In the mid-19th century, they emerged from the arid Marwar region of the then Rajputana (now Rajasthan) and have been spreading across the Indian sub-continent, prompting the phrase “ Jahan na jaye bail-gaadi, wahan jaye Marwari ” (A Marwari will go to even those areas where a bullock-cart cannot).
They catalysed India’s economic transformation from a predominantly agrarian to an increasingly industrial economy, and passed on their businesses and trades to their offspring.
But that trend is now on the wane. Marwari boys are not taking to their forefathers’ businesses like before, and are striking out on their own.
Many are making it big in the start-up space — graduating from business ‘theology’ to technology.
Different paths Vineet Jain is CEO and Co-Founder of LoanStreet.in; Diwakar Chittora is Founder-CEO and Technical Director of Intellipaat Software Solutions; Hitesh Khandelwal is Co-Founder of SmartPrix.com; and Ashutosh Modi runs Jivem Education.
Most of them worked for marquee companies before they decided to set up their own businesses.
“My grandfather, the late Gulabchand Jain Bottlewala, used to export bottles from Agra, while my family was into the aircraft dismantling and scrap business. But I now run this end-to-end loan consultancy service,” says Jain, who worked with the Bajaj Group, HSBC, ICICI Bank and General Electric for 12 years before starting his own business two years ago.
Business in the blood “We, the Marwaris, have business in our blood. We are now getting into newer geographies and venturing out from our traditional businesses to new ones,” he told BusinessLine . His firm, currently operating in Mumbai, Bengaluru, Indore and Delhi, is set to expand to 17 more cities across India in the next few months.
Diwakar Chittora’s father was an author and government official in Rajasthan, while his mother ran a publication house. After serving American Express, Mercedes Benz and Wipro for years, he set up Intellipaat, an e-learning company providing online and corporate training to working professionals on big data, business intelligence and cloud technologies. Operating from Bengaluru and Jaipur, the firm now has about 40 corporate clients and over two lakh users.
While still a student at IIT-Delhi, Hitesh Khandelwal, son of a grocer in Alwar (Rajasthan), decided to branch out and set up what is now Smartprix.com, an online service to provide shoppers comparisons between products and prices.
“We get a commission from sellers besides earnings from advertisements,” says Khandelwal, whose company is based in Noida, NCR.
For Ashutosh Modi, whose father ran educational institutions at Jhunjhunu, a small town in Rajasthan with a population of 1.5 lakh, the career choice was not difficult: he runs 22 educational and skill development institutions with 15,000 students through Jivem Education, a company set up in 2009, and heads EntrancePrime.com, an e-learning portal.
Modi’s prior experience with Larsen and Toubro Infotech, Harlequin and Mills and Boon came in handy.