Enterprise Twenty20

Written by Rajiv Tikoo | Updated: Jan 3 2008, 05:35am hrs
Corporate India is on fire. Its also igniting the imagination of a much younger generation. This youth enterprise is widespread and with wild ambitions. Its not strictly Indian. Its India related, in a global world. Though silent today, its threatening to explode on the world corporate map in the near future. A few teenagers, some having begun as teenagers and others in their early 20s from Hyderabad to the Silicon Valley are dreaming big and living it up. The adventurers are writing their own rules, breaking them, rewriting them and discarding them.

For example, Anshul Samar, 14, didnt want to wait for 10 years to set up a business. The Silicon Valley-based Grade 8 student set up Elementeo two years back. While he has miles to go, Globals Suhas Gopinath is already a legend at 20. Coming from a non-business family in India, he was provoked by IT majors indifference towards him to set up shop at 14. In contrast, Sasikanth Chemalamudi, 24 was wooed by Infosys after he passed out from BITS, Pilani, but he opted to set up Habits in Hyderabad.

In some cases, the entrepreneurial spark came from their average classmates. When Ohio students Avichal Garg, 24, and Karan Goel, 24, realised that their classmates needed help to get into colleges, they set up PrepMe six years back. Similarly, Divyank Turakhia, 25, of Directi Group, started at 13, selling computer projects to mates who couldnt make their own projects.

Others are turning simple problems into opportunities. Rishi Shah, 25, set up Flying Cart in 2006 when he realised that small businesses arent online because they think its expensive. Vishal Sampat, 25, set up Convonix in 2002 when Internet marketing was at a nascent stage, but he believed in the medium and himself.

For most, doing well is not an end in itself. Coming from a middle class family, Rajat Khare of Appin group always wanted to do more. Having begun four years back, he has set his sight higher. Another co-founder of Appin, Ishan Gupta, 24, has moved on. Currently studying at Stanford, he is getting set to become a serial entrepreneur.

India Inc caught up with the select few when they were not busy consulting Fortune 500 firms, gracing power lists of magazines like BusinessWeek, lecturing in Parliaments, teaching in universities, authoring books or for that matter jetsetting. Read the stories of the new business leaders in their own wordsto figure out what separates the men from the boys.