Gagan and Neeti Jain talk about their book on the start-up revolution in India

In a country where doing business is often considered very tough, and wrought by issues such as lack of enterprise, funding and bureaucratic red tape, successful start-ups are proof that with the right amount of passion, hard work, and capital, Indian companies can actually make it big. Start-ups such as Redbus and flipkart have changed the business models in the areas they operate and have become pioneers in their fields. What does it take to be an entrepreneur? How does one deal with the many issues that crop up for a first time entrepreneur?

These were the questions that haunted Gagan and Neeti Jain, running start-ups. The duo decided to pen a book detailing the journey of many of these entrepreneurs and The Start Up Diaries (Cinnamon Teal Publications, Rs.249) was born.

“I was working with snapdeal for nearly three years and used to read about start-up businesses,” says Gagan. “I felt that the pioneers were often glorified and seen as superman, which was always not the case. People from middle class backgrounds, armed with business acumen and passion have helped create successful start-ups. I felt that the stories of these people need to be told. That was the basic idea behind the book. We decided to chronicle the stories of the country's best known start-ups.”

He adds, “Though they operate in different fields, most of the issues that entrepreneurs face are very similar. They have to think about the venture capitalists who will invest money in the firm, how to hire the first batch of employees, how to face initial setbacks and so on,”

The duo contends, “We decided not to write in interview format. Stories have a greater impact. It took us nearly two years and many interviews before we got enough material for the book. We find many of these stories very inspirational, especially the story of Vijay Shekar Sharma, who grew up in a small village in UP in poverty and went on to create One 97, a company which provides a platform for delivering mobile value-added services. We feel that such stories will provide inspiration for more people to setup business of their own.”

Apart from being authors, the duo also manage a small start-up, a firm that deals with hand painted apparels and home décor.

“Setting up a company in India is very difficult as we are scared of taking risks,” says Gagan. “This is a major problem that haunts many start-ups. The idea and execution is often good, though the entrepreneur has cold feet the moment losses pile up. That attitude must change.”