Indians in Asia’s Young Entrepreneurs

‘Business Week’ has published a special report on Asia’s young class of entrepreneurs that is ‘globally aware, extremely Internet savvy, and willing to pounce on a smart idea even if it means grueling hours and considerable financial risk early on in life’. BusinessWeek.com asked readers to nominate standout young entrepreneurs 25 or under. Indians are perhaps the maximum in percentage in the finalists. The slide show showcase their companies and entrepreneurial vision. Business Week expects it readers to cast their votes to get the final ranking. It will report the results in September.Young folks barely out of college are running serious enterprises they started with a modicum of capital. Some of our nominees were trying out business models before graduating from high school.

Indians include:

Sasikanth Chemalamudi, 23, is CEO: Habits http://www.habits.in Hyderabad, India:

A graduate with honors from the Birla Institute of Technology & Science in Pilani, Chemalamudi turned down an offer from outsourcing powerhouse Infosys to pursue his passion for entrepreneurship. He co-launched Habits, a creative learning resources company that encourages more creative thinking with the aid of educational materials such as musicals, plays, and interactive games. Habits is also involved with projects in rural India to encourage self-employment.

Rama Krishna Gaddipati, 24, is the Co-founder: Bridle Information & Technology Solutions. http://www.bridleit.com/index.htm Tenali, India

Bridle is a mobile applications and services outfit-and that is a good space to occupy given the explosive growth of mobile telephony in India. And Bridle co-founder Gaddipati (the 2001 winner of the Intel CyberFiesta national software development contest) may already have a hit on his hands. The service is called SchoolMATE, and it is a comprehensive student analysis system that allows parents to monitor their child’s progress at school. The service feeds information on conduct, examinations, and report cards to subscribers, and employs technology such as mobile text messaging, the Web, and e-mail. The company has gained about 70,000 subscribers in Hyderabad and Vishakapatnam in India.

Dinesh Goel, 24, is Director: Blue Ribbon Industrial. http://www.geetanjaliwoollens.com (int’l marketing site), Indore, India

A recent business school graduate from Thunderbird’s Garvin School of International Management, Goel took on a major operational role with his family-run, $10 million-a-year wool products business started by his father and uncle. It’s a tough business, and the price competition is fierce. Still, since signing on as a director and key executive in February, Goel has boosted production at the company’s two manufacturing facilities by 50%, and sales are improving. He is focusing on product innovation and also looking for retail tie-ups to get wool products directly to consumers faster.

Darshan Hiranandani,24, is Director & Chief Executive Officer: Hircon International, http://www.hircon-me.com Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Darshan started working for Hiranandani Group, India’s leading real-estate group and the family business, while attending high school and college in India. His deal-making synapses started firing early, however. When he was 17 he launched a go-kart track called Hakone and a family entertainment center in Bombay. He currently serves as president of the Bombay operations of Hiranandani Group. On top of that, he led the conglomerate’s expansion into Dubai, where he founded Hircon International. That company is involved in helping develop the “23 Marina” Project, which, when completed in 2008, will be the world’s tallest residential tower. In the first two years of operations, Hircon has generated more than $100 million in revenues. In Bombay, Hiranandani has projects under way that involve 300 million square feet of new developments

Vikas Kedia, 25, is Founder & Partner: MobiTrail, http://www.mobitrail.com Bombay, India

The next big platform shift in online gaming will be to mobile handsets, and Kedia thinks his company is positioned to capture that growth. This 25-year-old programmer based in Bombay is founder of MobiTrail, which develops and delivers games to mobile phone users. Its games and applications can run on networks using J2ME, Symbian, and BREW operating systems. The company is developing some hot games of its own and has such clients as Reliant Online Gaming in India and Hong Kong-based Mobile2win, as well as other international customers.

Atul Prakash Khekade, 24, is Co-Founder: Innovation Trip, http://www.innovationtrip.com, Bombay, India

Khekade launched his first business, a Web technology and software applications company, at 17, and has written a book on graphical user interfaces. Now the University of Mumbai-trained engineer and scholarship recipient is trying his hand at the business tourism market. Last year he co-founded Innovation Trip, which sets up U.S.-based workshop-and-trip combos for senior executives in the developing world interested in the latest best-business practices in the States.

Vishal Sampat, 24, Founder: Convonix, http://www.convonix.com, Bombay, India

Sampat caught the entrepreneurial bug early in life. While still in his teens, he launched his first venture, a streaming online music radio service featuring Indian tunes. His latest venture, launched in 2001, is Convonix. It is an Internet marketing firm with more than 35 employees that helps clients enhance their online traffic and get better placement in search engine results. The company has also developed its own Web analytics and campaign management programs

Divyank Turakhia, 24, Co-Founder, President & Director: Directi Group, http://www.directi.com, Bombay, India

Turakhia tried his hand at Internet consulting in high school at age 14 and, two years later, launched Directi Group with $600 borrowed from his parents. In the first month of operations, the business managed to generate enough revenues to return the borrowed amount and get the company rolling. Today, the company is debt-free, has more than 1 million customers for its array of domain name registration, Web hosting, and site building services, and employs more than 250 people. It is one of the fastest-growing domain registration companies in the world. When Turakhia isn’t running the show, he pursues hobbies such as sky diving, paragliding, and flying airplanes.

While the Indian contingent is pretty big 8 out of 25 in Asia, it is unfortunate that it lacks two features:
1. There is not even a single young female in the list of Indian entrepreneurs. Is it not a matter of shame?
2. There is hardly a representation of manufacturing sector in the types of business the younger entrepreneurs are looking for.
3. India still lacks spread in entrepreneurship to cover all gender, communities and castes.

I wish the Indians vote in number to make some of the Indian young entrepreneur won the challenge.

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