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OUR 4th ANNUAL RANKING

The Magazine for Growing Companies

SPECIAL DOUBLE ISSUE

Meet India’s Fastest-Growing Companies Under 1,500 crore

Profiles of some of India’s most vibrant companies:

TALLY SOLUTIONS MANTRI DEVELOPERS NARAYANA HRUDAYALAYA BARBEQUE NATION UFO MOVIEZ GENESIS COLORS JAKSON 4G IDENTITY SOLUTIONS September/October 2012 | `150 | Volume 03 | Issue 08 A 9.9 Media Publication | inc.com Facebook.com/Inc

@inc


September/October 2012

34

The 4th Annual Inc. India 500

Presenting India’s fastest growing companies under `1,500 crore

Well Poised Know how Dr Sreeni Tripuraneni’s 4G Identity Solutions has grown 395% over the past four years on page 50.

38

The jury

For the first time since we launched our ranking in 2009, we brought in an eminent jury to refine our search for India’s top mid-sized companies.

42

The class of 2012

The complete list

58

Top 5 Sectors

Some insights into the fastest growing sectors of the Inc. India 500. Also, a glance at how sectoral performance has changed since 2009.

68

Top 6 Business Cities

This edition of Inc. magazine is published under license from Mansueto Ventures LLC, New York, New York. Editorial items appearing on pages 13, 23-24, 26, 29-31 were all originally published in the United States edition of Inc. magazine and are the copyright property of Mansueto Ventures, LLC, which reserves all rights. Copyright © 2009 and 2010 Mansueto Ventures, LLC. The following are trademarks of Mansueto Ventures, LLC: Inc., Inc. 500.

Cover design by Anil VK. 3-d 500 by midhun mohan and imaging by shigil narayanan.

photograph by Srivatsa, Imaging by Shigil Narayanan

A look at the centres that are flourishing with action


contents

September/October 2012

Companies At Work

A closer look at our top of the heap. Here are the 10 fastest-growing companies among the Inc. India 500. my story:

50 Dr Sreeni Tripuraneni

4G Identity Solutions

54 Prosenjit Roy Choudhury

Barbeque Nation Hospitality

Jury’s Pick

Our eminent jury highlights the 10 winners they find most promising. my story:

62 Dr Devi Prasad Shetty

Narayana Hrudayalaya

4   |  INC. |  september/october 2012

By The Numbers

We divided the Inc. India 500 into four revenue brackets to uncover the star performers in each.

76 `50–`100 crore Bharat Goenka Tally Solutions

78 `101–`500 crore

M.K. Dhanuka Dhanuka Agritech 86 K. Ravi NCL Industries

82 `501–`1000 crore Sushil Mantri Mantri Developers

90  `1001–`1500 crore Dr Dilip Surana Micro Labs

A unique perspective—in true graphic novel style —on Walsons Security, No.104 on our list. You can’t miss this tale of Arjun Walia, the `138-crore company’s ambitious founder.

Illustration By Manav Sachdev

A photo portfolio of diverse workplaces of some Inc. India 500 companies.

66 Genesis Colors 74 Jakson 94 Tops Security 102 DFM Foods

Companies We Find Exciting

It’s not just whopping revenue numbers that make our Inc. India 500 companies worth a watch. Their unique products and business models are equally exciting. Here are the 10 companies that caught our eye. my story:

70 Sanjay Gaikwad UFO Moviez India

photograph by Subhojit Paul

fastest-growing companies

96 Sticking to his guns


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contents

September/October 2012 20

23

18

14

07 Editor’s Letter

08 Behind the Scenes

Companies that kept the Lakmé Fashion Week in style

11 Launch

 Viewpoints: Personalising professional relationships Study reveals unhealthy sense of entitlement among Indian employees Indian Restaurant Congress: A conference where the talk was all about food Research Corner: Flat isn’t always the best way to go. Hierarchies at work are healthy.

14 The Dressing Room By Krishna Kumar Is winning really that important or are there bigger things in life?

6   |  INC. |  september/october 2012

18 Innovation

Strategy

20 Guest Column

29 LEADERSHIP Leadership isn’t always about inspiration. Sometimes, boring is good. Sample this thoroughly counter-intuitive guide to the art of leading people.

23 The Goods

32 elevator pitch Excelsior Education teaches life skills to school students. Can it tutor investors to put in `1.5 crore?

A shoe that guides you to your destination

By Saurabh Parmar Yes, it’s possible to drive ROI from social media

Tiny desktop computers with more muscle The website that makes market research easy Roughing up rugged smartphone cases A new cooler for your laptop Tech Trends: Testing out reputation-management services


editor’s letter MANAGING DIRECTOR: Dr Pramath Raj Sinha Printer & Publisher: Anuradha Das Mathur Editorial managing Editor: shreyasi singh assistant editor: Sonal Khetarpal feature writer: ira swasti research head: john l. khiangte manager: aman shukla associate: neha kumra DEsign Sr. Creative Director: Jayan K Narayanan Sr. Art Director: Anil VK Associate Art Directors: Atul Deshmukh & Anil T Sr. Visualisers: Manav Sachdev & Shokeen Saifi Visualisers: Sristi Maurya & NV Baiju Sr. Designers: Raj Kishore Verma Shigil Narayanan & Suneesh K Designers: Charu Dwivedi, Peterson PJ Midhun Mohan, Prameesh Purushothaman C & Haridas Balan MARCOM Associate Art Director: Prasanth Ramakrishnan Designer: Rahul Babu STUDIO Chief Photographer: Subhojit Paul Sr. Photographer: Jiten Gandhi community team assistant product manager: Rajat gupta Sales & Marketing senior vice president: krishna kumar (+91 98102 06034) business development Manager: arjun sawhney (+91 95822 20507) assistant regional manager (south & WEST): rajesh kandari (+91 98111 40424) Production & Logistics Sr General manager (Operations): Shivshankar M Hiremath Manager Operations: Rakesh upadhyay Asst Manager (Logistics): Vijay Menon Executive Logistics: Nilesh Shiravadekar Production Executive: Vilas Mhatre Logistics MP Singh, Mohd. Ansari OFFICE ADDRESS nine dot nine mediaworx Pvt Ltd A-262, Defence Colony, New Delhi–110 024 For any queries, please contact us at help@9dot9.in Published, Printed and Owned by Nine Dot Nine Mediaworx Private Limited. Published and printed on their behalf by Anuradha Das Mathur. Published at A-262, Defence Colony, New Delhi–110 024 printed at Tara Art Printers Pvt ltd. A-46-47, Sector-5, NOIDA (U.P.) 201301 Editor: Anuradha Das Mathur

Perseverance & Adaptability Undoubtedly, bringing out the Inc. India 500 issue–our annual ranking of India’s fastest-growing companies—is both a mammoth task, and an absolute privilege. It’s also the one issue in which the editorial team must step back, and cede control of the pages to our talented in-house research team of John L. Khiangte, Aman Shukla and Neha Kumra. The research team began their arduous work on the ranking sometime in early April. As they gathered figures, identified the jury and pored over hundreds of excel sheets, we had to wait at every step for them to guide us and ply us with inputs before we could even begin doing our job. Since we’re just four years into the ranking, and are constantly seeking to refine and improve the process, delays, arguments and frustrations were often part of the journey to this issue. Compared to the dynamic companies who’ve made the Inc. India 500 ranking, and the many business obstacles they must have had to cross in their journey, our problems might seem trivial. Yet, I could not help but see a connection. As it is every year, this time too, the Inc. India 500 mirrors the larger trends in our economy. For example, at 41 per cent, the combined growth rate of our honourees in the 2012 edition is the lowest since we began this ranking in 2009. Contrast that with the heady days of our 2010 ranking when companies grew at an average 143 per cent! Clearly, the slowdown has had a substantial impact. Plus, unlike the last two years, when CEOs had laid out grand plans—of $1 billion turnover, and acquiring global assets—interviews this year struck a more tempered tone. The talk veered to keeping teams motivated in difficult times, and the need to be nimble and adaptable in the face of changing realities, rising costs and squeezed margins. In fact, the entrepreneurs we met over the past eight weeks had much less of the “superstar halo” that our winners seemed to wear in 2009 or 2010. They realise, as does the editorial team at Inc. India, that sometimes you just cannot control it all. But, if you can adapt efficiently and persevere with a smile, growth (albeit of a less-scorching variety) can be achieved. It has been tough. But both, our 500 honourees and we, have survived to tell the tale. I hope you enjoy our story.

Shreyasi Singh shreyasi.singh@9dot9.in september/october 2012  |  INC. |  7


BEHIND THE SCENES

Companies at the Heart of Everyday Life

Video production Streaming an event live and getting the story right is like making a piece of art with the right composition and colours. Bringing together all these aspects of media production and post-production under one umbrella is Incognito Media, the brainchild of brother-sister duo Shanela Kapoor and Rishi Kapoor. Founded in 2007, Incognito’s 10-member team was responsible for producing videos at the Lakmé Fashion Week. Incognito has also produced digital media content for clients such as FedEx, BBC, University College London and L’Oreal Group, both in India and abroad.

8   |  INC. |  september/october 2012


Lakmé Fashion Week, Mumbai

12.08.2012 6:30 P.M.

Model management Scouting for right talent is no mean task and Elan does that perfectly with its team of 15 people. Started in 2012 as a joint venture between Kwan, an entertainment and sports management company, and Sushma Puri, this specialised talent agency has become well known for its eye to spot talent. Elan identifies and nurtures young, emerging talent and creates commercial opportunities for them in the modelling and film space. They contributed more Indian models to Lakmé Fashion Week than all other agencies combined. Elan has also worked for several big clients such as IMG Reliance, Garnier, Maybelline and UTV.

Backstage management The glamour of the runway is in stark contrast to the chaos backstage. To keep things in order on the ramp, Mumbai-based Runway ensures there’s order off it too. Started in January 2009 by Daman Choudhury and Ravneet Goraya, Runway provides stage management and backstage management expertise to fashion shows, television shows, movie productions and other live events. Some of their past projects include MTV’s Cornetto Love Reels and the movie I Am directed by Onir.

PHOTOGRAPH BY jiten gandhi

reported by sonal khetarpal


News. Ideas. People.

launch

viewpoints

Sans Boundaries

“Friendliness goes a long way at work. Consider everyone your equal—seniors will appreciate your confidence and juniors will love you.” Conventional wisdom might dictate that it’s prudent to keep our professional and personal lives separate. But Akhil Gupta, co-founder of Green Apple Solutions, a Delhi-based IT services and products firm, goes as far as to say he “loves” his colleagues. In his blog, akhil.me, he talks about why he believes professional relationships should be made personal. He, for example, does that by lunching regularly with his 24-people team. Gupta confesses that sometimes these relationships do get difficult to manage—how do you reprimand or confront your colleagues (read: ) when they slip up? Still, this finebalancing act is worth the trouble, he asserts. “The sweet spot lies where your personality as a boss and friend overlaps. It’s a very small area but it does exist, and you can inhabit it. My trick—in your head, try to swap positions with your colleagues. It’ll help you understand them better.”

Photograph by Subhojit Paul

september/october 2012  |  INC. |  11


launch

The Dangers of Entitlement

Food veterans engage in brainstorming sessions

12   |  INC. |  september/october 2012

Unveiling of the Indian Restaurant Report 2012

Food for Thought, Thought for Food Indian Restaurant Congress highlights why India’s food industry is primed for fast growth Organised by Franchise India Holdings, in association with Bloomberg India and Cremica, Indian Restaurant Congress 2012 was recently held at Hotel Claridges, Suraj Kund. The two day convention brought together all stakeholders of the restaurant business—from prospective restaurateurs to veteran suppliers. The convention began with the release of the Indian Restaurant Report 2012 which essentially sums up how Indians eat out. “Sixty per cent of consumers eat out once in 10 days,” reiterated Ritu Marya, editor-in-chief, Franchise India, in her introductory note. As the day progressed, various aspects of building a restaurant business, and innovative ideas that were revolutionising the industry—both globally and in India—were discussed. The sessions—Collaborating for Growth, Eat or Be Eaten and Consumption Analysis provided a fertile ground to brainstorm ideas. Leading industry voices such as Rod Young, man-

aging director, DC Strategy, Australia, Sunil Kapur, chairman, Travel Food Services, Manu Anand, chairman & CEO, Pepsi Co. India, Tony White, regional general manager, Gloria Jeans Coffee, Australia chaired some of these sessions. The congress also provided an opportunity to encourage Indian restaurateurs by felicitating them with the prestigious Indian Restaurant Awards in 26 categories. The awards were a mixed bag of known successes and newer, more innovative formats. Delhi’s Rang De Basanti (themed on the blockbuster movie of the same name) was awarded the Most Creative Concept Restaurant, while Ekta Restaurant bagged the Best Highway Restaurant of the Year award. The big brands were well represented too. KFC got the Best Menu R&D and Innovation accolade, Mainland China was the Most Preferred Fine Dining Restaurant, and Punjab Grill was conferred the Most Preferred Restaurant.

illustrations by Prameesh Purushothaman C

photo Courtesy franchise india

A recent study, The Culture of Entitlement, conducted by advisory firm Zinnov, found that employees (especially at the junior level) in R&D departments across multinational companies in India have a strong sense of entitlement. Commissioned to understand the impact of this “culture of entitlement”, the study revealed that this was mostly due to the excess opportunities available in the Indian R&D market. Worryingly, these high employee expectations are almost irrespective of their contribution to the company. Clearly, managing these high expectations is a serious cause of concern. Innovation, for one, is a key casualty of this entitlement culture, said several heads of the R&D centres. Instead of wanting to improve their area of expertise, technically-inclined employees show a strong inclination for managerial roles which creates a pyramid imbalance. Societal pressures and affinity for fancy titles is another contributor to these unhealthy expectations. Employees from pedigreed business schools and educational institutions especially have a higher, oftenunrealistic perception of their own performance. This leads to inflated demands for benefits, highlighted the study. To counter this, Zinnov recommends educating employees to deliver value both at the employee and managerial level, embedding innovation and leadership in a company’s culture so that compensation and other entitlements become secondary, as well as collaborating with industry peers to minimise competition for talent based on compensation alone.


launch

Why Hierarchies Are Good For Productivity (And too much testosterone is not) research corner

Disenchanted with the corporate world, many entrepreneurs strive to keep their organisations as flat as possible. But a recent study suggests that, in some cases, office hierarchies help employees get more done. And that, too many dominant personalities could jam up the works. The findings

The methodology

The study included two experiments. In the first, participants were primed to think as leaders or followers by writing

Too Many Bosses

One experiment required participants to work together to create sentences. Groups with varied levels of power were nearly twice as productive as were groups filled with dominant personalities.

essays about past incidents in their lives involving power dynamics. Some were asked to recall a time when a person had exerted power over them; others were told to describe a time when they were in charge. On the basis of the essays, participants were organised into three types of groups: all high-power individuals, all low-power individuals, and a mix. Each group was asked to complete two tasks. The first task was to find as many words as possible from a scramble of letters and then create sentences from those words. Each sentence required at least one word from each

member of the group. The second task was to list unconventional uses for common items, such as a paper clip and a brick; participants could work together or individually. In the end, the mixed-power groups produced more sentences than the other groups, but all three groups generated a similar number of uses for the household items. In the second experiment, participants were grouped by dominance, as measured by testosterone levels. Again, participants were placed in three types of groups: all hightestosterone individuals, all low-testosterone individuals,

4.5

5 average number of sentences created

The study, conducted by researchers from the business schools at Columbia University and Northwestern and the University of Queensland, Australia, found that when there are tasks that require teamwork, people get more done when there are defined leaders and followers. Without a clear chain of command, members often become sidetracked with grabbing power and lose focus on the task at hand. “When control and coordination are really important, then hierarchy actually helps the group perform more effectively,” says Adam Galinsky, a professor at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management and a co-author of the study.

3

3.1

2.5

1

low power

high power

and a mix. As in the first experiment, each group had to work together to create sentences. Afterwards, participants were asked to rate the level of conflict within their group. The mixed groups created more sentences and reported less conflict than the high-testosterone groups. The low-testosterone groups also had less conflict but were less productive. The takeaway

Big projects need a balance of leaders and followers. And certain projects may require flexibility in the chain of command. For example, a committee charged with developing product ideas will probably be more effective with minimal hierarchy—allowing everyone’s voice to be heard. But the group that develops the product will require a clear leader and welldefined roles. Additionally, entrepreneurs should hire a mix of personality types within departments. Having too many dominant personalities in one team could create a toxic work environment. —April Joyner

mixed power september/october 2012  |  INC. |  13


THE DRESSING ROOM

BY

KRISHNA KUMAR

Krishna Kumar is the founder of Kinesis Sports, a Bangalore-based tennis training institute, and an executive coach specialising in transformational leadership. He believes that participating is more important than winning.

Redefine Winning Are achieving the goals that you have set for yourself really the ones that will make you feel successful? A student at my tennis academy

has a unique problem. Though he is a reasonably good player, he constantly refuses to take part in tournaments that our academy regularly organises. His reluctance to compete in tournaments stems mostly because he believes he’s just not good enough to beat others. In his logic of things, one should compete only to win. And, if one isn’t sure of winning, it’s more sensible to not participate at all, and save oneself from the disappointments of a loss. Consider how many times all of us use that logic as well. Normally, we believe that participation is as crucial as winning, for if everyone used the boy’s logic, there wouldn’t be winners and no measure for excellence. However, when pressed, many of us may consider what I call the “Little Boy Logic” to turn our backs on competition unless we’re sure of victory. This logic was very much at play during the London Olympics where many participants came within a whisker of winning. I’m sure many of you would have watched Argentine tennis player Juan Martin del Potro’s shattered look after losing the semi-finals to Roger Federer, who then went ahead and lost the finals to local favourite Andy Murray. Did we, at any time, feel that del Potro or Federer became inferior after their respective losses? Does falling short of the title turn

14   |  INC. |  september/october 2012

these athletes into losers? It clearly doesn’t. What then makes winning so important? Also, does winning really feel as amazing as it’s supposed to? While the pursuit of a challenging goal is both long and arduous, the joy of victory is at best, momentary. Chances are that the pain of loss is a perillustration by Shigil Narayanan


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THE DRESSING ROOM

sistent memory while the pleasure of winning is often fleeting in comparison. Champion shooter Abhinav Bindra will undoubtedly confirm this, having won the gold medal at Beijing Olympics, and losing in the qualifying heats at London. Step into his shoes. After both these events, the question would have remained the same for him—what next? Whether the competition is once every four years as at the Olympics, or on a daily basis in the business world, the real issue is the way in which we define victory. More often than not, a win flatters to deceive—in other words, it gives us less than we expect. It’s not hard to fathom why. Often the process begins (like in the case of my tennis student) from a very young age when a glimmer of talent is pushed hard at the cost of childhood fun. Kids push their bodies and minds until they become champions. As teens, they set (or are set) targets of entering Ivy League universities, though statistics indicate that alumni of lesser schools end up doing as well in life. Adults measure success from a purely financial perspective, often conveniently ignoring the fact that this metric does not necessarily culminate in one’s happiness. In my many years as a leadership and executive coach, I’ve worked with several high-achieving entrepreneurs and CEOs who have shared their personal joys of having won a new business deal, and overcoming obstacles to meet tough goals. Some of them have received rewards and recognition from their peers for their outstanding performances. These achievements took them long hours of arduous effort, and a constant focus on developing business acumen and skills. However, many complained of a sense of incompleteness once the milestones were reached. This brings me to the all important question. Should we redefine victory so that it’s more inclusive, and entails a more sustained personal satisfaction? Additionally, can there be a better definition of success beyond leading a single-minded life centred on impermanent, seasonal goals? Or do we look beyond, into a more spiritual solution and consider what Lord Buddha 16   |  INC. |  september/october 2012

says: “Is the definition of success different from attaining fulfilment in life”? As is the case with most problems, the solution to this one too lies at the very beginning. It is about doing it right the first time. If we begin well—by defining goals that reflect our passion and dreams—we won’t be left with a sense of disillusionment on attaining them. Yet, how does one do that? What constitutes a real winning goal? I consider three components to be critical drivers. First, we must recognise that only those goals that help us accept and realise our potential can be described as winning goals. Would it be realistic for each and every sprinter to set a goal of running faster than Usain Bolt? Can every swimmer be asked to follow in the footsteps of Michael

and shooters appear completely unruffled when they miss the bullseye? Instead of moping, these athletes accept their failures, learn from their mistakes and prepare for the next challenge. Acceptance of failure is what paves the way for winning as they innovate and continue to invest their time and energy to move towards their goal. They derive satisfaction from the small successes that everyday experiences provide them on this journey. The third and final concept is to understand and accept that true winners set goals that bring shared value to the community. For them, meeting professional and business goals only serve as a step towards adding value to the society. The story of legendary tennis player Andre Agassi comes to mind instantly. Agassi ploughed

Approach victory without the fear of losing. Successful businesses fail multiple times before hitting pay dirt. Phelps when it comes to setting targets? The answer would be a definite no. However, the sprinters and swimmers can definitely commit to working harder and smarter with the goal of becoming better at what they are doing—without necessarily worrying about a championship medal at the end of the road. The corporate world would do well to follow this maxim while setting targets, both in the short-term and the long-term. If the long-term objective is to beat the competition—or even vanquish it—by grabbing significant market share, or through a hostile acquisition so as to make a statement, the chances are that the satisfaction levels after such big-bang moves would be extremely short-lived. Second, it is important to approach victory without any fear of losing. The history of the world tells us of successful businesses failing multiple times before hitting pay dirt. Haven’t we seen champion archers

back significant amounts of his prize money for setting up a school for underprivileged children. What is more interesting is that in his autobiography, Agassi reveals that he actually “hated” playing tennis but felt most fulfilled with his philanthropic venture. If we can use these components while defining our goals, we may end up with a more purposeful career. If you find yourself at that particular stage in your professional or business career where milestones are getting redefined, it might be a great opportunity to ask yourself if the goals that you are setting are truly “winning goals”. And, like my young student who was reluctant to play the tennis match, you can take the first step towards rewriting the definition of winning!

Krishna Kumar can be reached at kk@intradconsult.com


innovation

Companies on the Cutting Edge

“Usable technology is one that integrates into human life without the hassle of being a device.” —Krispian Lawrence, co-founder, Ducere Technologies

How it works Ultrasound sensors help detect obstacles in the wearer’s path, and create varying vibrations at the tip of the shoe. The GPS app uses OSM (Open Street Maps) which can be edited in order to update route changes. Routes can also be saved in the mobile’s memory to be accessed later if internet is not available.

18   |  INC. |  september/october 2012


Le Chal

Ducere Technologies

Smart Feet

Anirudh Sharma and Krispian Lawrence co-founded Ducere Technologies to create haptic or touchoriented communications and feedback tools. They knew the technology could create powerful devices for the visually impaired—but the challenge was in being able to come up with something that was as natural as putting on your shoes before leaving home. Le Chal, their haptic shoe, developed in August 2011 and now undergoing commercial tests, helps the visually-impaired navigate their movement to a desired location with the use of vibrations. All one needs to do is feed in the final destination in the Le Chal Android app in the form of a voice input, and the GPS-powered directions are sent to the shoe through Bluetooth. In the form of vibrations—to the right, left, forward and backward—the shoe navigates the wearer to the destination. This technology could’ve been coded into a waist belt, Sharma says, but Le Chal’s real innovation lies in the fact that unlike most other navigational devices, the shoe provides the wearer a more non-obtrusive communication. Awards Innovator of the Year, TR35 Young Technology Innovators India, 2012 Finalist, Samsung Innovation Quotient Awards 2012

Photograph by srivatsa

reported by Aditi Annapurna


GuEST column

BY

Saurabh Parmar

Saurabh Parmar is the founder and CEO of Brandlogist, a Delhi-based digital branding consultancy. He also teaches digital marketing at the Indian Institute of Mass Communication and 9.9 School of Convergence.

How to drive better ROI from social media Don’t just treat it as a bullet point off your marketing list. Look deeper. Social media is all around us—take conferences, seminars, articles and now

even books that constantly hold forth on the power and wonder of social media. Despite this buzz, several people and most definitely business builders, are still left asking—it sure seems interesting but how do I drive ROI out of it? For newer, fast-growing businesses, ROI is an even more pressing concern. So, how does one take social media to the next level, and what does it take to drive ROI through this medium? First, it takes a change in approach, which does not mean fancy, tech-type jargon. Marketing on social media, much like marketing in the traditional medium, works on logic and understanding your customer. Here are eight tips to drive the maximum bang for your buck by using social media for your brand: Focus on the who: One of the most common metrics a social media practitioner will throw at you is the number of “likes”, followers and views gathered on different social media platforms. Of course, that’s fine. But “how many” isn’t enough; never fail to ask them “who”. Are they among your target audience or do they have a direct influence on your target audience? If they don’t, their numbers become irrelevant, much like selling your products in

2 0   |  INC. |  september/october 2012

India, but running your television commercial in Africa or Australia. Relevant numbers is the key. In fact, more than any other medium, social media allows for relevant targeting—on the basis of age, gender, location or even the kind of workplace. Decide the “about what”: Imagine if someone asks you about your brand and you start talking about music, movies or food instead. You are having a conversation, of course, but is it useful if it’s not really about your brand? This may sound quite silly but that’s exactly what most brands do on their social media pages. By “liking” your page, your customers choose to listen and talk to you. Yet most brands miss out on this great opportunity by not sharing content related to the brand, or not being able to articulate the very behaviour traits that define their brand. Create a content strategy which directly connects to your brand strategy. illustration by Shigil Narayanan


guest column

Emphasise the tone of voice, not the share of voice: Would you rather have more people who have heard about your brand, or a smaller group made of those who are more inclined to buy it? Seems like a no-brainer right? But, most companies still tend to focus on the “share of voice”—more consumers talking about them, or liking them—rather than bringing a fewer, more relevant group closer to purchase. One way to do this is to concentrate on your brand’s influencers i.e. people who like your brand. Your marketing agenda should be to spread their word and convince other potential customers through them. Detractors or those unhappy with your brand offer a great opportunity as well. Solve their concerns and turn their negative experiences to positive ones. When people come to your page or search for it, they need to be convinced of its value. Doing this well on social media is the key to foster connection, eventually leading to sales. Start by listening: Everyday, there are many customers talking about your brand or your category. In today’s digital world, a large part of these conversations take place on social media and can be detected and responded to. Instead of reaching out to everyone, brands need to target those who are already talking about similar issues. For example, think of a customer who is deliberating about buying a laptop and asking others for recommendations, or even somebody who has just posted a negative review of her new laptop. These conversations can serve as leads which can be mined to provide brilliant insights, and help identify influencers. The operating cost of doing this is lesser than the cost of traditional outbound marketing, market research or PR. Share and facilitate: The best social media campaigns have primarily been by brands that go beyond sharing their own promotional or marketing messages to understanding their consumers’ passion points. That makes your marketing more real and dynamic as it tailors the message to what people are talking about anyway. Brands like Skittles, Lego, Skullcandy and

Jet Blue have built themselves using this approach. When your brand can be relevant, helpful, funny or interesting to your customer, it leaves a distinct impression. Use social media to drive your campaigns: The primary medium you usually choose for your marketing is the one with the largest target audience base. Earlier, that wasn’t social media. But things have changed. Facebook recently claimed it

logue, everything from marketing, customer experience, HR policies, or even your supply chain can come up for discussion. Instead of embracing this opportunity, brands tend to focus only on the marketing aspect which constricts the impact, and consequently their campaigns’ ROI. Recently, we helped launch a restaurant chain on social media. One of the

When your brand can be relevant, helpful, funny or interesting to your customer, it leaves a distinct impression. crossed 50 million users in India; Twitter has around 15 million followers and LinkedIn has about 10 million members. Compare this to print media, where the The Times of India stands at 7.85 million readers, and Dainik Jagran at 16.4 million. Even the most popular TV channels have an audience base smaller than Facebook. This reach is not just restricted to the popular 18-34 demographic group. The 45-plus age group accounts for five per cent i.e. 2.5 million of the users, which is more than the readership of the top two business papers put together. Also, because social media is more viral in nature, the cost of advertising is cheaper and your incremental cost decreases with the growth of the community. There is even greater ROI in driving your campaigns through this media because campaigns are not just about contests, they are about exploring what can be done by getting people and your brand together. When your customers are involved in the campaign from the word go, their impact and spread is much greater. Understand social media is horizontal, not vertical: In most organisations, social media is typically restricted to a marketing checklist. But that’s a very narrow approach. Social media is about building dialogue, and like any other dia-

comments we received from a regular patron of the restaurant was that the restaurant shuts at 11.20pm. The restaurant management was surprised by this feedback because the official closing time was midnight. When they looked into the matter, they realised that the outlet’s local staff had begun to shut the restaurant 20-30 minutes before the normal closure time. This was a critical learning as by fixing it, the restaurant chain increased its operations time which led to increased revenue and consequently an increased ROI from the campaign. Integrate your social media into all your divisions. Choose the right metrics: Measuring helps you to evaluate the efficacy of your approach but the key is choosing the right metrics relevant to your approach, such as the relevant number of “likes”, reach by not the number of followers but followerfollowing ratio, relevant content, frequency of response, and tonality. Yet, the biggest metric is understanding whether you are connecting with your customer or not. Social media, like any other brand building mechanism is not a short-term numbers game but a question of building value for your customer.

Contact Saurabh Parmar at saurabh@brandlogist. com. Follow him on Twitter: @saurabhparmar. september/october 2012  |  INC. |  2 1


Your Business Toolbox

The Goods

A New Breed of Compact Computers Tiny desktops get more muscle Small desktop computers seem ideal for businesses, given that they take up less space and cost less than full-size machines. But they have a reputation for being light on performance. Now, companies are introducing mini machines that are powerful enough for business use. Here are four to consider. —John Brandon Best for Connecting Peripherals Apple Mac Mini The 2.7-pound

Mini comes with an Intel Core i5 2.3 GHz processor, 4 GB of RAM, 500 GB of storage, and four USB ports. It also has a Thunderbolt port that connects external devices at speeds up to 20 times faster than USB ports. During our test, we were a bit underwhelmed with the Mini, which took about 90 seconds to boot up and load Gmail and 33 seconds to render an AutoCAD drawing. cost: $799

photo Courtesy subject (4)

Best for Multimedia Asus EeeBox 1503 Our runner-up,

the affordable 2.6-pound EeeBox, has an Intel Atom 2.13 GHz dualcore processor, 4 GB of RAM, and 500 GB of storage, plus six USB ports. Unlike the other models here, it also has a drive for playing and burning DVDs. It booted in just under two minutes, opened Gmail in 13 seconds, and rendered an AutoCAD drawing in 25 seconds. cost: $449

Best for Cloud Computing Samsung Series 3 ChromeBox The speediest

model we tested, the 2.6pound ChromeBox is a browser-only machine designed for cloud computing. It has an Intel Celeron 1.9 GHz processor, 4 GB of RAM, 16 GB of storage, and six USB ports. It blazed through our test, booting in four seconds, loading Gmail instantly, and rendering a complex drawing in the AutoCAD WS Web app in just 24 seconds. It measures 1.3 inches high and 7.5 inches square, about the same as the other computers here. cost: $329

Best for Connecting to Wi-Fi Lenovo ThinkCentre M92p Tiny This

2.9-pound computer comes with an Intel i5 2.9 GHz processor, 2 GB of RAM, and 450 GB of storage, along with five USB ports and an antenna that boosts the system’s Wi-Fi signal. It started up and loaded Gmail in 1 minute and 40 seconds. Not bad. But it took 40 seconds to render a drawing, the worst time of the bunch. cost: $749

september/october 2012  |  INC. |  2 3


the goods

Products + Services

Is Your Smartphone Disaster Proof? If not, these rugged cases could help must-haves

My favourite tool for doing market research

After shelling out a couple of hundred dollars for a new smartphone, you don’t want to worry about breaking it. Rugged phone cases will keep your phone safe and set your mind at ease. Placing an iPhone at risk, we roughed up three of them to see if they are as tough as advertised. —Jennifer Alsever

priya sheth founder be scrappy san francisco

A year ago, I launched Be Scrappy, a website on which people can rent tools for do-ityourself projects. Now, we’re figuring out how to scale our business. To gain insight into what types of new tools we should offer, I’ve been using a platform called AskYourUsers. I can set up a survey in less than five minutes on the AskYourUsers site. After writing an introductory paragraph to describe the survey, I fill in my questions. I can specify how many responses I want, as well as the gender, age, and income of respondents. Once a survey is complete, AskYourUsers sends e-mail notifications to appropriate “microconsultants” in its network. They spend 15 minutes answering the questions. Within a couple of hours, I get an e-mail with a link to responses on the site. I’ve used other market research tools in the past, but they were more about quantity than quality. AskYourUsers’s survey responses are much more detailed. I also like the fact that the completed surveys include limited LinkedIn profiles of respondents. I use the site’s basic service, which costs $22 per response. It’s been a great go-to tool whenever questions come up that I need answered quickly and in depth. —As told to April Joyner

2 4   |  INC. |  september/october 2012

Protection from: dust and drops Otterbox Defender Series

Weighing in at 1.8 ounces, the Defender has a clear screen protector, a polycarbonate shell and a silicone skin. During our test, it survived being tossed out a two-story window and a moving car, sprayed with a hose, and buried in sand. When we ran it over with an SUV, the phone’s back shattered, but it still worked. Available for iPhones, BlackBerrys, and the Samsung Galaxy S2, Motorola Droid X2 and Motorola Milestone X. cost: $49.95 to $59.95

Protection from: dust, drops and shock Ballistic Hard Core Case

The 6.9-ounce Ballistic is made of polymers and silicone. It has a clear screen protector and water-resistant mesh over the speakers. The case and phone survived drops from a second-story window and a car driving at 45 mph. We also doused it with a hose and buried it in sand. When we backed over it with an SUV, the phone’s screen cracked, but it still worked (as with the other cases here, the Ballistic was unscathed after the rollover). Available for iPhones, LG Nitro HD, Motorola Admiral, and HTC Evo 3D. cost: $49.99

Protection from: drops, shock and vibration Tank by Case-Mate

This 1.6-ounce iPhone case has a polycarbonate shell with a silicone interior and a retractable screen shield made of thick plastic. Designed to provide militarygrade protection, the Tank was the only case in our round-up to crack after a 25-foot drop onto concrete or break apart when thrown from a moving car. That said, the phone remained unscathed. The phone and case also survived a dousing with a hose, burial in sand, and being run over by an SUV. cost: $60

illustrations by Prameesh Purushothaman C


Products + Services

Chilled Out! Refresh your laptop with this cooler Workaholics, there’s some good news for

you. Overheated laptops begging for a shutdown are now history with the range of new laptop coolers available in the market. Courtesy Digit, India’s leading personal technology magazine, we bring you a review of one such product, the Cooler Master Notepal X3. Let’s begin with the positives. The Notepal X3 is nice and portable. Plus, it’s well designed and looks snazzy thanks to the glowing LED lights surrounding the fan situated just below the top grille. It also weighs less than a kilogram which helps those constantly on the move. Just tuck it into your laptop bag, and carry it around. Getting it going is effortless too. The Notepal X3 connects to your laptop via a USB cord. To help you avoid losing one of your USB ports when you are hooking up the cooler, the Notepal X3 comes with an in-built port. Below the large-grilled surface top sits a big 200 mm fan which runs very quietly with almost no perceptible noise. The Notepal X3 claims to accommodate up to 17-inch laptops and it does so quite well. It also comes with extended rubber stands placed on its bottom panel for customised height adjustment. We tested these claims in our lab, and found the before-after comparisons encouraging. We took a laptop where the CPU temperature was recorded at 49 degrees Celsius at idle, and 73 degrees Celsius at full load. After turning the X3 fan on full blast, the idle and full load temperatures dropped down to 44

degrees Celsius and 66 degrees Celsius respectively. Hence, the X3 helped bring temperatures down by five to seven degrees Celsius. This performance is marginally lower than the earlier launched Cooler Master Notepal U stand. But the Notepal X3 sells at a 20 per cent lower price. Compared to the Notepal U

Specifications color: Black

material: Aluminium, plastic, rubber weight: 0.9 kg

connection: 1xUSB 2.0, miniUSB power: 5V DC, 0.28A warranty: 1 year

stand, the Notepal X3 looks much better though. Unfortunately, the look-and-feel upgrade doesn’t extend to its functional design. The Notepal U scores considerably higher there. Our verdict—the Notepal X3 is a good buy. It looks fancy, and delivers a decent performance at decent money. But, if you can shell out a bit extra, the Notepal U is the way to go. —www.thinkdigit.com

social smarts

Your Facebook posts, optimised Odds are that only about 16 per cent of your company’s Facebook fans are reading your wall posts, according to the social networking site. A new service called PostRocket can improve your reach. The service uses a proprietary algorithm, with analytics supplied by Facebook, to determine which posts get the most Likes, Shares and Comments. The software then suggests when and how often you should publish posts, what subject matter you should feature, and whether you should include links, videos and photos. You can also queue posts to be published automatically at optimal times. cost: Starting at $100 a month after a free 30-day trial —Jillian D’Onfro

the goods

mobile apps

Outlook is fine for scheduling meetings in the office. Two new smartphone apps are designed for organising spontaneous hangouts— an offsite conference or a sales trip, for instance. Uberlife’s free, locationbased iPhone app lets you create a post stating where you are or plan to be. Then, you can invite your Uberlife friends, Facebook friends and Twitter followers to join you. When someone in your Uberlife network comes within a half-mile radius of your phone, a window pops up to alert you. You can also view a list of nearby friends. The app displays local points of interest, including coffee shops and restaurants, so you can pick a place to meet. It also tracks responses to invites. Giddyup is like Evite for mobile phones. You can create an event and add notes, photos and locations, and then invite anyone in your phone’s Contacts folder. Other Giddyup users can reply with a yes, no or maybe; people without the app receive a text invite and can reply by clicking on a link for Giddyup’s mobile site. The free app, which is available for iPhones and Android phones, tracks replies and lets you hold group chats with invitees. Unlike Uberlife, it does not alert you when your friends are nearby. —John Brandon september/october 2012  |  INC. |  2 5


the goods

Products + Services

tech trends john brandon

People Are Talking Putting reputation-management services to the test app review

Eyejot’s video business card Most company websites feature informational videos. The new Eyejot vCard app lets you add video to a digital business card as well. Here’s how it works: after downloading the app to your iPhone, add your contact information, links to social networks, and a photo. Then, use the app to record a video up to five minutes long and add it to the card, which you can share via e-mail or text message. You can include a map showing where you were when you sent the card, which also features a downloadable version of your contact information that can be imported easily into an address book. You can save up to five videos at a time on the app. Another nifty feature: the app can turn your phone into a name badge for conferences. Simply turn your phone sideways, hang it from a lanyard using a special case, and your photo, name and company name will appear. During our test, adding contact data to a vCard was a snap, but it took several attempts to record a video that looked professional. (For a more polished result, we suggest editing video on a computer or with Apple’s iMovie app, which costs $4.99.) It also took a while to upload the video. That said, we were impressed with the result. Eyejot plans to launch a vCard app for Android phones this summer. cost: 99 cents —Jennifer Alsever

2 6   |  INC. |  september/october 2012

About a year ago, I wrote a video-game review that prompted an outcry on dozens of blogs. I felt blindsided by the amount of negative feedback. As a tech journalist with a big web presence, I’m used to getting both kudos and criticism. But for the first time, I wished I had a way to manage my online reputation. Recently, I tried two services, Social Mention and MyReputation, to see if they could help. Social Mention is a free service that scours more than 100 social-media sites, including Twitter and Facebook, for mentions of your personal or business brand. To get started, I typed my name and Twitter handle in a box on the service’s homepage. Within seconds, a page popped up with a list of mentions preceded by red, green or grey dots indicating if comments were negative, positive or neutral given the words they contained (for example, lame or awesome). For the most part, the results were accurate. I was chagrined, but not shocked, to see dozens of negative mentions—mostly in Twitter posts—about my infamous video-game review. I spent an hour responding to my critics. Upon close examination, I realised the system incorrectly flagged a few comments as negative. For instance, one reader used the word embarrassing to describe a company I wrote about, not the article itself—or, thankfully, the author. The page also featured a few helpful stats summarising my online reputation. For example, my “sentiment” score of 9:1 meant I had nine positive mentions for every negative one. Not bad. The site also listed some of my most active Twitter followers, whom I spent about an hour thanking for their loyalty. MyReputation, a more robust service offered by Reputation.com, starts at $99 a year. It uses proprietary technology to search

any sites crawled by search engines. To kickstart the search, I entered my contact information, a few links to recent articles, and my LinkedIn job history. After an hour, a report appeared on my dashboard. Of all the mentions of me online, 97 per cent were neutral, 1 per cent were positive, and just 2 per cent were

SERVICE

BEST FOR

Social Mention (free)

• Monitoring social media

MyReputation ($99 a year for a starter plan)

• Monitoring blogs, forums and review sites

negative. Phew. My “visibility” rank, which indicates how often my name appears on the first page of Google search results, was 30 per cent. The dashboard also included a list of hundreds of mentions of me, mostly in blog and story comments. I could sort the results by site category, search rank, date and tone, which helped focus my responses. (MyReputation can also post positive information about you online to improve your search-engine results, but a company representative said my web presence was too big for that service to be effective.) By the end of my experiment, I had a much more complete picture of my online reputation. More importantly, I had a better system for responding to fans and critics. After all, it’s one thing to find out what people are saying about you. It’s another thing to change the conversation.


CERTIFIED FOR ISO: 9001-2000, 22000-2005 FOR FOOD SAFETY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM

E

stablished in the year 1967, Kejriwal Group is a premier supplier of food products from India. Kejriwal started exporting honey in 1997 and within a short period it has grown as the premier Honey exporter to Europe, USA and the Middle East. The company has an ultra modern facility with a capacity to handle above 100MT daily the largest in India. Complete traceability is maintained for all honey from the farm level and is packed under most stringent hygienic conditions, thus, containing the natural flavors and vital enzymes tested in our lab accredited laboratory (based on ISO: 1 7 0 2 5 - 2 0 0 5 ) equipped with sophisticated instruments tomeet international quality and safety requirements. Having proved our self in bulk supply, we have now ventured into the field of retail packaging, already packing for premier FMCG brands and Private labels for both domestic and international markets. In short, if you are looking for quality honey from India, Kejriwal is your answer.

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Regd. Off.: W-42, Greater Kailash-II, New Delhi-110048 Tel.: +91-11-29219677/78/79 Fax: +91-11-29210985 E-mail: mail@kejriwalgroup.co.in

Unit: Village Jalalpur, P.O. Banpura, Distt. Patiala, Zirakpur, Patiala Highway, Punjab-140601 INDIA Tel.: +91-1762-251411, 326135 E-mail: kbc@kejriwalgroup.co.in

Visit us at www.kejriwalenterprises.com, kejriwalhoney.com


Leadership You need to be boring, vague and emotionally detached to be a good leader. Seriously? Stanford professor Bob Sutton certainly believes so. Take being vague, for example. Sutton says by not being too specific, leaders can gain more operating room to tweak decisions. Read on for other counter-intuitive approaches to effective leadership. this page.

Elevator Pitch

Does Excelsior Education seem like a viable investment at `1.5 crore? page 32

strategy Leadership Boring = good? Inspirational = bad? A thoroughly counter-intuitive approach to the art of leading For Bob Sutton, leadership is not a set of abstract principles and behaviours but an expression of human comedy and tragedy. The Stanford professor knows the academic research, but many of his insights are drawn from the hundreds of conversations he has had with business leaders, including some of Silicon Valley’s brightest stars. Sutton has also become a kind of Wailing Wall for beleaguered managers (and managed) who share their tales of woe in response to books such as Good Boss, Bad Boss and The No Asshole Rule. Recently, Sutton spoke with Inc. editor-at-large Leigh Buchanan about when good leaders go bad—and vice versa. You and I have been e-mailing about leadership traits, and at one point you suggested, “Good leaders know when to be boring, vague, emotionally detached, and authoritarian.” Under what circumstances might such traits be desirable? Start with boring. Illustration by Anil T

september/october 2012  |  INC. |  2 9


strategy

There are two situations in which it’s a good idea to be boring. One is when you’re working on something but, so far, all you’ve got is bad news. Under those circumstances, any outside attention is bad. Don Petersen was the CEO of Ford after the Iacocca era, and he was responsible for turning the company around. He told me a story about being invited to speak at the National Press Club. He didn’t want to do it. At the time, Ford had no good cars at all. But he and his PR chief decided he would go and give a speech about the most boring subject they could think of. At the time, that was safety. He practised speaking in the most boring way possible, using the passive voice and long sentences. He put up charts that were hard to read, and then turned his back to the audience to talk about the charts. After that, the press lost interest in him for a while, so he could concentrate on doing the work. The other situation is when you’re dealing with controversy. Stanford used to have this brilliant provost, James Rosse. When he talked about something like the school’s Nobel Prize winners, he would be animated and exciting and charismatic. But when he had to talk about something like the lack of diversity on campus, he would ramble on for 20 minutes while looking at his feet. I thought it was brilliant. When is it desirable to be vague?

There’s a lot of research on the value of ambiguity. If you’re not too specific, it gives you more operating room. But you still have to sound specific. Politicians are very good at that. Emotionally detached?

That would be going through the emotions but not feeling it. Leaders carry such an emotional load that there are times you have to do it to protect yourself. I was originally thinking about this in terms of an employee who has to detach in order to deal with an abusive boss. But I’ve heard CEOs of start-ups as well as big companies talking about how some board member or supplier or somebody is treating them like shit. In those 3 0   |  INC. |  september/october 2012

situations, you have to have the ability to not let it touch your soul. Is there ever a reason to be emotionally detached from employees?

No. Not even when you’re firing someone. Authoritarian was the last one.

The more expertise you have and the more time pressure you are under, the more authoritarianism may be necessary.

Corruption and sadism? I guess so. Although there are some leaders with a lot of sadism. I would add persistent sexual harassment. But then there’s that guy who founded American Apparel. Lovely human being, huh? As long as you are winning and making money in America, it’s amazing what you will get away with. Is there a single, unassailable trait that every leader should possess?

Everything is potentially assailable to an academic. But I would say the ability to understand how you come across to others. The best leaders tend to be moderately assertive. That doesn’t mean they are medium pushy all the time. It means that they are good enough at reading a situation to know when to turn up the volume in terms of getting in people’s faces versus get out of the way. In tough times, what leadership traits are the first to go out the window?

The more expertise you have and the more time pressure you are under, the more authoritarianism may be necessary. — Bob Sutton, professor, Stanford University

Research shows that people prefer hierarchy to anarchy. If you have a track record and they have faith in you, they want you to step up. At Pixar, for example, the director is king. Brad Bird, who directed The Incredibles and Ratatouille, is the nicest guy you’ve ever met. Brad wants you to argue with him. He wants dissension. But in the end, Brad makes the decision. Sorry. That’s the way it is. Are there traits that are never acceptable in a leader? Corruption and sadism, presumably. Others?

The ability to look at things in a cognitively complex way. The more stress you are under, the more you oversimplify things. You tend to grab the first decision. It’s really easy to become selfish and stupid. Look at Tony Hayward’s performance after the BP oil spill.

Are there circumstances in which desirable leadership traits work against you? Like being decisive?

Being decisive is a problem when you act on virtually no information. You succumb to the temptation to do something, even though you’re not sure what the right thing is. I remember interviewing Randy Komisar, the venture capitalist, about his experiences as the CEO of a couple of gaming companies, including Lucasarts. He said it’s better to pay five game designers to sit around for a year and think about


strategy

and discuss over lattes the game they are going to design than to ramp up 200 designers and have them create a bad game because you can’t stand not shipping something. I liked that. How about toughness?

The problem is, you can be in a room with three people and they all have different interpretations of how tough you need to be. Some of that is cultural. The way you would give someone negative feedback at Google would generally be nicer than how you would do it at Intel, just because they have different cultures. Mark Marquess has been the coach of the Stanford baseball team for more than 30 years. He argues that coaches have to be incredibly schizophrenic. There are prima donnas you have to make feel terrible to get them going. And other players who lack self-esteem that needs to be

built up. So, half the time he’s being an asshole, and half the time he’s being a nice guy. That’s because he really understands the people he works with. Is there ever a downside to being inspirational?

That can get you in trouble, because happiness is a function of what you expect versus what you get. It can be better to have people focused on tiny things that keep them enthusiastic about what they’re doing minute to minute than to always talk about the grand vision. What gets us to that grand vision is ordinary work. Doing boring things well might be the key to success. How about charisma?

Depends on the definition. If charisma is about you being an exciting, emotionally articulate person who draws all the attention to yourself, then you’re not motivat-

ing people. That’s just a big ego display. There’s a study that shows that after people become superstar CEOs—they get a lot of press attention, they write a book—their pay goes up, but the performance of their companies goes down. That’s a very Jim Collins-y kind of thing. Speaking of Jim Collins, what do you think of his Level 5 Leadership concept, which combines humility and drive?

I think Good to Great does a great disservice as it perpetuates the tendency to give too much credit and too much blame to leaders for why things happen. If the company is a great success, the leader is a hero. If it fails, he’s the villain. It puts so much focus on leadership, it’s ridiculous. Every person I’ve ever met who told me they were a Level 5 leader was not. Claiming as much is like a diagnostic of arrogance and narcissism.


strategy

Elevator Pitch Excelsior Education readies children for life beyond school. Can they tutor you to invest `1.5 crore?

Founders:

Anubhav Jain Dhruv Bhushan Location:

Jaipur

Employees:

8

2011 Revenue:

`15 lakh

2012 Projected revenue:

`1.1 crore Pricing:

Schools are charged a base price of `2,500 per student per year Sessions on:

Confidence building, communication skills, etiquette, aptitude assessment, career counselling Funding sought:

`1.5 crore

Funding sought for:

Expanding operations from Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh to a panIndia presence

The Pitch: “Academic knowledge may help a child excel at school but in the

outside world, they need life skills to succeed. Although there are nearly ten lakh schools in India, we are confident less than one in 10 school manages to deliver life education effectively. At Excelsior, we have developed a year long course, with the help of teachers, principals and life-skills experts to impart this knowledge to students. Our course of 30 sessions—made up of interactive exercises such as role playing, team tasks and interviews is designed to develop communication, confidence and creativity among children. We have already tied up with the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan of Rajasthan for the 67 KVs of the state as well as premier schools like Delhi Public School, Birla International School and GD Goenka School. The opportunity is huge with the universe of school students in India totalling 195 million children between six and 14 years of age. Also, the significant gap between academic and non-academic services offered, throws up several opportunities for us. Because our module is incorporated into the curriculum, we are also assured of repeat business.” —As told to Ira Swasti

The Experts Weigh In WORK ON THE PRICING

TRY THE B2C MODEL

DO THE SALES MATH

Finishing schools as a concept is good and so is Excelsior’s offering. But I’m not sure about the pricing. A `2,500 “base price” for a school teaching confidence building is not cool. If you study the tier 2 to tier 4 spending pattern in education, they spend money on schooling or tuition and educational materials. Excelsior’s 2011 revenue was `15 lakh and their 2012 projected revenue is `1.1 crore. That’s 10 times EBITA. Great! But will they be willing to give away 70 per cent of the shares? Probably not.

The market potential for this business is huge and its need is widespread in big and small cities alike. They could try selling to parents directly (not via schools) as not many have tried such a model. In a focused geographical area, the cost of customer acquisition is not very high and once the brand is built, the cost of customer acquisition will actually reduce with time. One challenge I can foresee is selling to schools efficiently while keeping the costs of sales in control.

It looks like a smart start-up with a realistic view on the future of its business. But the founders need to keep in mind that reaching out to 195 million children might be a big challenge. Our research shows that of the 290 million (approx) children currently enrolled in K-12 schools, only 1.6 million are enrolled in schools in top 100 cities with fees over `20,000 a year. If they want to reach out to pupils outside the top 100 cities, the costs for the sales force will increase sharply, pulling down the profit margins.

Kris Nair, managing partner, Opdrage Venture Partners, Mumbai

Vijay Shukla, managing partner, Eduvisors, Gurgaon

Abhinav Mital, senior principal, The Parthenon Group, Mumbai

3 2   |  INC. |  september/october 2012

LOCATION Courtesy SHAHEED RAJPAL DAV PUBLIC SCHOOL, NEW DELHI

Launched:

May 2011


Confidence Contest

Can Anubhav Jain and Dhruv Bhushan gain investors’ confidence?

Photograph by Subhojit Paul

september/october 2012  |  INC. |  3 3


3 4   |  INC. |  september/october 2012

3-D 500 created by Midhun Mohan

IMAGING BY Shigil Narayanan


Always At It! The economy has slowed down and the mood is grim. Yet, these companies have made good on their mission of growth. Unveiling India’s fastestgrowing companies under `1,500 crore.

september/october 2012  |  INC. |  3 5


, Evolving constantly

W

hat we value most about the opportunity to bring out the annual Inc. India 500 are the insights and glimpses it offers us into the Indian economy. Our fourth edition of the ranking isn’t disappointing on this account. It squarely mirrors three distinct characteristics of the current economy—diversity, transition and slowdown. Each of these characteristics is clearly visible in the sectoral break-up, the nature of business that these companies have embraced and their performance from April 1, 2007 to March 31, 2011. As always, the ranking also represents the dynamism prevalent in India’s mid-size segment. So, even while as many as 124 companies from last year’s ranking continue to be on the list, this year’s ranking also saw 376 new companies debut on it. Each year, this list of 3 6   |  INC. |  september/october 2012

newcomers is full of surprises and great stories. So, while wellknown companies like Tally Solutions and Gujarat Natural Resources, marked their entry into our ranking, there were also several undiscovered gems that are now shining through. Take our top company, Arunjyoti Enterprises, for example. It’s the fastest-growing company on our list with a whopping 1,231 per cent growth rate over the past four years. Yet, many of our readers might not have even heard of this `71-crore company which owns Taaza, the grocery retail chain in southern India. Similar to the previous years, our fastest-growing companies come from a diverse mix of sectors. But, the composition of this mix has changed this year, largely due to the slowdown felt in many sectors and expectedly, the pace of growth having slowed down. From a combined growth rate of 143 per cent in 2010, the combined growth rate of our 500 honourees in the 2012 edition is a modest 41 per cent. As a consequence, share of sectors like real estate that flourished during the high growth years has dropped; even as IT & ITeS has braved the slowdown to maintain its place. Taking top spot in our sectoral ranking is food and beverage, that has raced up to the Inc. India 500 chart for the first time since we began our ranking in 2009. Overall, though, when seen in the context of previous years, growth rates of our top five sectors this time—food and beverages, IT and ITeS, steel and ferrous metals, real estate and construction, and textiles and garment—have, on an average, dropped by 12.6 per cent. This slowing of pace hasn’t made a dent on the diversity of the companies in our list though. Spread across 40 sectors, the list includes companies from 66 cities across the country, from Amritsar in Punjab to Modakurichi in Tamil Nadu. What is equally interesting is the mix of companies on the list. This


always at it!

9.2

41.00 2012

Real Estate & Construction Import & Export

Auto Ancillaries

5.6 4.8 4.2 3.6 3.2 Plastic Products

8

8.6 8.4 Steel & Ferrous Metals

11

Drugs & Pharmaceuticals

geographical diversity is evident in the category of companies— from innovative, cutting-edge companies like One97, IMI Mobile and UFO Moviez India, to great performances in old economy sectors such as textile, sugar and rubber. As we’ve chronicled 500 stories of growth each year, we’ve seen that to be a winner, one requires focus and determination. Yes, sometimes the risks might not work, as is evident from the constantly changing mix of companies in our list. But, it is this vibrancy that makes tracking these companies compelling, exciting and rewarding. However, the challenge of understanding private companies that aren’t required to furnish financial information remains daunting, and is a huge roadblock when one begins to train the spotlight on this segment. Disproportionate to the importance mid-sized companies have in the Indian economy at large, both the depth and quality of data available is unfortunately inversely related. It’s also why the

52.7 2011

Top 10 sectors: Sectoral share in inc. india 500 (%)

Textiles & garment

The selected companies were assessed by our team in consultation with our five jury members. The parameters included sales growth over the last four years, the company’s line of business, year of incorporation and business leadership. To account fairly, we divided companies into four segments: (i) revenue below 100 crore, (ii) between `101—`500 crore, (iii) between `501—`1000 crore and (iv) between `1000— `1,500 crore. The top 10 in each category were selected.

62.45 2009

IT & ITeS

Research strategy We initiated the ranking exercise by creating a master list of more than 5,000 companies across 40 sectors. These companies were compiled from the following sources: Inc. India 500 in-house data: Our research team has compiled a database of more than 3,500 unlisted companies over the last five years Online media campaign: Registrations from online media campaign that ran over the past nine months Nominations: Nominations from industry associations or chambers of commerce and private equity firms

143.46 2010

Chemicals

Who we assessed Independent Indian companies with sales turnover between `50 crore and `1,500 crore. If the company belongs to a group, the group’s sales turnover should not exceed `1,500 crore, as of FY 2010-11 Positive sales growth for the last three years

Average Growth rate (%) over the past four years

Food & Beverage

Ranking methodology

The Inc. India 500 ranking methodology has been designed and developed by the Inc. India research team. The ranking seeks to identify and recognise fast-growing independent companies in the Indian mid-size segment. The chosen companies were picked independently by the research team from its in-house database. We’ve also included companies who registered through an online campaign we launched in February 2012.

discovery of hidden gems and chronicling their successes gives us such a great sense of accomplishment. If we could wish for something more for our next year’s ranking, it would be to solicit greater participation from the midsized community. Each year, as we continue to dig deeper for insights and marshal more figures, we are encouraged by the fact that gradually more companies are opening up to share their numbers with us. We wish many more will find a similar benefit from what we at Inc. India are driven by—to identify and highlight a pool of high-growth, high-performance companies. —John L. Khiangte, head of research, Inc. India september/october 2012  |  INC. |  3 7


The INC. India 500 JURy

Narayan K Seshadri kavil

Narayan K. Seshadri focuses on the creation of business wealth by working with families and first generation entrepreneurs. He founded and is the chairman of Tranzmute Capital and Management, an entity designed to provide his strategic insights, managerial input and capital. He had earlier founded Halcyon Resources and Capital, which ran a special situations fund and spawned several new businesses. A chartered accountant by education, he has over 30 years of experience in the fields of business strategy, growth, restructuring, finance, investment management, accounting and consulting, across different industries. He has also served on several RBI committees and is actively involved in advanced financial research through his association with the RBI promoted CAFRAL. 3 8   |  INC. |  september/october 2012

photo Courtesy subject

For the first time since we began our ranking in 2009, we decided to bring in a jury to help us identify India’s fastest growing mid-size enterprises. Our eminent jury has helped us refine our ranking, and their contributions have been both useful and informative.


Ramachandran FranK Hancock Giri Giridhar

Frank Hancock is the managing director of the investment banking division at Barclays Capital, where he heads the corporate finance team in India. Based in Mumbai, Frank has over 25 years of experience in investment banking, more than 10 of them spent in India, where he worked first for UBS Group, then ABN AMRO Bank and later, Barclays Capital. During his career, Frank has helped create some of the largest M&A transactions in India including TATA’s $13-billion acquisition of Corus PLC, the $2.5 billion privatisation of New Delhi and Mumbai Airports, and Bharti Airtel’s $10.7 million acquisition of the African operations of Zain. Frank is a UK citizen with MA degrees in Classics from Oxford, and Arabic Studies from Georgetown. Prior to arriving in India, Frank worked on debt and equity transactions in Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe.

Photograph by Jiten Gandhi


The INC. India 500 JURy

Narayan K Seshadri kavil Kavil Ramachandran is the Thomas Schmidheiny Chair Professor of Family Business and Wealth Management at the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad. He has specialised in family business, entrepreneurship and strategy and has over 33 years of experience as an academic. He obtained a PhD from the Cranfield School of Management, UK in 1986 on a comparative study of the small enterprise policies of Japan, UK and India. He has also authored or edited six books and has extensively published in reputed Indian and international journals. He has also been associated with the FBN International for several years, and has served on various advisory committees of the Government of India, World Bank and SEBI.

4 0   |  INC. |  september/october 2012

Photograph by a.prabhakar rao


Ramachandran FranK Hancock Giri Giridhar

Giri Giridhar is the global CFO of Wockhardt. Giri has had an extensive international experience having lived and worked in London, Singapore, Dubai and India. This experience has been built across several sectors such as FMCG, financial services and now pharmaceuticals. He has spent several years with Diageo PLC, working as the business development director, covering M&A and strategy at London, and earlier as the regional finance director for Asia, based in Singapore. Prior to this, he has also worked for ITC, IL&FS, Aditya Birla Retail and Shoppers Stop. He is a chartered accountant with an MBA from Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.

Photograph by Jiten Gandhi

september/october 2012  |  INC. |  41


Our class of 2012 The Honourees The most comprehensive ranking of India’s fastest-growing mid-sized companies.

NO.

11

2007 turnover

`3 lakh

2011 turnover

`71 crore

COMPANY

Growth rate (%)

17

Rama Medicares

106%

18

Artemis Medicare Services

104%

19

Arihant Superstructures

102%

20

Point Red Telecom

102%

21

Vikas Granaries

100%

22

IMI Mobile

99%

23

Chandra Prabhu International

98%

24

Micro Secure Solutions

97%

25

Mahalaxmi Rubtech

96%

Arunjyoti Enterprises

1,231%

2

Tinna Viterra Trade

597%

3

Barbeque Nation Hospitality

429%

4

4G Identity Solutions

395%

5

Diamant Infrastructure

288%

6

Veritas (India)

285%

7

Gujarat Natural Resources

281%

8

Polygenta Technologies

274%

9

Spectacle Infotek

269%

26

Enzen Global Solutions

93%

10

Edserv Softsystems

203%

27

Arcotech

91%

11

Aseem Global

153%

28

Santaram Spinners

90%

12

NewAge Fire Fighting

136%

29

Horizon Infrastructure

85%

13

Vyapar Industries

134%

30

Delta Corporation

85%

14

Southern Ispat & Energy

122%

31

Sumeet Industries

85%

15

Anant Raj Industries

118%

32

Firstobject Technologies

85%

16

Swan Energy

107%

33

Gateway Rail Freight

84%

4 2   |  INC. |  september/october 2012


34

Chromatic India

81%

76

First Winner Industries

56%

35

Supreme Infrastructure India

80%

77

Shiva Texfabs

56%

36

Jaihind Projects

80%

78

Vakrangee Software

56%

37

Arcee Ispat Udyog

80%

79

Usher Agro

56%

38

P & R Infraprojects

80%

80

Hindustan Cargo

55%

39

UFO Moviez India

78%

81

R S B Transmissions (I)

55%

40

Jain Infraprojects

76%

82

Ashoka Buildcon

55%

41

Simon India

75%

83

BVG India

54%

42

Eastern Gases

74%

84

Glodyne Technoserve

53%

43

Sanraa Media

73%

85

Technofab Engineering

53%

44

Baramati Agro

73%

86

Liberty Phosphate

53%

45

Gravita India

73%

87

Raunaq International

53%

46

Linkson International

71%

88

Niraj Cement Structurals

52%

47

Cameo Corporate Services

70%

89

Aqua Logistics

52%

48

Sezal Glass

70%

90

Driplex Water Engineering

52%

49

MARG

66%

91

Supreme Tex Mart

51%

50

Lancor Holdings

66%

92

MBL Infrastructures

50%

51

Shekhawati Poly-Yarn

65%

93

Som Distilleries & Breweries

50%

52

J Kumar Infraprojects

64%

94

Vikas Global One

50%

53

Cerebra Integrated Technologies

64%

95

Rajputana Stainless

49%

54

EMC

63%

96

Everonn Education

49%

55

Gangotri Iron & Steel

63%

97

Shree Bhawani Paper Mills

49%

56

Polyplex Corporation

63%

98

Simplex Projects

49%

57

Mediaone Global Entertainment

63%

99

Tirupati Inks

49%

58

Sankalp Forgings

61%

100

Bartronics India

48%

59

Axiom Cordages

60%

101

Vidhi Dyestuffs Manufacturing

48%

60

One97

60%

102

Symphony

47%

61

Kamadgiri Fashion

60%

103

Pincon Spirit

47%

62

Confidence Petroleum India

60%

104

Walsons Services

46%

63

Cox & Kings

60%

105

Om Metals Infraprojects

46%

64

Nitin Fire Protection Industries

59%

106

ZCL Chemicals

46%

65

Puneet Resins

59%

107

Narayana Hrudayalaya

45%

66

Timbor Home

59%

108

Gitanjali Brands

45%

67

Kemrock Industries & Exports

59%

109

Ruchira Papers

45%

68

BMW Industries

59%

110

Astral Poly Technik

45%

69

Apollo Metalex Private

59%

111

Parekh Aluminex

45%

70

ARSS Infrastructure Projects

59%

112

Crew BOS Products

44%

71

Educomp Solutions

57%

113

Maan Aluminium

44%

72

Mittal Corporation

57%

114

Tally Solutions

44%

73

Sequent Scientific

57%

74

Hythro Power Corporation

57%

115

Shiv-Vani Oil & Gas Exploration Services

44%

75

Concurrent (India) Infrastructure

57%

116

Manjushree Technopack

44%

among the top 10 performers in the garment & textile sector

The Mumbai-based company ranks seventh in one of Inc. India 500’s top five sectors— garment and textile. See page 58

“The toughest part of my job is to bring about a change in outlook in a labour intensive industry like ours.” — Surendra kedia, co-founder

september/october 2012  |  INC. |  4 3


The class of 2012 INC INDIA RANK

COMPANY NAME

Growth rate (%)

155

Su-Kam Power Systems

38%

156

Gujarat Foils

38%

157

Adinath Bio-Labs

38%

158

Everest Organics

37%

159

Core Education & Technologies

37%

160

GVR Infra Projects

37%

161

T & I Global

37%

162

Cross-Tab

37%

163

CMI

37%

164

Dr Agarwal’S Eye Hospital

37%

165

Famy Care

37%

166

V-Guard Industries

37%

167

Diamond Power Infrastructure

36%

168

Bafna Pharmaceuticals

36%

169

Shri Lakshmi Metal Udyog

36%

170

Benzo Petro International

36%

171

Tijaria Polypipes

36%

172

D S Kulkarni Developers

36%

173

Associated Pigments

36%

174

Pratibha Industries

35%

175

Nile

35%

176

Murlidhar Ratanlal Exports

35%

177

Arch Pharmalabs

35%

117

Jai Bharat Gum & Chemicals

44%

118

Tops Security

43%

119

PNC Infratech

43%

th

120

Paladion Networks

43%

121

Thanga Mayil Jewellery

43%

highest three-year sales CAGR in the top sector of Inc. India 500—food and beverage.

122

RPP Infra Projects

43%

123

Smruthi Organics

43%

124

eClerx

43%

125

Unique Organics

43%

126

Riddhi Siddhi Gluco Biols

43%

127

Malu Paper Mills

42%

128

Flexituff International

41%

129

Goenka Diamond & Jewels

41%

130

Baba Arts

41%

131

Ganesha Ecosphere

40%

132

Geodesic

40%

“the hardest decisions we have had to make are around organisational structure.”

133

Mayur Uniquoters

40%

134

Genesis Colors

40%

135

Vijay Home Appliances

40%

136

Shilpa Medicare

40%

137

Blossom Industries

40%

— P.D. Mundhra, co-founder

138

Salzer Electronics

40%

L N Industries India

35%

Southern Online Bio Technologies

178

139

40%

179

Kaveri Seed

34%

180

C & C Constructions

34%

181

Solar Industries India

34%

182

Tulsi Extrusions

34%

183

Dujodwala Products

34%

184

VMC Systems

34%

185

Mazda Colours

34%

186

Atul Auto

34%

187

Loyal Textile Mills

34%

188

DFM Foods

34%

189

Emmbi Polyarns

34%

190

Devi Fisheries

34%

191

A2Z Maintenance & Engg Services

34%

192

E4E Healthcare Business Services

34%

193

Haldiram Bhujiawala

33%

194

Prakash Steelage

33%

195

Sunil Hitech Engineers

33%

6

among the top 10 companies in the food & beverage sector

Blossom is the eighth fastestgrowing company in Inc. India 500’s top sector.

140

NHB Ball & Roller

40%

141

Aarey Drugs & Pharmaceuticals

39%

142

S T Cottex Exports

39%

143

Motif India Infotech

39%

144

Nu Tek India

39%

145

Black Rose Industries

39%

146

Mavens Biotech

39%

147

Ganga Papers India

39%

148

Asian Granito India

39%

149

Choksi Imaging

39%

150

Kiri Industries

39%

151

Jindal Cotex

38%

152

Omnitech Infosolutions

38%

153

Camex

38%

154

Glory Polyfilms

38%

4 4   |  INC. |  september/october 2012


The class of 2012 235

Globus Spirits

30%

236

Twilight Litaka Pharma

30%

237

Asahi Songwon Colors

30%

238

Galaxy Surfactants

30%

239

Ontrack Systems

30%

32%

240

Panoramic Universal

30%

Rishabhdev Technocable

32%

241

Subex

30%

Anupam Industries

32%

242

Damodar Threads

30%

Amira Pure Foods

30%

Synergy Property Development Services

33%

197

Acropetal Technologies

33%

198

Orbit Exports

33%

199

Indo Count Industries

33%

200

Noida Medicare Centre

201 202

196

203

Lumax D K Auto Industries

32%

243

204

Emmsons International

32%

244

Manjeera Constructions

30%

205

Nakoda

32%

245

Micro Technologies (India)

30%

North Eastern Carrying Corporation

30%

206

Ortin Laboratories

32%

246

207

Avon Organics

32%

247

Kallam Spinning Mills

29%

208

Richa Industries

32%

248

Bheema Cements

29%

209

Man Infraconstruction

32%

249

V-Trans (India)

29%

210

Camson Bio Technologies

32%

250

Shree Ajit Pulp & Paper

29%

211

Insecticides (India)

32%

251

Parksons Packaging

29%

212

Saptagir Camphor

32%

252

Keventer Agro

29%

213

Simmonds Marshall

31%

253

Hindustan Gum & Chemicals

29% 29%

214

Net 4 India

31%

254

Greenply Industries

215

JHS Svendgaard Laboratories

31%

255

NHK Spring India

29%

216

KND Engineering Technologies

31%

256

Vishnu Chemicals

29%

257

Eastern Treads

29%

258

SKM Animal Feeds & Foods (India)

29%

217

Talwalkars Better Value Fitness

31%

218

Simbhaoli Sugars

31%

219

Vippy Spinpro

31%

259

Gayatri Bioorganics

29%

220

Relaxo Footwears

31%

260

Ramaraju Surgical Cotton Mills

29%

221

Ess Dee Aluminium

31%

261

Bliss GVS Pharma

29%

222

Dankuni Steels

31%

262

Troikaa Pharmaceuticals

31%

Hindusthan Engineering & Industries

29%

223 224

Fiem Industries

31%

263

Neo Corp International

29%

225

Compuage Infocom

31%

264

Hathway Cable & Datacom

29%

226

Teesta Agro Industries

31%

265

Accentia Technologies

29%

227

VST Tillers Tractors

31%

266

Howrah Mills

28%

228

Arshiya International

31%

267

Tera Software

28%

229

Anmol Biscuits

31%

268

Nissan Copper

28%

230

Photoquip (India)

31%

269

Himatsingka Seide

28%

231

Wim Plast

31%

270

Gili India

28%

232

Haldyn Glass

31%

271

Asia Motor Works

28%

233

Vizag Seaport

31%

272

Rainbow Papers

28%

273

Allcargo Logistics

28%

234

Ganges Manufacturing Company

31%

274

ICSA (India)

28%

moved 34 places up from our 2011 ranking

The Pune-based company that acquired Bricio Pharma in 2010, had ranked 270 in our 2011 Inc. India 500 ranking.

moved 28 places up from our 2011 ranking

This Delhi-based company had ranked 271 in our 2011 Inc. India 500 ranking.

september/october 2012  |  INC. |  4 5


The class of 2012 INC INDIA RANK

“running a business is like riding a bicycle. the moment you stop, you know what’ll happen to you.” — Sushil mantri, founder

COMPANY NAME

Growth rate (%)

314

Hind Agro Industries

25%

315

Jupiter Bioscience

25%

316

Prasol Chemicals

25%

317

Alom Extrusions

25%

318

Himadri Chemicals & Industries

24%

319

Oriental Containers

24%

320

Fancy Fittings

24%

321

UTV Software Communications

24%

322

Responsive Industries

24%

323

Parakh Agro Indutries

24%

324

Aparajitha Corporate Services

23%

325

New Globe Logistik

23%

326

Arvind Remedies

23%

327

Privi Organics

23%

328

ABM Knowledgeware

23%

329

Neoteric infomatique

23%

330

Advance Enzyme Technologies

23%

275

IKF Technologies

28%

276

ABM International

28%

277

Mandhana Industries

28%

278

Career Point

28%

279

Frick India

28%

280

Raja Forgings

28%

281

Indian Wood Products

28%

282

Suprajit Engineering

27%

283

ATS Elgi

27%

284

Bhagwati Banquets & Hotels

27%

285

Dwarikesh Sugar Industries

27%

286

Selan Exploration Technology

27%

287

Tirumala Milk Products

27%

288

Jhaveri Flexo India

27%

289

Chemcel Biotech

27%

290

Mantri Developers

27%

291

Ramkrishna Forgings

27%

331

Sacheta Metals

23%

292

Fermenta Biotech

27%

332

M & M Machine Craft

23%

Ozone Overseas

23%

293

Vinati Organics

27%

333

294

Indag Rubber

26%

334

Kancor Ingredients

23%

295

Maveric Systems

26%

335

Sogo Computers

23%

Future Focus Infotech

23%

296

Aarvee Denims & Exports

26%

336

297

Yogindera Worsted

26%

337

BS TransComm

22%

298

Ester Industries

26%

338

Zarhak Steels

22%

Persistent Systems

22%

299

Annik Technology Services

26%

339

300

Grabal Alok Impex

26%

340

Locuz Enterprise Solutions

22% 22%

301

Devans Modern Breweries

26%

341

Goyal Proteins

302

Tirupati Sarjan

26%

342

Popular Vehicles & Services

22%

“We aim to be a `1000-crore company by 2015-16. And I think we’re well on our way to getting there, as long as the monsoons stay on course.”

303

Nitin Spinners

26%

343

Sharda Motor Industries

22%

344

Apollo Pipes

22%

345

Capital Foods

22%

346

Jasch Industries

21%

347

Accutest Research Laborataries (India)

21%

M.K. dhanuka, co-founder

304

Kovai Medical Center & Hospital

26%

305

Amalgamated Bean Coffee Trading Company

26%

306

HSIL

26%

307

Shaily Engineering Plastics

26%

308

AGS Transact

25%

348

UIC Udyog

21%

309

Apcotex Industries

25%

349

Rajdeep Buildcon

21%

Antrix Diamond Exports

21%

310

Avanti Feeds

25%

350

311

Dhanuka Agritech

25%

351

Astron Research

21%

312

Sangal Papers

25%

352

Spectra Motors

21%

313

Smita Conductors

25%

353

Ecoplast

20%

4 6   |  INC. |  september/october 2012


The class of 2012 354

Sportking India

20%

393

Bhawani Industries

16%

355

Talentpro India HR

20%

394

Ankur Chemfood

16%

356

Adi Finechem

20%

395

Holostik India

16%

357

Rain Commodities

20%

396

16%

358

Suryalakshmi Cotton Mills

20%

Essel Shyam Communication

359

Cavinkare

20%

397

VLCC Healthcare

15%

360

Gimpex

20%

398

Blue Cross Laboratory

15%

361

Technical Associates

20%

399

Aries Agro

15%

362

Kisan Irrigations

20%

400

Venus Garments (India)

15%

363

Amines & Plasticizers

20%

401

Skipper

15%

C L Educate (formerly Career Launcher India)

402

Positive Packaging Industries

15%

364

19%

403

Patton International

15%

365

Nezone Tubes

19%

404

Beekay Steel Industries

15%

366

Take Solutions

19%

405

Sanden Vikas (India)

14%

Micro Labs

14%

367

Lohia Starlinger

19%

406

368

Anjani Portland Cement

19%

407

East India Commercial Company

14%

369

Gujarat Reclaim & Rubber Products

19%

408

Titan Energy Systems

14%

370

Pudumjee Hygiene Products

19%

409

Elofic Industries

14%

371

Hindusthan Vidyut Products

19%

410

Bharat Wire Ropes

14%

372

M K Shah Exports

19%

411

Penam Laboratories

14%

373

Avon Ispat & Power

19%

412

Path Infotech

14%

374

Veeras Infotek

19%

413

Tulsyan Nec

14%

375

Reliance Jute Mills (International)

18%

414

Brother Computers & Software (India)

14%

376

Seaways Shipping & Logistics

18%

415

Mohindra Fasteners

14%

377

Ruby Macons

18%

416

Sunrise Containers

14%

378

NCL Industries

18%

417

Ori-Plast

14%

379

EMI Transmission

18%

418

Falcon Marine Exports

14%

380

Apollo Earthmovers

18%

419

Zensar Technologies

13%

381

Jullundur Motor Agency (Delhi)

17%

420

Star Delta Transformers

13%

San Engineering & Locomotive

421

Sunstar Overseas

13%

382

17%

422

Rane T R W Steering Systems

13%

383

Menon And Menon

17%

423

Shivalik Agro Poly Products

13%

384

Laxmi Publications

17%

424

Lona Industries

13%

385

Ginni International

17%

425

Darcl Logistics

13%

Metal Link Alloys

12%

386

Devi Sea Foods

17%

426

387

3D PLM Software Solutions

17%

427

John Distilleries P

12%

388

Tamarind Tours

17%

428

Go Go International

12%

Minex Metallurgical

12%

389

Jakson

17%

429

390

Maheshwary Ispat

17%

430

Sayaji Industries

12%

391

OCM India

16%

431

Sparsh BPO Services

12%

392

Matrix Comsec

16%

432

Premier Road Carriers

12%

“To become a successful entrepreneur, develop goodwill and the easiest way to do that: keep your word even if it comes at a cost.” —U.K. Gupta, founder

“We started as a family run business with a very conservative approach. But now my vision is to make it a truly professionally run company.” —Kishore Gupta, founder

september/october 2012  |  INC. |  47


The class of 2012 Established in 1974, this Coimbatorebased company enjoys 53 per cent share of the automotive instruments market.

features among the top 10 companies we find exciting See page 70

IT giant

Iris Computers started operations in 1996 with a modest turnover of `5 crore and is today a `800 crore company.

INC INDIA RANK

COMPANY

Growth rate (%)

471

Gem Sugars

6%

472

Eastman Cast & Forge

6%

473

Harsha Engineers

6%

474

Unimark Remedies

6%

475

Carnation Industries

5%

476

Seksaria Biswan Sugar Factory

5%

433

Elgi Ultra Industries

12%

434

Surya Foods & Agro

12%

435

Chiripal Industries

11%

436

Madhu Jayanti International

11%

437

Cosmos Industries

11%

477

Western India Plywoods

5%

438

Pioneer Urban Land & Infrastructure 11%

478

Overnite Express

5%

439

Samrat Forgings

10%

479

Rasi Seeds

5%

440

Pricol

10%

480

My Home Industries

5%

441

Antarctic Industries

10%

481

Agrocorpex India

4%

Deepak Cables (India)

4%

442

India Carbon

10%

482

443

Roots Multiclean

10%

483

BLR Logistiks (I)

4%

444

Powerica

10%

484

Asiatic Colour Chem Industries

3%

Delta Paper Mills

3%

445

Metro Tyres

10%

485

446

Avon Cycles

10%

486

Natural Sugar & Allied Industries

3%

447

Talbros Engineering

10%

487

Score Information Technologies

3%

488

Vanaz Engineers

2%

489

Maya Entertainment

2%

490

Amrut Distilleries

2%

491

Kejriwal Enterprises

2%

492

Sudhir Gensets

2%

493

Marikar (Motors)

2%

494

Peerless Hospitex Hospital & Research Center

2%

448

Simplex Engineering & Foundry Works

9%

449

Wellcome Fisheries

9%

450

Ravi Dyeware Company

9%

451

Aspinwall & Company

9%

452

Lubi Electricals

9%

453

Cement Manufacturing Company

9%

454

Cotmac Electronics

8%

455

Nekkanti Sea Foods

8%

495

Advance Steel Tubes

2%

Ranba Castings

2%

456

Lyka B D R International

8%

496

457

Hexaware Technologies

8%

497

New Consolidated Construction Company

1%

458

Precision Infomatic (M)

8%

498

Teamlease Services

1%

459

BCH Electric

8%

499

Lotte India Corporation

1%

460

Iris Computers

7%

500

SPML Infra

1%

461

Khanna & Company Steel

7%

462

Raviraj Foils

7%

463

Lamina Suspension Products

7%

464

Gharda Chemicals

7%

465

Ghatge Patil Industries

7%

466

Chandigarh Distillers & Bottlers

7%

467

ATO (I)

7%

468

Karthik Alloys

6%

469

Group Pharmaceuticals

6%

470

Kandoi Transport

6%

4 8   |  INC. |  september/october 2012


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fastest growing companies

These companies are at the top of the heap in our ranking, and have their feet firmly pressed on the growth pedal. To arrive at this list, we calculated their sales CAGR from April 2007 to March 2011. Topping the charts—our Number One—is Arunjyoti Enterprises which runs the Taaza chain of departmental stores. These Top 10 throw up several exciting growth stories in sectors as diverse as food and identity solutions. Read on to get to know some of these companies better.

COMPANY

Arunjyoti Enterprises

Tinna Viterra Trade

THREE YEAR GROWTH

Top 10 Companies List

1231%

597%

Barbeque Nation Hospitality

429%

4G Identity Solutions

Diamant Infrastructure

Veritas (India)

395%

288%

285%

Gujarat Natural Resources

Polygenta Technologies

281%

274%

Spectacle Infotek

269%

Edserv Softsystems

203%

Dr Sreeni Tripuraneni

the power of persuasion

What happens when foresight, technology, knowledge and entrepreneurship come together? 4G Identity Solutions founder I did my MBBS from Siddhartha Medical College in Dr S. Tripuraneni has the answer. A vascular surgeon by profession, he started Andhra Pradesh and moved to the University of Bath, UK, Masters in Vascular Surgery. My connection with 4G Identity Solutions, a biometric identity for biometrics began when I started working on electronic and security solutions provider in 2003, patient records as part of my course in Medical and has grown it into a `100-crore venture Informatics. I was given the responsibility of getting (FY11-12) with more than 1,500 information of patients who were brought to the hospital’s emergency rooms. Often, patients employees and 17 offices across India brought into emergency rooms are in just six years. Here, he takes us accident or trauma victims. They are in 2011 Revenue through that exciting journey. shock, and unable to tell us their medical `55.87 Cr

As told to Nithya Nagarathinam Imaging by Peterson PJ Photograph by srivatsa

5 0   |  INC. |  september/october 2012

no. 4

history. To effectively begin treatment within the golden hour (the first hour within the attack), it’s critical to be


“Biometrics could easily be the solution to governance issues at the grass roots interface level. It could revolutionise governance systems in India.”

september/october 2012  |  INC. |  51


fastest growing companies

No. 336

Future Focus Infotech

IT & ITeS

Chennai

“My job’s toughest part is to discern between challenges that are detrimental, and challenges that are catalysts.”   M.V. Subramanian, co-founder and CEO, Future Focus Infotech, has literally shaped his company’s future by focusing on challenges. Founded in 1997, the company started out as a plain vanilla IT company but within a few years transformed itself into a talent training solutions provider for the IT sector. “When the Y2K crisis hit, we thought we could leverage this opportunity,” says Subramanian. Soon after, the company closed a deal with TCS and today has Wipro, IBM and Infosys among others, in its clientele. But not just the Y2K crisis, Subramanian has honed his skills to find the catalyst in every challenge. During the 2008 global slowdown, he saw an opportunity in the temporary staffing space and moved into it.

5 2   |  INC. |  september/october 2012

acquainted with a patient’s medical background. Seeing the power of how biometric technology enabled this firsthand, I began my foray into the utility of biometric technologies beyond medical applications, for civil applications. I saw a huge potential for this technology in India. I realised that biometrics could easily be the solution to governance issues at the grassroots interface level. It could revolutionise governance systems in this country. Take a poor student from a village, for example. In order to claim a government scholarship that is due to her, she will be required to produce a variety of certificates to establish her identity. These multiple points of interface result in delay and frustration. With biometric technology powered by a centralised database, the student’s identity can be established in a matter of seconds. Biometrics can be incredibly powerful in many such instances of governance. Of course, leaving medicine to become an entrepreneur wasn’t an easy decision. As a doctor, I had always been motivated to serve people. But, I realised that even with my company, I would have the opportunity to create great value and benefit for a large mass of people. With that in mind, I returned to India in 2003. I began by pitching the idea to the state government in Andhra Pradesh. That wasn’t encouraging. I soon realised my biggest challenge would be to create awareness about the immense potential of this technology among government officials and even others. So in the early years, my main task was to create a market for this technology. Persuasion is thus a very crucial skill for an entrepreneur to have—how do you sell a futuristic idea to a government? As a country, we are fairly risk-averse and willing to endorse proven success rather than invest in

uncertain promises. This education was difficult. But slowly things started moving for us. 4G’s first milestone came in 2005 when we won an Andhra Pradesh government contract. We had to devise a solution to identify beneficiaries of the government’s BPL housing scheme. We used iris recognition to help eliminate duplicate claims and records, and ensured correct identification of the intended beneficiaries. It was a mammoth task, and one that really gave us the opportunity to showcase our ability. We completed 6.26 quadrillion iris matches within 60 days. This project was the tipping point for us. It opened up a stream of projects for organisations like the Delhi Police (automation of house guard records), Public Distribution System (PDS) infrastructure for delivery of subsidised food items in Andhra Pradesh, and a UNFP programme to strengthen PDS

6.26 quadrillion iris matches were completed by 4G Identity Solutions in just 60 days.

infrastructure using multi-modal biometrics in Orissa. We haven’t looked back since. In fact, today India boasts of the world’s largest identification exercise—Aadhar—based on iris recognition technology. That 4G has significantly contributed to this growth in the identity market, and has been an important player in the implementation of Aadhar, is something that I feel the proudest of. We were awarded the project in 2010, and we have been involved in its conceptualisation, enrollment and execution. The Aadhar project doubled our turnover, from `55


fastest growing companies

crore in 2010 to `110 crore in 2011. But Aadhar is just the beginning. The potential for biometrics is immense, not only in the domestic market but also overseas, especially in developing countries. We are in talks with other Asian and Middle Eastern countries to make similar programmes for them. Family and friends tell me I am almost obsessively passionate about 4G. Maybe I am. But I think that works for the organisation. It’s contagious. Shared passion is the soul of a successful business organisation. Of course, building a company, especially one which works in a niche area like ours wasn’t easy. Getting a team together is a daunting challenge for any start up. Our problems were amplified because there weren’t many biometrics professionals around. My sister, Lakshmi Tripuraneni, was a great source of support, as were five of my friends who have been with me since the beginning. Looking forward, 4G has a bright future. The first-mover advantage has certainly contributed to our success. We didn’t have to battle competition because we were the pioneers in civil applications of biometrics in the country. That advantage has been bolstered by having patented technology. We are in the process of obtaining a patent for noise removal algorithms in fingerprint recognition. I am confident that technology innovation combined with our early-mover advantage has made us unbeatable. Yet, you can’t rest easy. We have a well chalked-out business plan for both the short-term and the long-term. But, a business plan can be rendered useless by a dynamic market. In today’s environment, quick responses have become crucial. So, planning becomes very difficult, and requires constant modifications. Of course, you cannot jump into a venture without having an idea of the depth of that field. A business plan lays down the broad framework that leads to the realisation of the vision, but the details should be worked out dynamically to meet the demands of that time. 5 4   |  INC. |  september/october 2012

Barbeque Nation Hospitality

Three Year GROWTH

| 429%

Prosenjit Roy Choudhury

the people’s business

Ensuring people are high on food is what drives Prosenjit Roy Choudhury, the CEO of Barbeque Nation. Much like the perfect kebabs his restaurants serve, this hospitality streak has helped Choudhury grill up a restaurant business flavoured with profits. Choudhury opened the first outlet of Barbeque Nation in Mumbai’s Pali Hill in 2006. It wasn’t just another eatery opening though. It introduced the concept of a live grill on the table. Today, nearly 30 lakh foodies dine at these restaurants. The Miele Guide has also listed it in the Top 100 Restaurants of Asia. As told to Sonal Khetarpal Imaging by Peterson PJ

Photograph by SriVatsa

My childhood dream was to follow my father’s footsteps, and become a

pilot. Alas, things turned out differently because I couldn’t clear the medical exam. After my school, I joined the Institute of Hotel Management and Catering Technology in Bhopal. Even here, things didn’t go as planned. During campus placements in my final year in 1995, I fell ill with Hepatitis B. I couldn’t appear for interviews with the big brands that came to campus. Fortunately, a few companies came late, and I sat for all those interviews. They all offered me a job. And I ended up joining Sayaji Hotel, a new four-star hotel in Indore as a manage2011 Revenue ment trainee. Looking back, joining a new `102.41 CR hotel was a great idea. It helped me become the jack of all trades and in seven years, I was heading the Indore property.

no. 3


fastest growing companies

“I don’t believe a people’s business needs to be vigorously process driven. Innovation comes only when you give your people the space to act and lead.”

september/october 2012  |  INC. |  5 5


SOURCE: Barbeque nation hospitality

fastest growing companies

Because I was interested in F&B Things began to improve by midservices, I made that a priority for the 2009 and we have been growing at a hotel. It was also a necessary tool to CAGR of 27 per cent for the past three expand new avenues of business. In 1999, years. We are adding 24 more outlets this we started Kebabs Ville, a pool-side fiscal year so there will be a total of 46 restaurant. Here, we introduced the outlets in India by 2013. None of this concept of a live grill on the table which could have been possible without our was an instant hit. Later in 2005, we guests. I think of them as our mentors. changed its name to Barbeque Nation to More than 30 lakh people eat at our do justice to the wide array of cuisines restaurants each year. We have honed this format offered. getting customer feedback into an art— Needless to say, the format was a huge it’s the key to our growth. hit for our property. But eventually, the We have established an R&D cell to excitement of having done this died, and regularly collect feedback from our customers. Our methodology for this is work became monotonous. I wanted unique to India. Our tele-caller teams more. Sajid Dhanani, MD of Sayaji call 20 per cent of our customers from Hotels, who has been my mentor and each of our outlets to rate their guiding force, suggested I explore the experience on the food, restaurant retail side of the F&B industry. ambience, hygiene, ease of booking and So, I moved to Mumbai to study the market and look for prospective business responsiveness of service. This Guest opportunities. The first five Satisfaction Index helps us to months there—researching, ascertain where we stand from The Turnover Trail* planning and setting up a customer’s point of view, and Barbeque Nation’s first gives us a clear picture of how 2006-07 outlet in January 2006 in each outlet is faring. It also `4 crore Pali Hill taught me what 10 enables us to take immediate 2007-08 years of my hoteliering corrective measures. `52 crore The restaurant business is experience could not. That 2008-2009 relentless, and it’s a people’s first restaurant was set up `84 crore business. There is no way you with an investment of `2 2009-2010 ` 102 crore can have happy customers if crore from Sayaji Group. 2010-2011 you don’t have a robust and In the first year, I kept an ` 150 crore engaged team. I don’t believe eagle eye on the business’ 2012-2013 a people’s business needs to operations and customer Aiming for be vigorously process-driven. feedback. The restaurant `250 Crore+ I like to give our people was getting a good response flexibility and independence. and people started Innovation comes only when patronising the brand. you trust your people and give them the Confident, we opened three outlets space to act and lead. F&B is a touchyin Bangalore in 2007, and 12 more feely business. I am like that myself. In in different cities across India our business, logic isn’t always the next year. paramount. Sometimes, customers aren’t Thing were going great. But, I wasn’t right logically. But, for us, they are. Today, prepared for what was coming next. we have 1,600 people working for us and I First, business was hit in 2008 because of am proud that in an attrition-afflicted the economic downturn. Plus, I did not industry like food, we have been have the expertise of running a chain of successful in keeping our attrition restaurants across multiple locations. manageable. At 37 per cent last year, our Learning remote management was a attrition was half of that of chains like game of patience and persistence. I McDonalds and KFC that have attrition ensured that all guns were firing at the rates as high as 75 per cent. same time, and in the same spirit. 5 6   |  INC. |  september/october 2012

No. 420

“Being too aggressive can sometimes lead to disaster.” Star Delta Transformers

Energy & Utilities

Bhopal

Kishore Gupta, Founder and MD The fable of the slow and steady tortoise trumping the hare is a lesson Gupta had a chance to relearn in 2008, as the global markets tossed and turned. The slowdown led several people to take hasty decisions, when a conservative, long-term approach is what one needs to follow during unsteady times. “Some business decisions may seem good in the short-term but have a huge impact in the long run. The tough part is to come up with strategies that take into account, and can address both short-term and long-term priorities,” says the MD of this manufacturer of transformers.


top 5 sectors

food & beverage, It & Ites, steel &

Top Five sectors: by share of number of companies

11%

Food & Beverage

9.2%

8.6% Steel & Ferrous Metal

8.4%

Real Estate & Construction

IT & ITeS

8%

Textiles & Garment

48%

The top five sectors contribute nearly half of the total sales of Inc. India 500

5 8   |  INC. |  september/october 2012

`1,78,451 crore

`85,403 crore

total sales total sales of 500 of Top 5 companies (fy 2010-11) sectors (fy 2010-11) infographics by Sristi Maurya


ferrous, Real Estate & Construction, textiles & garment Average growth rate of Top 5 sectors (fy 2007-08 to fy 2010-11)

`20,697

56% 45%

`20,547 Sales of Top 5 Sectors

42% 33%

`15,670

(fy 2010-11), in crore

`15,904

26%

`13,175

Food & Beverage

IT & ITeS

Real Estate & Construction

Steel & Ferrous Metal

Textiles & Garment

Food & Beverage Top 10 Companies Sector Profile No. of Companies

Total Revenue

3 year CAGR

Median Turnover

Top Player

55

`20,697 cr

26%

250 cr

Vikas Granaries

Number of companies & sectoral growth rate No. of Companies

49

60 50

37

40 30 20

Growth Rate(%)

55

26 19

10 0 2009

2010

2011

COMPANY NAME

3 YEAR GROWTH (%)

21

Vikas Granaries

100

44 79 93

Baramati Agro

73

Usher Agro

56

Som Distilleries & Breweries

50

Pincon Spirit

47

Jai Bharat Gum & Chemicals

44

125 137

Unique Organics

43

Blossom Industries

40

161 179

T & I Global

37

Kaveri Seed

34

103 117

35

19

13

NO.

2012 september/october 2012  |  INC. |  5 9


top 5 sectors

food & beverage, It & Ites, steel & fer

IT & ITes Sector Profile

Top 10 Companies

No. of Companies Total Revenue

3 year CAGR

Median Turnover

Top Player

47

45%

142 cr

4G Identity Solutions

`15,904 cr

Number of companies & sectoral growth rate No. of Companies

Growth Rate (%)

63 58

57 49

48

47

45

32

2009

2010

2011

NO.

COMPANY NAME

3 YEAR GROWTH (%)

4

4G Identity Solutions

395

9 24

Spectacle Infotek

269

Micro Secure Solutions

97

32

Firstobject Technologies

85

47

Cameo Corporate Services

70

53

Cerebra Integrated Technologies

64

60 78

One97

60

Vakrangee Software

56

84

Glodyne Technoserve

53

100

Bartronics India

48

2012

Steel & Ferrous Metals Top 10 Companies

Sector Profile No. of Companies

Total Revenue

3 year CAGR

Median Turnover

Top Player

42

`13,175 cr

33%

182 cr

Southern Ispat & Energy

Number of companies & sectoral growth rate 130 No. of Growth Companies Rate (%)

54

49

47

47

29

2009

2010

6 0   |  INC. |  september/october 2012

2011

42

33

2012

NO.

COMPANY NAME

3 YEAR GROWTH (%)

14

Southern Ispat & Energy

122

27 37 45 55

Arcotech

91

Arcee Ispat Udyog

80

Gravita India

73

Gangotri Iron & Steel

63

Sankalp Forgings

61

BMW Industries

59

Apollo Metalex

59

Mittal Corporation

57

Rajputana Stainless

49

58 68 69 72 95


rous, Real Estate & Construction, textiles & garment Real Estate & Construction Top 10 Companies

Sector Profile No. of Companies

Total Revenue

3 year CAGR

Median Turnover

Top Player

40

`20,547 cr

56%

302 cr

Diamant Infrastructure

Number of companies & sectoral growth rate 119

120 100

No. of Companies

90

77

71

80 60

Growth Rate (%)

56

57

42

40

39

40

NO.

COMPANY NAME

3 YEAR GROWTH (%)

5

Diamant Infrastructure

288

15

Anant Raj Industries

118

19

Arihant Superstructures

102

29

Horizon Infrastructure

85

30 35

Delta Corporation

85

Supreme Infrastructure India

80

Jaihind Projects

80

P & R Infraprojects

80

Jain Infraprojects

76

MARG

66

36 38 40 49

20 0 2009

2010

2011

2012

Textiles & Garment Top 10 Companies Sector Profile

COMPANY NAME

3 YEAR GROWTH (%)

No. of Companies

Total Revenue

3 year CAGR

Median Turnover

Top Player

8

Polygenta Technologies

274

41

`15,670 cr

42%

289 cr

Polygenta Technologies

13

Vyapar Industries

134

28

Santaram Spinners

90

31

Sumeet Industries

85

51

Shekhawati Poly-Yarn

65

61

Kamadgiri Fashion

60

76

First Winner Industries

56

77 91

Shiva Texfabs

56

Supreme Tex Mart

51

112

Crew BOS Products

44

57

Growth Rate (%)

3

60

2

No. of Companies

1

Number of companies & sectoral growth rate

42

6

20

1

41

2012

3

3

2011

4

4 5

4

5

3

2010

5 6

2009

4

2

0

8

2

3

10

2

1

7

2

14

29 1

30

5

34

1

40

42

4

50

20

NO.

september/october 2012  |  INC. |  61


jury’s pick

For this fourth edition of the Inc. India 500 ranking, we brought in an eminent jury for the first time. It helped us evolve our methodology, identify deserving companies, and come up with a more comprehensive analysis of our ranking. We also requested our jury to pick their favourites—here are the 10 companies which made it to that coveted list.

Top 10 Companies List COMPANY

three year Growth

Anant Raj Industries

118%

Cox and Kings

60%

Educomp Solutions

57%

RSB Transmissions (I)

55%

Narayana Hrudayalaya

45%

Shiv-Vani Oil & Gas Exploration Services

44%

Riddhi Siddhi Gluco Biols

43%

Genesis Colors

40%

CORE Education & Technologies

37%

V-Guard Industries

37%

Dr Devi Prasad Shetty

A hearty business

Dr Devi Shetty is a celebrated heart surgeon but his genius extends way beyond the surgical scalpel. In 2001, he started Narayana Hrudayalaya, a 1,000-bed hospital in Bangalore, bringing down the cost of heart surgery from `1,25,000 to `65,000. Today, that beginning has grown into a 14-hospital chain across 11 cities in the country. As told to Mahesh Ravi

Photograph by S. Radhakrishna

I did my basic training in cardiac plans to settle down in UK. Mr Birla surgery at the West Midlands helped speed up the coming back when he Cardiothoracic Rotation Programme in offered me the opportunity to start the UK, and began working at the Guy’s research programme at the Birla Hospital Hospital, London. After working there for he had built in Kolkata. six years, I came back to India in 1989 to This stint became my real training ground, help set up a 140-bed cardiac and taught me the biggest research institute at the BM lesson in the health care Birla Hospital in Kolkata. industry. Here, I used to see 2011 Revenue This is almost a tradition in about 100 patients a day. On `477.27 Cr my family—to go abroad for most days, not even one of studies but to come back and those patients could afford a work in India. I too never had cardiac operation. Heart

no. 107

6 2   |  INC. |  september/october 2012

Imaging by Peterson PJ


“I am confident that India will become the first country in the world to dissociate health care from affluence.”

september/october 2012  |  INC. |  6 3


top 5 sectors

No. 124 eClerx

IT&ITeS

Mumbai

“Structures and people responsible for your success in the past may not be the right choices for the next set of challenges.”   ­—P.d. Mundhra, founder

Although the going has been good—the Mumbai-based KPO company has grown at 43 per cent over the last three years— tough decisions have been a constant in the journey, says P. D. Mundhra, eClerx’s founder. “We have doubled in size every three to four years. And, we have to continually rethink organisational structures and create new roles to make sure we are future-ready.”

6 4   |  INC. |  september/october 2012

surgery cost about `1,25,000 then. I realised that till medical practitioners don’t reduce the cost of surgery and make it more affordable, it’s not possible to make a difference. We live in a country where the government spends 1 per cent of the GDP on health care. And almost 47 per cent of the rural population and 37 per cent of the urban population of India either borrow money or sell assets to pay their medical bills. Hence, India’s health problem is not really a medical problem, it is an economic problem. Narayana Hrudayalaya was conceived to deliver just that. Today, after 22 years since working at the Birla Hospital, we have brought down the cost of a cardiac procedure to `65,000 at the Narayana Hrudayalaya. Some people think of it as a business, others think of it as a social commitment. Both are okay by me. What’s really important is that we don’t believe in charity. That is not scalable. If you want to do something for free, you can do it up to a certain scale. Soon, you will have to stop. Profit to me means that you are running your enterprise in an efficient manner. Like health parameters show whether you are healthy or not, a company’s balance sheet shows the financial health of the organisation. A balance sheet should point you to the right vital stats on both the left side, and the right side—costs you have reduced, how many poor people you have helped, how many bills you have written off. When you tally up the left and the right side, and still remain profitable, that’s the ideal situation. It’s what we constantly work towards. I knew technology would be the key to running our hospitals efficiently. We work with a wafer-thin margin, and strive hard to keep our nose above water. Technology helps us achieve that. For instance, we have 14 hospitals across 11 cities, and everyday at noon we get an SMS with the profit and loss account of all our hospitals. A profit and loss account is an indicator of efficiency. Along with this metric, we also get results on each hospital’s mortality and morbidity.

Dr Shetty holds the record of having performed over 15,000 heart surgeries.

Plus, we have set up a system wherein all staff members have the ability to register the smallest complaints through their phone. All they need to do is use a pre-fed speed dial on the phone, and highlight any issue they want to—like a stinking toilet in the hospital. Everything fed into that speed dial gets registered, and is reported back to us. The administration team then looks into the problem to fix it. At the end of each week, every department gets a note with the complaints that fall under its scope of work. They are also given deadlines for corrective action. This monitoring is key. If you want to improve, you first have to measure the parameters and then set new targets. If you don’t measure, you can’t get better. By looking at the profit and loss account on a daily basis, you can take remedial measures. Looking at it at the end of the month is like preparing a post-mortem report. Getting the report daily is information for you to take the right step. Another key learning for me has been that most people just don’t know how to


jury’s pick

think big. India with its 1.2 billion-plus people requires 2.5 million heart surgeries a year. Right now, as a country, we only manage 90,000 every year. So, we can’t be happy with a solution or business plan for a 50-100 bed hospital. That is not going to make a difference. Making people believe that it is possible to build something big was a huge challenge for me. In 1997, when I started the Manipal Heart Foundation at Manipal Hospital in Karnataka (at the behest of my family because we have roots there) I told my colleagues that it is possible for each one of us to do 10 surgeries in a day. Most of them laughed at me, and said they didn’t do that many surgeries even in a month. It was tough persuading my colleagues and the hospital administration that this can actually be done. But, I stayed focused on the task and within two years of starting out, each of our surgeons was performing 12-15 procedures a day. Soon after, I raised that target to 50 surgeries a day. This time, people

believed me. They said, “Yes, that’s possible.” Now, our target is to create 30,000 beds and we want to do it in the next five years. I don’t understand why we ape western models in India, and build marble-floored, air-conditioned hospitals. Even government hospitals are becoming like that. It’s unfair to push that cost to patients. Our low-cost models will require `15-18 crore against the standard `70-80 crore to set up a hospital. We have slowly shown the world at large that increasing the capacity of hospitals and the amount of work done in a day reduces the amount that people have to pay. In fact, I am confident that India will become the first country in the world to dissociate health care from affluence. We are moving to a very interesting scenario in the country, where even those who might continue to live in slums 10 years down the line, would have access to high-tech health care when they are sick. Most recently, I have learnt another critical lesson about the health care business—if you want to transform the way health care is delivered in this world, you have to make Americans change the way they deliver health care. America sets global standards. As Indian doctors working in India, we can’t bring about that change in America. But, the Cayman Islands, an independent country, just off the United States, is a great beta-site for medical innovations that can attract American attention. Fortunately, we have got an opportunity to work there. We are building a $2-billion health city with the government there. I am very excited about our first international project. The response has been very exciting—we have already received close to 1,000 applications from American doctors who want to work there. Plus, the Cayman Islands recognise Indian medical degrees, and our nurses and doctors can go work there. This project give us the chance to demonstrate to the world the work we’ve done in India—to demonstrate how to bring down health care costs while improving health care delivery.

No. 395 Holostik India

Manufacturing

Noida

—U.K. Gupta, founder Since it was founded in 1991 to make security holograms, the company has diversified into multiple verticals—warehousing of iron and steel, trading of aromatic chemicals, hospitality and real estate. Yet, managing these seemingly unrelated verticals of his growing business group isn’t his toughest obstacle, says Gupta. The real challenge lies in attracting and retaining good talent.

No. 152

Omnitech Infosolutions

IT & ITeS

Mumbai

“Managing unpredictability and mapping proposed business plans to market dynamics, are the constant challenges when running a business.” —Atul Hemani, founder

september/october 2012  |  INC. |  6 5


companies AT WORK

Fashioning Success When news channels were sprouting by the dozens in the early 1990s, Jyoti Narula sensed a business opportunity in the “ugly ties” he saw the news presenters wear. Having had enough of the 9to5 routine in a software company followed by a bank, Narula was anyway happy to break out of the corporate world. So, he set out to explore what he could do with designer ties in India along with his colleague and co-founder, Sanjay Kapoor. The duo roped in designer Satya Paul to design the first range of ties in 1992, and eventually took over the designer label in the late 1990s. Satya Paul is today the company’s flagship brand with 40 exclusive stores across the world, and a growing repertoire of ties, women’s wear and accessories. More than a thousand skilled professionals work in the digital design studio and production facilities in Mumbai and Gurgaon (pictured here) crafting the dramatic, bold designs the Satya Paul brand signifies. Genesis Colors

Three year growth

6 6   |  INC. |  september/october 2012

40%

New Delhi

no.

134


photograph by Subhojit Paul

Reported by Ira Swasti


TOP 6 CITIES Not surprisingly, six centres—Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chennai —corner much of the business action. Here’s how the top hubs stack up. Top 6 Cities Revenue share

20%

KOLKATA

DELHI NCR

6%

7%

HYDERABAD

28% MUMBAI

6%

7%

CHENNAI

BANGALORE

No. of Companies

89 40 DELHI NCR

KOLKATA

33 141 32

30

HYDERABAD

CHENNAI

MUMBAI

BANGALORE

Top Player as per Three-year Sales CAGR HYDERABAD

DELHI & NCR

MUMBAI

CHENNAI

BANGALORE

KOLKATA

Arunjyoti Enterprises

Tinna Viterra Trade

Barbeque Nation Hospitality

Edserv Softsystems

Point Red Telecom

Jain Infraprojects

1,231%

597%

429%

203%

102%

76%

68

|

INC. | SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2012


“We didn’t want to change the creative fabric of the film industry, just revolutonise the way movies were exhibited.”

7 0   |  INC. |  september/october 2012


Companies We Find Exciting UFO Moviez India

Each year, the Inc. India 500 give us an opportunity to identify some very exciting companies. So, here it is—our research team’s pick of the companies that got us up to take notice. Each one of these has an impressive combination of smart entrepreneurs, unique products and immense market potential. We’ll definitely have our eye on them. Get to know our most exciting better.

THREE YEAR GROWTH

COMPANY

Top 10 Companies List UFO Moviez India

EMC

78%

63%

One97

60%

BVG India

eClerx

Cross-Tab

Dr. Agarwal’s Eye Hospital

E4E

C L Educate

Powerica

54%

43%

37%

37%

34%

19%

10%

Sanjay Gaikwad

a blockbuster success Avid cinema-goers may not have heard of Sanjay Gaikwad, the co-founder of UFO Moviez India, but he isn’t complaining. He’s happy to let his `200-crore (FY11-12) digital cinema company do the talking. Since it clapped to action in 2004, it has digitised 3,500 theatres, and contributes `1,200 crore to the film industry annually, as 70 per cent of all movies released in India come from their network. As told to Sonal Khetarpal Imaging by Peterson PJ Photographs by srivatsa

My career began with the Zee Group in 1997. As the president of technology and new projects, I conceptualised and implemented Playwin, India’s first online lottery. It was a huge success. We had a turnover of ` 750 crore in the first year itself, and made overall profits of ` 200 crore. I wouldn’t have been able to do this without the support and guidance of Vijay Jindal, the then MD and CEO of Zee and their group chairman Subhash Chandra. Honestly, I owe them whatever business acumen I have now. But I had to leave Zee in 2003 to move to Delhi and join Apollo Tyres. This didn’t work out though, and I shifted back to Mumbai to look for another job. My co-founder Narendra Hete suggested we start our own company that provided infrastructure for online lotteries. We named it Valuable Group and started work in 2004. The market for online lottery was 2011 Revenue growing at a promethean pace those days. `108 Cr Within six months, we had around 6,000 online terminals on our network, and a turnover of `3 crore a day. But, we realised this

no. 39

september/october 2012  |  INC. |  7 1


Companies We Find Exciting

fun facts

The average threeyear sales CAGR of Inc. India 500 companies is:

43.5% The average age of these companies is:

18.6

years

No. 116  anjushree M Technopack

Plastic Products Bangalore

“There should be a fair mix of both domestic and export businesses to fight the global slowdown.”   Brothers Vimal Kedia and Surendra Kedia used to manufacture flexible tea packages in Assam when on a visit to Bangalore, they discovered the untapped potential of the plastic packaging industry. So, they shut shop in Assam, and moved to Bangalore to set up Manjushree Technopack in 1984. Today, the 200-people company has a total capacity of 50,000 MT per annum and clocks a turnover of `300 crore.

7 2   |  INC. |  september/october 2012

wouldn’t be a long-stay business. Lottery is a highly irregulated and risky segment in India. So, in spite of high profits, we began to look at different technology avenues. We wanted to mitigate our risk of being too dependent on one vertical. UFO Moviez was conceptualised a year later with `10 crore as start-up capital. The market to digitise theatres and deliver movies via satellite was big in India, and we wanted to tap that opportunity. In fact, we completely dropped our lottery business in 2006. UFO Moviez was a capital-intensive enterprise because of the equipment costs. Fortunately, Apollo Tyres came on board as a financial partner. They put in `90 crore in the firm. From the beginning, we set a very clear objective for ourselves. We didn’t want to change the content or creative fabric of the film industry. We only wanted to revolutionise the way movies were exhibited. The industry’s benefit was at the centre of our business model. We wanted to give them a significant value proposition by offering time and cost advantages for multiple stakeholders—film producers, distributors, theatre owners and movie watchers. Most theatres were still using analog prints when we started out. In the analog system, a cinema hall owner has to buy a film’s print for up to `60,000. In the digital format, the print costs around `10,000. Bringing down the price of the film’s print helps the movie to be released in more centres. That, in turn, generates a larger box-office collection.

UFO has digitised 3,500 movie theatres across India.

Digital film prints need digital theatres for broadcast. We offered that too. KT Vision in Mumbai’s Vasai neighbourhood was the first multiplex we digitised. Yet, theatre owners had to be persuaded to go in for digitisation. Switching to digital technology had a one-time set-up cost of around `7 lakh which discouraged many theatre owners initially. So, we came up with a rental scheme. We told them we would digitise their theatres for a small amount of rent. In exchange, we asked them to give us the revenue from the adver-

In the analog system, a film print costs up to `60,000. In the digital format, only `10,000. tisements that run during film screenings. We made brisk progress in the first few years. We are the only ones in India to use MPEG-4 format to deliver movies. Other players are still using MPEG-2 where the size of movies is ten times bigger and they have to be delivered physically through hard drive which presents many logistic challenges. I believe our ability to develop technologies in time to catch new trends has helped us in our growth. For example, we introduced a low-cost 3D technology seeing the sudden influx of 3D films. Similarly, we have an invitation-only Club X initiative too. Essentially, Club X is a UFO@Home


Companies We Find Exciting

Garam Masala was the first hit movie to be broadcasted digitally by UFO in 2005.

Service that can stream movies simultaneously as a first-day, first-show screening, directly to a consumer’s home. Although it’s priced at `15,000 per show, it’s picked up among celebrities and wealthy entrepreneurs. Each of these platforms has given way to new revenue streams for the film industry. In keeping with our effort to expand the entertainment market, we acquired a company called moviebeam in 2008. We reengineered that technology to create different digital media platforms. One such facility was providing VOD services to the hospitality sector in the US. It enables consumers to get high-definition video content on demand. They can pay per-view, and we are excited about introducing this in India. We used moviebeam’s technology to expand our domain too. The educational sector has been buzzing with technological innovation. We didn’t want to be left behind so we created Edubeam, an interactive learning platform for virtual classroom teaching. This has been a heartening vertical to get into. We’ve already installed the system in 80 schools, and aim to set it up in another 800 over the next six months. Recently, we also launched a new product called IMPACT Ticketing Platform. It is an online satellite-based ticketing system that provides minute to minute box-office information to the concerned stakeholders of the movie business chain leading to transparent, faceless transactions. We currently have 250 screens on IMPACT. It might seem so but not every idea we had has worked. Not every seed you plant

bears fruits, and gives you profits. For example, we had started a digital signage business in 2007-08 but there was a lot of competition so we had to drop it and we lost a few crore in the process. But, I am glad we shut it down—it was the right decision to let that business die. Thankfully, that was a momentous time for us in other ways. We raised our first private equity funding of `140 crore from UK’s 3i Group. In 2011, Providence Equity Partners invested a further `360 crore in the company. When people trust you with their money, it’s great encouragement. It tells you that others believe in you and your team. So getting your team right is the most crucial aspect of being an entrepreneur. You can’t earn fame alone. Success comes with team effort. In 2007, there was a technical glitch in some of the projectors installed by us. Several show screenings were adversely impacted because of that. We were in a cash-out situation, and could not do any more installations to achieve our targets. I was extremely touched when the whole management team joined hands to solve the problem, and even offered salary cuts. It is at times like these that you feel life is worth it. If your team comes through in such tough times, and makes you win, it’s necessary to ensure they are winning too. I try and do that for all of my 800 employees, to make sure they are included in our growth strategy. As the owner, you have to try and create that win-win for everybody. I’d like to think we have managed to do that to some extent.

No. 334

Spicing it up Kancor Ingredients Food Products

Kerala

Spices are a way of life for Sanjay Mariwala, managing director of Kancor Ingredients, an Ernakulambased company that specialises in trading of essential oils, spice extracts and natural food products. In this quick rapid fire about his business philosophies, we tried to pep things up. Q: Tell us something that you’d like to change about yourself? My weight, I should lose some. Q: What is the toughest part of your job? Dealing with procrastinators at work, or in government departments. Q: What has been your biggest learning from the slow down? Our business has stayed strong throughout the slow down, so what I have learnt is, that we may not be a very pretty business, but we are pretty solid.  Q: What in business takes you the longest to decide? People decisions.

september/october 2012  |  INC. |  7 3


companies AT WORK

Powering Ahead Sixty-seven years after Jakson was founded by Satish Kumar Gupta, this 1,800-people manufacturer of silent DG sets, switchgear and power distribution equipment, has undoubtedly come a long way. Today, Jakson is led by Gupta’s sons, Sameer and Sundeep, who took charge of it in 1990 when it was only a $5-million company. In these past two decades, they have grown Jakson exponentially. Today, a $250-million company, Jakson has seven manufacturing plants across India, including its 12.5-acre switchgear plant in Greater Noida (in the picture) and genset plants in Daman and Jammu with a capacity of more than 15,000 DG sets a year. It has also been accredited with CRISIL’s highest rating (SE 1A), awarded to companies for superior financial strength. The future looks sunny too. Recognising that solar energy is the way forward in the power sector, Jakson is in the midst of developing a 20 MW solar power plant in Rajasthan. Jakson

Three year growth

74   |  INC. |  september/october 2012

16%

Noida

no.

389


Photograph By Courtesy Company

REported by Ira Swasti


BY THE NUMBERS | 50-100 cR, 101-500 cR, 501-1000 CR, 1001-1500 cr

We divided the Inc. India 500 list into four revenue categories based on the companies’ 2010-11 revenue figures, and then calculated each of their sales CAGR over the last four years to figure out the 10 star performers for each revenue category. Here’s what we found:

Tally Solutions

Three Year GROWTH

| 44%

Bharat Goenka

`50cr to `100 cr Top 10 Companies: NO.

COMPANY

THREE YEAR GROWTH

1

Arunjyoti Enterprises

1231%

4

4G Identity Solutions

395%

5

Diamant Infrastructure

288%

7

Gujarat Natural Resources

281%

8

Polygenta Technologies

274%

12

NewAge Fire Fighting

136%

23

Chandra Prabhu International

98%

28

Santaram Spinners

90%

32

Firstobject Technologies

85%

The BookKeeper’s Journey

It would be a rare Indian business that hasn’t used Tally, the ubiquitous accounting software. Founded by the father-son duo of S.S. Goenka and Bharat Goenka in 1986, Tally Solutions today has more than 7,50,000 customers and a turnover of `230 crore (FY11-12). But Goenka isn’t stopping till he gets to more than four million customers in the next three years. As told to mahesh ravi

I was in high school when I began helping my father in his textiles business in Bangalore. At that time, they were facing some accounting problems, and I thought I could use technology to help solve them. I was very interested in science and technology as a student at Bishop Cotton School. So, I developed some software to help address 2011 Revenue some of these accounting challenges. My father was the `85.9 Cr first one to test the software. But, the testing lasted all of two minutes! The software was fine but the user interface was elementary. My father couldn’t understand how to

no. 114

76   |  INC. |  september/october 2012


by the numbers

begin using it. I told him he should type in “T001” to enter a transaction. Instead of keying that in, he turned to ask me what my software’s objective was—to help the programmer, or to help the user? I remember being taken aback by this sharp insight. But I understood what was required. I returned to the drawing board and came back to him with another demo. When he began to use the new version seamlessly, we both knew we had arrived, and there would be no looking back for Tally then. We now had the foundation for a fast-growth company. I went to National College, Bangalore after school. But, my career was already charted. We began Tally in 1986, right after I finished college. From the very beginning, we believed we weren’t in the software business. We were in the business of “making business better”. We focused on our users and put ourselves in their shoes. What my father had told me during my first software demo was something I can never forget—“Remember that we’re not doing computerised accounting, but accounting on computers,” he’d said. In fact, when we launched it, the “no codes” concept in our software was a significant technological breakthrough. This especially resonated with our SME clients. Their fear of technology disappeared since they didn’t have to know any code. We identified this market as our biggest opportunity. We never strived to have a single, large anchor client. The mass market has always been our focus. Our aim in the early years, as now, has been to get Tally into as many businesses as possible. My father always used to say— there are two kinds of businesses; those that use Tally, and those that will use Tally. We constantly bear that in mind as we step into new markets and develop new products. Simplicity that can work for everybody is the cornerstone of our solutions. Despite this, in the early years, sales weren’t easy. It wasn’t just about selling the product. Often, we had to begin with selling the benefits of using computers for business to our customers. Many of our clients would have inhibitions, or were wary of adopting a new technology. Fortunately, once we overcame this initial skepticism, there was no looking back.

Staying committed to our core offering has also been a key aspect of our success. We made sure we never let ourselves get swept away in the services boom during the late 1990s and early 2000s. It would’ve been very easy to jump into that. But, we were clear we wanted to grow our product portfolio. Staying on the product path requires a lot of patience. But, patience is a key trait for entrepreneurial success. You can’t let delays dampen your enthusiasm. The drive to push through changes is critical. I truly believe that Tally is poised on achieving something remarkable. If you look at our growth story, we had around 4,000 customers in 1991. Today, we have close to 7,50,000 customers, and we are targeting four to six million customers within the next three years. We are also steadily expanding our global list of clients. That growth will mostly come from two geographies, the Middle East and Africa. Managing this exponential growth is a challenge, of course. But, an ambitious enterprise must “design for scale”. When you think big, and design for scale, success follows. To work in this mode, you have to assume that your business plans and objectives will be achieved. You have to be an optimist, and be prepared for glory. Along with optimism, inculcate the ability to adapt, to be adept at change. To transcend levels, and create new boundaries, one has to continually innovate and transform. For instance, Tally has learnt to manage 7,50,000 customers. But, I need to plan and design a new environment to manage four to six million customers. I need to work backwards from that success point somewhere in the future, to the structural changes I need to make in the present. In the years ahead, we expect turbulence in the economy. But, I see this as a positive disturbance, one that will help us achieve explosive growth, not compel us to bring down our targets. In fact, the market we operate in allows for sustained, sharp growth and it is important to recognise that opportunity. When you work with the principle that business is about the exchange of value, not the exchange of product for money, mutual benefit and growth is guaranteed. That principle has been my main driver through all these years.

No. of companies in the `50 to `100 crore revenue bracket

115

48 140

2010

2011

2012

No. 412

Path Infotech IT & ITeS Noida

—Pankaj Ratra The co-founder of the Noida-based IT company believes that when times are good, entrepreneurs often forget the importance of investing in the future for they tend to believe that it is only going to get better. “However, the 2008 slow down taught us that we should continue to stay invested in new ideas, products, people and their skills enhancement,” he says.

september/october 2012  |  INC. |  7 7


by the numbers

“When you work with the principle that business is about the exchange of value, not the exchange of product for money, mutual benefit and growth is guaranteed.”

7 8   |  INC. |  september/october 2012


by the numbers

`101cr to `500 cr Top 10 Companies: NO.

2

3

6

9

10

COMPANY

Tinna Viterra Trade

Barbeque Nation Hospitality

Veritas (India)

Spectacle Infotek

429%

285%

269%

THREE YEAR 597% GROWTH

dhanuka Agritech

Three Year GROWTH

11

13

14

15

16

Edserv Aseem Softsystems Global

Vyapar Industries

Southern Ispat & Energy

Anant Raj Industries

Swan Energy

203%

134%

122%

118%

107%

153%

| 25%

M.K. Dhanuka

Seeds of Growth Gurgaon-based Dhanuka Agritech, an agro-chemical and seeds company, doubled its turnover in the three-year period between 2008 and 2011, from `250 crore to `500 crore. It’s a run that M.K. Dhanuka, the company’s MD and co-founder, is confident it can continue as he looks ahead to harvesting revenues in the range of `1,000 crore by 2015-2016. Even as the company looks ahead, Dhanuka, who co-founded the company with his elder brother R.S. Agarwal, tells us how it all began, why pesticides are so misunderstood, and what the next decade looks like for them. As told to shreyasi singh Imaging By Peterson PJ Photograph by subhojit paul

Our ancestral business was in textile, and we would mostly import from Manchester. When my elder brother finished his graduation, he said he wasn’t interested in a business that was based on long credit cycles. So, he started a different line—trading in fertilisers and pesticides. After I got my bachelor’s degree, I joined him too. We began our first office in Hyderabad, and introduced a few north Indian pesticide companies in the South. Andhra was the biggest market for pesticide consumption then. Farmers would travel from there to Delhi with cash to buy pesticides, and take it back. We got good success in our foray into the South. In fact, so high was the demand that the manufacturing companies couldn’t supply the quantity of orders we’d book with them. It’s then that we began to think about having our own unit instead of being dependent on other companies. In 1980, we got a chance to acquire a sick unit—Northern Indus—which was one of the oldest pesticide units in India, established in 1960. This move served us well. By the mid-1980s, we had a turnover of `7 lakh and three or four molecules in our portfolio. In 1985, we set up Dha2011 Revenue nuka Pesticides as a public limited `486.1 Cr company. Through the 1980s, much like other businesses at that time, finance was our key chal-

nO. 311

september/october 2012  |  INC. |  7 9


by the numbers

No. 66

Timbor Home

Wood & Wood Products Gujarat

“ It is an inherent characteristic of humans to get complacent. This is something I’d not like to see at Timbor.” —Anant Maloo, fOUNDER and CMD

No. of companies in the `100 to `500 crore and `500 to `1000 crore revenue brackets 245

259 224 142 95

92

`100 to `500 cr `500 to `1000 cr 2010

2011

2012

8 0   |  INC. |  september/october 2012

lenge. Looking back, we could have done much more, and grown much faster if we got that support. But, the real milestone came for us in the early 1990s. In 1992, we launched first molecule by DuPont in India. Our aim always has been to introduce global standards in India. In any case, coming up with a new molecule isn’t really something our industry is ready for even now. To come up with a new molecule, you need to spend `10,000 crore and Indian companies in the agricultural sector don’t have that kind of revenue even right now. But, international companies can’t navigate in India alone because we are a country of six lakh villages. They want to have strong partnerships with local partners who can give them access to respectable market share. We’ve been successful in doing that. We have partnerships with leading global companies such as DuPont, Sumitomo Chemicals and Nissan Chemical Industries. Even now, educating farmers is a key focus area for us. In fact, we now have nearly 1,500 BSc and MSc graduates who do this across the country. We have to counter many misconceptions about pesticides. Sample some facts. India has 148 million hectares of cultivable land. On the other hand, China has 128 million hectares of cultivable land. But their production is more than double of ours. Last year, India recorded its highest production of food grains at 257 million tonnes. In comparison, China produces more than 500 million tonnes. Right now, our consumption of pesticides is one of the lowest in the world. Taiwan is at the top, followed by Japan. Even though NGOs advocate organic farming, it’s a debate that needs to be put into context. If you think about it, all the three agri inputs—seeds, fertilisers and pesticides—are equally important for agriculture because if a farmer spends on the first two and the crop dies because of pests, he incurs a huge loss. Moreover, if we look at the bigger picture, we add two crore people to our population each year—that’s like adding one whole Australia. Plus, our cultivable land is dwindling because of urbanisation so we can’t afford to produce less right now. Having said that, there is no Despite the never-ending debate over doubt that pesticides must be used in modorganic farming, M.K. Dhanuka has grown eration because ultimately, they are poison. his business successfully year on year. We are not against organic agriculture. We welcome it, in fact. But, it’s not a very relevant debate, given the sheer number of mouths that need to be fed in India today. In fact, the next ten years look very exciting. There is huge opportunity in agriculture. As I mentioned, India has one of the lowest pesticide uses. Barely 35 per cent of all Indian farmers use pesticides. Add to that the rising demand of India’s growing middle-class because of rising levels of income. It wants more nutritious foods, vegetables and poultry. Things look good for Dhanuka on the management side too. We have three members of the second generation—both of my sons, and my brother’s son—working with us over the past few years. More than anything else, I hope, our next generation has the perseverance and patience to keep upgrading our portfolio of molecules. It isn’t easy. Pesticide is a highly regulated industry in India. Each new molecule takes two to four years of trials before it can be introduced in India. Actually, if you’re lucky, you can get your registration in four years. Yet, we are spending a large amount of money in getting these new registrations because the newer molecules are more eco-friendly and require lesser quantities of chemicals to be used. In the next two years, we plan to launch two new molecules that are both under trial at present. With these molecules introduced, we aim to be an `1,000-crore company by 2015-2016. I think we’re well on our way to getting there, as long as the monsoon stays on course.


Gutter Credit here

“Those who run after you before to give you money will run after you to get their money back during a recession.”

8 2   |  INC. |  september/october 2012

Photograph by name tk


by the numbers

Mantri Developers

Three Year GROWTH

| 27%

Sushil Mantri

Building fortunes Inspired by a 1978 Bollywood blockbuster, Sushil Mantri veered away from his family’s textile business to start Mantri Developers, a real estate company in 1999. Thirteen years hence, Mantri has more than one crore sq ft of constructed area to its credit including 6,000 homes and 20 commercial and educational projects across Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and Pune. What’s next? Retirement, claims Mantri, as he plans to take it a little easy now. `501cr to `1000 cr

Photo Courtesy subject

Top 10 Companies :

As told to Ira Swasti

N0.

COMPANY

Three YEAR GROWTH

31

Sumeet Industries

85%

35

Supreme Infrastructure India

80%

44

Baramati Agro

73%

52

J Kumar Infraprojects

64%

54

EMC

63%

56

Polyplex Corporation

63%

59

Axiom Cordages

60%

62

Confidence Petroleum India

60%

67

Kemrock Industries & Exports

59%

Imaging By Peterson PJ

Because of the real estate business, I freI grew up in Pune in a business family. My quently travelled to Abu Dhabi, Dubai and father was a wholesale dealer of textiles. Up Sharjah. Many of our buyers there were until I was in Class 10, I wanted to be a civil from South India. Everytime we tried to sell engineer. But, around that time, my father fell our Pune properties to them, they’d ask us ill. Because he was hospitalised, I had to manto come up with a similar age his business for two development in Bangalore too. months. That changed my life. I 2011 Revenue Each one of them wanted to loved being in business, and `717.6 Cr buy a property in South India. decided that was what I wanted I realised this meant a great to do for the rest of my life. long-term business opportuThat resolve got stronger nity in Bangalore. In 1999, I after watching the Amitabh founded Mantri Developers Bachchan-Sanjeev Kumar there even though the property market was starrer Trishul in 1978. Bachchan’s characa little slow at the time. Slow downs don’t ter in the movie inspired me to get into real scare me though. A few years (around the estate. I wanted to be like him—a young late 1980s) after we began our Pune realty man who comes from a small city to a big business, there was a recession too. Many town, becomes a developer and gradually developers found themselves in financial rises to take on the city’s biggest developer. trouble. The general mood was that every My elder brother Sunil was also completely developer would meet the same fate. taken up by the movie. So, in 1983, when our father was looking to diversify his busiInstead, that recession taught me some great business lessons. Those who run after ness, we decided to build a real estate vertiyou before to give you money will run after cal. We poured all our returns from the textile business into real estate. In fact, three you to get their money back during a recession. So, a business needs to tighten its belt, years after we began real estate, we decided cut expenditure, stop unviable projects, and to shut down our textile division to totally focus on finishing projects quickly. But, a focus on realty.

no. 290

september/october 2012  |  INC. |  8 3


by the numbers

recession isn’t an isolated phenomenon— it equally impacts your cement supplier, contractors and labour. So, you can get good rates from them. Also, more than in good times, you can really win your customers for life if you demonstrate strength during this period. I believe the deeper the recession, the greater the opportunity it offers for increased growth. Someone has rightly said that good judgment comes from bad experience and good experience comes from bad judgment. Following those lessons, we successfully launched our first residential project Mantri Woodlands in 1999. Basically, we wanted to make affordable housing because apartments in Bangalore used to be quite large in those days. So, we designed 800900 sq ft apartments, much like the type you find in Mumbai, and kept the price below `10 lakhs. We got a phenomenal response, mainly because we got our customer target right. We focused our marketing efforts on Infosys employees. The company had then launched a scheme of offering its employees interest-free loans. From affordable homes, we gradually moved to ultra-luxurious apartments with the Mantri Altius project in 2001. At that time, people used to believe that if you live in flats, you aren’t as well off as those who live in bungalows. I wanted to change that mindset. I wanted to build single-story, 6,000 sq ft apartments that had rooms as large as those in villas. Residents were invited to buy these apartments. Many people, including my housing finance company officials, thought it was a crazy idea and advised me not to go ahead with it. The largest apartments then were about 2,500 sq ft. But, I was convinced that there was a niche market for Altius. Initially when we had launched those apartments, the response was tepid. But, eventually my gut paid off. We developed a screening process for buyers, and interviewed each and every applicant before letting them live in Altius. And even though this is one of our smallest projects in terms of size, it has given us an incredible amount of visibility and brand equity. It established us as a differentiated real estate player. The key 8 4   |  INC. |  september/october 2012

No. of Companies & Growth Rates in the `50 to `100 crore and `100 to `500 crore brackets in 2012. 259

112 After watching this hit movie of the 70s, Sushil Mantri set out to play the role of Amitabh Bachchan in real life.

learning from here was that real estate project becomes popular not because of who has built the houses, but because of those who live in them. The “club membership” concept helped us get together like-minded people who made for a great community. Even now, many people know us because of Altius. In fact, it’s this brand equity that helped us get Morgan Stanley on board as an investor. In 2005, the government had allowed FDI in real estate. And a year later, Morgan Stanley invested `300 crore in Mantri. Our turnover was around `300 crore then, and we preferred a private equity infusion instead of launching an IPO because when a small-sized company goes for an IPO, it gets lost in the crowd. In hindsight, that was the right decision. I learnt a very valuable idea when dealing with investors or clients— always under promise, and over deliver. Instead of painting a rosy picture, give a conservative estimate of your deliverables. Overachieving your targets is the biggest positive impression you can leave. I’ve been in business for more than three decades now. For me, running a business is like riding a bicycle, you just have to keep pedalling. The moment you stop, you know what will happen to you. Now, I am looking forward to my son—who has recently joined us—to pedal away so that I can take a back seat and retire in the next three to five years. I look forward to the day when I’ll stop being the MD-cum-chairman of Mantri Developers, and just be the chairman.

50

41

`50 to `100 cr

`101 to `500 cr

No. of companies Growth Rate

No. 369 GRP

Rubber & Rubber Products Mumbai Rajendra Gandhi, Founder and MD Started by Gandhi in 1978, GRP formerly known as Gujarat Reclaim & Rubber Products, is one of the world’s largest makers of reclaimed rubber from used tyres. With a capacity of processing 45,000 million tonnes of rubber every year, it has sales footprints in nearly 54 countries. “For the first three decades, the company was run as a family business which helped us build a strong foundation. But to secure this growth in the future, you need to build an organisation of entrepreneurs who’ll lead and steer the company through its challenges.”


by the numbers

NCL Industries

Three Year GROWTH

| 18%

K. Ravi

always stay hungry K. Ravi inherited more than an infant cement business from his father. His real inheritance was a cherished dream—to build a business, whatever the odds. When he took over Nagarjuna Cements, he gave up his own dream of an engineering career in the Indian Air Force. Twenty years later, Ravi has nurtured his father’s dreams to build a pioneer cement and building materials company with 10 manufacturing units spread all over India. Here, he takes us through the dramatic journey of the company’s early years, and the twists and turns on its path to becoming a building giant. As told to Nithya Nagarathinam imaging by Shigil Narayanan Photograph by SriVatsa

8 6   |  INC. |  september/october 2012

I hail from an agricultural family in a village in coastal Andhra Pradesh. My family’s journey of entrepreneurship began in not very happy circumstances. My father was forced out of agriculture by a three-year long drought in the mid 1960s. The drought was symbolic of my family’s struggle in those years. After leaving our farms, my father struggled for a long time as a sales representative in a pharma company. He also went on to start his own pharma business but that was unprofitable too. His first break came in the early 1970s, when he stumbled on the chemicals business. In fact, we continue to run that chemical manufacturing unit till today. As the eldest of four sons, I grew up seeing my father’s unyielding determination and hard work. His experiences deeply influenced me. Although the chemicals business was 2011 Revenue profitable, my father never stopped looking `500Cr for better opportunities. In 1979, he founded Nagarjuna Cement Limited (NCL). My father’s entry into the cement business was a result of his entrepreneurial instincts. He identified the opportunities and needs of the market well because there was a great demand for quality cement at that time, but only a handful of suppliers. He backed up identifying the opportunity by studying the market really well before taking any further steps. On its part, the government was encouraging infrastructure development, and industries like cement were therefore getting a fillip. Looking back, I was almost pushed into the company after my Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Andhra University. My dream was to join the Indian Air Force. But, my father needed technical expertise. It was becoming hard for NCL to meet functional demands given our lack of technical background. So, I was sent to the Delhi Cement Research Institute to learn cement manufacturing.

nO. 378


Gutter Credit here

“Business is essentially about two things only— customers served and employees who make that possible.”

Photograph by name tk

september/october 2012  |  INC. |  8 7


by the numbers

Following your gut might seem irrational but it can be very insightful, believes Ravi.

No. of Companies and Growth Rates in the `500 to `1000 crore and `1000 to `1500 crore brackets in 2012 92

34

35

33

`500 to `1000 cr `1000 to `1500 cr No. of companies Growth Rate

No. 211

Insecticides (India)

Food Products

New Delhi

“ The more you educate your customer, the greater is the acceptance towards your products.” —rajesh aggarwal, Managing Director

8 8   |  INC. |  september/october 2012

Soon, I was hooked for good. Of course, my Air Force career could never take off but I’m thankful for the serendipitous turn of events. We began commercial production in 1984 with a capacity of 66,000 tonnes every year. Our first cement plant was located near the Mattapally limestone deposits in Nalgonda districts. Mattapally was a remote location, and logistics were a huge challenge for us. But the quality of limestone was unbeatable, and we didn’t want to compromise on that core requirement. In fact, demand was so brisk that in 1989 we had to enhance our capacity to 1.98 lakh tonnes per annum. But, as our orders increased, we found it nearly impossible to meet our delivery deadlines because of under-developed logistics. Truck services to and from Mattapally were unreliable. We decided we would buy our own fleet of trucks. It was a risky financial decision for us. But, it helped us tremendously in servicing the demand. Business was brisk. Soon, we were ready to expand. By the beginning of 1990, we had a `22-crore turnover. With economic reforms in 1991, the construction industry in India showed great promise. We forayed further into building materials beyond cement. In 1992, we produced a bone-china ceramic material using natural gas for the first time in the country. The following year we opened a pre-fab facility in Himachal Pradesh that produced wood cement particle boards using West German technology to replace wooden panels. This string of expansions took up huge amounts of investment. By the early 1990s, NCL was facing severe financial difficulties. We almost came close to selling the entire cement division. But to my pleasant surprise and great relief, our dealers came to our rescue. They offered to defer interest payments on their fixed deposits with us for a few months. And, our workers volunteered to give up some of their benefits. Personally, that was overwhelming. This period—from 1992 to 1995—reinforced my conviction that business was essentially about two things only—customers served and employees who make that possible. In fact, business should be run by gut. Following your gut might seem irrational at times but it can prove to be very insightful, in retrospect. For example, around 1995, there was a lot of talk about renewable energy and the government opened up hydel power generation to the private sector. It was a radical digression from our core business. But the electrical engineer in me was excited with the possibilities. My father and I had a tiff over this issue. Yet, I was confident the possibilities were bright. So, I undertook extensive feasibility research and found that hydel power plants were quite self-sustainable, and need little maintenance after the initial investment. We built a 16 MW plant near the Tungabhadra Dam. It was the right time for us to do this as the government was offering financing options. This plant turned out to be a great idea, and became a captive power source for us during times of crises. Over the last decade or so, we have enjoyed the fruits of our innovation and good work. Innovation has been the key reason for us in being successful. For example, we pioneered in the field of building materials such as laminated cement bonded particles which have given us a considerable edge over competition. In the building industry, once you establish quality and reputation, you have won the loyalty of the customer. Unlike consumer retail, the market here is less fickle and reluctant to changing brands if they are satisfied with one. My father used to tell me that if you don’t want to stop growing, stay hungry for more. This has always been the guiding principle of my vision for the company. After crossing a turnover of `500 crore in 2010, we opened two RMC plants in Hyderabad and Vizag. It contributed significantly in taking the turnover to `750 crore in 2011. There’s huge potential for building infrastructure in India today. So we are constantly expanding, and are currently exploring joint venture proposals from the Middle East and other markets.


FOR THE FIRST TIME IN INDIA!

2012

DO DO YOU YOU KNOW KNOW A FUTURE A FUTURE CFO? CFO? NOMINATE YOURSELF OR YOUR COLLEAGUES TODAY!

The CFONEXT100 is a first-of-its kind initiative from CFO India magazine, to identify and recognise 100 of the brightest rising stars in the field of finance – future CFOs. A 35 – member strong jury of leading CFOs – most of them winners of our CFO100 programme will identify, evaluate and pick the winners.

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“ I regret that I couldn’t do an MBA. A part of me wonders if I could have done more for the company if I had that degree.”

9 0   |  INC. |  september/october 2012


`1001 cr to `1500 cr Top 10 Companies: NO.

40

49

70

71

82

108

115

126

Jain Infraprojects

MARG

COMPANY

ARSS Infrastructure Projects

Educomp Solutions

Ashoka Buildcon

Gitanjali Brands

Shiv-Vani Oil & Gas Exploration Services

Riddhi Siddhi GVR Infra Gluco Biols Projects

Diamond Power Infrastructure

66%

59%

57%

55%

45%

44%

43%

36%

Micro Labs

Three Year GROWTH

THREE YEAR 76% GROWTH

160

37%

167

| 14%

Dr Dilip Surana

making of the medicine man Dr Dilip Surana literally grew up in Micro Labs. His father started the company in the early 1970s, and seeing him transform a small business venture into a large company over the years, sealed Surana’s choice of a career. He has clearly come good on his gene pool. Micro Labs is today a `1,500crore (FY11-12), 6,000 people generic drugs company. Now, Dr Surana is formulating a new success story with his fastgrowing exports business. aS told TO NIthya Nagarathinam Imaging By Peterson PJ photograph by srivatsa

Micro Labs was started as a small manufacturer of pharmaceutical preparations in 1973 in Madras, as it was then known. In those days, there was a great demand for quality pharmaceutical products and little competition. My father, a pharmaceutical distributor then, thought this was an opportunity that ought not to be missed. Because the market was growing in the early years, establishing the company wasn’t very difficult. My own entrepreneurial instincts were honed by the environment at home. My father was a first-generation entrepreneur. That gave me the chance to watch closely how Micro Labs grew from a start up into a company to be reckoned with. Not surprisingly, he was my role model, and I wanted to carry his baton when I grew up. Although I was quite involved in the 2011 Revenue business during my college days, I offi`1431.8 Cr cially joined Micro Labs in 1983, after completing my Bachelor degree in commerce from Bangalore. At that

no. 406

september/october 2012  |  INC. |  9 1


by the numbers

time, the company was overloaded with orders. So, we opened two new manufacturing facilities in Hosur, Tamil Nadu. My brother also joined the company a few years later. Those years were frenetic with activity and growth. That is probably why I couldn’t extricate myself from the business to do an MBA. I regret that even now. I had initially planned that I would go back to studies after a few years. That delay has lasted three decades now! But, I couldn’t imagine not being in the thick of action. Yet, I have to say—a part of me wonders till today if I could have done more for the company if I had an MBA. In the mid-1990s we decided to branch out into specialisations like diabetology, cardiology and neurology. Even in these specialisations, we continued to focus on generic drugs as our core competency. My philosophy has always been to become the master of one trade first, before exploring the research and development of new drugs. Through the 1990s, we grew briskly. But that decade brought in significant changes in the pharma industry. Commensurate with the demand for medicine, competition grew steadily too. International players started looking at India and before the TRIPS (Trade Related-aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) agreement, India was a relatively patentfree market. Compared to the developed countries, we still have very few patents registered here. But, it’s growing. Still, patents aren’t a threat to our business yet because the disease pattern in our country is very different from that of the western countries. Most patented drugs cater to lifestyle diseases which are not as common here, as of now. Managing competition—especially from the many smaller players who have come up strongly in the generics market—has been a bigger worry for us. We certainly had to double our efforts to retain our market share, and grow over the last decade. We have a twopronged strategy at Micro Labs— proactive and reactive. Being proactive enables growth, and taking on reactive positions ensures sustainability. As far as being proactive goes, we need to keep exploring new markets, both domestically and for exports. Plus, we have to create a very strong brand value, something we didn’t need to focus on as much before. Those are currently our two focus areas. We are confident we can craft a good brand. We had great success in promoting Dolo 650, our branded anti-pyretic drug. In 2010, it received Best Managed Brand Award by CMARC, a market research agency. More than anything else, becoming an international player of significance is my personal goal now. Our first export to the US a year and a half back set that in motion for us. That was a big deal—the United States is a market very few foreign players get access to. Today, our Goa plant exclusively focuses on export, and exports contribute nearly `450 crore to our turnover. In the last few years, we have made inroads into all five continents. There’s still a long way to go. Four things are the pillars of any successful business—quality, ethics, customer satisfaction and most importantly, people. It goes without saying that your team is indispensable to the company’s survival and growth. We treat people as our primary capital. Of course, in a large organisation, it’s not easy to completely do away with a hierarchical structure but we have tried to ensure that this hierarchy is merely structural, not cultural. Communication plays a key role in making this happen. We’ve set up an effective system for the free-flow of communication to ensure even a front line employee’s concerns and achievements reach the top management.

I have a two-pronged strategy—reactive and proactive. Being proactive enables growth, and taking on reactive positions ensures sustainability.

9 2   |  INC. |  september/october 2012

No. 498

TeamLease Services

Services

Bangalore

“We believe that sunshine is the best disinfectant and it is best to air issues for debate before making a decision.”   ashok reddy, the co-founder of TeamLease Services, a staffing company, believes planning is the cornerstone of action and prefers to spend most of his time on pondering over all fronts of the business, whether it is processes or profitability, before jumping into action and execution.

No. of companies in `1000 to `1500 crore revenue bracket

65 41

34 2010

2011

2012


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Converged Co Cisco Sele mmunication Soluti ct Partner ons Switching , Ro Infrastruc uting, Firewall, Pre ture mis Proactive Management Serv e cabling Network M ices on Cisco Sele ct Partner itoring & Support

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Business So MS Dyna lutions Focus mic Impleme s NAV, AX, CRM ntation, C ust Epicor So lutions omization, Upgra des, Inte C@MPI gration, S T – Cam upport pus Mana gement S olution

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companies AT WORK

94   |  INC. |  september/october 2012


safe and Sound Dr Diwan Rahul Nanda took over an ailing security business run by his father with a turnover of `30 lakhs in 1992, and turned it around into a `738 crore security services giant by 2011. With a workforce of around 93,000 people, the company has been quite aggressive in the recent past, acquiring security companies in India and abroad. In the last four years, Nanda has made three acquisitions—a 100 per cent stake in UK-based Shield Guarding, a 100 per cent stake in Guardwell Detective Services, a leading security company in southern India, and a strategic stake in Adtech Systems with which it entered into the only vertical it was absent in—system integration. The firm also runs six training academies (Faridabad one is shown here) across the country to impart training to more than 25,000 security personnel every year. Tops Security

Three year growth

43%

Mumbai

photograph by Subhojit Paul

no.

118

Reported by Ira Swasti


Sticking to his guns | walsons seRVICES | NO. 104 Delhi, Early 1990s

while still a student at st. stephen’s college, ARJUN WALIA BEGAN HIS ENTREPRENEURIAL JOURNEY—BY SELLING GYM EQUIPMENT. bUT eventually A CORPORATE JOB WON OUT IN THE CHOICE OF A CAREER and right AFTER HIS GRADUATION, walia MOVED TO lONDON AS A MANAGEMENT TRAINEE AT FORD.

hey......

lOooNDON!!!

cartoon strip based on story done for inc. india e-magazine, may 2009

HERE i COME! THERE’S NO STOPPING ME NOW!

9 6   |  INC. |  september/october 2012


Illustration

MANAV SACHDEV

AT THE FORD OFFICE IN lONDON, WALIA met 12 other MANAGEMENT TRAINEES FROM TOP UNIVERSITIES ACROSS THE GLOBE.

Walia decided if he couldn’t match their fancy degrees, he’d outwork them.

pm

september/october 2012  |  INC. |  9 7


walsons seRVICES So, while others worked from 9am to 6.30pm, walia was at it from 6am to 9.30pm.

CONGR

ARJUN! yOU AT ULAT IONS , HAVE AHEAD! KEEP A BRIGHT FUTURE IT UP, YOUNG LAD.

and soon HIS PERSEVERANCE EARNED HIM THE “MOST HARDWORKING MANAGEMENT TRAINEE” TITLE.

But, HIS ENTREPRENEURIAL URGE DIDN’T DIM. HE DECIDED TO MOVE BACK TO INDIA IN THE mid90s, with a deal to represent two BRITISH companies.

AMAZING! THIS GUARD IS ASLEEP ON DUTY! India clearly needs TRAINED GUARDS who can keep our homes safe........waIT.......WHY DON’T I DO THAT? How about starting MY OWN SECURITY ComPANY?

zzzz.. .. zzzz....

But When he reached his parents’ house, he was in for a nasty surprise.

9 8   |  INC. |  september/october 2012


walsons seRVICES

N??? H YOU, SO IT W G ’T N O DIDN R WHAT’S WJOB LIKE YOUR BROTHER! YOU O KIDAARS! g CH OW GO GET A REAL TO SUPPLY . STEPHEN’S STUDY AT ST . BACK ABROAD

! k c a w h T

despite his dad’s disapproval, WALIA founded walsons services with `23,000 in 1996. he knew THAT OTHER THAN G4S, A GLOBAL SECURITY giant, all OTHER SECURITY FIRMS in the country WERE JUST MOMAND-POP OUTLETS.

september/october 2012  |  INC. |  9 9


walsons seRVICES BUSINESS GREW STEADILY IN THE FIRST FEW YEARS. BUT WALIA WAS AMBITIOUS FOR MORE.

IN FACT, TO WIN A CONTRACT FROM A LARGE bPO CLIENT IN GURGAON, HE LANDED UP FOR A MEETING AT 1.30AM.

He waited FOR MORE THAN 45 MINUTES WHILE THE BPO’s management sipped coffee.

HA ha

10 0   |  INC. |  september/october 2012

ha

ha


walsons seRVICES finally at around 2.15 am, they called him in.

THE CONTRACT IS YOURS! WE HAD CALLED THREE VENDORS FOR THIS MEETING. ONLY YOU TURNED UP. WE WANTED TO SEE WHICH VENDOR’S LEADERSHIP WILL BE AVAILABLE IN TIMES OF CRISeS.

Since then, there has been no stopping the ` 138-crore company. SWEDISH SECURITY GIANT securitas even BOUGHT A 49% STAKE in walsons, in 2008.

G4S STILL HAS THE TOP SLOT IN THE SECURITY BUSINESS IN INDIA, WITH NEARLY 35% SHARE OF THE MARket. bUT WE’LL BE THERE SOON! wE‘VE ALREADY ESTABLISHED A ROBUST NETWORK IN OVER 180 CITIES IN iNDIA AND HAVE OVER 20,000 EMPLOYEES WORKING FOR US. fOR THE LAST THREE YEARS, WALSONS HAS BEEN GROWING AT 46%. AND I AIN’T STOPPING TILL I BECOME A

BILLIONAIRe BEFORE MY 55TH BIRTHDAY!

The End..

september/october 2012  |  INC. |  10 1


companies AT WORK

Gorging On For those who grew up in the 1980s and 1990s, putting Crax corn rings on their fingers was as much fun (if not more) than biting into the crunchy snacks. The popular munchies were the first packaged snack food manufactured by DFM Foods, a business division of the Delhi Flour Mills Company that was later separated into an independent listed company in 1995. Promoted by Mohit Jain, and conceived and established by Mohit Satyanand, the `172-crore company has the capacity to produce nearly 16,000 tonnes of snacks every year in their two plants in Ghaziabad and Greater Noida (in the picture). Apart from Crax, the company also makes other low-priced snack brands such as Natkhat and a range of traditional namkeens. DFM Foods

Three year growth

10 2   |  INC. |  september/october 2012

34%

New Delhi

no.

188


photograph by Subhojit Paul

Reported by Ira Swasti


PUBLISHER’S NOTE

Courage Beyond Numbers This year, we celebrate the fourth anniversary of the Inc. India

500, our annual ranking of India’s fastest-growing mid-sized companies. As always, it was exciting and inspiring to discover companies that make India tick with their optimism and grit. In a year with falling growth and global economic uncertainty, our stars continue to charge forward. Undoubtedly, the external environment has shaved off a few percentage points from the average growth rate of the Inc. India 500 list but ranked companies continue to innovate, expand, hire, invest and focus on productivity, processes and technology. There’s no question these companies are trendsetters. But, does that mean everything is hunky-dory? Are we right to expect that our Inc. India 500 honourees will lead the way for others into the next decade? Will they be respected? Most fundamentally, have we—as a magazine—weighed them on the right things? To answer some of these questions and open up our ranking to some serious scrutiny, we added a pre-eminent jury to our selection process this year. We are privileged and grateful for our jury’s involvement, insights and inputs. Expectedly, they also raised an interesting set of issues, and pushed us towards clarifying our own objectives from this ranking, in the current and the long-term. Most importantly, we have discovered some critical “things to think about”—both for us, and for our Inc. India 500 companies as we go forward. Quality of growth, corporate governance and promoter reputation were the most prominent concerns raised by our jury. In several cases, our jury members asked us for information that isn’t readily available for privately-held companies. Even for public companies which form a bulk of our sample size, details are not handy. In fact, every year at Inc. India, despite our keenness we are compelled to abandon our idea of listing only privately-held companies because of this reason. Yet, we defended our process which does not (currently) consider these parameters because our primary objective (for now) is to rank “performance”, not future potential. We have not assessed “subjective” matters. Also, in the current environment, where several celebrated entrepreneurs have succumbed to temptation and 10 4   |  INC. |  september/october 2012

tarnished their image and long-term prospects—how would we begin to judge our ranked companies for their promoter, corporate governance and levels of disclosure? But as I contemplate the future, it strikes me that Inc. India and our 500 rankers must think seriously about the jury’s concerns. Shouldn’t we look beyond top-line growth obsession—to hit the `1,000-crore mark, or the $500-million threshold? Shouldn’t we also look at how we grow, and where we grow? Several companies in our list belong to groups with disparate businesses, presumably to achieve scale. But is that mindful and high-quality? Each company in our list has definitely demonstrated success, but with what trade-offs? Have they been exemplary on disclosure? Are these companies well-governed? Can they stand up to the test of time on various parameters of corporate integrity? Finally, do each one of us in our capacity as promoters run a business that is honest? Do we segregate the company from the family? Businesses have run successfully for a long time without contemplating these issues with any level of seriousness. There is lip service but many of us slip up. It takes courage to stay true and stay honest. For high-growth Inc. India 500 listers, courage comes easy. I look forward to the day when this courage is used in equal measure for some of our subjective parameters. While in the short term, Inc. India is privileged and proud to identify and celebrate high-growth, high-performance companies, going forward we’d like to develop a more comprehensive measure of “respect”where growth is a must, but many other factors count in equal measure. For now, though, congratulations for the present, and I wish you courage and luck for the future!

Anuradha Das Mathur Publisher, Inc. India


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Thermal Recovery prevents Clogging by Sucked Solder  Safe Design with Nozzle Lock Function  Detachable handle for use as Gun type or Straight type  New Design

REWORK SYSTEM  A Multi-Station

for Soldering, Desoldering and SMD Rework with a Single Unit  Large Graphic LCD Panel for Easy Viewing and Operation  Excellent Thermal Recovery  Compact Design AIR - PURIFYING FUME EXTRACTOR

RoHS

 Adjustable

Air Volume – High, Medium & Low Modes to suit different worksites & jobs  Free-standing Ducts for Exact Placement at Suction Spot  Powerful Suction  Quiet Operation by use of Silencer Unit  Filter Replacement Notification Function ensures excellent filtering efficiency at all times  Excellent

T 801

THERMAL WIRE STRIPPER

– – – –

Stripping Performance Does not damage wire cores Does not Cut Strands Cuts Insulation Cleanly Strips Superfine Lead Wires With Ease

All Hakko Products are Stocked & Supported in INDIA by SUMITRON

Branches : Bangalore  Chennai  Mumbai  Pune  Kolkata  Hyderabad

Haridwar : Resident Rep. 


MEET INDIA'S FASTEST GROWING COMPANIES UNDER 1,500 CRORE  

Inc. India, Sept/October 2012 Vol. 03, Issue 08

MEET INDIA'S FASTEST GROWING COMPANIES UNDER 1,500 CRORE  

Inc. India, Sept/October 2012 Vol. 03, Issue 08

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