When they crossed 60, they did not just contemplate a blissful, relaxed life with their grandchildren. They recharged their batteries and turned into successful entrepreneurs, pursuing their old passions with renewed vigour.
Meet the New Age entrepreneurs, all 60-plus, with the zest of competitors in their 20s. And, in their second innings, they are giving young start-up founders a run for their money.
Sixty-three-year-old Dinesh B Singh, Founder of Navrasa Duende, a start-up for all forms and genres of global arts on a single platform, is creating a 100-acre campus of its own nearly 70 km from Bengaluru. “It will be like a Disneyland for all art-loving age-groups from 12 years and above. The first phase is expected to be ready in two years,” he told BusinessLine .
An engineer-technocrat-entrepreneur and connoisseur-patron of the arts, he revived his old passions as he felt corporate houses did not take the arts as a serious business. His start-up is not only an event organiser but also a production house that has put together successful events as well as curated and promoted commercial and niche arts from around the world.
Navrasa Duende is part of the Rs 800-crore Energo Group. “We don’t need funds right now but may consider hitting the capital market two years later,” he added.
Singh, Founder and MD of Energo Engineering Projects Ltd (EEPL), was mentored in his younger days by doyens of arts such as S.N. Mehdi, President of the Indian Progressive Theatres Association (IPTA), and B.M. Shah, former Director of the National School of Drama (NSD).
Since its inception in December 2016, Navrasa organised its first cultural initiative with music legend Pandit Jasraj on his 87th birthday, and a screening festival for the 1930s movies of Franz Kafka and Alfred Hitchcock. In September 2017, it will bring the Swan Lake Ballet to India for the first time and sign out for the year with a carnival in December.
Vinay Sehgal, 67, founded his start-up LURAP (abbreviated from Love UR APpearance!) in 2015 to offer a “virtual tailor at your doorstep” to plus-size women. “It is the first online women’s shopping brand offering 21 sizes and styles in each garment,” he said. From his experience in an export venture in garments, home furnishings and leather products, he decided to explore the niche market for plus-size and customized clothing.
“In online markets, clothing is the dominant segment and women are the largest segment of customers. But they lack quality or customised clothing. “We are now considering plus-size and customised clothing for men as well.”
About plus-sized women’s choices for clothes that fit them well, Sehgal said it is a “difficult” job. “For a single garment, we have to make some 125 patterns.” The startup is about to break-even in the current quarter as it expands to make 15,000 garments a month.
Former banker Sudarshan Motwani, founder-CEO of BookMyForex.com, was associated with travel-related foreign exchange and remittance business for 30 years when he retired from ING Vysya Bank. A pioneer, he conceptualised, introduced and headed foreign exchange services (FES) as a new revenue line at four different banks in India.
Founded in 2014, BookMyForex broke even in July 2015. “Now, investors are on board, and we can think about scaling up operations. Our turnover in 2016-17 is expected to be around Rs 1,500 crore,” he said.