Bhaag : Book Review
Have you ever wondered, how student startups are built? What must be their motivation to start thinking about the company,even before graduating? And what sets them apart? Bhaag,the new entrant to Indian book market aims to answer these questions. Authored by Ganesh V,the book talks about the inspiring stories of student entrepreneurs in India.
The book covers 11 stories about student entrepreneurs. The startups Ganesh has selected for the book come from various domains such as Education, Healthcare,Home Automation and Dance among others. The student entrepreneurs featured in the book include Priyadeep Sinha for Add-on Gyan Educational Services, Priyanka Amar Shah for iKheti, Prasad Gundecha and Akshat Oswal for Tech Innovance, Vijith Padmanabhan for Dolojo, Aditya Gupta and Karan Kumar for iGenero, Sahil Baghla and Ayush Varshney
for Bluegape,Sarah D’Souza and Amit Vernekar for Biosyl Technologies,Swati Bondia for Om Shanti Traders, Avik Bhattacharya for Center Stage, Arpit Mohan and Abhishek Nayak for GharPay and Annu Grover for Nurturing Green. These entrepreneurs come from a mix of cities and towns such Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kochi, Pune and Hubli.
Each startup story is told in 10-l5 pages, with the main focus being on how exactly the entrepreneur got started. In some cases like Priyadeep and Priyanka, a college competition triggered the idea while sheer passion to help has forced Swati to start up. As we read through the stories, we get to know the thought process that went behind converting an idea into a startup. The entrepreneurs formed their business model along the way, and took all the support they could to keep going. A notable point worth mentioning is, that these entrepreneurs never gave up. Take the story of Annu Grover, who founded Nurturing Green. The startup sells plants for gifting and decoration of homes and commercial spaces. Quitting a stable job and starting in a fairly unknown domain – Annu had his share of mistakes but kept going. From having advertisements on gifted plants to opening a shop-in-shop in HomeCentre ( Lifestyle’s furniture brand) – the business model saw lot of changes. We even get subtle hints of family displeasure when we read through.
Prasad and Akshat got into Home Automation by chance, and as they candidly admit, they under quoted and paid the camera vendor more than they got for their first order. While Akshat’s cousin helped them get started, the duo did a course on Home Automation and saw the gap large vendors weren’t able to fill.Explaining to the end customers in layman terms is something they learnt out of the experience.
Every story featured in the book is inspiring, to say the least. The founders hanged on, and in some cases the national level student competitions came to their rescue. For Priyanka of iKheti, it was The Pitch, a business reality program aired on Bloomberg. When there was no hope, Economic Times Power of Ideas happened for Annu, which gave him the much needed oxygen. Sarah D’Souza and Amit Vernekar participated in TATA NEN First Dot competition and won the Jury’s choice award. These stories underline the power of support system for student entrepreneurs, and we definitely need more of it.
The main intention of the book is to provoke this thought in reader’s mind – “If young men and women profiled in this book can set up and run profitable ventures, why can’t you?”. And, it meets the intent quite well. Having said that, this book does seem to give a simplistic potrayal of the startup journeys, highlighting very little of the struggles each entrepreneur had to go through. While it might have discouraged a few, putting the challenges in each story might have given a more realistic picture to the reader.Although lakhs of students graduate from colleges every year, very select few end up forming companies at such a young age. All the entrepreneurs featured in the book are definitely special, and it would have served well to take a closer look at their core traits.
Priced at Rs 225, the book is a breezy read. Do not expect hard hitting material. If you are a student looking for inspiration,do give it a read.