While we personally believe entrepreneurship is more of an art or even better- a way of life and being a successful entrepreneur can be a matter of some right decisions that one makes in the course of building a startup, there is no denying the fact that most of the entrepreneurs that we see today are from IITs and IIMs.

While anyone can pick up the entrepreneural skills we try to ponder over what makes the alumni from the premier B schools ready to face the challenges that lay infront of them.

13 Successful Startups By The Alumni From IIT, IIM And BITS

What does help entrepreneurs from IIT/ IIM is that:

  • They have a entrepreneurial culture in their college life
  • They have exposure and interaction with people who are into it already .
  • Their network of people has seniors who are entrepreneurs them selves and they have the courage to turn to their plan B of getting a job even if their venture fails .

We have tried to compile a list of IIT/IIM and BITs alumni who have made it big in the startup arena:

1. TaxiForSure

Two IIM-Ahmedabad graduates, Radhakrishna and Raghunandan G, launched Taxiforsure in 2011 as an online platform for consumers to rent taxis. They operate from Agra, Ahmedabad, Ajmer, Allahabad, Amritsar, Aurangabad, Bangalore, Baroda, Bhopal, Chandigarh, Chennai, Delhi, Gwalior, Hyderabad, Indore, Jaipur, Jalandhar, Jodhpur, Kanpur, Kolkata, Kota, Ludhiana, Mathura, Mumbai, Mysore, Nagpur, Nashik, Pune, Rajkot, Shimla, Surat and Udaipur with over four lakhs happy customers.

The company, which claims to have reached operational profitability in Bangalore, has also done its own branding on about 550 cabs that are operated by small local operators. The two cofounders expect their company to earn revenue of Rs 100 crore by fiscal 2015.

2. RedBus

Phanindra Sama was just 25 when he founded this venture together with his BITS Pilani batchmates Charan Padmaraju and Sudhakar Pasupunuri. RedBus’ Former CEO, Phanindra Reddy Sama was recently selected by Endeavor as a high impact entrepreneur.

In June 2013, they sold redBus to the Ibibo Group for an estimated Rs 600-700 crore. The current CEO of redBus is Mr.Prakash Sangam (Years active). Before the acquisition by Ibibo, Mr. Phanindra Sama, the founder of redBus.in, acted as the CEO.Given the operators’ wariness to computerize, redBus initially worked on the basis of seat quotas from operators, and returning unsold seats within a defined time before the departure of the bus.

Three and a half years later, they introduced a bus ticketing software for the operators that could link to the redBus portal. To their utter surprise, it was a phenomenal success.

3. Travel Triangle

TravelTriangle, an online travel services company launched by Sankalp Agrawal and Sanchit Garg is clocking revenues in crores. Later they looped in Prabhat Gupta and IIT graduate as a core development member.

Both these IIM grads quit their promising jobs at Adobe and Yahoo in the middle of 2010 and started working on their startup in a garage in Noida with a business model that links customers with travel agents who offer the best deals. These are value-added deals customised to specific needs of the traveller.

Each request by a customer goes to at least three travel agents with operations in the area that is the client’s destination and that’s how it derived the name travel triangle.

4. Snapdeal

Snapdeal is an online marketplace, New Delhi, India. The company was started by Kunal Bahl, a Wharton graduate as part of the dual degree M&T Engineering and Business program at Penn, and Rohit Bansal, an alumnus of IIT Delhi in February 2010.

Bahl originally launched Snapdeal.com as a daily online deals site and was often touted as India’s answer to Groupon. The model has, however, changed and is today one of India’s largest online marketplace.

5. Knowlarity

Knowlarity Communications is a leading cloud telephony company in Asia, which replaces traditional communication hardware system with cloud based telephony solutions for small and large businesses.

Knowlarity Communications was founded by IIT-Kanpur batchmates Ambarish Gupta and Pallav Pandey in August 2009. In 2014, Knowlarity acquired Unicom Techlabs. Knowlarity is now expanding internationally with offices in Philippines, Turkey and Dubai. This venture if funded by Sequoia Capital.

6. Bluegape

Ayush Varshney and co-founder Sahil Baghla,students from IIT Kanpur, got this potential business idea in 2011 and invested Rs. 2 lakh to start Bluegape from their hostel rooms. Their business model was simple.

Anyone with a picture they had copyright to could send it across to Bluegape, mentioning the size of the poster that they wanted. The portal would print and deliver it within 4-10 days. The company soon started making coffee mugs, cushion covers, laptop skins and Tshirts. They also supplied merchandise to various retailers across the country.

7. Flipkart

Flipkart is an e-commerce company founded by Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal, two IIT Delhi graduates in 2007. It is a Singaporean company which operates in India, where it is headquartered in Bangalore, Karnataka.

Flipkart has launched its own product range under the name “DigiFlip” with products including tablets, USBs, and laptop bags. In May 2014, Flipkart received $210 million from DST Global, in July 2014 it raised $1 billion led by existing investors Tiger Global and South Africa’s media group Naspers and in May 2015 it raised $550 million from some of its existing investors. Flipkart’s last fundraising round in May 2015 had pegged its valuation at $15 billion

8. Reportbee

Reportbee was founded by Anantharaman Mani, Anjan T , Balaganesh S & Vinod Kumar (Alumni IIM-B). Report Bee is created with the vision to get useful and actionable insights from data. There is real need for simple but powerful data visualizations that can make information consumption a pleasure.

Education is undergoing rapid changes and a side effect of that is teachers and school managements need to handle a lot of data. The goal of this venture is to make useful insights about the data and present the findings in a simple format for quicker and better decision making.

Report Bee is piloting in 64 government schools in Tamil Nadu. It is also piloting in five Chennai Corporation schools. The startup has undertaken three data analysis projects for Tamil Nadu Government Education Department.

9. Grey Orange Robotics

Samay Kohli and Akash Gupta while still at the Birla Institute of Technology in Pilani, designed and built a robot that waited at tables in the college cafeteria. Grey Orange Robotics, set up in 2009, is a first -of-its-kind venture for the Indian logistics industry.

It builds robots that can move shelves stacked with various products to a floor assistant who then scans a bar code to confirm the right items. The robot in turn moves the chosen products to the shipping bay where workers seal the packages for final transport. Today Grey Orange owns 90% of India’s warehouse automation market.

10. Exotel

Shivakumar Ganesan of BITS Pilani created a cloud-based mobile solution when call volume went through the roof at his first venture, a consumer-to-consumer marketplace, Roopit. He soon realised that other entrepreneurs needed a solution like this and so founded Exotel with Ishwar Sridharan, Siddharth Ramesh and Vijay Sharma in February 2010 and launched the solution in June 2011.

Exotel provides a single mobile number that can be linked to a number of mobile phones. A company’s employees can log into the system and calls get routed to those who are logged in. The product is aimed at SMEs that do not want to invest in servers and call centres to handle calls.

11. Thrillophilia

Thrillophilia was founded in 2009 by Abhishek Daga, alumnus of the IIT BHU and Chitra Gurnani alumnus of the Indian School of Business. Initially they used word of mouth and Digital marketing to popularize their company. A few months later, the company sold its trip to Ladakh on Thrillophilia.com.

Today, as per Alexa traffic rankings, Thrillophilia is among the top 20 Travel Web sites and has been credited with India’s largest adventure travel website with more than 400 tours on website. Further in 2012, Thrillophilia added wildlife getaways. As of today, Thrillophilia employs over 30 people.

12. Housing.com

A group of twelve students from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay founded Housing.co.in in June 2012. Housing.com is a Mumbai-based real estate search portal which allows customers to search for housing based on gephy, number of rooms, and various other filters.

The company has 6,000 brokers and serves 40 cities in India including Mumbai, Bangalore,Kolkata and Delhi. In early March 2015, the company had a nationwide brand launch, and revealed its new brand logo, colours and brand philosophy; with the tagline ‘Look Up’. The brand launch was advertised in national newspapers and hoardings in several cities across India; and notably, on the company’s social media pages.

13. Grofers

Grofers was founded on December 27, 2013 by Saurabh Kumar and Albinder Dhindsa. Saurabh Kumar is a graduate from IIT Bombay and holds an MS from University of Texas in Austin. Saurabh was the head of operations at Rasilant Technologies in Mumbai and prior to that worked as an engineer at Cambridge Systematics in New York.

Albinder Dhindsa is a graduate from IIT Delhi and holds an MBA from Columbia University in New York. Albinder was heading international operations at Zomato before starting Grofers. Prior to Zomato, Albinder worked as an engineer in New York and San Francisco with Cambridge Systematics.

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