The dream of running your company is one that everyone shares. The control, the freedom and the sense of achievement associated with having your startup, is a dream that many an office dweller has daydreamed. But these dreams are often killed in the bud when the reality of acquiring business capital hits.
Any venture, big or small, requires a starting capital to lift off the ground. While the startup scene in India has boomed faster than anyone could have predicted, it has also dried up the well of VC investors, who have become more careful with their money. This can be attributed to those startups that crashed and burned too soon, taking their investors for a ride in the process.
But, this has not deterred everyone from achieving their dream and running their own company. This is the story of five bootstrapped startups, who against all the odds, started their company with minimum financing. These are the startups that continue to operate without any funding from investors and venture capitalists.
- Nuevosol Energy
Year Founded: 2011
Based Out: Hyderabad
Industry: Solar Power Infrastructure
Nuevosol Energy Pvt Ltd is a solar company founded in 2011, with its headquarter in Hyderabad. The company’s vision is to bring scientific discipline to the design and installation of solar mounting structures and promote solar rooftop mounting with indigenous solutions. The company works with many infrastructure companies and helps them identify the best layout and angle to set up a solar panel for maximum sun exposure. They assist the infrastructure companies in setting up and assembling the panels as well.
The company was founded by Himamsu Popuri, an IIT alumnus, who saw an opportunity in solar solution development and made it a business idea. Along with Himanshu, the rest of the founding team (who were also Himanshu’s friends and colleagues) includes Nikhil Babu (Director- Design), Sriram (Director- Strategy), Harish (Director-Projects) and Srinivas (Director – Operations). Together, they decided to make solar energy plant construction an organised business. The company was started with an initial investment of Rs 50 lakh (raised by the founding team’s friends and family). The reason why the company continues to thrive without VC investment is that it’s a straight cash business. This allows the company to reinvest cash and continue running the business.
When asked about the difficulties surrounding a bootstrapped startup, Himanshu remarked that a company starting without investor funding has more independence and less accountability.
Year Founded: 2016
Based Out: Delhi -NCR
Industry: E-Commerce, Software Reselling
Techjockey was founded by Akash Nangia & Arjun Mittal in 2016 with the intent of providing software solutions to enterprises (big and small), start-ups and individuals. Described as “the Flipkart of software solutions”, this bootstrapped startup runs a software discovery and buying e-commerce portal.
Techjockey’s founders identified a gap in the software discovery market, wherein vendors from tier II & III cities were facing difficulty in gaining a broader market exposure. The company was started with the founder’s personal funding. When they started the website, they aggressively marketed themselves across various digital platforms to build a presence. The company operates on a commission basis and addresses the needs of software vendors positioned in relatively untapped parts of the country.
This has helped them establish a wider presence online and opened a whole new avenue. Along with fostering strong vendor relations, the company also focuses on delivering excellent customer service. The company reported a revenue of Rs 8 crores in FY 18. With over 1500+ products listed, this bootstrapped startup has no plans of slowing down.
3. Würfel Küche
Year Founded: 2015
Based Out: Bengaluru
Industry: Furnishing and Lifestyle
Würfel is a premium modular kitchen and wardrobe brand that is looking to revolutionise the Indian modular kitchen industry. It is committed to providing the finest European modular kitchens & wardrobes, at a highly competitive price point.
Established in 2012 by Khanindra Barman, Pankaj Bhatia and Naveen NJ, Würfel‘s idea came to them while they were working as distributors for an European kitchen brand. They dug into the Indian modular kitchen market and found that the market is divided into two sections- imported and Indian.
Imported brands primarily originate from Europe, and they deliver high-end, high-quality products. However, the cost of importing readymade modular kitchens from Europe was huge and there was a significant waiting time before delivery. On the other hand, Indian-made modular kitchens are designed keeping the price sensitivity of customers in mind. And, they end up compromising on durability and design.
Würfel was created to counter this trend prevalent in the Indian furniture market, with a focus on providing European-quality, high-end modular kitchens and wardrobes at competitive prices. The company aims to provide not just a product, but an experience of itself. To do so, the company works with 40+ vendors from Europe, who provide them the raw materials. The parts are assembled locally to cut down on cost. The market is currently niche for European-grade expensive products but is ever-expanding.
This bootstrapped startup has stores in cities like Bangalore, Patna, Mumbai, Vadodara, Trivandrum, Calicut and Surat. They are expanding overseas and have stores coming up in Doha, Oman and Sri Lanka. Würfel has plans of further international expansion with stores in more countries in the near future.
4. ReportGarden Technologies Pvt Ltd
Year Founded: 2013
Based Out: Hyderabad
ReportGarden was launched in 2013 by founder & CEO Ashok Varma. Based in Hyderabad, the company develops reporting and dashboard software for digital advertising agencies. They do this by linking with their adwords, analytics, bing ads accounts using APIs and loading data into their reports. Their product offers deep segmentation and filtration of the data from all the ad services(Adwords, Analytics, etc).
With customers in over 76 countries presently, their goal is to help agencies generate marketing reports quickly by showcasing the data visually.
The idea for the company was born when the members of the founding team started looking for an alternative to the excel reports provided by Google and Bing. With ReportGarden, agencies can track spending of different campaigns, being run on different ad platforms, through a unified interface.
Year Founded: 2012
Based Out: Mumbai
Started by Sanjay Sarkar, Praveen Nair, Pankaj Maste and Hemesh Shah, Finoux is a fintech start-up founded in 2012. The company is a leading provider of technology solutions to companies dealing in financial services – BFSI, traditional FS companies, along with many start-ups. The founding team was previously involved in building ‘moneycontrol.com’ in 1999, which gave them the expertise of starting a company bootstrap.
Finoux has an in-depth understanding of the BFSI domain and is creating unique customer-centric technology solutions. Finoux creates, operates and manages a comprehensive suite of financial platforms for leaders in the financial services industry. When asked about their expansion plans, Mr Sarkar said, “The next two years are planned for expansion and growth. Initially, we had decided to stay self-funded as we’ve been profitable from the year one. And now it’s time for us to accelerate our growth. So, we’re beginning our fund-raising rounds this year, looking for strategic institutional investors to come on board for our next level”.
Note: This is a cumulative list, numbers do not indicate ranking.