Bollant Industries now gets Ratan Tata’s backing

V Rishi Kumar Hyderabad | Updated on January 19, 2018

Srikanth Bolla is busy setting up a manufacturing facility in Sri City

Born into a family of farmers in Seetharamapuram in Machilipatnam, Srikanth Bolla, who is visually impaired, had to overcome a number of challenges to become an entrepreneur. The investment by Ratan Tata couple of days ago has been the icing on the cake.

Rejected by top Indian institutions for his graduation course, he went on to graduate from MIT in the US, turned a social entrepreneur, employing more than 400 people, with over 60 per cent being differently-abled.

Bolla, says, “I believe if a door is closed, there surely will be a window that will show a new path. And I went on complete my graduation at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) that was fully funded. But, I had to take loans for other requirements, which I am in the process of repaying.”

“Completing class X, thrice being double-promoted, I realised it was not easy for a person with special requirements. The trouble began after being shown the door at top institutions. Then, I secured admission in top Ivy League institutions and decided on MIT,” he says.

During his US visa interview, the only question the visa officer asked him was why he chose MIT over Harvard.

The officer had studied at Harvard and saw MIT as a competing institution.

After graduation, Bolla had the choice of starting a non-profit organisation, taking up a job, or starting a business enterprise. He chose the last option.

Pooling in few lakhs of rupees in 2012, Bolla started Bollant Industries Ltd from a small facility in Hyderabad to manufacture paper-based plates and products – a business segment that was fragmented and but had huge potential. Bollant has four manufacturing units, including at Nacharam near Hyderabad, one at Nizamabad and Hubli. He is busy setting up the company’s biggest facility in Sri City in Andhra Pradesh.

Marquee Investors

The first set of funding came through from Ravi Mantha and then SP Reddy, who were both associated with TiE.

“We saw a spark in him and his ideas,” they said and they continue to mentor Bolla. This was later followed by investments by Kiran Grandhi (GMR Group), Satish Reddy (Dr Reddy’s), Anil Chalamalasetty (Greenko), Arun Alagappan (TI Cycles), in individual capacities, and Srini Raju of Peepul Capital.

Bolla expects Bollant to become a ₹100-crore company in two years. The plates and special environment friendly paper material are also supplied to the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam.

The factory coming up at Sri City would be fully automated and would provide packaging material for the pharma and food/beverages industries and also e-commerce firms.

A couple of days ago, Ratan Tata agreed to invest in Bollant, making this his first non-tech investment.

Published on February 15, 2016

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