Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

The 30 Under 30 class of 2014: A report card

We're rather proud of our 2014 30 Under 30 list (and, we confess, we're a teeny bit impressed with our ability to choose). We asked them how 2014 had treated them. Here are extracts from their replies

Published: Feb 19, 2015 07:21:48 AM IST
Updated: Feb 19, 2015 09:22:33 AM IST

Break-out stars


The 30 Under 30 class of 2014: A report cardBhavish Aggarwal - Co-founder & CEO, Olacabs “We have seen a remarkable growth in 2014, from 5 cities in January to over 50 cities now. We've grown 30 times the size of what we were the same time, last year. We plan to expand to 200+ cities by the end of 2015. SoftBank came on board recently, as one of our key investors as part of our Series D fund raise of $210mn. We've grown into a team of about 2500 people from about a 1000 the last year. We've innovated on newer categories as well! Over 70% of the 75,000 drivers on the Ola platform are now entrepreneurs themselves; many, through Ola's driver entrepreneurship scheme, giving them access to better financing options, discounts from car manufacturers amongst other benefits.” The Forbes India impact: “The Forbes India 30 Under 30 platform has definitely been a great platform of recognition. The sheer passion of all the successful individuals and the impact they have created makes it an honour to be part of.”

 The 30 Under 30 class of 2014: A report cardRahul Yadav - CEO and co-founder, “We launched the world's first interactive online home booking platform (SliceView) and sold off $8Mn worth of houses online in one week. We’re on a mission to map 40 million houses in the next five to six years, and we’ve achieved 1%: 400,000 houses. In 2015, we plan to map around 2.4 million houses of all metro cities. We’re now bringing properties in 10,000 towns and villages online. We bought an asset that I believe will be bigger than Housing in the next three or four years. The largest real estate player globally is in Australia (REA: $6Bn+); India's hyper-growth in infrastructure and construction will allow us to cross that mark from the local market only, making us the largest player globally in real estate. We’re just 2.5 years’ old, and the way we're growing, we’re on a verge of crossing $1 billion valuation in the next six to twelve months, making us the fastest billion dollar company in India, ever. In the Indian start-up ecosystem, 2015 will be the ‘Year of Housing.’ #Promise.”


The 30 Under 30 class of 2014: A report cardAditi Gupta - Co-founder, “In 2014, Menstrupedia went into partnership with Whisper India for their School Contact Program and launched "Touch the Pickle" movement in four different cities. Our TEDx Bangalore talk got a standing ovation. Our book was launched in September, and the first batch of 1000 went out of stock in less than three months. It has been translated into Spanish and (after a successful crowd-funding effort) Nepali and will soon be available in Hindi and Gujarati. We also started Menstruation Diaries, a series of poetry videos on menstruation in association with Campus Diaries and Airplane Poetry Movement. We reached more than 14 lakh users through online and offline efforts. We won the LinkedIn Innovation grant of $10,000 to convert the book into an audio-visual app, The Rising Sun Award from Echai Ventures and MICA Incubators, Ahmedabad, and were Sankalp Award finalists in the Women Empowerment Category. We were invited by the Gujarat government and UNICEF to collaborate on an adolescent health program for rural girls. Personally, I was selected as a ‘Global Shaper’ to participate in the World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting of New Champions and its India Economic Summit in Delhi. ” The Forbes India impact: “The recognition added a lot of credibility to our initiative, and many collaborations followed.”


The 30 Under 30 class of 2014: A report cardRaghu Kumar - Co-founder, RKSV “RKSV, as a firm, has grown tremendously over the past 12 months. We are now responsible for Rs 5000 crore of daily turnover, making up closer to 3% of the entire exchange turnover. We have 25,000 clients across India and are growing at 10% month on month in terms of both topline and number of customers. Midway through 2013, we became profitable and now enjoy a healthy profit ratio.” The Forbes India impact: “In general, you need to be associated with one of the large players of the brokerage industry—the full-service, traditional brokerage houses—in order to have a sense of credibility. Since RKSV was formed just 3 years ago, with the intention of disrupting the industry, it became a catch-22 of sorts. Forbes India changed all of that in a heartbeat. Immediately, reporters would look up my name and see that because I was featured on the list, my views and inputs could be depended upon. I'm mostly the face of RKSV and being featured was absolutely incredible. It gave me credibility as a spokesman for the brokerage industry when it came to interviews with the media. [Since featuring on the list] I was interviewed on Zee Business five times, by TV Asia once, Star World featured me in their show Chivas Studio Gentleman's Code in March 2014, Bloomberg conducted an exclusive interview with me, through which RKSV is now one of just 10 brokerage houses to be included on their list of reputable brokerage houses in India, and I will be on CNBC Young Turks this year. All in all, being featured was an incredible honour. It has done wonders for me on a career front, and has positioned RKSV as a credible power player among brokerage firms in India.

Expected Excellence


The 30 Under 30 class of 2014: A report cardPallav Nadhani - co-founder and CEO, FusionCharts “2014 was testing, but interesting. On the positive side, we were able to build a fantastic innovation and R&D team in Bangalore for our new and existing product lines. We also crossed 23,000 global customers. On the not-so-good, we had to shut two products because of lack of market adoption. We also rejigged our senior management team for a better cultural fit. We continue to bootstrap and invest in newer products, still acquiring over 1500+ global customers every year. ” The Forbes India impact:Forbes India’s 30 under 30 helped us get recognition and accolades within India among peers and employees, but in terms of business it didn't contribute too much, as 95%+ of our business is outside India.”

The 30 Under 30 class of 2014: A report card
Paras Chopra
- Founder, Wingify “Last year was fantastic! We’ve ramped up our team (we’re around 70 people now), acquired a US-based company, and our revenue has grown at a double-digit rate.” The Forbes India impact: “It gave validity to Wingify. More India-based publications started picking up our stories in the media. We got great exposure because of this.”    

NGOs & Social Entrepreneurship

The 30 Under 30 class of 2014: A report cardTarique Quereshi - Founder, Koshish “Our program grew stronger, both in terms of geographical reach and policy impact. I was part of a four-member special committee appointed by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment to review the draft for National Model Legislation. During the sittings, its mandate was further increased and eventually we prepared the Draft for Central Legislation. Hopefully, the proposed law with its rehabilitative and non-criminalising framework will replace the current laws in various states that punish homelessness and destitution. Our program in Bihar expanded further: the government requested us to extend our support to four more districts and we collaborated with Social Welfare Department as its knowledge partner for the state’s beggary rehabilitation program. The state is presently in the process of amending its legislation. I was also part of the erstwhile Planning Commission’s sub-committee on ‘strengthening community engagement amongst youth in higher education institutions., which submitted a report recommending designs and framework to strengthen community engagement. It has been satisfying o see our contribution resulting in an important scheme: a recently released one from the UGC” The Forbes India impact: “Being on Forbes India’s list has been a matter of pride and satisfaction. It certainly brought the issue to the knowledge of wider groups, especially people who never thought about the existence of the homeless and destitute. It was also a matter of personal satisfaction. I value being associated with Forbes highly. What you do is huge motivation and encouragement for young achievers to do better in their respective fields. Thank you for initiating this important process.”

The 30 Under 30 class of 2014: A report cardKuldeep Dantewadia - CEO & co-founder, Reap Benefit “2014 has been very challenging. We have been making the transition from an idealistic early stage social enterprise to robust social enterprise. We focused more internally, and also invested time in research to understand sanitation in urban schools in Bangalore, with Arghyam. We partnered with India Water Portal and Wipro as knowledge partners to engage school children in Bangalore and all-India, and started planning Reap Benefit 2.0, which is to launch India first fellowship on waste, water, sanitation along with a civic technology platform to reach a wider base” The Forbes India impact: “The social enterprise sector being recognised along with other fields increased the acceptance of our work amongst peers, students, teachers and civic authorities. And our parents! It gave us a shot in the arm and now we are thinking very big at a national scale. For us at an early stage it came as a big validation and endorsement.”

The 30 Under 30 class of 2014: A report cardShashank Kumar - Co-founder, Farmsnfarmers “The number of associated farmers we reach through our twelve DeHaat centres crossed 5000. We have now integrated low-cost ICT-based crop advisory and banking services with our centres. NABARD adopted our model and asked us to set up DeHaat in four blocks of two districts to provide complete end-to-end services to 2000 vegetable growers over two years. The Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) shortlisted us under ‘innovation in agriculture,’ to be replicated across the country. In August, the MoRD launched Bank of Innovation & Idea under the National Innovation Forum, and our working model had been selected there too for replication in other states. We scaled up in Odisha, in association with DuPont, and we are going to work with 5000 maize growers of Bihar and Odisha over three years. We also won the Millennium Alliance 2014 (funded by DFID-UK and FICCI), to replicate the model in other developing countries; we are going to set up six centres in Nepal in the next three years.” The Forbes India impact: “The coverage in Forbes India’s 30 under 30 put us in touch with a couple of global channel partners with whom we have been discussing some work and collaboration. And, being a start-up, the article worked as a recharge booster for entire team.”


The 30 Under 30 class of 2014: A report cardSushant Singh Rajput - Actor “2014 has been phenomenal. To begin with, we completed shooting for Byomkesh Bakshy, which was an exhilarating experience. Thereafter, I have signed Paani, which is to be directed by Shekhar Kapur, and a yet-to-be-titled movie with Homi Adajania. But what has kept me really busy for lat four or five months is the preparation for the biopic, MS Dhoni, which is expected to hit the screens in October this year. Also, I have endorsed two brands, Pizza Hut and Nestle. So, professionally, there are lot of engagements to take care of in the coming days” The Forbes India impact: “An artist has a constant hunger to experiment with the craft, stretch his or her abilities to perform better and take calculated risks with each and every engagement. One needs constant motivation to keep moving, and that’s what Forbes India has done for me. Being on the list is a genuine validation of my efforts to contribute to the craft and has punctuated the fact that I am moving in the right direction. A single look at the plaque both inspires and energises me to keep pushing my boundaries and explore the nuances of the craft.”

The 30 Under 30 class of 2014: A report cardRajkummar Rao - Actor Two months after being listed by Forbes India, he won the government of India’s National Award for Best Actor for his performance in Shahid, and later, a Filmfare Best Actor award for the same role. His next release, Citylights, was critically acclaimed. “I am getting 30-40 film offers a month,” he told PTI in May. He starred opposite Sonam Kapoor in the recently released romcom Dolly Ki Doli, and has also signed Hamari Adhuri Kahani opposite Vidya Balan. [by Sohini Mitter]

Law, Policy & Politics

The 30 Under 30 class of 2014: A report cardApar Gupta - Partner, Advani & Co “Last year was fantastic. I crossed an important threshold, turning 30. I have been going to courts more regularly and arguing cases independently. It’s a glacial process of improving my skills through practice and with each passing day I am enjoying it more. I have also been involved in a lot of work in the media and technology sectors which includes advisory and policy work as well as pure litigation.” The Forbes India impact: “Entering litigation, one of the first things I was told is that, the profession has a long gestation period. This meant pay would be low and work sparse. Hence, in my early years any recognition would be encouraging. Being listed in Forbes India has been one such gentle pat on the back. It has helped me connect with a larger network of people and given confidence to many professional acquaintances to reach out to me. Beyond any immediate benefits, it has given me more hope and motivation. Now I am working harder to improve my professional skills and hoping to deliver on the promise I have been rewarded for.”

The 30 Under 30 class of 2014: A report cardRwitwika Bhattacharya - Founder, Swaniti Initiative “2014 was a wonderful year. It challenged me to venture into unexpected domains. Like using data and technology in Indian governance; when you get into the thick of it, you realise there is a complete dearth of data in the Indian governance space, especially in influencing decisions. In 2014, Swaniti launched the Jigyasa platform to map the output of various administrations, correlating it to schemes and policies and trying to analyse whether they had worked. We thought that there would be a resistance to data, given how dense it can be, but instead we formed partnerships with state governments to establish dashboards for them that would aid in their decision making. We established a partnership with two major Indian newspapers, and for the first time I got an inside look at the talented journalists in our country and the outstanding work that they are doing. It was a year of learning. Tremendous learning.” The Forbes India impact:Forbes India’s 30 under 30 affected me on two levels: Professionally by offering me and my work credibility and showing that there are people who believe in what I am doing, which turned more attention to our work. It had an even more tremendous impact on a personal level, making me confident and encouraging me to walk down the uncharted path! Thank you for that.”


The 30 Under 30 class of 2014: A report cardPooja Dhingra - Founder, Le 15 Pattisserie “I got to learn a lot of new things and found myself doing things I thought I would never do. It was also a very rewarding year. The biggest highlight was to be on your list! Le15 won best desserts in the city by the Times group, was voted best dessert in the country by Time Out magazine, listed in the 50 best retailers in India by the CMO council. I was in ABP News’s Women Super Achievers and chosen by BBC news for a new show called Bosses. I gave my first Tedx talk in November, and was keynote speaker for the Swiss Education Group in Montreux, Switzerland. My first book, The Big Book of Treats, made it to the number one spot in food and lifestyle on Amazon India, and I started writing my second, which should be out by the end of 2015. And I signed leases for two more stores in Mumbai, which should open in March.” The Forbes India impact: “The Forbes India list definitely helped in all of this. It opened up avenues and brought more awareness to the brand and myself.”

Social Media, Mobile, Digital

The 30 Under 30 class of 2014: A report cardNishchal Shetty - Founder, JustUnfollow “The year's been great! A few stats: We crossed 9 Million users. Our team grew from 12 to 33. Our mobile apps have crossed over 5 million downloads. And we now on a yearly revenue run rate of Rs.10 crore” The Forbes India impact: “I think the title is like an icing on the cake. People see me as an entrepreneur and then they get to know I've been on the Forbes India 30 under 30 list and their eyes light up with joy to have met someone who's on such a prestigious list.”  


The 30 Under 30 class of 2014: A report cardManju Bhatia - Joint MD, Vasuli Recovery “Recently I was included in by the New Indian Express in a list of prominent women in India who received the Devi awards. Last year was particularly good for business because the loan defaulters of many public sector banks simply kept piling up. As business kept on increasing, I started to hire retired bank officials who are good at audit and documentation. Since my job is more about paperwork than anything else this is one step has eased my work. Things have changed since the day I started as a small eight-person recovery company with a billing of Rs 25000 per month 11 years ago. Today we are now a 25-branch company that handles Rs 5000 crore worth of recovery for 20 nationalised banks.” The Forbes India impact: “I became some kind of a minor celebrity after my name was included in the list. People started to know me. BBC contacted me for an interview and I have to credit Forbes India for this.” [from a conversation with Pravin Palande]

Greentech & Sustainability

The 30 Under 30 class of 2014: A report cardAbhishek Humbad - Co-founder, NextGen PMS “We raised our first investment round, making us the first VC-funded company in the sustainability/CSR space in India, and amongst the very few in the world. We’re also amongst the first few companies in the world to use digital technologies like the cloud and mobile in the development sector. Our p3 platform is the largest cloud- and-mobile based platform for tracking, monitoring and reporting CSR projects: It now tracks more than $100 million worth of projects. We added many new corporate clients, and currently work with more than 60 of India's largest companies. And we established partnerships with agencies like the United Nations Population Fund, FICCI, and Nasscom Foundation, amongst others” The Forbes India impact: “Endorsement by a credible global brand helps, especially when we pitch to CEOs and boards of large companies”

Art & Culture

The 30 Under 30 class of 2014: A report cardSuhail Yusuf Khan - Musician “Last year has been great individually, with a lot of collaborations and concerts, more than at the band level.” The Forbes India impact: Many in the classical music fraternity was dismissive of me and my "fusion" music earlier. But the Forbes India mention made me become more respectable in their eyes. They started taking my music more seriously. My presence in the media has increased significantly after being listed by Forbes India. The New Indian Express came to interview me because they were intrigued that a classical musician could make it to the cover of Forbes India. And I believe in the next few years, I shall be recognised more for this.” [from a conversation with Sohini Mitter]


The 30 Under 30 class of 2014: A report cardShivan Bhatiya and Narresh Kukreja - Founders, Shivan & Narresh “The year has been extremely fast paced and exciting for the brand. We established three new retail points in Delhi, Bangalore and Goa; two of them are franchised with some of the best resort and luxury hotel chains, establishing a footprint both in the city and holiday destinations of the country to tap into the domestic luxury holiday connoisseurs. These new additions in the year have put us in the fast retail chain of managing stand-alone flagships, which we consider a must for a luxury brand to enforce its presence and experience in the minds of the consumer. Apart from that, exposing ourselves to working in collaborations for the same has streamlined our marketing & business wings of the company. All in all, the year has been hectic but fruitful to understand the business side of the brand in a more detailed and streamlined fashion.” The Forbes India impact: “With Forbes India’s 30 under 30, besides the recognition for the business aspect of our brand, we feel more confident on our take on entrepreneurial challenges, which in turn has strengthened our business development acumen.”


The 30 Under 30 class of 2014: A report cardAlok Shetty - Principal architect & founder, Bhumiputra Architecture “There were plenty of developments. The foremost: our development of a new prototype for slum dwellers. This project got me on to Time magazine’s Next generation leaders; I was one of 6 young professionals from around the world and the only name from India. The Prime Minister’s office reached out to us to collaborate on new housing and sanitation models, and we have had a major breakthrough with the labour welfare department for better care for construction workers. Apart from this we have bagged several high profile projects including international projects.” The Forbes India impact: “The recognition brought a lot of goodwill and respect in the eyes of peers and prospective clients. Being identified with the Forbes brand is a significant boost in one's credentials.”

The 30 Under 30 class of 2014: A report cardMoneet Chitroda - Automobile Designer “The car industry works on very strictly confidential nature; the development of these high-investment products have a timeline of nearly three years to execution. Hence it is hard for me to reveal any news to express my status today. I can surely express that my design will be out on the road, hopefully very soon this year. I have successfully completed a very challenging car and tried my best to exceed the expectations of the mass of people who will be driving it on our roads soon. Let’s wait for people to express their views towards my work.” The Forbes India impact: “I would really thank you for putting together some of the most talented people in the country from their respective fields. It was an honour being a part of it.”

The 30 Under 30 class of 2014: A report cardLokesh Karekar - Visual Artist, founder, Locopoco “This year was super busy, exiting with lot of new work and a lot of business travel in between. We got a Blue Elephant at Kyoorius Design Awards for illustrations created for Taj Vivanta Posters and publication design award for 100% zine. Our illustration and design projects featured in kyoorius design magazine and One of our illustrations got on the cover of Indian Contemporary Design, by Divia Patel (curator at the V&A Museum), published by Roli Books. We worked on many exiting assignments for new clients like Tata, Indusind Bank, Castrol, Lakme and Asian Paints. And we shifted our studio to bigger and better space.” The Forbes India impact: “Business-wise, I don't think it had any direct effect. But many of my old and new clients called me to congratulate for being on the list. But yes, this recognition was very inspiring and it really charged me up to do more awesome work.”

Not so good


The 30 Under 30 class of 2014: A report cardKabir Chadha - Founder, Epoch Elder Care “I have some sobering news: we have been unable to meet our growth targets and have decided to transition from growth to sustain mode. We are fully committed to continuing our services for our current senior living residents and running our two assisted living facilities; however we will not be raising another round of funding. I am also stepping down as the CEO and handing the reins over to Neha Sinha, one of our founding members with excellent operational experience.” The Forbes India impact: “The Forbes 30 under 30 list was indeed a great honor and it did a lot to validate the hard work that has gone into Epoch Elder Care.”


The 30 Under 30 class of 2014: A report cardCheteshwar Pujara - Cricketer Pujara’s form began to wane from India’s tour of New Zealand, where he scored just 60 runs in two Tests. In India’s tour of England, in seaming conditions that saw India’s new-look batting line-up fold up quickly, he managed just 222 runs in 10 innings despite starts, struggling both against seamers as well as part-time spinners. In the year-end Australia tour, his poor form in the first three Tests (201 runs in 6 innings) got him dropped for the final game. He has technique, perseverance and grit, so don’t rule out a comeback, but it’s going to be uphill from here. [by Kathakali Chanda]

The 30 Under 30 class of 2014: A report cardDeepika Kumari - Archer India’s star archer had a mixed year. She led India to Recurve Women’s Gold at the Archery World Cup Stage 4 in Wroclaw, Poland; she also won bronzes in the women's individual and mixed team events. She was however disappointing in 2014’s three other main events, the Asian Grand Prix, the Archery World Cup Stage 2, and the Asian Games. At the national level, she took Gold in the Recurve 70+70m at the 35th Senior National Archery Championship in October, and won the Senior Recurve title at Tata National Ranking Archery Tourament Final in November. [by Shravan Bhatt] The 30 Under 30 class of 2014: A report card

- Golfer It was a tough year for Gaganjeet Bhullar. An injury to his left wrist meant he missed a lot of golf and wasn’t at his very best when he did play. He ended 2013 ranked 148th in the world but slipped to 387th by the end of 2014 after disappointing performances on the European and Asian Tours. [by Shravan Bhatt]     Compiled and edited by Peter Griffin

(This story appears in the 20 February, 2015 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)