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Top 10 Most Searched Indian Entrepreneurs: Icons of Indian Business

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Kamaldeep

29 May, 2024

Top 10 Most Searched Indian Entrepreneurs: Icons of Indian Business

“Every time you state what you want or believe, you’re the first to hear it. It’s a message to both you and others about what you think is possible. Don’t put a ceiling on yourself.” – Oprah Winfrey, global media leader, producer, and actress.

 

India is a country of entrepreneurs. Don’t believe me? India ranks 3rd amongst the countries with the most billionaires in 2024, as per Statista report. The spirit of entrepreneurship is deeply rooted in our fellow citizens. At some point, you wanted to start your own business, whether you are talking with your colleagues about starting a new tea vendor shop, talking to your friends about starting a momos stall, or solving a big problem that solves an environmental problem like Turning Trash into Gold or starting your youtube channel or your handmade delicious food Instagram page to build a brand. These situations support the earlier statement about India’s entrepreneurial culture.

As per one of the published articles on Business Standard, our honourable prime minister has recently urged the young generation to become job providers (Entrepreneurs), not those looking for a job. This has motivated our young generation to focus on their startups in school days.

To support this energy and perspective, we will share top 10 Indian Entrepreneurs and their journey so that these stories can inspire you. Who knows, you could become the next entrepreneur on the list.

1. Mukesh Ambani (Reliance Industries)

Mukesh Ambani is a name synonymous with wealth and Reliance Industries. He is India’s richest man and the titan of Indian business. But his story goes beyond a thousand crores, about ambition and strategic vision. Mukesh Ambani was born into a modest family. His father, Dhirubhai Ambani, established the roots of Reliance Industries.

In the 1980s, Reliance Company was successful in dominating the polyester market in India. This was a classic example of identifying a gap—a nation’s growing demand for clothing—and filling it with a product that was both affordable and aspirational.

It is like spotting a previously unnoticed coffee shop niche in your neighbourhood and building a successful cafe.

Reliance Industries truly took off when they entered the telecom world. Mukesh’s ability to bring change is the true mark of his brilliance.

In the late 2000s, he saw the potential in the telecom sector. Then, in 2016, Reliance Jio was launched. Jio offered cheap data plans, which helped every Indian access the internet. This bold move was akin to a tech giant like Apple disrupting the music industry with iTunes.

This time, Mukesh Ambani stepped into the world of retail with Reliance Retail. Today, it is a household name which offers everything from groceries to electronics under one roof.  Just like Amazon redefined online shopping, Reliance Retail is changing the game for physical stores in India.

With a net worth estimated at over $113 billion, Mukesh Ambani is Asia’s richest man. He has shown how Indian businesses can compete globally and has ushered in a new era of digital access for millions.

2. Vijay Shekhar Sharma (Paytm)

Vijay Shekhar Sharma is the name behind India’s leading digital payments platform, Paytm. He is an inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs. His journey is not one of overnight success but rather a testament to hard work and seizing opportunities.

It all started in a small town in Uttar Pradesh. Vijay did not have a silver spoon, just like many tech giants. He began his career with a regular job earning around Rs 10,000 a month. He was a person who did not want to settle for less. He saw the potential of the internet and started a website called IndiaSite.net, which he later sold for $1 million! This initial success planted the seed for his future ventures.

Later, in the early 2000s, he saw a mobile revolution in India. He was smart enough to take advantage of this wave. He founded One97 Communications, a company that offers mobile content like ringtones and cricket scores.

This, again, showed his ability to identify trends and adapt. In the year 2010, it was a turning point for the organisation. Demonetisation in India, pushed the need for digital payments. Sharma saw this as a golden opportunity and launched Paytm which was a mobile wallet that allowed cashless transactions.

This bold move positioned him at the forefront of India’s digital payment revolution. Building a billion-dollar company is always challenging. His story teaches you how to identify gaps and seize opportunities.

Net Worth and Recognition: As of September 2022, Sharma’s net worth is estimated to be a whopping $1.2 billion.

3. Falguni Nayar (Nykaa)

Falguni Nayar’s story shatters age-old ideas and challenges traditional philosophies of career success. She is a self-made billionaire who took a leap of faith at 50. She literally proved that age is just a number and that reinvention and chasing dreams can still be possible.

Falguni was only sometimes navigating the world of lipsticks and skincare. She had a successful career as an investment banker. But she always had an entrepreneurial spirit in herself. She identified a gap in the Indian market – a reliable platform for authentic Beauty Products. At that time, e-commerce was in the growing stage, and beauty products were something you would not try to experiment with yourself, right? This was not about following trends; but was about fulfilling customer needs and building trust in a new space.

In 2012, with a strong vision and $2 million of her savings, she launched Nykaa. If you notice the name itself, is inspired by the Sanskrit word for ‘actress,’ which motivates to empower every woman to be her own beauty protagonist.

Nykaa was not just another e-commerce store. It became a one-stop solution for all beauty products which offers a curated selection of brands. Falgvni Nayar understood that beauty was not just about products; it was about self-expression and confidence.

Her unwavering belief in her vision and ability to adapt to a changing market landscape fuelled Nykaa’s phenomenal success.

Her story resonates not just because of the $3.2 Billion wealth it represents, but because it inspires you to follow your dreams.

4. Ritesh Agarwal (OYO)

Ritesh Agarwal is a young Indian entrepreneur who built the hospitality giant OYO Rooms. His journey started far from the plush hotel lobbies OYO is known for. He started selling SIM cards at a young age, showing his early hustle and willingness to graft. This experience probably gave him a unique perspective on the needs of everyday travellers – a perspective that would later fuel his vision for OYO. He identifies the gap in the hotel chain and its management. OYO Rooms was not just about creating a hotel chain. It was about providing affordable accommodation experiences in India and beyond.

Have you ever booked a budget hotel and later found out it did not match the pictures? OYO fixed this by providing consistent cleanliness, amenities, and service at low prices. That is what made them stand out.

Agarwal’s success was not a stroke of luck. He secured funding with a clear vision and a relentless work ethic. He identified a gap in the market and strived to fill it, making travel more accessible for a wider audience.

Now his net worth is estimated to be ₹16,000 crore. But his legacy extends beyond financial figures. He has become an inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs, proving that success can come from unconventional beginnings.

5. Kunal Shah (CRED)

Kunal Shah is a prominent figure in the Indian startup. He is an Angel Investor and Founder of CRED and Freecharge. After studying at Wilson College in Mumbai, Kunal joined PaisaBack. Climbing to CEO, he gained vital experience in digital payments. His story started with FreeCharge, Kunal has created a digital payments platform that changed how Indians pay their bills.

In 2010, he launched FreeCharge which focuses on mobile recharges and expands to bill payments. This was an innovative approach that made FreeCharge a household name. Later on E-commerce giant SnapDeal acquired the Freecharge. Snapdeal bought FreeCharge for a massive $400 million in 2015.

Kunal did not stop there; he founded CRED, a rewards platform loved by Indians. Kunal saw an opportunity to simplify credit card management, and when launched it in 2018, CRED quickly became a favourite financial app in India.

Now Kunal net worth is estimated around ₹15,000 crore. Despite challenges, Kunal’s journey has been remarkable. Kunal Shah’s story is a testament to perseverance and innovation, inspiring entrepreneurs everywhere.

6. Deepinder Goyal (Zomato)

Deepinder Goyal is the co-founder and CEO of Zomato. He is not just an average entrepreneur, he is the man who turned his love for delicious food into a multi-billion empire. His story is a true example of innovation, adaptation, and a sprinkle of philosophy.

In 2008, Deepinder, along with Pankaj Chaddah, started FoodieBay (later renamed Zomato). Earlier, finding good restaurants online was like finding a random reel you saw yesterday and searching it again (almost impossible).

Zomato came into the spotlight, with its user-generated reviews, photos, and menus it became a one-stop solution for all hungry explorers. This was not just about convenience; it mirrored the real-world experience. Zomato became the digital version of physically located restaurants.

Deepinder understood that people do not just want to find restaurants, but they also want the food delivered to their doorstep. This was the turning point of Zomato. They identified the increasing desire for instant gratification. By launching online ordering and delivery in 2015, Zomato became a key player in the food delivery revolution.

Today, Zomato operates in 24 countries, proving that good food has a universal language.

Deepinder Goyal’s estimated net worth sits around ₹2,570 crore. This comes from his stake in Zomato (around 5.5%) and his angel investments in other startups. It is a testament to his vision, and you can start something unique too.

7. Sachin Bansal (Flipkart)

Sachin Bansal is the second name of India’s largest e-commerce Flipkart. He is a true inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs. His journey is full of calculated risks which proves that success can be built with hard work and a vision for the future.

It all started back in 2007, when internet startups were a risky proposition in India, Sachin Bansal and his co-founder Binny Bansal, believed their dreams and dared to enter in e-commerce market. They started with just 2 computers in a Bangalore apartment. They started Flipkart which was an online bookstore. They recognised a gap in the market and the potential of e-commerce to revolutionise Indian retail.

To reach the target of Billions, they had to do something extraordinary. They diversified the online selling of products. They started to offer a vast array of products, just like mirroring Amazon’s all-encompassing approach.

This was the turning move for Flipkart. This strategic move, coupled with excellent customer service and timely deliveries, made them go-to online shopping destinations for millions of Indians.

There were many challenges for them like competition from global e-commerce giants, logistics hurdles, and the need for constant innovation. But Sachin never hesitated to take calculated risks. Sachin Bansal’s story does not end with Flipkart.

He is now the managing director of Navi Technologies, a financial services company with over $1.2 Billion net worth. This diversification, shows his entrepreneurial spirit and his belief in building solutions that improve people’s lives. You can take some inspiration from Sachin that you should not be afraid to take calculated risks.

8. Nithin Kamath (Zerodha)

Nithin Kamath is the name behind India’s biggest discount broking firm. Earlier stock trading was not for everyone as the world of finance can seem complex for many of you. But Zerodha came into the highlight and provided a way to trade stocks and shares without a hefty wallet or a finance degree.

Nithin Kamath’s story is one of sheer grit and determination. His story proves the fact that success is not about privilege or luck, but about hard work, spotting a gap in the market, and having the courage to fill it.

Kamath’s journey did not start with Wall Street. But when freshly passed out his college, he joined a call centre for a meagre salary. This is a relatable starting point for many, and it also highlights that financial success can come from anywhere.

Nithin Kamath was never afraid to get his hands dirty. He started trading in his early 20s, experiencing the thrill of the market firsthand. He faced many losses during the market crash of the early 2000s. This experience was like a bump in the road, and he learned valuable lessons about risk management.

Nithin noticed a problem in trading. People had to pay hefty fees, which hindered the common people from making investments. This sparked an idea—Zerodha, a discount broking platform that offered low fees and a user-friendly interface.

What can you learn from Nithin’s story? Well, Zerodha was not just about cheap trades; it was about understanding the importance of building a brand. He focused on transparency, education, and building a strong online community. This move made Zerodha trustworthy, which attracted a new generation of investors.

Today, Zerodha boasts millions of users and a multi-billion dollar valuation. Kamath’s personal net worth sits around $4.7 Billion which places him on India’s richest businessmen list.

9. Bhavesh Aggarwal (Ola)

Bhavish Aggarwal’s story is not just about building a billion-dollar company, it is a real-life example of turning frustration into fortune. Like many entrepreneurs, Bhavesh’s inspiration came from a personal pain point. He had a bad taxi experience in 2010 which left him a problem. The need for more reliable and comfortable ride options. This sparked the idea for Ola, a question Aggarwal himself might have asked: “Is not there a better way to get around?”

Ola was not just about getting a cab or taxi,  it was about building a brand synonymous with convenience and trust.

Bhavesh understood the old saying, “If you build it, they will come.” He offered a user-friendly app, transparent pricing, and a focus on driver training. This placed Ola on the top of India’s booming mobile app sector.

Bhavesh’s entrepreneurial passion has paid off well. His net worth is estimated to be around ₹11,700 crores. This immense wealth is not just a personal achievement; it is a testament to the power of a good idea, well-executed.

What can we learn from Bhavesh’s story? You can learn that inspiration can come from anywhere, and turning that inspiration into reality can lead to incredible success by solving real problems effectively.

10. Aman Gupta (boAt)

Aman Gupta is the founder of boAt. His story is one of the perfect examples of turning passion into profit. It also proves that a good idea and relentless drive can create an empire.

In 2016, Aman Gupta saw a gap in the market. At that time affordable headphones with trendy designs were really hard to find that too with affordable prices. Aman and his co-founder Sameer Mehta, decided to fill this void. They created boAt to provide stylish and budget-friendly audio accessories.

What made BoAt successful? Aman did not just focus on selling the products but also focused on creating a lifestyle brand. They targeted young, tech-savvy consumers and partnered with celebrities like cricketer Virat Kohli.

This strategy made boAt a household name in India. Aman’s story goes beyond business acumen and he becomes a a well-respected figure in the Indian startup ecosystem. Later on, he joined the popular show Shark Tank India which allowed him to mentor budding entrepreneurs and inject capital into promising ventures.

Aman Gupta’s dedication has paid off and boAt became a major player in the Indian audio market. His net worth is estimated to be around ₹720 crore.

What can you learn from his story? Well, you can learn how he noticed a common problem – not enough affordable, stylish audio choices – and came up with a useful solution.

The Final Lesson

So far we have gone through all the successful entrepreneur’s journeys, did you notice what was common in all of their journeys? Yes, it was execution. If you think a lot and do not execute your plan then you will not move anywhere.

So, learn from their journey and give it a try, who knows may be you are the next incredible entrepreneur.


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