The Start Up Diaries trails the founders of six top young companies in India. These companies have moved on from being start ups to becoming major players in their respective domains. The book tries to chart the life stories of the founders from their childhood years to a key point in the lives of their companies.
The companies chosen by authors Neeti Jain and Gagan Jain are from very different domains in what seems to be an attempt at distilling the essentials of an entrepreneur: One97 (a mobile Internet company with a focus on digital goods and mobile marketing), EKO (a financial services company), Colosceum Media (a media production house), redbus.in (an online bus ticketing service), The Loot (a retail service) and Yo! China (a restaurant chain).
The stories are detailed and start from the early life of the founder, his experiences in college, family values leading up to starting of the company and some of the challenges faced. Each story ends with a motto from the founder, for instance Vijay Sharma, founder of One97, has a calendar that reads “Let’s make a dent in the Universe”.
The book can be easily mistaken for a work of fiction because of its storytelling style. Use of dialogues between characters, interspersed with descriptions of situations, makes it less serious and more breezy. The colourful characters, situations and the triumphant end make it read like a Chetan Bhagat story.
The Start Up Diaries is an interesting book. It is an attempt to show the men behind companies and how they built something different through sheer persistence, vision and passion. It reads like a story which is not a bad thing for general public.
It is, however, not for serious readers who might find it glossing over details and not delving too much into the details of building a company.