Feature

Reaching For The Stars

New-age entrepreneurs talk about what it takes to sustain the hunger for growth

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Published 4 years ago on May 05, 2017 14 minutes Read
Photographs by Soumik Kar, RA Chandroo and Vishal Koul

Deputy editor, Kripa Mahalingam: The first time I heard the term ‘staying hungry’ was when I listened to Steve Jobs’ commencement speech at Stanford University in 2005. For most of us, success is a destination; for most entrepreneurs, however, it’s just one of the milestones. I often wonder: how can one stay hungry when you’ve been there and done that? All these super-achievers have achieved great successes - V Vaidyanathan started from scratch to build a Rs.6700 crore financial services company, Capital First; Vijay Sekhar Sharma is the man behind India’s largest mobile wallet company, Paytm and Neeraj Kakkar’s Hector Beverages ensures traditional Indian recipes live forever through its brand, Paper Boat. But this hasn’t stopped them from working on their next big audacious dream. 

So what keeps them hungry when they have achieved success? Let’s start with Mr Sharma. You have set yourself an audacious goal that you will bring half a billion Indians into the mainstream economy by 2020. What motivates you and what keeps you going?
Vijay Shekhar Sharma: I think all of us have a long term purpose, a vision that we carry. Till the time we reach the top of the mountain, we don’t know what that view is going to be like. Today if you ask me, I’d say half a billion Indians; tomorrow, it may be something else. When we reach a milestone, the view changes, the landscape becomes wider and the horizon starts looking distant again. It’s a continuous journey where we keep evolving and I love that particular streak about companies. I don’t think I will be able to see my company become a 100 years old because the expected age of Indians hasn’t reached that number. But, I truly want to build a company that ages well and becomes an institution in our country.

Mr Kakkar, you had a high-flying career at Coca Cola, you put yourself through Wharton, and then you decided to give it all up and become an entrepreneur. So what motivated you to give up that cushy corporate career?
Neeraj Kakkar: Entrepreneurship is a very selfish career! You enjoy every bit of it but it’s tough for your family. You don’t have money, you don’t have time, and you’re doing something that only you understand. It’s a pretty selfish thing to do. W

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