Young & successful

Young & successful

20-something entrepreneurs talk about rising above the fray

You are never too young or too old to follow your dreams. We have often been told that successful careers are built by making calculated choices of career paths, which in our world, commonly boils down to being an engineer, doctor or doing an MBA.

While this is true for those who love the professions and see themselves doing it on a daily basis, one must not turn a blind eye to the umpteen number of professions that exist and are extremely viable and fulfilling.

If there is something you love and believe you can excel at, it is important to have faith and take the plunge.

These young entrepreneurs are a testimony to the fact that passion and vigour for what you love is the key to success. These enterprisers realised their goals early on and have built a successful business for themselves, breaking boundaries and doing all they have to, to make their dreams a reality.

Pranav Manpuria, 23
Co-Founder & CEO, Flux Auto

On starting a business...

I saw that the commercial vehicle autonomy side was fairly uncrowded, and the sort of business potential it held compared to private vehicle autonomy pushed me to get into the industry. Flux Auto began in late January 2017 with the idea of building self-driving technology for trucks.

On his journey...

I started by building the core systems, controlling the vehicle using software, understanding the surroundings using cameras and sensors. I then finally moved the whole platform from a Maruti 800 to an actual truck. I will be testing India's first self-driving truck.

On the challenges...

From starting the company completely bootstrapped and running for a whole year with limited resources, I had to think out of the box to make optimal business and financial decisions. Despite this, Flux Auto has come a long way and is giving other companies in this space a strong competition.

A lot of people start up because of the reputation the industry has. But really, entrepreneurship isn't as glamorous as people make it out to be. It's 99% late nights, early mornings, Sundays, and putting out fires. It's only the 1% that is the fun stuff.

Advice to aspiring entrepreneurs...

Follow your dreams, believe in your ideas and pursue them with all your heart. Most often youngsters do not have the liberty to fulfil their dreams due to parental pressure or lack of job security. But good things take time, patience and a lot of belief.

I am fortunate that my parents are supportive of my decision to start up and I still go to them for advice whenever I need it. Starting up was one of the best decisions I made.

I know that age plays a major role in a lot of cases, but I think as a team, we have built some great technology that makes customers, partners or investors look past it.


Aditi Lal, 25
Founder, Aditi Lal Couture

On starting a business...

While styling is my passion and the company was born out of the need to provide design solutions. My brand is about simple silhouettes that are made unique by the colours I use and the embroidery techniques I employ. I am really fascinated with prints and try to bring them to life by adding texture using beads, mirrors and thread work. My primary focus is on building a niche at big fat Indian weddings. I also want to customise fusion Indian wear for all body types.

On the many challenges...

As a young designer, you have to put in a lot of hard work to establish yourself in the market, set up a team with the right-minded individuals, and understand the market psychology and buying habits of potential customers. When you start something on your own, there is a lot to learn, there are a lot of ups and downs. 

On swimming against the tide...

Running your own business is demanding but its also very exciting because it's yours. You’ve to nurture it and grow with it and there is so much to learn. It’s important to be constantly inspired. It's what drives us to create something that’s our style, that we can share with the rest of the world. I believe in thinking out of the box and breaking free from the current trends.

Starting a venture is no easy task, believing in it, working for it and seeing it to fruition requires patience, dedication and maturity. These youngsters are setting milestones along with the many others in the city working to make their dreams come true. If you have a dream and believe you have all it takes to see it till the end, walk the mile and take the plunge.


Vishal Goel, 25
Founder, Sapfresh

On becoming an entrepreneur...

I started out with my preventive healthcare company, Sapfresh in 2017. It is my best shot to promote right nutrition. It is not just a product but a placebo which brings both the body and mind in harmony with each other.

My tryst with business started when I was 20, I am 25 now. Have pivoted on 18 start-ups and SapFresh is my 19th one.

On the challenges...

Age is not a barrier. It is only the mindset that is an obstacle.

No business comes without challenges. I had to balance team members’ energies and get the right minds to work together. 

If you want to run a business, understand the larger picture and jump into the game only if it makes sense and fits seamlessly in the larger game. All business ultimately boils down to life support and sustenance. Being clear on objective gives a clear career choice, everything else falls in place.


Chandana Sahukar & Nishika Mehta, 25
Co-Founders, Paint Bar Blr

On starting a business...

We began Paint Bar in 2017 and the event has catered to 650 people to date. While there is no dearth of entertainment in the city, one like this has a larger goal than just being a mere fun activity. We want to spread the importance of art and its impact on people’s mind. We want everyone to know that they can paint. We also want people to try something new and something they are afraid to do because they think they might fail at it, but seeing how easy it is and how good they actually are, gives them so much confidence. We now focus mainly on private parties and corporate events.

On the challenges...

Most often, getting the word out is a challenge. People assume an event like this will cater only to those with artistic skills, but Paint Bar teaches people at all levels.

We came together to do something different and creative for the city.

We’ve never really been the kind of people who follow suit. We just like to do what makes us happy and what we are good at. You spend so much time working in your life, might as well do something that keeps you happy and motivated.

On their inspiration...

We draw inspiration from the many young people who are breaking barriers, taking risks and emerging successful in their respective fields. Meeting such people constantly through our work has always been our biggest motivation to keep going with what we are doing.

Be ready to do the hard work and enjoy what you do. Success will be a by-product of that. Remember, there are no shortcuts.


Sarah Thomas, 25
Founder & Producer,
STOM Productions

On setting up a company...

I started the company at 23. Film-making had always been a passion and after a lot of thought, I decided to start STOM. We specialise in ad film-making and we have worked with several renowned brands.

On her journey...

I love writing and I used to write for publications as a teenager. My love for films and the pen saw a beautiful amalgamation when I began writing scripts.

I soon learned of my interest in editing and even did a short course at the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune on editing. I worked as an assistant director and worked on around 60 ad films.

At this time, I realised my passion for production. Working day and night and having experience in the different departments in films, I decided to take the plunge and started my own production house.

On the challenges...

I am grateful to have a family that supported me throughout. When I began I wasn’t aware of how things would pan out but I guess when you are clear about what you want and work towards it, anything is possible.

When you are young, you are dealing with clients much older than you, it is important to be confident about yourself and your knowledge.

Running a business may seem all-glamorous on the outside but it comes with great responsibility, a need to take risks at every step, the ability to mobilise a like-minded team and the drive to push yourself through it all.

 On future plans...

Film as a medium is powerful and to be able to record lives and tell stories that matter is the most important amidst all the other work we do.

We prioritise our need to bring significant narratives that need to be heard in a chaotic world. It is our way of doing our bit.

STOM is not just a company, it is a creative space. This is just the beginning, the best is yet to come.