There are 3 friends and colleagues I want to highlight today, who I have known for a while now. They are the “hardly” know entrepreneurs. They appear rarely on social media touting their company. They rarely talk about how “difficult” their journey was. They dont mention the “challenges” of work-life balance while being an entrepreneur. They never complain about how “hard it is to raise money”.
The thing they do effectively is run businesses that are growing like weeds. All three of them are running startups that are strong, cash flow positive and showing phenomenal growth, and all turning a profit as well.
These are the “other type” of entrepreneur. Effective, workman-like and focused. Ravi runs a deal site – Coupon Rani, Archana runs a media property called Archana’s kitchen and Swapnil runs a University alumni community site called Alma Connect.
I have known these three entrepreneurs for over 3 years now.
I met Ravi first at a Coffee shop when he was looking to leave the cushy world of Venture capital and start his own company. He and I dabbled starting a company together, but things did not quite work out. He then started coupon rani and has built a good team, shown strong revenue growth and has a few investors now chasing him.
Archana and I met on the plane. She is the spouse of one of my good friends and a few years ago, when I was traveling from Mumbai back to Bangalore, she sat in a seat behind me. Surprising that she noticed, but Rutvik (himself a VC) had me on his Facebook profile, so she noticed my photo and the likeness. She was getting started then as a chef and had some early traffic and is now featured on Television frequently and is a celebrity in her own right.
Swapnil and I met 4 years ago at IIM Ahmedabad, at the CIIE, center for entrepreneurship. My wife and I flew in to meet with 9 entrepreneurs for a day to look at interesting companies to invest in and we were greeted by Swapnil that evening. Alma connect was a way to get Alumni from Universities to connect with their colleges and find ways to support and encourage new students and their younger graduates
I am so honored to be friends with all 3 of them, mostly because they are entrepreneurs who have stuck through the tough times that most of us go through.
They are all solo entrepreneurs.
All three of them have bootstrapped their businesses.
All three of them are running profitable, high growth businesses without a plethora of mentors, advisors, investors and the paraphernalia that young entrepreneurs surround themselves with.
All of them are in businesses that are not glamorous, (well Archana is an exception) and still growing like crazy.
None of them are from IIT, IIM or any other “top schools” that most investors seek in entrepreneurs in India.
There is hope in this world after all.