintenance services provider through our services subsidiary • We need to graduate to a global presence through inorganic initiatives that facilitate a prudent selection of targets that bolster our product mix, our market reach and synergies. Cranedge, catering to a population in excess of 100,000 cranes in India by offering maintenance contracts, retrofits, modernizations and breakdown services.

By Tushar Mehendale • Start early in life as an entrepreneur; if you fail, you are more likely to have the courage to stand up and fight again • Resist the pride that comes with small achievements and the ego that goes with 100 people saying “well done”. There is always more to achieve! • Create an open culture where people can speak their mind and not a durbar where people can come in say only those things that please the boss. Beware of Yes Men! • Resist the temptation to

“MOPE became our personal trainer”
HICH BRINGS ME TO THE LAST THING I HAVE ON MY MIND. Personal trainer. Successful athletes have excellent coaches. But in business, especially when one is relatively small, we do not always have the luxury of specialized advice. One, we do not have a knowledgeable Board due to our scale. Two, while we do have financial associates, they are lenders and bankers who have their own perspective on our business, which is MOPE helped in the following ways: it helped us implement the right systems (financial control, strategic planning). It inevitably appraised around the safety of their capital. This is where the ` 45 crore investment that Motilal Oswal Private Equity made in our company in February 2011 was just what the company needed. It provided us with precious equity capital to grow the business; it provided us with access to business support that an owner would provide to a fellow owner on how to grow the business fastest in a sustainable way. served as a sounding board against which we could validate our business plans. This proved to be a god-send: most entrepreneurs are sound on the technical side but address financial issues based on their gut feel. By asking me a number of questions that no external person had asked, MOPE helped me identify strategic gaps, which were plugged and institutionalized. The result is that the quality of our data analysis and knowledge generation is richer than ever. The institution of monthly reviews is more formal across departments. Our heads of departments have understood their businesses holistically. Organisationally, MOPE has influenced Electromech graduate to high margins. Best of all, entrepreneurs have a limited understanding of how financial analysts will appraise their companies. MOPE brought in a rich perspective of how we should position ourselves, what are the things that we should do and what we should not and create the foundation for a sustainable increase in valuations once we are listed.

splurge on lifestyle buys like big cars and extravagant homes (especially funded by debt) as soon as you start making money • Keep your management layer flat. Keep communicating with team members. Keep telling them what is happening in the marketplace. I spend nearly a fourth of my working day on the shopfloor. I am always visible.

We possess the largest volumes in our sector in India; we now need to report the highest profitability and in turn highest revenue in the sector.

• Condone first-time mistakes. This will give your people the freedom to innovate. • Responsibility without authority is bureaucracy. Authority without responsibility is dictatorship. But when you combine the two, you cut red tape and get work done.



AM A SECOND GENERATION ENTREPRENEUR WHO JOINED THE BUSINESS ESTABLISHED BY MY FATHER RAM NIVAS DHOOT – JUST WHEN IT NEEDED FAMILY HANDS, IN THE EIGHTIES. I was a teenager in the second year of college when I began to attend office. I was paid ` 800 per month and shunted from desk to desk, bank to bank and then to our Kandivli factory for multidepartment training. In my second year, our company went headlong into its first (and last) labour problem resulting in a nine month lockout. I would spend days in the factory trying to arrive at a solution. This is what the incident taught me: never underestimate the power of an individual or small group; stay prepared. One of the things that my father often said was, ‘Take care of the families of our 500 labourers.’ This learning has remained. And the gist of this learning is that as one’s career progresses, people get an idea of what to do. In my case, I acquired an insight into what not to do. The result: we don’t have a union in our AADITYA DHOOT (RIGHT), RAM NIWAS DHOOT (MIDDLE) & AJAY DHOOT THE PROMOTER GROUP, IMP POWERS LIMITED company today. In the power sector, reforms started from the mid-Nineties. In 1995 we entered into a technological collaboration with Skoda and went public at a premium of ` 80 – a huge amount at that time.

Our technological collaboration did not work. The period 1997 to 2002 was our worst. The State electricity boards paid us after months. We were cash-strapped. We applied for corporate debt restructuring in 2004. We reduced costs. We rationalised our work force. This challenge turned out to be a blessing in disguise. 2004 was a milestone as our debt restructuring scheme was approved. We learn the biggest business lesson: earn in cash and the result is we never made another cash loss thereafter. One can tolerate losses but not cash mismatches. In 2007, MOPE invested in our company when we were planning to double our capacity. They asked: ‘Why not treble?’ And so it was. Our vision today is to be amongst the top five players in the industry (we are already in the top ten) and to be the most respected transformer company in three years in terms of quality, customer satisfaction and competitiveness. We have been growing revenues at a CAGR of 30-35% over five years even as others in our space are making losses. In our company we have a strong ‘You win-I win’ proposition. If an employee wins, then I win but he gets the credit; the vice versa does not apply. So we try to create leaders where they can take the credit. And that is how we expect to grow into one of the largest transformer companies in India.


About IMP Powers Limited
IMP Powers makes power and distribution transformers. Its manufacturing facilities are located in Silvassa. IMP is an ‘A’ class supplier to almost all state electricity boards (SEBs) in India as well as to the railways, defence and private companies (Areva, ABB, Siemens, Jyoti Structures, BHEL, IVRCL and Kalpataru). IMP increased its transformer manufacturing capacity from 3,600 MVA in July 2007 to 10,000 MVA in December 2009. It executed an order to make 330kV rating transformers, paving its entry into the extra high voltage segment of 400kV rating class. Set up in 1961 as a meter manufacturer by Ramnivas Dhoot, the company is managed by sons Ajay and Aaditya. The company is expected to achieve a topline of ` 3 bn in FY 2012. You may visit for more details



Y STORY IS THE STORY OF LIFE’S CYCLE – HOW YOU CAN GET ONE THING TO LEAD TO ANOTHER; HOW THE JOURNEY CAN BE MORE EXCITING THAN THE DESTINATION. In 1992, when I was in the second year of an engineering course, I started an IT training center with borrowed capital. This was a six-seater centre in Chembur surrounded by the likes of NIIT and Aptech. Since innovation is the mother of survival, I came up with a novel idea of going door-to-door to counsel students on the need for IT training and how we could make a difference with professional trainers. I knocked on doors for three months, speaking to 14,000 students. The result: a 150% demand and being booked out for two years. I ran the business while completing my engineering degree and a part-time MBA course. We ran the training center for almost eight years (bought an adjacent 15seater facility) and grew the business from scratch to ` 20 cr revenues before the 2000 US crash wiped us all out. In 1999, I fixed an appointment with HSBC honcho Vivek Kudva who appointed us as a direct selling agent AKSHAY CHHABRA, MANAGING DIRECTOR, EFFORT BPO LIMITED within three minutes of the meeting (he said he backed our integrity and passion more than experience). We did well: in ten years, we ranked number one allIndia for six years and in the top three for four. Vivek Kudva became my mentor. He taught me how to stay humble and

conservative. He lived this philosophy: He was entitled to fly Business Class but often flew Economy to stay grounded and save his organisation’s money. The DSA business planted the seed of the BPO business in my mind. DSAs generally require a large field force. Since it is not possible to track each staffer’s movements, we altered our business model through the progressive appointment of tele-callers, who would fix appointments and even close deals just for the field staff to go over and complete the documentation. Even here, we could not trust if tele-callers were indeed making business or personal calls. So we came up with a solution through technology. In 2004, even though our turnover was just ` 4 cr, we invested in Genesys, the world’s numero uno dial-up technology for a kingly ` 1 cr. With this technology in place, we thought of migrating into outbound calls acquiring customers on the basis of our experience. And so Effort BPO was born. Today, we have over 65 unique customers; a topline of ` 2.5 cr in 2005 has surged to ` 45 cr. We are not only among India’s top-10 domestic BPOs but also the most diversified, catering to verticals like telecom, aviation, consumer durables, e-commerce and insurance, among others. In 2008, we met Motilal Oswal PE, our first interaction with a PE fund. MOPE’s mentoring has been priceless, especially our interactions with Raamdeo Agrawal. They have been a pillar of strength; during crisis MOPE has hand holded us at every stage.


About EFFORT BPO Limited
Effort provides call center services to Indian clients across industry verticals. It supports clients in customer acquisition, billing, collections and transaction processing across Banking & Financial Services, Telecommunication, ECommerce, Manufacturing services, Supply chain management, and Insurance as well as Retail management services industries. Effort employs over 2,500 people and services marquee clients like RBS, Reliance General Insurance, Future Generali, LG, Godrej group, Times Jobs, Easy Cabs, and Tata Telecom. Effort has its own facility at Vashi (Mumbai) with supporting centers in Delhi and Indore. The Company is promoted by Akshay Chhabra (MD and CEO), who possesses more than 10 years of experience in financial services marketing/servicing. His qualifications include a BE Electronics and MBA. The company achieved a top line of ` 450 mn for FY 2012. Please visit for more details




me with the personality breakthrough; he said what was more important was whether I was honest and could respect others and if I could, then nothing could stop me. People talk about a flash of light that transforms lives; this was mine.* What I have learnt through the years is that as long as you are positive and passionate and are ready not to accept defeat – you can achieve any thing. In February 2010, MOPE invested in our


Minda Industries Limited
Minda Industries Ltd. is a leading automobile component player in India, engaged in designing, developing and making switches, lighting, automobile batteries and blow moulded products for two, three and four wheelers. It is a preferred supplier of these products to various original equipment manufacturers like Maruti, Bajaj Auto and Hero Honda. The Minda Group has been in the business of auto ancillaries for over five decades and posted a group turnover of over ` 12 bn in FY12. Please visit for more details

In the late Eighties and early Nineties, it was difficult to access global automotive technology. Finally, in 1991 we began to work with Tokai Rika, the foremost global player in the area of automotive switches, and cemented our relationship with a joint venture in 1995. This wasn’t just a joint venture; it was a cultural leap. The Japanese culture was different. They spoke with pride about the country first, the company thereafter and about themselves last; in India it was the reverse. So instead of only bringing some Japanese people to our shop floor, we began sending our people to Japan. I was required to train in Japan for a year; when the babu himself works on the shop floor, the culture cascades. Suddenly, what has not happened in NIRMAL KUMAR MINDA, CHAIRMAN AND MANAGING DIRECTOR, MINDA INDUSTRIES LIMITED years happens in months. The culture changes.

company, resulting in a higher standard of governance, discipline and preparedness. MOPE initiated a switch in our statutory auditors, which resulted in a cultural change. Also, while our battery business was not doing well they introduced us to experts who could potentially help in solving the problem. My vision is to create an Indian showpiece that possesses its own R&D and technology without needing to fall back on collaborators. And yes, grow from ` 3,000 crore in revenues to a topline of ` 10,000 crore by 2014-15 with 25% of our topline derived from international revenues. A number of people ask what got us to this point of success. Strategic insight? Knowledge? The answer is ethics, as followed by my father. Respect for people, hard work and honesty. It’s amazing that even as businesses

Besides, I learnt about the business from the people within and without (customers). I traveled extensively. I suffered from an inferiority complex: I could not speak English well. One customer in Tamil Nadu finally helped

become hi-tech and modern, the old values prevail.
* Today, I can communicate fluently in English, Tamil, Italian and Japanese. Some change.



cleared out my entire stock while Kwality could merely sell one ice cream. That was the turning point. Cremica was born in the back of my house with a ` 300 investment. I did everything myself with two helpers as I feared that the others would compromise on quality. We produced only ice creams and puddings in the first year and later ventured into biscuits, bread and condiments. Meanwhile, the party orders got bigger. There came a time when we asked ourselves: do we want to continue the way things have been or make the big leap. The result was that we commissioned a plant for breads and biscuits in 1990. Our next break came in 1996 when McDonalds came looking for bun RAJNI BECTOR, FOUNDER AND DIRECTOR, MRS. BECTORS FOOD SPECIALITIES LIMITED suppliers. They liked our way of working. They engaged in trials with us for a year before they finally shook hands. Thereafter, we entered into a 50:50 joint venture with Quaker Oats Company, a S I CAME FROM A WELLOFF FAMILY, MONEY WAS A FACTOR THAT COULD HAVE STOPPED ME FROM WORKING. In the 1980s, being a lady from a reputed family, it was

Today, our products are on the approved list of Canteen Stores Department, which caters to the requirements of Indian Armed Forces. Besides, we supply to Indian Railways, Super Bazaars, Big Bazaar, Vishal Mega Mart, Reliance, Pizza Hut, Cafe Coffee Day, Barista, Papa John’s, United Nations (World Food Programme) and Jet Airways. The key to this success has been hard work. I would sleep for just four hours, sleeping at 2 am and rising at 5am. Maintaining a balance between home and work was challenging; I would often work at night so that I could spend time with the family the following day. Life is full of ironies. I learnt making ice cream from a specialist but when he meets me today he says that he taught me only vanilla ice cream and sends me his students to learn exotic flavours. The Dean of Home Science used to give me recipes; he has got me to teach cooking to students at colleges. My mantra of success is simply: work is worship whether at home or outside. It is really that simple.
* What was once a cottage industry is now driven by the dream of emerging as a worldclass food company, competently driven to its next stage of growth by my sons Ajay, Akshay and Anoop.

About Mrs. Bectors Food Specialities Ltd.
Mrs. Bectors Food Specialties Ltd. (popularly known as Cremica) is a leading midsegment value-added food processing company with manufacturing facilities in Northern and Western India. The Company was founded in 1978 by Mrs. Bector as an ice cream parlour and caterer from her home in Ludhiana. Over the years, the Company entered the value-added processed food manufacturing business of biscuits, buns and bakery, liquid condiments, namkeen etc. The Company is headed by brothers Akshay and Anoop Bector, who look after the liquid condiment and namkeen business as well as the biscuit and bakery businesses respectively. The company achieved a topline of ` 6 bn for the FY 2012. Please visit for more details

difficult to do something on my own but I said to hell with what people think and proceeded regardless. I was a housewife fond of cooking. My ice creams were a favourite with friends who would casually say, ‘Why don’t you do something?’ So I started by catering to their party needs plus giving cooking

lessons until I said enough of this academic stuff and started a professional kitchen, churner and then electric churner. In those days there would be lot of Diwali fetes so I put up a small ice-cream stall next to the grandfather of all ice cream makers Kwality. Amazingly, I

Fortune 200 company, to produce liquid products (tomato ketchup, mayonnaise, tartar and sandwich spreads, milk shake syrups and ice cream toppings) to cater to McDonald’s requirements in India and the neighboring countries. When Quaker Oats withdrew from the joint venture in 1999-2000, the company was renamed Mrs. Bectors Food Specialities Ltd.*


Noida. Thereafter, I chanced upon a meeting with Goldstar (now LG) executives who were seeking an Indian CTV supplier. Those were the days when Indians were wary of Koreans and the response was lukewarm. I differed. I signed a partnership for the export of 2,000 CTVs a month at a breakeven price of US$ 1.5 per CTV. Most forecasted that I would die at birth. If I had weighed all the risks I would have turned down the order. As it turned out, we built such an excellent rapport that in just four years, monthly CTV offtake surged to 400,000 units, paving the way for Goldstar and other Koreans and MNCs into India. I think the one incident that defined my character was when I applied for my first third party loan. We had applied to several banks and most refused to provide loan to a start-up without 100 percent collateral. So I requested my father to provide adequate collateral. He heard me patiently and then said: “The golden rule of entrepreneurship is to SUNIL VACHANI, MANAGING DIRECTOR, DIXON TECHNOLOGIES (INDIA) PRIVATE LTD never accept ‘no’ for an answer.” So the following day I went again to Central Bank of India and re-presented my business model. The result: I was ONTRARY THINKING. THESE TWO WORDS HAVE DEFINED MY ENTREPRENEURIAL JOURNEY AND HAVE REMAINED THE CORE PHILOSOPHY OF WHATEVER WE DO AT DIXON. You could say that this runs through the veins of our family and a shining

understanding, it laid out a vision, which translated into the following initiatives: • Increase focus from manufacturing to product design, positioning ourselves as Original Design Manufacturers (ODM) so that we could not just build what the customer wanted but actually share insights of trends, helping manufacture tomorrow’s products; so in a way, we soon emerged as an integral part of our customer’s value chain. • Establish an innovation center, our experimental lab where we would focus on future products and invest in R&D on existing process to beat down costs • Identify strategic areas of opportunities and diversify into other businesses comprising set-top boxes, LCD/LED televisions and lighting products (LED and CFL). • Emerge as India’s largest manufacturers and suppliers of Set Top Boxes (STBs), a business which has the potential to throw up huge opportunities on account of the mandatory digitization of cable television. • Vertically-integrate our EMS business with the result that we own capacities under moulding, sheet metal and reverse logistics (repairs and maintenance) with a grip on costs across all intervening points of the value chain. So most of our resources were dedicated to these initiatives and our turnover surged from ` 517 cr in FY 2009 to ` 750 cr in FY12. Based on the power of two words. Contrary thinking!


About Dixon Technologies Pvt Ltd.
Dixon is an electronic manufacturing services company, which makes printed circuit boards, TVs, LCD TVs, DVD players, microwave ovens, washing machines, set-top boxes, compact fluorescent lamps and LED lightning systems under prescriptive manufacturing and original design manufacturing for companies like Philips, LG and Videocon. It is the only company in India that has the capability to manufacture and design set top boxes. The company was promoted by Sunil Vachani (CMD) in 1993. Atul Lall (CEO & DMD) has been with the company since inception. The company achieved a topline of ` 7.5 bn in FY 2012. Please visit for more details

example would be one where my grandfather Sundar Vachani pioneered the consumer electronics business in India through the Weston brand of black-and-white and colour televisions when most dismissed consumer electronics as ostentatious consumption way back in early 1980s. However he thought these were revolutionary products, which had the power to transform the entertainment space. Weston soon emerged as a pioneering

brand that eventually ushered the consumer durables boom in the country. In 1991, when I returned from the UK after my post graduation, most wanted me to join the family business. However I thought differently and possessed a burning passion to do something of my own. I approached my father and convinced him enough to give me a ` 20 lakh loan with which I set up a 600 sq. ft colour television (CTV) and printed circuit board manufacturing unit in

provided a cash credit loan of ` 50 lacs. Later, the bankers told me that the only reason they gave me the funds was not because of my family name but because of the passion they saw in my eyes. Scale and technology obsolescence are the two most important facets of our business. If you get a control of the two, you have mastered the business. This is where Motilal Oswal stepped in. Leveraging its deep business


project ahead of schedule and the word went around in our business circles that there was this company called GR Infra that did an excellent job. There was another break-through moment. In 2008, Punj Lloyd was assigned a project by RIDCOR; the company was unable to execute and the project was passed on to us (had it been a government order, the project would have been re-tendered). The ` 150 crore project came with a rider: if we completed within 18 months, we would be paid bonus. Punj Lloyd had already taken two years with limited success; we completed the 18 month project in half the time and were awarded the bonus. We had arrived. When any one wanted a road construction assignment done in the shortest time, the word would be to go to GR Infra. Like in 2008-09, when we received a contract for the reconstruction of the Jodhpur Airforce VINOD AGARWAL, CHAIRMAN AND MANAGING DIRECTOR, GR INFRAPROJECTS LTD runway from Military Engineering Services. In general experience, no MES project had been completed without litigation. We completed this 18 month INCE MY FATHER WAS ENGAGED IN CIVIL CONSTRUCTION, I JOINED THE FAMILY BUSINESS AFTER COLLEGE BUT IT WAS NOT UNTIL THE LATE NINETIES, WHEN ROAD CONSTRUCTION EMERGED AS A

We possessed the capability to execute large projects; what we didn’t have was a balance sheet that would make it possible for us to bid for them. Motilal Oswal along with IDFC (PMS) invested ` 80 crore in 2010, thereby enhancing our bidding capacity. A number of people ask ‘How do you do it?’ There are five reasons. One, mil-jul ke kaam karte hai, no loss of productive time in litigations etc, enhanced productivity and sapne main bhi road hi nazar aata hain. Two, we take just that much work that we can finish in the quickest time; in the construction industry the one who overburdens is the first to fail – there are more people who have failed in the construction industry out of too much work than too little work.. Three, we pay advances to our suppliers and negotiate the best prices (as opposed to delaying payments). Best is udhaar nahi lena hai, aur agar udhaar lena hi hai toh bank se lenge, apne supplier se nahi. Four, we have abided by the laws of the land and paid all our taxes - income, sales or excise – on schedule. No evasion. Five, we take care. We are planning to open a free boarding school for the children of our junior employees. Actually it comes down to just two words. Take care.

About GR Infraprojects Ltd.
GR Infraprojects is engaged in engineering, procurement and construction for roads. It also operates toll road projects and emulsion plants. The EPC division has executed over 162 projects in the last ten years. The Company executed projects across Rajasthan, U.P, Bihar, Jharkhand, Meghalaya and Madhya Pradesh. The Company also operates a toll road in Udaipur and has signed concession agreements with NHAI for the Shillong Bypass (in Meghalaya) and NH-11 ReengusSikar stretch (in Rajashthan). The company is based out of Udaipur and was promoted by the Agarwal family in 1965. Vinod Agarwal is the Managing Director of the Company and is ably supported by his other four brothers. The company achieved a topline of ` 9 bn for the FY 2012. Please visit for more details

BOOM AREA, THAT WE VENTURED INTO IT. THE INITIAL BRIEF WAS SIMPLE: DO SMALL PROJECTS AND LEARN THE BUSINESS. The turning point came in 2005 through a ` 200 cr project by Road Infrastructure Development Company of Rajasthan Limited (RIDCOR), which was a joint

venture between IL&FS and the Rajasthan government. Though RIDCOR was interested in awarding us this project, we were honest in our confession: we did not have the size to execute the project. So when Ashoka BuildCon was awarded that contract, it allocated a ` 80 crore chunk to us. The previous largest project that we had executed was ` 15 cr; we completed this

project in 10 months – no litigation – with superior equipment than what had been specified. The result was that the Air Force hosted a party in our honour and ceremonially handed us a certificate of excellence. The word GR Infra was now a brand: GR Infra took care of the interests of its customers by completing projects earlier than scheduled completion.



ADRU. YOU NEED A LARGE MAP OF INDIA TO LOCATE THIS SPECK CLOSE TO RAJASTHAN’S BORDER WITH PAKISTAN. Where only 3000 would live. Where I would walk a km to have a bath. Where a bullock cart would be tied to the pulley of the well to draw water to the surface. Where I would wash the week’s clothes at the community well. Where classroom was a seat on sand under a tree. Where there was no concept of bijli and would study by kerosene lamp. Where there was only one kutcha road leading to the village. Where most people in the family had probably never passed class three. Where only one bus in a day linked us to the rest of the world. Where possessions (for me) comprised three short pants. Where our family of 18 lived in three rooms. Where the nearest I got to being entrepreneurial was when my mother made some confectionary out of jaggery for our Annual Day in school which I marketed for a profit. Where anyone who wanted to be anyone usually went to Hyderabad or Chennai or Mumbai and never returned. My destiny would perhaps have been quite like that of the others in my village. Grow up. Trade. Marry. Father children. Become the patriarch. Until it was time for my children to live similar destinies. THE STORY OF MOTILAL OSWAL, CHAIRMAN AND MANAGING DIRECTOR- MOFSL But…



“Cracked the CA exam at first attempt”

MIGHT HAVE BECOME A TRADER’S ASSISTANT IN MY FATHER’S BUSINESS, 100 KM FROM PADRU, HAD IT NOT BEEN FOR AN INTERESTING REALITY. I always stood first in class. The family realized that something needed to be done to take this promising career ahead. So starting class nine, I was sent for a couple of years to a hostel 100 km away and then for four years to another hostel to complete my B. Com. When you are away from the family, exposed to the magical influence of television, people and friends, some remarkable things can happen. In my case, it exposed me to how education could transform destinies. So inspired by the example of my jeejaji’s jeejaji – the only chartered accountant from a nearby town - I enrolled for a CA course. The odds were against me; a number of aspirants had failed the CA course, not because they could not come to terms with accounting but because they could not understand English. I was not competently equipped either; I could not read a book in English; could write a few elementary essays (‘My mother’, ‘My father’ and ‘My village’) and could not converse in English at all. But attitude prevailed over aptitude. I cracked the CA course at the first attempt. • I checked out at least 25 hostels and 100 CA firms in the process • In hostel, I would sleep at 8 pm, rise at 10.30 pm, study till 530 am – for months • I would walk 25 kms (Bombay Central to Cuffe Parade and back) while checking out a hostel or CA firm during the first three months after I reached Mumbai

By Motilal Oswal

“The odds were against me; a number of aspirants had failed the CA course, not because they could not come to terms with accounting but because they could not understand English.”

• I would work 6 am to 11 pm almost seven days a week • I would work on many Sundays to collect money, send shares to clients, check bad deliveries etc. • I would be on my feet from 7.55 am to 4 pm five days a week • I would studiously watch the TV news to strengthen my English as I knew this would be critical in my company’s success when it was time to recruit professionals more qualified than myself (I still think in Hindi though)



FTER I COMPLETED MY C.A. FROM MUMBAI, THE FAMILY BONDING TOOK ME TO AHMEDABAD WHERE MY BROTHER WAS IN THE SAREE BUSINESS. I didn’t want to join that business so I joined a CA firm in Ahmedabad, engaged in routine boring audits because most CAs preferred CA practice. Meanwhile, my brother began to do something interesting: investing in IPOs and selling the allotted shares on listing. When I explored further, I found that a share issued at ` 10 would often list at a huge premium. When I explored yet further, I discovered that financial developments were often linked to share prices. I found it quite fascinating. I was also not happy in Ahmedabad after getting a taste of Mumbai. My brothers were active on the stock market and since they did not have a Mumbai link, I sensed that by going to Mumbai I would be in a position to help my

brothers. My only lead was my brother’s Chennai broker who would trade through a Mumbai broker, so technically as happens in India, I had a Mumbai ‘contact’. I went and introduced myself. I wanted to sit in his office and transact business on behalf of my brothers. I asked if I could use the office phone to receive orders. The broker refused; there were a number of claimants to that privilege. So at 1.30 pm each afternoon I would walk two kms to PCO booths opposite Mantralaya with a collection of one rupee coins, make my calls uninterrupted, take orders (usually related to the sale of shares that had been allotted in IPOs like United Phosphorus, Apple Computers and Batliboi), scoot back to the exchange, deliver the second round of orders to my sub-broker (who would at an appointed hour come to the door of the ring and wait for me) and get him to execute trades in the dying minutes of the day’s trading. In those days, the arbitrage opportunity between exchanges would sometimes be 10-20 per cent of the value of a stock. If a share listed on the BSE at ` 20, then that very minute it could be trading at ` 14-16 on the Ahmedabad Stock Exchange or Chennai, so the simplest thing to do was to get to a phone, buy in Chennai or Ahmedabad and sell in Mumbai. And in that manner, my saree-trading brothers traded nearly ` 3-5 lacs worth of stocks every month. And it was during a number of those visits to the edge of the ring I would see someone quite my age enter with a badge. I must have asked him about the price of some stock one day, we got talking, he introduced himself and asked me to catch up at his broker’s office in Nariman Point and that is how I formally met Raamdeo Agrawal. Both migrants. Both Chartered Accountants. Both passionately consumed by the stock market. By the third meeting, Raamdeo had popped the question: ‘Why don’t we do something together?’ Trader to BSE president. Meticulous and diligent

“Both migrants. Both Chartered Accountants. Both passionately consumed by the stock market. ”

“The first taste of the stock market”

brothers part time and continue with my CA practice. I reached Mumbai without money and without a plan. I got a job in a relative’s CA firm. During lunch, I began to visit the stock exchange seeking to explore a broker link so that I could assist my


“The birth of an enduring partnership”
HE PARTNERSHIP WAS WIN-WIN. RAAMDEO FELT I WOULD BRING THE VOLUMES: I FELT RAAMDEO WOULD PROVIDE ME WITH A TRADING RING ACCESS. We went to a prominent broker called Sunder Iyer to check if he would get us into the ring. He said he did not have a spare card, so for the next few months, we stood/sat in his office. When one of his sub-brokers vacated, Sunder provided me with an access to the ring. I could now call Raamdeo from the floor through a hotline, Raamdeo would connect immediately with my brothers and we would shrink our communication cycle from 60 minutes to just three minutes. Due to the mandi following the 1986 crash, there were a number of days when we went without business. We widened our client spread: my brothers in Chennai and Ahmedabad got us more clients, we reached out to their respective brokers and we touched more Bombay investors. This is what we assured: we would not speculate and lose customer focus; we would not leverage and we would report trades honestly. At a time when the stock market was at the mercy of jobbers – there used to be a ` 10 jobbing difference in illiquid stocks like Procter & Gamble and a rupee’s gap in liquid stocks like JK Synthetics even while it was being traded a couple of lac shares every day – we told our clients that we would report purchase prices honestly and we would add a reasonable brokerage thereafter. The client would always know what price he had been bought or sold at. Besides, we would write the transactions On the ocassion of Raamdeo’s marraige

“We would not speculate and lose customer focus; we would not leverage and we would report trades honestly.”

brokers with our ‘vaandha’ sheet to reconcile trade mismatches, then be off to our office in Kalba Devi to punch saudas into a computer, call our clients and tell them about the trades done on their behalf (few brokers actually called), take the relatively de-congested 8.35 local to Dombivli, place the briefcase on my lap for a desk to write out all the contracts of the day, then take the local from Dombivli to Kalyan the following morning from where I would get sitting space all the way to VT Station and once again I would erect my impromptu desk and complete all my pending documentation so that when I reached office, we would be ready to settle accounts with our clients. No backlog. Meanwhile, we would call clients for cash if they bought before we were required to pay Sunder; we would plead with Sunder for a quick payout whenever we needed to pay our customers. In that manner, we grew our business from scratch. We had no corpus apart from the commission we made. And that is how we grew despite nearnegative working capital. At the end of the first year (only 150 trading days), Raamdeo and I had about ` 40,000 left as surplus between ourselves. The ever lasting bond

in Sunder’s books by 4, go around to

No 1 Broker Award ET NOW Starmine Awards 2009

Best Capital Markets and Related NBFC Award at CNBC TV18 India's Best Banks & Financial Institutions Awards 2011

Best Performing Equity Broker (National) Award at CNBC TV18 Financial Advisor Awards 2012.

Best Equity Broker at Bloomberg UTV Financial Leadership Award 2012

“Achieving our dream. Becoming BSE brokers”
UR STOCKBROKING COMPANY WAS REALLY THREEAND-A-HALF PERSONS. RAAMDEO, MYSELF, THE OFFICE BOY AND A PART-TIME COMPUTER OPERATOR. We owned an air conditioner, which was not for ourselves as much as it was unlucky as this quota had largely been used by the relatives of existing brokers. Finally, we bought an existing card from the open market, backed this with a 180 sq ft office in Natwar Chambers, capitalised on Harshad Mehta’s boom, the shares that came in vaandha became our investment (which the office boy would produce in wazan by the kilo at the end of the year to ask what we intended to do with it) and Raamdeo would select what to keep and what to sell from that heap. We did well. I bought a Maruti 800 in 1992, moved into a Vile Parle home and then to a Peddar Road apartment. Harshad Mehta was soon arrested and the market crashed thereafter.

“Scaling the partnership into a full-fledged business”
E GREW OUR PARTNERSHIP THROUGH VARIOUS INITIATIVES THEREAFTER. When FIIs bought money into the country in the wake of the landmark Morgan Stanley mutual fund offer, we were empanelled to advise UTI, LIC, Morgan Stanley, Sun F&C and the like. We went public in 2007. We commenced institutional broking in 1993-94. We became NSE members in 1994. We issued our first formal research report in the same year. We leveraged the power of the VSAT Today, we are a ` 500 cr revenue company with a profit after tax of more than ` 100 cr, net worth in excess of ` 1150 cr and a market capitalization of ` 2000 cr. by 1995-96 and pioneered the franchisee concept in our industry. We recruited professionals like Nirmal Jain, Nishid and Madhu Kela, creating the foundation of professional-led growth. When the markets collapsed in 2000, we leveraged technology to cap costs, and strengthen professionalisation; this would enable us to manage growth more competently when markets revived. Listing of MOFSL on the BSE.

“The shares that came in vaandha became our investment (which the office boy would produce in wazan by the kilo at the end of the year to ask what we intended to do with it.”

to keep the computer from overheating. We bought a telephone only for Raamdeo as he was the customer interface; since I was the trader, the company did not intend wasting money on buying me one. When we applied to BSE for a card under the professional category, I was

We recruited professionals like Nirmal Jain, Nishid and Madhu Kela, creating the foundation of professional-led growth.

By Motilal Oswal

“The growing opportunity called India”

• Always be obsessed about how to take your business to the next level. Become better in bad times, become bigger in good times. • Escape commoditization. The more you specialize, the more you get pricing power. • A strong value system is nonnegotiable. We paid our taxes; we never paid cash to our employees on the quiet • We invested in HR and technology.

People own about 100 cars and jeeps. Is a trading hub. Has proper government schools. Enjoys electricity and phone exchange. And you can drink water out of a tap. There are thousands of Padruites aspiring to become chartered accountants and waiting to fulfill their entrepreneurial destinies. It is this rural India which will assert itself in the national mainstream and it is here that we expect to invest a growing part of our investments. With the possibility of reporting exponential gains in a sustainable way.

More brokers shut down because they did not invest in systems to manage their risk. • Invest in like-minded people with complementary skills. I was sound in operations and administration, Raamdeo was excellent in research and relationships. • Conservatism pays. Do not endanger ` 100 for a brokerage of 50 paise. • Master the eco-system. To succeed, you need to do everything – product development, people management, accounting etc. – well. • Be hungry for knowledge. Read, network, learn. I still read about 15 books a year.

“There are thousands of Padruites with aspiring chartered accountants waiting to fulfill their entrepreneurial destinies.”

• Balance is key. I eat every two hours, I have never missed my morning walk for 20 years. I am up at 5 am even after I have slept late. I don’t attend to phones The entrance at Motilal Oswal Tower, Mumbai after work.



OME 85 PER CENT OF THE GLOBAL POPULATION LIVED BELOW THE INTERNATIONAL POVERTY LINE 200 YEARS AGO; THE CORRESPONDING FIGURE IS DOWN TO ONLY 20 PER CENT TODAY. Evidently, more wealth has been created by individuals in the last 200 years than in the previous 5000 years. What is that single idea that transformed the world more extensively in the last 200 years than any political ideology or mass action? Entrepreneurship.




“India has grown rapidly in sectors where the government has vacated space to entrepreneurs”
NDIA HAS ENJOYED A DEEP TRADING TRADITION FOR CENTURIES – WITHIN THE COUNTRY OR WITH FARAWAY LANDS. For centuries, this deep entrepreneurial spirit was throttled by invader-rulers in one form or the other. But even as the country became politically independent in 1947, its economic independence had to wait until 1991. After 1991, an Indian could begin his business without a license, grow as much as he wanted, take his business wherever he liked, move from one product to another and sell at whatever price he liked (or the market could bear). The simmering embers of entrepreneurship could now leap into a full flame. The timing was right. The Nineties represented a convergence of a number of unprecedented realities: the rise of the internet, the crumbling of communism, the dismantling of financial controls, the rise of globalization, a wider respect for unconventional business ideas and a first-ever access to organized capital for

“India is best equipped to ride the entrepreneurship wave sweeping the world”

first generation entrepreneurs. It is in this decade, India shrugged off its conservative socialism. The government reduced its control of business, trade and commerce. Product availability increased, product range widened and prices declined wherever the government vacated its control (and vice versa). Within just two decades, we have created the world’s most affordable telecom network. The software boom has transformed India’s image into a technology powerhouse. What does this mean? It means that if the biggest wealth of Saudi Arabia lies in its oil and the biggest strength of China lies in its empowered government, then the most enduring strength of India lies in its deep-rooted tradition of entrepreneurship. However, oil will exhaust one day, an empowered government could be transitory but India’s largest strength will be enduring by bigger. As this happens, it will create unimaginably more wealth for the country and its people.

HERE ARE A NUMBER OF REASONS WHY INDIA IS BEST EQUIPPED TO RIDE THIS ENTREPRENEURSHIP WAVE SWEEPING ACROSS THE WORLD. One, it has the second largest population of entrepreneurs (intending and existing) in the world. Two, we have suffered centuries of deprivation, creating a hunger for success on the one hand and an incredible appetite for creative adaptation (jugaad) on the other. Three, India enjoys a growing access to capital (national and international) and a willingness to risk some part of it on growing various businesses. Four, India has a large expatriate population, large coastline and a deepening presence of information technology (my village in Chhattisgarh may or may not have acceptable toilets, but it sure does have a mobile phone with internet) – all three representing attractive media for the export of products and services.

Five, there is a greater respect for the Indian’s ability worldwide. Six, services accounted for 41 per cent of India’s GDP in the early Nineties; it accounts for more than 60% per cent today, which means that not every entrepreneurial Indian needs to set up a conventional brick and mortar factory to generate wealth any more. Seven, India is still extensively underconsumed. As incomes rise and spending moves from the basic to the discretionary, the country’s economy will widen faster than before, creating an unprecedented opportunity for entrepreneurs. A convergence of these realities tells me that we have seen nothing yet. Over the next decade, there will be large cap entrepreneurs coming out of rural India. Indian companies will become global plays. Small innovative players will become some of the fastest growing global companies. Niche first generation innovators will become global case studies. We are at the cusp of something in India that has been in the wait for centuries. Two of the most revered stories of Indian entrepreneurial success – Brij Mohan Munjal of Hero Honda (above) and Nandan Nilekani of Infosys (below)

“We came with no resources; we had no family wealth to fall back on…”
E AT MOTILAL OSWAL CAN IDENTIFY WITH ENTREPRENEURS – ESPECIALLY FIRST GENERATION – BECAUSE WE ARE THAT OURSELVES. We came from semi-urban India – I came from Raipur while Motilalji came from Padru; we came with no resources; we had no family wealth to fall back on; we had perceived a window of opportunity through research-led brokerage at a time when most players speculated and inevitably lost their capital. We would trade on behalf of our clients and get these trades registered in a brokerage firm (since we did not own a brokerage company then). We would read about 300 balance sheets a year; we had a reasonable idea of which companies would do better; we would advise our clients to invest for the longterm as opposed to advising clients on how to speculate and become rich overnight. The result of this unusual approach was that at the end of our first year, Motilalji and I had created a cash pool of ` 120,000 after paying all expenses; by 1990, our retained earnings had ten-folded, which brought us to our first inflection point. Both of us partners realised that our future lay in buying our own BSE card; we would then be able to save on the brokerage that we were required to share with our principal. A new card cost ` 25 lacs; Always on an onward journey

By Raamdeo Agrawal

• You don’t have to be the most intelligent or academically brilliant to be a successful entrepreneur; you have to be the The first office where the two shared a cabin most passionate. • At a young age, you must be was a big leap of faith for us with its pros and cons. The cons were that we were betting the house with no guarantee of success; the pros was that since the BSE traded only two hours (noon to 2pm) there was an acute shortage of brokerage services to transact the daily throughput of more than 200,000 trades; besides, we were anyway transacting business worth ` 40,000 a day so there would be business available to us from day one. Motilalji and I did something we have seldom done since: we took a loan of ` 12 lacs. We knew that if it came to the crunch, the BSE card would at least sell for ` 25 lacs and we would be able to recover our investment; if we failed, we were both chartered accounts and could always get a job somewhere. We had no business plan except for a deep-seated confidence in our capabilities. The calculated gamble paid off. We had estimated a year’s payback based on the brokerage volumes we were generating. During the bull run of 1990-92, there were junctures when we made more money in a single month than what he had paid for the card. Harvard Business Review commissioned a case study on MOFSL • You must be able to create challenges at every level; in the first 25 years of our existence we focused on broking; we will now also focus on investing. The result is that there are a number of times when I wake up nervous From a one-room office, to a 2.5 lakh sq.ft. tower in the heart of Mumbai. willing to risk your career for the next 15 years on one big idea (a bigger risk than financial). • You must select the ethical route or you will soon be caught out. • You must provide infrastructure ahead of growth; in 2012, we invested in property with a 60 per cent redundancy as a provision for the future. • You must push the decision making down; the more you delegate the everyday and the functional, the more the entrepreneur can focus on the strategic.

we were ` 13 lacs short. It

“We had no business plan except for a deepseated confidence in our capabilities.”

in the morning, which I interpret as a sign that the entrepreneurial cells are ticking.


UR COMPANY MAY HAVE BEEN ENGAGED IN A VOLATILE BUSINESS BUT IT HAD BEEN BUILT AROUND A SOLID FOUNDATION: THE STATED PURPOSE OF OUR BUSINESS WAS THAT WE WOULD HELP OUR CLIENTS MAKE MONEY, WHICH WAS A LARGER CAUSE THAN BEING IN BUSINESS TO MAKE MONEY ONLY FOR OURSELVES. Besides, we had resolved that we would not speculate, we would not leverage, we would provide unbiased advice and we would be available to customers 24x7. This brought us to some interesting decisions: we made one of our biggest investments in two telephones for ` 26,000 each; one was put in the office and the other at home so that we would always be available to clients; the phone at home had a 30 ft cable so that I could carry it from the bedroom to hall to kitchen to the bathroom; there were a number of times when calls came while I was soaped all over and I “24X7 service standards” was a way of life

door open, put my arm out, pick the receiver, take the order and put the receiver back. There was one instance when our credibility was tested: a leading financial institution came to us with an order to sell 150,000 SKF Pharma. We knew the company would do better and the stock would appreciate; on the other hand, we stood to make ` 500,000 in brokerage from this transaction. Our instinct prevailed; we advised the institution to hold on and within some time the stock trebled. The word got around: when you went to Motilal Oswal, you got competent transaction capability alright, but more important, you got trustable advice for free. We selected on the latter; here too, the There were a number of other instances through which we could consistently demonstrate that we were different. Since there were no mobile phones or internet trading to communicate trades immediately to clients, there was always room to quote the day’s highest price for the client even though the trade may have been conducted at a lower price. As a culture we forbade any of our sub brokers from engaging in this practice; clients would check the newspapers and realize that in a number of instances, they had been bought in at the lowest price of the day or sold at the highest. Gradually, we acquired a reputation that we could be completely trusted for advice dependability, transaction integrity and payment timeliness. With Navin Agarwal, (first from the left, CEO,Institutional Equities, Member of the Board, MOFSL) and Madhusudan Kela, (second from left), (Chief Investment Strategist, Reliance Capital), were some of the first employees of MOFSL. usual instinct would have been to hire ROUND THE MID NINETIES, WE HAD ALTERNATIVES: GROW THE WAY WE HAD THROUGH CAPTIVE RESOURCES OR BRING IN PROFESSIONAL TALENT TO TAKE THE COMPANY TO A NEW LEVEL. someone un-intimidating so that we could continue to call the shots and the managers would do our bidding. We did the opposite (in line with Warren Buffet’s statement that ‘If you hire people better than you, you become a company of giants’). We hired a professionals like Madhusudan Kela and Nirmal Jain (who later went on to found India Infoline) from Hindustan Lever. Nirmal was a marketing professional who had not been into equities at all; I vacated my position as Head of Research for him. After studying Nirmal’s credentials (he had been a gold medalist throughout his academic career), someone commented: ‘This is not a break for Nirmal, this is a break for Motilal Oswal.’

“If you hire people better than you, you become a company of giants”

“Our stated objective was to help clients make money”

“If you hire people better than you, you become a company of giants”

Motilal Oswal with Nirmal Jain who founded India Infoline subsequently.

would just ease the

“There is a lot of wealth to be created through capitalization of corporate earnings power.”
XPONENTIAL. THIS IS ONE WORD THAT WE BELIEVE DEEPLY IN. FOR A GOOD REASON: AVERAGE COMPANIES GROW, BUT THE WELLMANAGED GROW EXPONENTIALLY. As India grows exponentially, the Consider this: it took us 15 years to grow our net worth to ` 17 cr by 2002; proportion of income spent on basic services will decline and the proportion we grew our net worth to ` 1200 cr by 2012 (depressed year). It took India 60 years to grow from US$ 10 bn to a trillion dollar economy; the country will replicate this in just six years and then do the same in four years, and then in three years and then in only 18 months. of spending on discretionary services will rise. When this happens, it will enrich entrepreneurs with business models built around this unfolding reality.

“Private equity investment, the next big growth opportunity”
T MOTILAL OSWAL, WE COULD HAVE CONTINUED TO ONLY OFFER BROKERAGE SERVICES TO OUR CLIENTS. But over the last in (through its private equity arm Motilal Oswal Private Equity). We provide capital that makes it possible for the companies to graduate from one level to another. At our company, we would have stayed with the established formula of buying into strong companies through the secondary route of investing. Through the funds managed by MOPE, we are investing in some of these attractive companies with fast growing potential when they are still nascent and unlisted. Rather than own 100 per cent of my own company, said Nelson Rockefeller, we would rather own 1 per cent in 100 others. The same applies to us. At MOPE, our objective is to create a platform where more entrepreneurs can monetize the value of their capability; where we can selectively identify a big business idea, offer our investee companies our capital, encouragement, advice and network; where we can create more Motilal Oswals.

At MOPE, we are also convinced that companies will create considerably more wealth through their valuations than they will through their profits. Take Infosys for instance; the company reported a net profit of ` 8,500 cr in 2010-11 but attracted a market capitalization of around ` 1,60,000 cr. The company created more value on the stock exchanges than it did through its own earnings.

decade something exciting has happened: a number of entrepreneurs coming out of India are not necessarily from its large urban centres. These entrepreneurs possess the big business idea and the hunger to grow; what they don’t have is capital. That is where Motilal Oswal has come

The graph highlight how some of India’s largest companies have created more wealth through their market capitalization than they have through their profits

“Rather than own 100 per cent of my own company, said Nelson Rockefeller, we would rather own 1 per cent in 100 others”

2012 2002 Market Capitalisation

Growth Multiple

At MOPE, we are attractively placed to leverage on this phenomenon. We invest in attractive companies when

17.8x $49.0bn 17.2x

they are still unlisted, catalyse the primary value-creation exercise through our advice, networking and financial discipline, advise and facilitate strong governance practices and then

$32.9bn $25.6bn 7.7x 6.2x 7.0x $16.0bn $8.2bn $4.7bn $1.7bn Hero Honda Infosys

participate in the secondary valuecreation programme following the company’s IPO. This ability to select, incubate, handhold and grow these companies into listed entities represents the gamut of our value-creation capability, which
$6.9bn Reliance $1.4bn Bharti Airtel


will unleash value in a bigger way across the foreseeable future.


Raamdeo Agrawal in on of his wealth creation studies


which would provide equity capital to mid-sized businesses in India. He bought into this concept and over the next few months we had several discussions and made presentations to the MOFSL Board of Directors to convince them to set up a third party private equity fund. Based on their own journey of creating an organization from scratch and seeing how many corporates had been built over the years, both Motilalji and Raamdeoji were convinced of this idea – both for its emotional appeal to them and its business proposition. Motilal Oswal Private Equity was born in 2006. This proved an entrepreneurial call for MOFSL and me. MOFSL was entrusting someone, whose prior experience had only been on the financing and advisory side, with not only money but also their brand, customer trust and opportunity. For me, this was a call to move out of my comfort zone and turn entrepreneurial. They say that luck favors the brave and the result is that the strong tailwind of 2006-07 coupled with the Motilal Oswal brand, enabled us to raise our first VISHAL TULSYAN, CEO AND DIRECTOR, MOTILAL OSWAL PRIVATE EQUITY ADVISORS (P) LIMITED private equity fund in 2007. Since then we have significantly transformed ourselves. A team which was effectively a one-member team is now a 18 members team; our asset pool that was US$ 125 mn is now US$ 300 mn. It has HE GENESIS OF MOPE CAN BE TRACED TO A CHANCE MEETING I HAD WITH RAAMDEOJI AND NAVIN AGARWAL IN 2003, WHILE I WAS AT RABOBANK. MOFSL was an upcoming Indian brokerage firm. I had gone to explore strategic opportunities for MOFSL to acquire a global platform. I was impressed with the passion and vision they had for their firm on the one hand; on the other, was Raamdeoji’s simple approach towards investing and life. At Rabobank, I had an opportunity to work on several financing transactions for mid-market companies. Through these extensive interactions, I realized that there was a huge mismatch between avenues for debt and equity funding in India. There were enough banks to provide debt to growing companies but only a couple of organised players to provide equity capital. I discussed this thought with Navin Agarwal in 2005, and presented to him as to how the strengths of MOFSL can be leveraged in creating a platform We recognised that superior deal sourcing could be the difference: we built relationships with boutique advisors across India, we focused on companies in Tier 2/Tier 3 cities and we built our approach around accessibility, humility and partnership. already invested its first fund across young promising companies across sectors.

We attempted to create a platform where more entrepreneurs could monetize the value of their capability, where we selectively identified a big business idea, offered capital, encouragement, advice and network, and over the space of 5-7 years help them realize their goal. Our aim is to fund and partner with at least 10 promising mid-market companies and grow each one of them into US$ 1 bn market capitalization companies over the next 5-10 years. WHY PRIVATE EQUITY? Businesses need alternative kinds of capital in different stages of their existence. When a business is young and performance cannot be predicted quarter to quarter, what is required is intelligent risk capital; however, what is generally available at such junctures is only debt. So while most of these businesses are fraught with risks, the only capital available to them is typically risk-averse. The result is that most businesses that could do much better with timely funding, struggle to just survive as equity funding is often inadequate, untimely and prohibitively expensive. This is where private equity comes in. Private equity provides risk capital, advice, guidance, networking and strategic direction in a more cost- and time-effective manner than raising money from the public. There is another reason why this genre of funding is becoming increasingly popular - the capital provider becomes a responsible risk-taker; the young business is not hostaged by a quarterly

interest payout but a partner who is in alignment with the decision to plough every rupee of precious accrual into business growth. Even though the institution of private equity was established several decades ago in the developed markets, it was introduced into India only in the last decade and a half. However, the speed with which this concept has been catching up on lost time has been remarkable. The entry of private equity in India has given tremendous impetus to entrepreneurship and wealth creation. One cannot undermine the fact that around 27% of the total FDI that India received in the last 10 years has come from private equity with over US$ 60 bn being invested. However, what excites about private equity is not what has been but what can be. Private equity accounted for a mere 0.6% of India’s GDP in the last 10 years; the corresponding number in the developed markets is between 2% to 4%. If India grows into a cumulative US$ 35-40 trillion GDP over the next decade (as is forecasted) and even if the private equity sector retains its market share, at worst, then the size of India’s private equity sector could increase to a probable 3.3x (around US$ 200 bn in the next 10 years); should India’s PE sector double its market share - when its share would still be a fraction of the market share of PE in most developed markets - the industry could grow an estimated 6.7x fold (US$ 400 bn in the next decade). It is time that regulators and government recognise the growing role of private equity with the corresponding support that it deserves.

























VERALL, THE MOPE TEAM COMPRISES EIGHT INVESTMENT PROFESSIONALS AND FIVE PROFESSIONALS FOCUSED ON THE LEGAL COMPLIANCE, INVESTOR RELATIONS AND FINANCE FUNCTIONS. The aggregate experience of the MOPE team (‘Team’) is more than 100 person-years, which is applicable across the various phases of the private equity investment life cycle. Over the past six years the Team has gained significant experience in private equity. It has evaluated more than 850 transactions, met with 175-plus management teams and invested in 13 companies. The Team has been a witness to a complete market cycle starting with the euphoria of 200607 and ending with the pessimism of 2008-09. The MOPE team leverages a wide network of relationships with investment bankers, corporate India, banks, PE funds, management consultants, legal firms and accounting firms.

Raamdeo Agrawal (Chairman): Raamdeo, co-founder of MOFSL and Chairman of MOPE, is one of India’s premier investors with investing experience of more than 25 years. He is the driving force behind MOFSL’s award-winning equity research franchise and the entire asset management business including private equity. He offers a unique perspective of both a successful entrepreneur and investor. He has a keen appreciation of value-drivers for various businesses with a first-hand understanding of the challenges faced by small to mid-sized companies. He is the Chairman of the Investment Committee of the India Business Excellence Fund-I and India Business Excellence Fund-II. Raamdeo is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India. Raamdeo is a big hindi movies and music buff and is a keen and enthusiastic Table Tennis player. He has one son Vaibhav, who is a budding investor and currently pursuing a career at CRISIL

Vishal Tulsyan (Director and Chief Executive Officer): Vishal helped found MOPE and has played a key role in driving MOPE’s success through organization-building, networking and a keen understanding of strategic and financial business issues. Under his leadership, MOPE has raised two funds and fully invested IBEF, its maiden fund. Prior to MOPE he had a successful tenure at Rabobank where he was a Director and helped build Rabobank’s life sciences practice in India. At MOPE, he is responsible for all business aspects and overall management of the funds. Overall, Vishal has more than 14 years of experience in India’s capital markets. Vishal is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (allIndia rank holder) and was a top ranking graduate of the prestigious St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata. He is a movie buff and a die-hard Amitabh Bachchan fan. He is a regular tennis player and focuses a lot on his physical fitness. He has one son Harsh, who is currently studying in class I.

Rakesh Sony (Director): Rakesh joined MOPE in October 2008. Over the last four years he has played significant role in shaping up MOPE’s strategy, fund raising, investments and managing portfolio companies. Prior to MOPE, Rakesh was a founding member and Managing Director at Microsec Capital, Eastern India’s largest investment bank. At Microsec, Rakesh was an advisor of choice to a number of small and mid-market companies. Overall Rakesh has more than 14 years of experience in India’s capital markets. Over the years, Rakesh has specialised in the successful transition of familymanaged business into professionallymanaged enterprises. Rakesh is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India and is a graduate of the prestigious St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata. Rakesh is a keen badminton player and keeping up with latest trends and gadgets. He has a flair for networking. He has two sons, Yashvardhan and Harshvardhan, who are studying in class III and class UKG respectively.

Vishal K. Gupta (Principal): Vishal joined MOPE in June 2008. Over the last four years at MOPE he has focused on fund raising from offshore institutional investors, investments and managing some of the portfolio companies. Before joining MOPE, Vishal worked as an Associate Director at UBS Investment Bank, New York, where he executed M&A and capital market transactions for financial services companies. Prior to moving to the US, Vishal worked for several years at HDFC Limited, where he evaluated a number of strategic and private equity transactions. Overall Vishal has 13 years of experience in financial services. Vishal earned an MBA from the University of Chicago and a Bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering from Aligarh Muslim University. He is a big movie buff and another die-hard Amitabh Bachchan fan. He is a foodie and loves eating all kind of cuisines. He is a keen follower of political developments in the country. He has one son Aditya who goes to a playschool.



The combination of access, influence and discipline provides the MOPE team with a competitive advantage in a challenging and robust private equity environment in India

Prakash Bagla (Vice-President): Prakash joined MOPE in March 2007 and over the last five years at MOPE has focused on investing and portfolio monitoring. Prior to joining MOPE, Prakash spent several years at the Aditya Birla Group in various roles with focus on their mining business. He has also worked at Emami Group and Hindustan Development Corporation. He has overall 13 years of experience with a focus on corporate developments, strategy, restructuring and systems and processes formulation. Prakash is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India. He loves music and is a good singer himself. He loves to spend time with family and a weekend movie is a must. He has one daughter named Kunjal who studies in class three and one son named Rishit who is almost two-and-a-half.

Prakash Dhoot (Vice President): Prakash joined MOPE in April 2008. Over the last four years at MOPE has focused on investor relations, fund structuring, compliance, investing and portfolio monitoring. Before joining MOPE, Prakash worked as Assistant Vice President at JP Morgan Chase Bank wherein he was responsible for investment bank and corporate operations and technology finance. Before that he worked at Kotak Mahindra Bank as Chief Credit Manager where he specialized in credit analysis for small to mid-market companies. Overall he has more than 12 years of experience in various aspects of financial services. Prakash is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India and has an MBA from Nirma Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. He loves to read and offer suggestions for interiors and architectural designing. He has two sons Raghav and Keshav who study in Class four and Class one respectively.

Amit Mehta (Associate Vice President): Amit joined MOPE in July 2011 and since then has been focused on investing and portfolio monitoring. Before joining MOPE, Amit worked as a Manager at PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Mumbai in the Corporate Finance group. Before that he was part of the investment team at Mayfield India. He has also worked in the investment team at ICICI Prudential Asset Management Company. Overall he has more than 8 years of experience with focus on investing and structuring. Amit earned a MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM Ahmedabad) and a Bachelors degree in Chemical Engineering from Nagpur University. He is enthusiastic about trekking and photography. He has one son named Arav who is one year old.

Abhishek Jain (Associate): Abhishek joined MOPE in February 2010 and is part of the investment team responsible for strategic, analytical and financial analysis. Before joining MOPE, Abhishek worked with State Bank of India as a credit analyst. He has also worked with L&T. Overall he has more than four years of experience in the banking, IT and infrastructure sectors. Abhishek has an MBA from Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneshwar and a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Devi Ahilya University, Indore. He is a sports enthusiast is an avid cricket follower and a good TT player.

Sanjaya Kulkarani (Mentor): Sanjaya has over 37 years of experience in the Indian Financial services space. Currently, Sanjaya is an investor in early stage companies and an advisor to various companies on strategic, financial and corporate transformation issues. Sanjaya was one of the promoters of 20th Century Finance Corporation Limited, a company promoted in early 80s, (which eventually became Centurion Bank and was subsequently acquired by HDFC Bank). He managed Century Direct Fund between 2000 and 2006 which invested in several successful companies.. Before founding 20th Century Finance, Sanjaya worked with Citibank for several years in investment banking. Sanjaya holds an MBA degree from the prestigious IIM Ahmedabad and a BTech from IIT Mumbai. In addition to being on the Investment Committee and Advisory Board, Sanjaya mentors the team on a regular basis to strengthen the portfolio monitoring process at MOPE. Sanjaya is keen music enthusiast. He has a daughter and a son.




Anoop Tulsyan (Associate Vice President): Anoop joined MOPE in September 2011 and is responsible for accounts, MIS, investor relations, investor services and legal functions. Prior to MOPE he worked in various other functions with MOFSL for over five years. Prior to MOFSL he worked with the Times of India Group and the India Hotels Company Limited. Overall he possesses nine years of experience in various fields, including accounts, corporate planning and strategies, MIS and research of mid-cap entities listed on the stock exchange. Anoop is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India. He loves travelling and is a keen follower of current affairs. He is into spiritualism and meditation.

Vinalee Doshi (Sr. Manager): Vinalee joined MOPE in 2011 and is part of the finance and accounts team at MOPE. She is responsible for monitoring performance of the real estate fund and monitoring finance and accounts of the real estate fund portfolio companies. She is also involved in accounting functions related to MOPE and India Business Excellence Fund. In her past assignment she served as Deputy Manager, Accounts, with Lodha Developers. Overall, she has more than seven years of experience in accounts. She is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountant of India. She loves reading fiction books and collecting coins.

Meenal Kulkarni (Associate Vice President): Meenal has recently joined MOPE and is responsible for legal and compliance function and is the chief compliance officer with direct reporting to governance board. In her past assignments she has worked as a Senior Associate with Khaitan & Co and as an Associate with Little & Co and Divekar & Co. in corporate team. Overall she has more than 10 years of experience in corporate law with focus on Project Financing, Capital Market, M&A, Joint Ventures and general corporate law. She is a law graduate from Symbiosis Law School, Pune. She is a big admirer of art and loves travelling to new places. She has two daughters – one named Rama who is 5 years old and studies in Class one and the other named Rucha who is ten months old.

Ankit Kachalia (Manager): Ankit joined MOPE in 2011 and is responsible for Investor Relations, internal communication of the fund and formulation and implementation of all the events hosted by MOPE and the marketing plans of the portfolio companies of real estate fund. Previously he worked with Tikona Digital Networks and advertising agencies – Draft FCB Ulka and Contract. Overall, he has more than five years of experience in the field of advertising, marketing and event management. He is an MBA in Marketing from N.L. Dalmia Institute of Management Studies and Research, Mumbai and has done his B.E. in Electronics & Telecommunications from Mumbai University. He loves travelling and exploring new places. He is a keen follower of Indian politics.

Karishma Kotwani (Associate Vice President): Karishma joined MOPE in January 2008 and is currently focused on investor relations, communication and investor services function. She was previously part of the investment team. Before MOPE, she worked with Tata Consultancy Services (‘TCS’). Overall, she has more than fiveyears of experience in the IT and financial services sectors. Karishma earned an MBA from SP Jain Centre of Management and a Bachelor in Business Studies from Jai Hind College (Mumbai). She is a keen trekker and is focused on exploring the spiritual aspect of her personality. She is currently on a sabbatical for six months.

Mohit Khaitan (Associate): Mohit has been with MOPE since July 2009 and is part of accounts, MIS and investor services team. Before joining MOPE, he worked with Tata Consultancy Services. Overall he has more than five years of experience in the IT and financial services sectors. Mohit earned an MBA from Balaji Institute of Modern Management, Pune, and is a graduate of Kolkata University. He likes reading fiction and listening to songs. He has one daughter Preksha, who is seven months old.



As long as you’re going to be thinking anyway,

Be a user of your own product. Make it better based on your own

think big.
– Donald Trump


But don't trick yourself into thinking you are the user. – Evan Williams

Entrepreneurship is

a few years of your life like most people won’t, so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t. – Anonymous


Once you

Entrepreneurship is neither a science nor an art. It is a

to work for yourself, you never go back to work for somebody else. – Alan Sugar

– Peter Drucker Every worthwhile

accomplishment, self education
will make you a fortune. – Jim Rohn Choose a Formal education will make you a living, big or little, has its stages of drudgery and triumph: a beginning, a struggle and a victory. – Mahatma Gandhi Think big, think fast, think ahead.


use of life is to spend it for something that outlasts it. – William James


– Confucius


are no one’s monopoly. - Dhirubhai Ambani


that you like and you will never have to work a day in your life. I have not


I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work. – Thomas Alva Edison

your mind - Raamdeo Agrawal

Before expanding your business you should

is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people's thinking. – Steve Jobs



Trisys Communications Private Limited was established by first generation entrepreneurs Mudar and Shalini Patherya in 1995. Mudar was a professional cricket writer and stock market analyst in earlier incarnations; he combined those experiences to create India’s first dedicated annual reports agency. Since then, Trisys consistently leads the space and has produced more than 1200 annual reports in its existence, in addition to sustainability reports, intellectual capital reports, corporate books and associated collateral. Trisys is yet to be funded by private equity. Mudar can be reached at [email protected] Usually responds within three minutes. Disclaimer
This book is based on conversations with entrepreneurs. Much of the flavour of the interviewees has been retained. Wherever the language was polished it was done carefully without altering the spirit of the narrative. This book has been researched, written and designed by Trisys. Before extracting any information printed in this book, it is adviced that permission be taken from the publishers.

Motilal Oswal Private Equity
Motilal Oswal Tower, Junction of Gokhale Road & Sayani Road, Prabhadevi, Mumbai 400025 Ph : +91-22-39825500, Email: [email protected] For sending feedback on the book, please write to us at: [email protected]

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