It’s different strokes for different folks among India’s most-valued unicorns. But with one common mission: To succeed, whatever the odds. OYO’s Ritesh Agarwal calls it “now or never” conviction. Dream11’s Harsh Jain couldn’t stop “thinking about the idea”, Byju’s Byju Raveendran was “addicted to teaching” and PhonePe’s Sameer Nigam was sure UPI would “work like a charm or would be a total bust”. They pounced on the idea early enough, failed often, experienced near-death, pivoted or paused but they never gave up.
Eventually they solved real-world problems with cutting-edge technologies, attracting millions of consumers and billions in valuation.
PharmEasy, India’s most successful e-pharmacy, was a B-school project. It’s worth $4 billion at last valuation; Delhivery started out to be a Zomato. It’s one of the biggest and most techsavvy logistics firms in the country, worth $3 billion; Ola’s Bhavish Aggarwal wanted to sell online tours and activities. But fate had other plans. Today, India’s largest cab-hailing service is worth $6.7 billion.
As a nation we are experiencing an entrepreneurial explosion of the kind last experienced during defining moments such as the Independence or the reforms of the 90s. Clearly, India’s entrepreneurial ecosystem has finally come of age. With their firms exercising an enormous influence on humanity at large, these entrepreneurs are truly the Tatas, Birlas, TVS and the Bajajs of the 2000s.
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