Tomorrow Inc. is back with a bang – For the fourth year in a row, we offer you a low-down on the gravity of family business across India
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Every year we gleans insights into home based business family heirs and how they are shaping up in taking their legacy forward. This season too we’ve selected the overall game changers from different sectors and families who’ve played a significant role in shaping the Indian economy. Interestingly, our selection covers not only those people who are playing key roles in continuing the legacy business, but also anyone who has chosen to tread a different path. Continue reading for gripping stories on the Indian family based businesses.
Contributions by Aashika Jain, Vanita D’Souza, Sara Khan, Bhavya Kaushal and Aastha Singal.
Game Changers, Leaders and Scions
The Pump Moderniser – Rama Kirloskar, Managing Director, Kirloskar Ebara Pumps
The fifth generation entrepreneur, Rama Sanjay Kirloskar comes from the influential Kirloskar family, who owns the legendary $2.1-billion Kirloskar Group. She feels the duty of taking the business forward and doesn’t think her gender is any hindrance in reaching the same. “Two pre-requisite qualities to be a leader are confidence and competence. So long as you have both of these, leading an organization will never be difficult,” she asserts. Kirloskar may be the Managing Director of Kirloskar Ebara Pumps, a jv between Ebara Corporation, Japan and Kirloskar Brothers, the parent company of the 130-year-old Kirloskar Group. “Family businesses employ a ingrained culture. Changing with the changing times can be slightly problematic for old companies,” confesses Kirloskar. She’s been working towards attracting new technology and digitizing operations of the business. ”We want to streamline operations to monitor productivity, look at where in fact the product is in the complete supply chain and make processes better by bringing some kinds of automation in the plant,” she says. Kirloskar holds a double major in Mathematics and Biology from Bryn Mawr College, USA. “The interdisciplinary approach has given me a different perspective on the business enterprise. Today is focused on being multidisciplinary,” she explains. Kirloskar Ebara Pumps already has operations in britain, holland, Egypt and Thailand, among other countries. “You want to be considered a global brand. Penetrating into other markets of strategic interest is on our radar,” shares Kirloskar. She joined her family business in 2014. She’s worked as the overall Manager and Head of Product Portfolio Management at Kirloskar Brothers Limited. Later she shifted to Kirloskar Ebara Pumps Limited, a fresh venture by the business. “After seeing might work in the Kirloskar Group my dad felt that I was prepared to take up a fresh role,” she shares.
(This article was initially published in the July 2019 problem of Entrepreneur Magazine. A subscription, just click here)
Beauty Boss: Anchit Nayar, CEO-Retail, Nykaa
Anchit Nayar may be the son of Falguni Nayar – your brain behind the web retail giant in beauty and wellness industry, Nykaa.com. Nayar joined Nykaa recently after working as an investment banker for Morgan Stanley in NY for six years. Currently, Nayar is working as the top of retail department in Nykaa. He’s spearheading the company’s offline retail strategy. “I had to convince individuals who this business is practical and that everyone believes online may be the future, but I really believe that the future is really omni channel. Specifically for a B2C business, you will need to give the consumer the choice to look both online and offline,” asserts Nayar. He is fully alert to the expeditious growth rate of Nykaa and hopes to increase it. He credits the professionalism and expertise of the people dealing with the company because of its great success. “We’ve an extremely professional management team who all are accountable to CEO. I also are accountable to her,” Nayar shares. Nykaa already has 36 offline shops with plans to expand the physical store footprint to a lot more than 100 stores soon. On his journey of heading the offline retail, Nayar tells, “Physical retail is similar to a start-up within a start-up. It really is like I am doing my very own part of bigger start-up.”
The Cement Mixer: Vivek Patni, Director, Wonder Cement
Till enough time Vivek Patni hadn’t booked a berth at the management table of his family business, he was grinding his teeth at the Nimbahera cement plant near Chittorgarh district in Rajasthan. At an age when his peers were playing cricket, his sojourns along with his father to the business enterprise facilities spurred him to take up entrepreneurship. Later, it were his branding strategies that gave Wonder Cement, a fairly young brand, an identity that could lock horns with market doyens like ACC, Ambuja and Ultratech. After completing his studies from the States, Patni, who oversees the branding and communication of the business, deployed significant manpower to exploit social media. The team garnered more interaction with consumers online than some of its competitors. “Rather than telling the story of how exactly we were, like other brands, we chartered emotional factors through our tagline ‘Ek perfect shuruaat’ (hinting at the building blocks of a residence). We had an extraordinary cost and quality which people linked to.” Patni’s flagship CSR project, Cricket Saath:7, a seven-over cricket tournament, saw 39,000 people participate from across 1,100 rural locations across Rajasthan.
The Tea Connoisseur: Karan Shah, Director, Society Tea
When Karan Shah returned from his university, he was asked to intern with the parent company, Amar Tea, to comprehend his calling. “While some simply ‘serviced’ the marketplace, our sales representatives genuinely believed in striking an individual chord. It had been a tipping point for me personally, as I saw the belief in the brand first-hand,” says Shah. Taking into consideration the legacy the brand holds, running the show for Society isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Talking with respect to his brothers, he shares, “We were blessed with a ready platform but we were left with a big reminder to keep a constant subconscious check if were being worth the shoes to fill. I still worry that I don’t surpass the mental image I’ve of me a decade from now.” His father, Atul Shah, sees a whole lot of himself in his son. “We have become much alike yet very different. He gets the wisdom to provide me the area that I desire to have me for connecting with today’s customers and their aspirations. And I understand that he’s there to steer me whenever I want an expert’s viewpoint,” says younger Shah. The 34-year old entrepreneur believes in marrying the family’s core values of trust and quality with modernism and ambition in taking the business forward. The business is looking at exploring the meals and beverage space. “Chutneys and pickles being our latest offering beneath the brand, ‘Spice Secrets’, various other new conversations around brand extensions have commenced aswell. We are also looking at the dairy segment keenly. The program is to play an integral part in the journey towards rendering it a global company and brand while staying true to your core values,” says Shah.
(This article was initially published in the July 2019 problem of Entrepreneur Magazine. A subscription, just click here)
The Active Clothing Caterer: Rishabh Oswal, Executive Director, Monte Carlo
Business bug runs deep in Rishabh Oswal’s veins, a third generation entrepreneur. He started his entrepreneurial journey while he was still studying. “I was into frozen yogurts and gelatos. But after meeting the big players in the meals industry, I determined that it could never be as big a business as what I could do with Monte Carlo,’’ says Oswal. He started along with his family’s denim business, that was taken care of by his father. One-and-a-half years later, he joined Monte Carlo. Currently, Oswal may be the Executive Director of Monte Carlo and the founder of sports apparel brand, Rock It. Oswal says, “My grandfather, dad and uncle take care of three separate businesses. So, when I had to launch Rock It, I only had to ask my grandfather. In all honesty, my dad doesn’t even understand what I do in my own day-to-day work life,” the young heir giggles. “A couple of years back, we changed the outlook of the business enterprise; rather than being one brand (i.e., Monte Carlo) we wished to make a residence of brands.” 80 % of the Oswal group business is B2B, Monte Carlo is their only B2C business.
“We’ve started a low-end brand beneath the name of Cloak and Decker. They are 20-25 % cheaper than Monte Carlo,” adds Oswal.
THE DATA Container: Divya Jain, CEO, Safeducate
In 2007, Divya joined Safexpress, India’s largest logistics and offer chain firm run by her father-in-law, Pawan Jain and husband, Rubal Jain. She spearheaded working out division there. When she realized having less manpower and skill gaps within the logistics and offer chain workforce, Jain made a decision to launch Safeducate. Safeducate is India’s premier supply chain training company offering vocational and diploma courses. Jain says establishing a fresh business was no easy ride. She further confesses that being truly a woman, it had been harder for her to generate a distinct identity for herself. “India continues to be very patriarchal. I ensured I did so my contract deals by myself. Never was my father-in-law or husband involved with some of them,” says Jain. The reason behind the same, she tells us, is that folks earlier would think her to be the mere face and the true decision makers to be the men in the family. Jain worked assiduously to be studied seriously. “I ensured that when there is a problem, people appear to me for a remedy,” she says. Today, Safeducate has create 150 centres across India and trained a lot more than 70,000 individuals.
The ‘Brilliant’ Chef: Dipna Anand, Chef
Award-winning celebrity Chef Dipna Anand co-owns Brilliant in Southall and are the owners of Dip in Brilliant, a Punjabi café in Fulham, next to Chelsea SOCCER TEAM. Her grandfather started the first Brilliant restaurant in Nairobi, Kenya, in the 1950s. Her father, Gulu Anand, was running the restaurant in Kenya initially. Because of a political issue in Kenya, they relocated to London. Her father started the restaurant in Southall then with 36 seats. Brilliant is continuing to grow from 36 to a 250+ seater restaurant. “I was proficient at food technology and sports,’’ says Anand. Her career became popular when she won a national award using one of the meals technology projects – ZERO FAT Indian Food – presented by the British Nutrition Foundation. Soon, Anand went to the University of London to pursue food technology in hospitality and catering. Anand wanted to teach Indian cuisines at the university; it’s been 13 years now. She won her second award as Industry Personality of the entire year presented by David Cameron. Anand’s philosophy is easy. “I see my failures as learning curves. I think about what I learnt and how I possibly could improve further. For me personally, failure is never failing.”
THE TRAINING Transformer: Akshay Munjal, President, BML Munjal University
I never thought in my own wildest dreams that I’ll venture into education sector,” jokes Akshay Munjal, a third generation entrepreneur. Munjal may be the grandson of Brijmohan Lall Munjal, the founder of Hero Group. BML Munjal University, overseen by Munjal, is known as after his grandfather. With a background in general management, Munjal had other plans. He recalls, “I thought I’ll take action very glamorous in banking, PE, equity research. This is in 2006, I had always prepared for finance.” After doing work for Merrill Lynch in NY, he returned to India in 2008. Hero Mindmine, part of Hero Group’s BPO service, was into training and consulting services. Till 2002-03, Mindmine was successful. But later the business nose-dived. Munjal realized that these were only providers and their capability to control and make decisions was hardly any. “In 2011 we made a decision to make a big impact. You must setup your own institution and do things differently. Till today I’m focusing on the university full-time,” says Akshay. His grandfather’s advice to “concentrate on the fundamentals” remains Munjal’s guiding principle.
Financial Wizard: Thomas Muthoot John, Head of Innovation Lab, Muthoot Pappachan Group
As an adolescent, Thomas Muthoot Jr would often visit Muthoot’s branches across Tamil Nadu and Kerala along with his grandfather Mathew Thomas Muthoot, who often connect to his customers to comprehend their pain points and advise them. That is when Muthoot Jr learnt his first lesson about the business enterprise – purpose over profit. He says, “The majority of our customers originated from lower strata of the pyramid and therefore were not permitted get a mortgage. Our purpose is to create a better tomorrow for them where they are able to access banking services. This value system can be imbibed in me. ” Ahead of joining over a century-old Muthoot Pappachan Group, Muthoot Jr used a risk analyst and advisory role with KPMG. In 2015, he joined the family business as a marketing manager. Currently, he’s part of the technology and innovation lab. “The lab helps us garner insights with the senior management about technology and innovation around. There are a great number of employees who’ve grown around, so you want to broaden their insights and develop them into leaders,” 29-year Muthoot Jr adds. As a fourth generation entrepreneur, his focus is to reboot the business enterprise. The group recently launched MSME loans, catering to the needs of businesses beginning with Rs 15,000 to Rs 3 lakh.
The Logistics Taskmaster: Bhairavi Jani, Executive Director, SCA Band of Companies
Bhairavi Jani, Managing Director, SCA Band of Companies, can seamlessly operate most machines and forklifts owned by her company. If the preceding three generations of your loved ones is engaged in logistics business, you are pretty much groomed to become a area of the legacy. But Tushar Jani, co-founder of domestic courier giant Blue Dart, tested Bhairavi’s acumen in entrepreneurial arenas first. After graduation, she caused KPMG for a couple of years and returned to India. In 2001, she launched her independent venture, i3pl, a fourth-party logistics company. Jani had always cherished memories of ports and airports she used to go to with her father during childhood where trucks, containers and aircraft would whiz past. But her personal experience was harrowing. “I was a 21-year-old woman entrepreneur. It had been hard to recruit talent as older men didn’t want to work for a female,” she iterates. Though logistics was infused in her blood, Jani says that massive potential of supply chain industry as a driver for global trade augmenting business outcomes is what prompted her to find her calling in this sector. In 2005, she was elevated as the director of most companies under SCA Group. “The industry has an opportunity to utilize a wide variety of skilled professionals – from ground operations team to provide chain and distribution strategists. This gives an excellent chance for leadership development,” says Bhairavi. In 2008, she established a 30,000-pallet multi-user warehouse which didn’t decrease well with market players. “We eventually were able to convince the players,” she says. “We are also establishing a logistics venture accelerator to aid exciting ventures,” adds Jani.
The Electric Vehicle Mobilizer: Shreyas Shibulal, Founder & Director, Micelio
Bengaluru-based Shreyas Shibulal, son of Infosys co-founder SD Shibulal, inherited a penchant for engineering from his father. The 26-year-old says, “I love dealing with start-ups, great minds and great ideas.” For Shibulal, who pursued Bachelors in Computer Science from Haverford College in USA and a Masters focusing on Embedded Systems from the University of Pennsylvania, returning to India had been the plan. After time for India in 2016, he worked as a Data Scientist in Bengaluru. But, the desire to produce a sustainable impact through innovation on the society remained. He says, “Oil is among India’s largest import. Today, with the increasing number of nuclear families, there can be an increasing demand for automobiles. So venturing in to the Electric Vehicle (EV) space appeared an all natural fit.” Thus, in January 2019, he launched Micelio – a Rs 140-crore seed-based fund for start-ups. Shibulal says, “The fund shall focus on start-ups operating over the value chain in the EV space.” The corpus, with a ticket size of $100,000 to at least one 1 million per start-up, would also be used in establishing a Design and Discovery Studio to do something as a co-working and an engineering space for ventures in the EV arena.
“My dad advised me never to get stuck in thinking an excessive amount of,” he confides.
The Wonderman: Arun Chittilappilly, Managing Director, Wonderla Holidays
I would like to take Wonderla CARNIVALS to all or any the major cities in India”, discloses Arun K Chittilappilly. Chittilappilly may be the son of Kochouseph Chittilappilly, Founder and Chairman of the Rs 1,800-crore V-Guard Industries, a voltage stabiliser manufacturing company. On being asked why he didn’t join V-Guard, Chittilappilly says, “I didn’t want to work directly under my dad. Our working styles will vary,” he smiles. While his father is more regimental, Chittilappilly is more of a free of charge thinker. Chittilappilly Sr had opened an amusement park named Veegaland in Kochi in 2000. When Arun returned to India after completing his Masters in Industrial Engineering from Swinburne University (IRIS), Melbourne, he could have either joined the already flourishing V-Guard or Veegaland. “V-guard had been a more developed company and somehow I wasn’t attracted to it,” he admits. He was thrilled to “have a small idea of Veegaland and make it into Wonderla” a popular in carnivals in South India. From a Veegaland in Kochi, there are three carnivals. Wonderla Holidays operates in Kochi, Bengaluru and Hyderabad, with a fourth one approaching in Chennai.
Chittilappilly shares that “patience, perseverance, will, grit, compassion and fairness” certainly are a few takeaways from his father. Meeting new people, reading, travelling, mining the net and visiting new carnivals around the world are ways by which Arun keeps generating new ideas.
Producer of Her Destiny Deepshikha Deshmukh, Film Producer, Founder, Homey Home And Love Organically
Being truly a mom has given me superpowers,” says versatile entrepreneur Deepshikha Deshmukh. She dons many hats. She actually is a film producer, founder of the organic skincare brand Love Organically and owner of a home store in Mumbai. “My mantra in life is never to say never,” she says. Deshmukh started working at age 16 as a stylist in father Vashu Bhagnani’s produced film Mujhe Kuch Kehna Hai. Deepshikha started her entrepreneurial journey at 21 by opening Homey Home, a interior decor store. She followed her father’s footsteps and produced the movie Sarabjit (2016). Within two . 5 years, she’s produced six films. She ventured into skincare products in 2017, after 2 yrs of research. The impulse to explore this unfamiliar terrain was the fitness of her then infant son who had suffered from dry skin issues. The journey into this new territory had not been hanging around for the mompreneur. It had been after customers gave their feedback, realization dawned on her behalf. “We’d not put any here is how to get hold of us,” she giggles.
The Natural Therapist: Siddhesh Sharma, President, Baidyanath and Founder & CEO, Naturedge Beverages
Ayurveda runs in my own DNA. I was always passionate to become listed on my children business. I had a whole lot of interesting ideas for this,” avows Siddhesh Sharma. He’s the grandson of Ram Dayal Joshi, the genius behind the century-old pharmaceutical giant focusing on Ayurvedic medicines, Baidyanath Group. Sharma joined the business in 2006 after finishing his education from the University of Nottingham. “Today, I visit a global trend where folks are more health conscious and so are deciding on herbal options. Yoga has become cool in the West.” He has introduced modern tools to check all products. “Documentation is important to bring credibility back again to Ayurveda,” he avers. The technology has been used for both evolving new formulations while standardizing traditional herbal preparations. “There was a whole lot of resistance to the thought of technology. But I determined that it had been because our people felt that they can become irrelevant,” recalls Sharma, “I told my staff they are indispensable for all of us and the technology would enhance the efficiency of our company.” Sharma can be using his entrepreneurial impulses to go forward. The theory behind his current venture, Naturedge Beverages, was to enjoy herbs while expanding the demographic market of the brand. The beverages have zero sugar and calories. Siddhesh Sharma, currently President of Entrepreneurs Organization, Nagpur, says, “What we are doing is solving a need, solving a problem. So identifying that gap also to have the ability to solve that gap more creatively and efficiently is what entrepreneurship is about.”
THE HOUSE Curator: Jahan Tahiliani, CEO, Tahiliani Homes
Jahan Tahiliani, son of celebrated designer Tarun Tahiliani, has overcome several dilemmas to attain where he is. He’s heading the realty arm of his father’s business because as he puts it, “Retail and fashion don’t resonate with me.” Sharing his earliest memories, Tahiliani says, “I recall likely to the studio with dad when I was five or six years old. He was sketching designs and used to even stitch himself.” After senior high school, he together with his friends done a microfinance project where they took Rs 5 lakh and dispersed it to around 100 women. Sports and social work are near his heart but life took a different turn. He started dealing with CB Richard Ellis, an American commercial property services and investment firm. And there’s been no looking back since. Having an overachieving parent will often put a supplementary baggage of expectations. However, Tahiliani is mindful of not losing his individuality by continue with the spirit of constantly learning.
The Hospitality Seeker : Parthiv Neotia, Director, Ambuja Neotia
Ambuja Neotia is probably the prominent corporate houses with headquarters in Kolkata and verticals including property, hospitality, healthcare and education built under Harshvardhan Neotia. His son, Parthiv Neotia, 22, is preparing to take the business enterprise forward with the launch of Uno Chicago Bar and Grill in India. The Babson College graduate, who is definitely thinking about the Indian start-up ecosystem, is set to bring interesting consumer brands to India along with steering his own tea brand. Neotia says he and his father have different interests somewhat. “My dad is passionate about property but I am thinking about the hospitality industry,” Neotia Jr says. He’s inclined to take Tea Junction, the QSR brand that were only available in 2004, forward. “It aims to supply a soothing ambience while savouring the flavour of a cup of tea, Kolkata-style,” he says. Currently, the brand exists only in Kolkata and East India but Neotia Jr has plans to expand it further. The Ambuja Neotia Group has taken the famous American food franchise UNO to India. According to Neotia Jr, American casual dining business is taking shape in India somewhat with eating joints just like the Hard Rock Café, Chilis and TGI Friday getting into the market. “If we are able to position the brand on the market well and create a particular ambience, we are able to scale considerably faster,” he says. He stresses on a whole lot of unexplored opportunities that await India.
The Ayurvedic Healer: Samrath Bedi, Exceutive Director, Forest Essentials
Since childhood, Mira Kulkarni was intrigued by the applications of Ayurveda. Her curiosity converted into passion when she established Mountain Valley Springs, a brand that hosts among India’s leading cosmetics and skincare company. Supporting her through the entire journey was her son, Samrath Bedi, Executive Director, Forest Essentials. An Economics major from University of Rochester, Bedi had a brief stint in corporate banking before time for India upon seeing an enormous opportunity in the evolving organic skincare market. “It had been a thrilling time helping create a new category in the natural splendor space,” he insists. It really is under his leadership that the brand is continuing to grow to become the biggest player in the blissful luxury hotel amenities and spa business. The brand currently retails from 62 stores across India. The ability to adjust to environmental changes has what kept the mother-son duo going. Boasting of a slew of Forest Essentials’ innovative products, Bedi answers, “Ideas and inspiration result from various triggers. It could be services, design or branding.”
Author of a fresh Chapter: Aparna Piramal Raje, Author
Born to influential parents, societal pressure when planning on taking up her family business – VIP Industries – was inevitable but Aparna Piramal Raje had dreams of penning her own destiny. After completing graduation from Harvard Business School, Raje was leading their business furniture business, BP Ergo. While running the business enterprise, she realized that CEOs and designers were speaking different languages. She then considered connecting both via design writing. “I partnered with a good friend and interior architect Radhika Desai