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dna young turks: A game of numbers

Saturday, 3 May 2014 - 7:27pm IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

After thorough survey of the entrepreneurial landscape, here is a round-up of the business world's poster children for Mumbai

Altruistic. Worldly. Determined. Fearless. Delusional even some would say, leaving behind the comfort of a guaranteed paycheck. Twentysomethings in Mumbai today are proving that having a successful track record with years of experience does not always have to rhyme with entrepreneurial grand slams. Yes, it is true, some of the world's most successful companies that hold strong ground today were established by founders between the ages of 20 and 26, be it Apple, Google, Microsoft or facebook. Research suggests that adults in their twenties have a deep-seeded curiosity about the world and a propensity for passion that makes them indomitable in the face of risk and fear. And it seems that hordes of Mumbaikars are now tapping into just that virtual crevasse, proving to us that in the world, as it stands today, youth is nothing but an advantage. Stepping away from having to trudge along that same old path of entrepreneurship, a handful of Mumbai-based entrepreneurs chosen below are now rising like phoenixes, out of the ashes, busting the complacent truism of risk-averse (read: 'old school' style of entrepreneurship.) Leave aside the regret of not having tried—they say, as generation Y-ers attest for the zeitgeist of 2014. Their backgrounds are divergent, their solutions are simple and their style, innovative-meets-digital. With enough energy to burn the midnight candle, no need to hedge, four young entrepreneurs and their untainted mindsets have been hand-picked for their forward-looking ventures.

Pooja Dhingra
: 27 yrs.
The hospitality industry in Mumbai is one that has, over the years, resisted tumultuous real estate prices and rumours about market potential. With culinary havens opening shop in every nook and corner of the city, the focus on diet-breakers, also known as desserts however, has been on an exponential rise.

Living and loving macarons
Those delectable French desserts are now imbued with more meaning than just sugar and unwanted calories for Pooja Dhingra, owner and founder of Paris-inspired patisserie, Le 15. A far cry from some of the honky-tonk Indian palates have been used to for so long, the dainty Parisian dessert is one that Dhingra has capitalised on and even made a fortune out of. Giving up her law studies and pursuing hospitality management in Switzerland is how she began her lucrative affair with desserts and macarons. Having started with an initial capital of 10 lakh, broken even in 10 months and grown 250 per cent in four years with three outlets in the city, Dhingra also prides herself on her cooking studio—Studio Fifteen—in Lower Parel and a newly-published gastronomical opus, The Big Book of Treats. She now aims at launching more outlets in the city and in the country.

Raghu Kumar
: 29 yrs.
With the world's largest elections just having taken place in India, the country's long-term growth and solid economic growth potential have been splashed in headlines. And yet, the need to capitalise on the emerging economy that is India today, is one that a handful are hell-bent on exploiting.

Go for broke(r)
Raghu's love for brokerage has led him to spearhead a Mumbai-based company—RKSV—with a turnover of around Rs3000 crore on the National Stock Exchange, representing two per cent of the total market turnover. RKSV is a discount broking house where customers are charged a flat monthly fee allowing them to trade as much as they want. The finance aficionado that is Raghu Kumar handles 60 employees and manages RKSV's algorithms at the proprietary trading desk.

Shreya Naik
: 25 yrs.
Saying that marketing and public relations do not play a leading role in shaping a business today would be a lie. A number of youngsters have begun to understand the importance of staying visible in an age where access to information is just a click away.

Making dreams
Shreya Naik is the CEO of Dream Makers Entertainment, a company focused on scouting new indie talent, managing artistes and promoting them at gigs around the city. She now singlehandedly manages live programming at blueFROG in Lower Parel. Starting out at the age of 20 with a background in promotion and marketing and not a nickel to spend, Naik's next logical step was to use social networking websites to spread the word on her marketing skills. Her goal is to delve deeper into the world of untapped and unnoticed talent in the city.

Advitiya Sharma and Rahul Yadav
24 yrs.
Amidst the growing tribe of young entrepreneurs in the city, lie a few that understand just how much investors, venture capitalists and investment banks are on the prowl for start-ups that are innovative and promising. The mix of start-up founders is eclectic: from e-commerce to technology to transportation, now is in fact bloom time for start-ups in Mumbai.

Your house hunt, their profit
Advitiya Sharma and Rahul Yadav are the Mumbai-based bespectacled men behind housing.com, a user-friendly real estate portal meant to facilitate the lives of renters, brokers and landlords by providing detailed classifieds for users without exorbitant broker fees. From featuring safety, women-friendliness indices in place, Sharma and Yadav joined forces to make house hunting hassle-free in Mumbai. Housing now has over 750 employees in 10 different cities in India and has managed to garner three rounds of funding, making the company one of the hottest start-ups to look out for right now.

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