Soaring on the Wings Of a Business Dream

Rashmi Bansal’s Arise, Awake tells the stories of young entrepreneurs who graduated from college into a business of their own

Published: 01st September 2015 05:08 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st September 2015 05:08 AM   |  A+A-

On my first day at IIM Ahmedabad, I found a highly intelligent but equally eccentric guy seated next “NIT Surathkal.” Perhaps seeking to impress, he added, “The only college in India with its own Truth be told, I was impressed. Years later, when I visited the campus, I physically verified this fact.

I can also verify the fact that NIT Surathkal continues to produce intelligent eccentrics like Shashank “Back in 2005, when we joined college, nobody had heard of the term ‘entrepreneurship’. NIT-K was one of the first colleges in India to start an E-Cell.”

Soaring on.jpgAs Shashank and Abhinav worked to spread awareness about entrepreneurship, a strange thing happened. The e-virus entered their system and they decided to start a company themselves.

This venture, started in the fourth year of college, has blossomed and grown into Practo - a software being used by 10,000 doctors. A company which employs over 300 people with revenues close to `20 crore. Today, NIT-K is still the only college with a private beach but hundreds of colleges have E-Cells.

To these colleges, I throw a challenge: Can each E-Cell inspire 10 students to start a small business. Here’s to the intelligent eccentrics of the world - may their tribe increase! Shashank N D was born and brought up in Bangalore in a standard middle class family. “My parents were both in government jobs. My father was with Visvesvaraya Iron and Steel Plant (VISL), while my mother was working in Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL).”

It was a joint family, a big family but nobody in the field of business. Shashank attended the National Public School, Bangalore, from KG, right up to Class 12. He was an average student - more into “I was flowing with the wind, with no inspiration whatsoever to do anything. But in Class 12, it While friends and classmates were busy preparing for various entrance exams and knew what they wanted to do in life - he didn’t have a clue. One evening, Shashank mentioned to his parents that some of his friends had qualified for the National Olympiad in mathematics and science.

“I saw this poster in my dorm for E-Cell. At that time I had no idea what entrepreneurship was…  I “Why haven’t you tried?” they asked. Baat chubh gayi. Shashank got up from the dining table, called up a friend and bugged him about when was the next qualifying test. And, basically, he decided to “I pretty much locked myself in one room for the whole year, grew a huge beard and did my entire Not only did Shashank qualify for the Informatic Olympiad, he went a step further. When the AIEEE (All India Engineering Entrance Examination) results were declared - to everyone’s surprise - the once happy-go-lucky student had made it to the prestigious NIT-K (Surathkal).

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