Monday, September 25, 2023

50 Top Entrepreneurs of India: Inspiring Young Minds 

These days, India and entrepreneurship are mentioned in the same breath, thanks to the entrepreneurs of India who continue to create fortunes for themselves and progress for India.

While entrepreneurship runs in the Indian DNA, the vast market size, remarkable economic growth, government policy initiatives, easy funding, and a supportive ecosystem drive the entrepreneurial culture in India.

As per Startup India, a Government Of India initiative, the Indian startup sector was 50,000-strong in 2018, growing at an impressive rate of 12-15%. With 1300 new startups joining the bandwagon the very next year, India was producing about 2 to 3 new startups daily. As of 2023, India is home to the world’s 3rd-largest startup ecosystem after the US and China. Source: Startup India.

50 Top Entrepreneurs of India

Let’s celebrate the Indian entrepreneurial culture with a well-curated list of the top entrepreneurs of India. These men and women either inherited and successfully led their business empires or built business empires from scratch. In either case, they deserve recognition for their vision, persistence, and ingenuity. They are a role model for youngsters and a reminder that nothing is impossible.

1. Ratan Tata: The ICON, The Role Model

  • Born As: Ratan Naval Tata
  • D.O.B: 28 December 1937 (present age 85)
  • Title: Chairman Emeritus, Tata Sons and Tata Group
  • Terms: 1991 – 2012 & 2016 – 2017

Ratan Tata inherited a badly-managed conglomerate, Tata Sons in 1991, when India liberalized its economy. The times were tough but Ratan Tata managed to steer the ship with his trademark humility, long-term vision, great leadership, hard work, and team spirit. Under him, the group not only achieved global footing but also increased its revenue by 40 times and profit by 50 times.

Ratan Tata was born on December 28, 1937, in a Parsi family that had blood ties with Jamsethji Tata, the founder of the Tata Group. After achieving an undergraduate degree in Architecture from the Cornell University College of Architecture, he joined Tata Steel as a floor manager in 1961. Ratan Tata rose through the ranks to become the chairman of Tata Sons in 1991, replacing the legendary JRD Tata.


Ratan Tata has a legacy of professional excellence, ethical leadership, and commitment to the greater good of humanity. Even as the leader of a 100+ billion conglomerate, his net worth never exceeded $1 billion. Guess what? About 65% of his income went to charity. He preferred goodwill over money, which made him one of the most respected Indians.

Awards & Recognitions:

  • Padma Bhushan (2000)
  • Maharashtra Bhushan (2006)
  • Padma Vibhushan (2008)
  • Honorary Knight Grand Cross (2014)
  • Assam Baibhav (2021)
  • Order of Australia (2023)

Source: Wikipedia

2. Dhirubhai Ambani: From Rags to Riches

  • Born: Dhirajlal Hirachand Ambani
  • DOB: 28 December 1932
  • Birthplace: Chorwad, Junagadh State, (present-day Gujarat)
  • Died: 6 July 2002 (aged 69)
  • Title: Founder Chairman Reliance Industries, Reliance Capital, Reliance Infrastructure, Reliance Power

Who says, rags to riches stories are confined to fiction only? Meet Dhirubhai Ambani, who, despite humble origins, built one of the biggest business empires in Indian history, Reliance Industries. As of 2023, his foundation is worth US $243 billion with a presence in virtually all major verticals, including telecommunications, retail, natural gas, petrochemicals, textiles, mass media, and more. Its total contribution to the Indian economy is a staggering 3 percent. Remarkable, isn’t it?

Born to a teacher (Hirachand Gordhanbhai Ambani) and a housewife (Jamnaben Ambani), Dhirubhai was a high school dropout. After doing odd jobs, he initiated his export-import business in the late 50s from Aden in partnership with his second cousin, Champaklal Damani. What started as the Reliance Commercial Cooperation was named Reliance Industries once the partnership fell apart.


Dhirubhai Ambani’s success story is all about determination, and the ability to see opportunities in adversities, think big, think fast, and think ahead. Despite allegations of market manipulation, tax evasion, and cronyism, he built value for the common folks and the country.

Awards and Recognitions:

  • June 15, 1998 – Dean’s Medal by The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
  • January 2016- posthumously awarded the Padma Vibhushan

3. Sunil Mittal: Transforming Telecom Landscape

  • DOB: 23 October 1957 (age 65)
  • Birthplace: Ludhiana, Punjab, India
  • Education: Punjab University
  • Title: Founder & Chairman Bharti Enterprises

The founder chairman of Bharti Enterprises, Sunil Mittal just walks into our list of the top entrepreneurs of India. His foundation, Airtel, has a market cap of a staggering 4.98 trillion rupees, and a strong presence in 18 countries with a clientele of over 400 million. Besides telecom, Bharati Enterprises has ventured into insurance, real estate, education, retail, hospitality, Agri, food, and other sectors.

Riding high on a net worth of US$14.8 billion, he is presently the 10th richest Indian according to Forbes. He is also a proud recipient of Padma Bhushan (2007) and the current Chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce. That’s some profile.


Starting his entrepreneurial journey with just Rs. 20,000, Sunil not only built a multi-billion empire but also transformed the digital landscape of India for good. That reflects his entrepreneurship, vision, and ability to take risks, just the traits of the top entrepreneurs of India.

Awards and Recognitions:

  • Padma Bhushan, Government of India, 2007
  • Transforming India Leader, NDTV Business Leader Awards
  • GSM Association’s Chairman’s Award, 2008
  • Asia Businessman of the Year, Fortune Magazine, 2006
  • Telecom Person of the Year, Voice & Data magazine (India), 2006
  • CEO of the year, Frost and Sullivan Asia Pacific ICT Awards, 2006
  • Philanthropist of the Year Award, The Asian Awards, 2010
  • INSEAD Business Leader Award, 2011
  • Business Leader of the Year at The Economic Times Awards for Corporate Excellence 2022

Youtube Video: Role for responsible business – Sunil Bharti Mittal

4. N. R. Narayana Murthy: Father of the Indian IT Sector

  • Born: Nagavara Ramarao Narayana Murthy
  • D.O.B.: 20 August 1946 (Age 77)
  • Foundation: Infosys
  • Board member: United Nations Foundation, Ford Foundation
  • Spouse: Sudha Murty

For Time magazine, he is the “father of the Indian IT sector,” while Fortune magazine rates him as one of the “12 Greatest Entrepreneurs of Our Time.” Meet NR Narayan Murthy, the legendary entrepreneur who shaped the Indian IT industry into the juggernaut it is today.

Murthy co-founded Infosys in 1981 and served it in various capacities, including CEO (1981 to 2002) and Chairman (2002 to 2011). It was under his inspiring leadership, that Infosys emerged as one of the leading Big Tech companies with a market cap of a whopping 5.94 trillion Rupee.


Murthy had a role to play in India’s emergence as the global IT hub. However, more than that, we remember him for his corporate ethics, commitment to professional excellence, and several philanthropy causes.

Awards & Recognitions:

  • Padma Vibhushan (2008)
  • Legion of Honour (2008)
  • Honorary Commander of the Order of the British Empire (2007)
  • Padma Shri (2000)

Source: Here.

YouTube video: Rohan Murty Interviews Dad NR Narayana Murthy On Starting Up, Sacrifices & Values | Exclusive

5. Gautam Adani: Global Face of Indian Entreprenurship

  • Born: Gautam Shantilal Adani
  • D.O.B.: 24 June 1962 (age 61)
  • Foundation: Founder and chairman of the Adani Group

Make way for one of the richest men on the planet, Gautam Adani. Just like Dhirubahai, he hails from Gujarat, is a school dropout, and has had a meteoric rise. Barely in his teens, he moved to Mumbai in 1978 and took up a job in the diamond market. However, three years later, he returned to Ahmedabad to assist his brother who acquired a plastic unit.

Five years down the line, Adani came up with Adani Enterprises, the holding company of the Adani Group, which handled agricultural and power products. The big break came in 1994 when the Adani Group acquired the rights to manage the Mundra Port from the Gujarat government.

There has been no looking back since then, as the group went on to emerge as a global player with stakes in power, mining, food, oil & gas, ports, and other sectors. Before being hit by the Hindenburg report, Adani was the second richest person on the planet with a total net worth of $154 billion.


Adani and his foundation are transforming infrastructure in India and beyond, pushing humanity towards renewable energy, and serving India’s strategic interests. That’s so much for a first-generation entrepreneur who has constantly been courting controversies.

Awards and recognitions:

  • Placed 24th place on the Forbes Real Time Billionaires list (2023)
  • Placed among the 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2022 by Times Magazine

YouTube Video: This World | More Trouble for Indian Billionaire Gautam Adani

6. Azim Premji: The Indian IT Tzar

  • Born: Azim Hashim Premji
  • D.O.B.: 24 July 1945 (age 78)
  • Education: Stanford University (B.S.E)
  • Status: Founder Chairman of Wipro

Azim Premji inherited a small cooking oil company in 1961 at 21 and transformed it into a $27.24 billion tech giant. Wipro continues to provide cloud, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, robotics, data analytics, and other solutions to various sectors and industries in 167 countries and 5 continents.

Had it not been for his significant donations, Premji would have been the second richest Indian after Mukesh Ambani. He gave away ₹9,713 crore in charity in 2020-21, which comes up to 27 crore per day. So, don’t be surprised if Forbes magazine ranks him among the “Heroes of Philanthropy list of 30 altruists” in the Asia-Pacific region.


Once the second-richest Indian, Premji continues to inspire us with his humbleness, workman-like approach, and, of course, massive donations to the causes he believes in.

7. Shiv Nadar: The Generous Wizard

  • D.O.B.: 14 July 1945 (age 78)[1]
  • Education: PSG College of Technology
  • Status: Founder, HCL Technologies
  • Founder, SSN College of Engineering
  • Founder, Shiv Nadar University

Another tech Tzar, Shiv Nadar is easily one of the most successful entrepreneurs in India. His foundation, HCL Technologies, a multinational IT solutions provider, stands tall as one of the Big Tech companies with a market cap of 3.17 trillion Rupees. What started off as a computer hardware company in 1978 later transformed into a software and technology services provider.

Loving called Magus, which translates to a ‘Wizard’ in Persian, Shiv and his foundation did the groundwork for the digital revolution that we see unfolding today. He champions the cause of education through the Shiv Nadar Foundation and is known to donate Rs 1,161 crore each year. That makes him ‘India’s Most Generous’ entrepreneur, according to the EdelGive Hurun India Philanthropy List 2022.


From a bootstrapper to a conglomerate, HCL has come a long way. And, much of the credit goes to Nadar’s leadership, vision, and ingenuity. Through his philanthropy works, he continues to empower young minds with quality education, scholarships, and more.

Awards and Recognitions:

  • Padma Bhushan for his contribution to the IT industry (2008)
  • E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year 2007 (Services)
  • Listed among Forbes’ 48 Heroes of Philanthropy in Asia Pacific (2011)
  • India Today magazine ranked #16th in India’s 50 Most Powerful People of 2017 list

Source: Here.

8. Rahul Bajaj: “Hamara Bajaj”

  • D.O.B.: 10 June 1938
  • Birthplace: Calcutta, Bengal
  • Died: 12 February 2022 (aged 83)
  • Education: St. Stephen’s College, Delhi (BA), Harvard Business School (MBA)
  • Status: Chairman Bajaj Group (1965 to 2005)

Rahul Bajaj’s aggressive leadership and strategic planning helped set the growth trajectory of the Bajaj Group. From just another company, the group evolved into a conglomerate with 40 companies that deal in home appliances, lighting, iron and steel, insurance, travel, and finance. However, the major growth driver is Bajaj Auto, the world’s 4th largest manufacturer of two- and three-wheelers. Under him, it grew from a market cap of INR 7.5 crores (1965) to INR 12,000 crores (2022).


Rahul Bajaj taught us the value of perseverance, strategic planning, corporate governance, and ethical business practices.

Awards and Recognitions:

  • Padma Bhushan in 2001
  • Forbes ranked No. 722 on the world’s billionaires 2016 list, with a net worth of US$2.4 billion.

YouTube Video:,

9. Anand Mahindra: The Transformational Leader

  • D.O.B.: 1 May 1955 (age 68)
  • Birthplace: Bombay, Maharashtra, India
  • Education: Harvard University (BA, MBA)[1][2]
  • Title: Chairman, Mahindra Group

It isn’t for nothing that Fortune Magazine rated Anand Mahindra among the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders” and “Asia’s 25 Most Powerful Entrepreneurs.” With a charming persona and sharp business acumen, Anand has successfully led the group’s diversification into new areas. Mahindra & Mahindra is presently operating in aerospace, agribusiness, automotive, construction equipment, defense, energy, finance and insurance, industrial equipment, IT, and other sectors.


A proud recipient of the “Best Transformational Leader Award” 2012, Anand reminds us that change is the only way to stay relevant and grow.

Awards and Recognitions:

  • Padma Bhushan Award – 2020
  • USISPF Leadership Award – 2020
  • ‘Social Media Person of the Year – Internet and Mobile Association of India – 2016
  • ‘Disruptor Personality of the Year Award’ by Bloomberg TV India – 2016
  • Chevalier de l’Ordre national la Légion d’Honneur – French Republic – 2016
  • Top 30 CEOs worldwide – Barron’s List – 2016
  • Business Today CEO of the Year – 2014
  • Entrepreneur for the Year – Forbes India Leadership Awards – 2013
  • Business Leader of the Year – The Asian Awards – 2011
  • Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year India Award – 2009
  • Business India Businessman of the Year Award – 2007
  • Leadership Award – American India Foundation – 2005
  • Rajiv Gandhi Award for outstanding contribution in the business field – 2004
  • Knight of the Order of Merit by the President of the French Republic – 2004

Source: Here.

Youtube video: Anand Mahindra wins the internet with witty response to becoming India’s richest man | Watch

10. Uday Kotak: India’s Most Trusted Banker

  • D.O.B.: 15 March 1959 (age 64)
  • Education: University of Mumbai
  • Title: Founder, MD & CEO of Kotak Mahindra Bank, and Chairman of IL&FS

Born in an affluent Gujarati family, Uday’s entrepreneurial spirit found expression when he founded Kotak Capital Management Finance Ltd. He loaned US$80,000 to start the bill-discounting start-up, which was later rebranded Kotak Mahindra Finance Ltd. Upon obtaining a banking license in 2003, the startup went on to emerge as India’s 3rd largest private sector bank with a market cap of US$68 billion and 1752 branches.


Uday Kotak is an inspiration for new founders, teaching them how to create value and build business ground up with limited resources.

Awards and Recognitions:

  • Named Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur Of The Year in 2014
  • ‘Business Leader of the Year Award’ by Economic Times in 2015
  • Only Indian Financier to feature in Money Masters: The Most Powerful People in The Financial World, by Forbes magazine, US (May 2016)
  • Ranked #8th in India’s 50 Most Powerful People of 2017 list by India Today magazine
  • USIBC Global Leadership Award in 2018

11. Brijmohan Lall Munjal: The Common Man’s “Hero”

  • D.O.B.: 1 July 1923
  • Birthplace: Kamalia, Punjab, British India
  • Died: 1 November 2015 (aged 92)
  • Title: Founder and Chairman of Hero Motors Company

The man behind the Hero Group, Brijmohan Munjal migrated to Amritsar from his birthplace Kamalia, (now in Pakistan) along with his three siblings. The Munjals got their act together to start a bicycle business shortly before migrating to Ludhiana in 1954. Here, they came up with Hero Cycles Limited, which sowed the seeds of Hero Motorcorp. What started with manufacturing bicycle parts went on to emerge as the world’s largest bicycle company by 1986.

Munjal’s foundation, Hero Group is a conglomerate with a strong presence in the bicycle and two-wheeler market. It has total assets worth US$960 million (2017-2018), a 7610-strong workforce, and rakes in US$330 million yearly in revenues.


Brijmohan built a legacy on teamwork and strategic partnerships. Thanks to his vision, Indians have access to affordable and reliable bicycles and two-wheelers.

Awards and Recognitions:

  • Lifetime Contribution Award by All India Management Association in 2011
  • The Forbes India Leadership Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2014

YouTube video: Brijmohan Lall Munjal, Indian industrialist, founder and patriarch of Hero MotoCorp

12. Sachin Bansal: “Flipkarting Success”

  • DOB: 5 August 1981 (age 42)
  • Birthplace: Chandigarh, India
  • Education: Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (CSE)
  • Title: Founder and Former CEO and Chairman Flipkart

Co-founder and CEO, Navi Group

Born and bred in Chandigarh, Sachin went to the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi for his CSE degree. Upon completion, he joined Amazon Web Services only to quit it and start his venture, Flipkart, with Binny Bansal. With just 4 Lakh Rupees (US$5,600) of capital, Flipkart initially sold books and gradually expanded to other categories. Under Sachin, Flipkart prospered, achieving a dedicated customer base and a valuation of UD$20.8 billion when Walmart acquired it.

As CEO and chairman, Sachin played a crucial role in helping Flipkart acquire some valuable startups, including PhonPe, Myntra, Cleartrip, Letsbuy, and more. As of now, Sachin is busy steering the ship of his other foundation, Navi Group as the CEO.


Sachin’s innovative thinking and strategic acumen helped Flipkart evolve and grow into India’s most prominent e-commerce company. If you enjoy savings at the Big Billion Days, thank Sachin. His success inspired countless entrepreneurs in India’s startup ecosystem, solidifying his status as a visionary leader in the country’s business history.

Awards and Recognitions:

  • The Economic Times “Entrepreneur of the Year” Award.
  • 86th Richest Person in India by Forbes India (2015)
  • Time Magazine placed him among the 100 Most Influential People in the world. (2016)
  • India Today ranked him among India’s 50 Most Powerful People (2017)

YouTube: Sachin Bansal, Founder – Flipkart & Navi speaks to Lalit Keshre on Thrive Podcast by Groww

13. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw: The Biopharma Queen

  • DOB: 23 March 1953 (age 70 years)
  • Birthplace: Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
  • Education: Federation University Australia (1974)
  • Title: Founder, Chairperson Biocon

At the tender age of 23, when most of us are figuring out our future paths, Kiran, a first-generation entrepreneur, founded Biocon in 1978. However, this was just the beginning of the great things that were about to unfold for Kiran and her foundation.

Biocon started out with an initial capital of $500, focusing on enzymes but later venturing into biopharmaceuticals. Valued at US$11 billion, it is today India’s largest biotechnology company, specializing in research, development, and manufacturing of innovative drugs and therapies.


Kiran has been championing the causes of education and healthcare through time and funds. As the richest and most famous Indian biotechnologist, she continues to inspire budding female entrepreneurs to follow their dreams.

Awards and Recognitions:

  • Padma Shri (1989)
  • Padma Bhushan (2005)
  • Karnataka Rajyotsava Award (2002)
  • Economic Times Award for ‘Businesswoman of the Year in 2004
  • Indian Chamber of Commerce Lifetime Achievement Award (2005)
  • Corporate Leadership Award by the American India Foundation (2005)
  • Express Pharmaceutical Leadership Summit Award for “Dynamic Entrepreneur” in 2009.
  • “Global Indian Woman of the Year” at the Pharmaceutical Leadership Summit (2012)
  • H.K. Firodia Lifetime Achievement Award 2022

YouTube Video: Kiran Mazumdar Shaw: A Leading Woman in Science Making Global Impact

14. Ritesh Agarwal: Young Enough to Run, Old Enough to Fly

  • DOB: 16 November 1993 (age 30)
  • Birthplace: Bissam Cuttack, Rayagada, Orissa
  • Title: Founder and CEO of OYO Rooms

Age is just a number. Take, for instance, Ritesh Agarwal, who became a founder at 17. A college dropout, he came up with a web portal, Oravel Stays, to help travelers access budget-friendly accommodations. The portal was rebranded as OYO Rooms once it received a grant of $100,000 from the Thiel Fellowship in 2013.

Five years down the line, OYO Rooms emerged as a unicorn with a valuation of over US$ 1 billion, and the founder became the youngest self-made billionaire in the world in 2020. With 12000 “hotels, homes, and spaces” scattered across 800 cities, OYO Rooms is the 3rd largest hotel chain globally.


Ritesh became an entrepreneur before turning 18 and a billionaire before turning 30. His achievements make one thing clear age is no barrier to success.

Awards & Recognition

  • First Resident Asian to win ’20 Under 20’ Thiel Fellowship in 2013.
  • One of the Top 50 Entrepreneurs by TATA First Dot Awards in 2013.
  • One of the World’s 8 Hottest Teenage Start-up Founders by Business Insider in 2013.
  • TiE-Lumis Entrepreneurial Excellence Award in 2014.
  • Forbes “30 Under 30” in the Consumer Tech Sector.
  • Young Entrepreneur Award by Business World.

15. Radhika Aggarwal: Clues for Shopping

  • Born as: Radhika Ghai
  • Birthplace: Chandigarh, India
  • Education: Washington University (MBA in advertising and public relations)
  • Title: Co-founder and Chief Business Office Shopclues

Born to an Army officer father and a dietician mother, Radhika went to Washington University in St. Louis for her MBA and completed an executive program at Stanford University. She later took up a job at Nordstrom (Seattle) and Goldman Sachs where she got first-hand experience in e-commerce, lifestyle, fashion, and retail. Her entrepreneurial spirit found expression only when she assisted her father’s health club as a fitness coach.

By 1997, she came up with her own advertising agency, which didn’t fare too well. However, success came thick and fast for her when she co-founded ShopClues in 2011. A few years later, Radhika and her company made history. Shopclues’ valuation hit the US$ 1 billion mark, paving the way for Radikha’s entry into the unicorn club. Remember, she is the first Indian woman to achieve the feat.


Success requires dedication, persistence, and passion. And, Radhika has it all in plenty. Her achievements as a women entrepreneur are trailblazers for upcoming female businesswomen.

Awards and Recognitions:

  • Outlook Business Woman of Worth at Outlook Business Awards – 2016
  • Woman Entrepreneur of the Year at Entrepreneur India Awards – 2016
  • Exemplary Woman Entrepreneur of the Year at CMO Asia Awards – 2016
  • CEO of the Year Award at CEO India Awards – 2016
  • ASSOCHAM’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award – 2017

Source: Here.

YouTube Video: Entrepreneur Speak With Shopclues Founder – Radhika Aggarwal | upGrad

16. Falguni Nayar: The Beauty “Nyka”

  • DOB: 19 February 1963 (age 60)
  • Birthplace: Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
  • Education: MBA Finance (IIM Ahmedabad)
  • Title: Founder & CEO of Nykaa

Falguni quit her job as the managing director of Kotak Mahindra Capital to establish Nyka, a beauty and lifestyle e-commerce store in 2012 with an initial investment of 2 million USD. In hindsight, the decision changed the way fashion-forward women discover and buy beauty and lifestyle products.

With a strong network of 100 stores across India selling north of 4,500 brands, Nyka was valued at 2.3 billion USD in 2021. Even after 35-odd years, she shares a strong bond with her husband, Sanjay Nayar, the current CEO of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts India. The couple is blessed with twins, Adwaita and Anchit.


As a self-made billionaire, Falguni is all about passion, determination, and innovation. She not only dared to enter the unforgiving beauty and lifestyle market but also succeeded in carving a niche for herself. That’s a hallmark of the top entrepreneurs of India.

Youtube Video: Nykaa CEO Falguni Nayar Speaks On Her Entrepreneurial Journey, Next Big Goal & More | CNBC TV18

17. Bhavish Aggarwal: India’s Digital Industrialist

  • DOB: 28 August 1985 (age 38)
  • Birthplace: Ludhiana, Punjab, India
  • Education: IIT Bombay (B.Tech)
  • Title: Co-founder and CEO of Ola

When Bhavish co-founded Ola in 2010 with Ankit Bhati, India got its very own “digital industrialist”. His inspiration? Well, his personal struggle with the taxis. Ola, a ride-hailing service, continues to provide technology-driven solutions in over 22 cities across India, helping make commuting easy, cheap, and safe for millions of Indians each day.

Born and bred in Ludhiana, Bhavish did his Btech from IIT Bombay in 2008 and went on to work for Microsoft Research India in various capacities. His two-year stint there was fruitful, as he came up with two patents and published three papers in international journals.

Rather than taking care of Ola’s day-to-day operations, Bhavish is currently busy steering his company into EVs and quick-commerce.


Bhavish proved that innovation and leadership are success enablers.

Youtube: [Exclusive] Ola Founder Bhavish Aggarwal Unfiltered | Shradha Sharma | The Electric Dream

Awards and Recognitions:

  • ET Award 2017
  • Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2018

18. Vijay Shekhar Sharma: The Real Disruptor in Fintech

  • DOB: 7 June 1978 (age 45)
  • Birthplace: Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, India
  • Education: Btech (Delhi College of Engineering)
  • Title: Founder & CEO of Paytm

Vijay Shekhar was a wunderkind, completing his engineering at 19 from Delhi Technical University (previously Delhi College of Engineering.) While in college, he established a web portal, which he disposed of for US$1 million a few years later. Fresh from college, he founded One97 Communications in 1997 before turning 20. However, we know him best as the founder and CEO of Paytm, one of India’s leading fintech companies.

Standing for “Pay Through Mobile,” Paytm is spearheading the digital revolution in India with a digital payment platform, a mobile wallet, a debit card, a point-of-sale system, insurance, online gaming, and other financial services. Presently serving India and Japan, Paytm generated a revenue of US$1.0 billion in FY 22-23.


Vijay disrupted the fintech like no other, paving the way for more innovations in the sector.


  • Best Serial Entrepreneur Award at the Rural and Urban Development Summit and Awards 2022
  • Ranked the Youngest Indian Billionaire by Forbes magazine
  • Entrepreneur of the Year by AIMA (2018)
  • Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in 2017.
  • ET Entrepreneur of the Year, by The Economic Times in 2016
  • Ranked by GQ in their listing of the 50 most influential young Indians of 2017.
  • Dataquest IT Man of the Year 2017
  • Yash Bharati, the highest civilian award of the Government of Uttar Pradesh 2016
  • Businessman of the Year at GQ Men of the Year Awards 2016.
  • NDTV Indian of the Year in 2016.
  • Impact Person of the Year Award 2016
  • India’s Hottest Business Leader under 40 by The Economic Times 2015
  • CEO of the Year by SABRE Award 2015

Source: Here.

19. Byju Raveendran: The Edtech Wizard

  • DOB: 1980 (age 42–43)
  • Birthplace: Azhikode, Kannur, Kerala, India
  • Education: BTech, Government College of Engineering, Kannur
  • Title: Founder & CEO of Byju’s

When Raveendran chose teaching as a profession, he was following in the footsteps of his teacher-parents who taught physics and mathematics. However, his keenness to broaden his reach led him to co-found Byju’s, an edtech company with his wife, Divya Gokulnath in 2011. Before starting his entrepreneurial journey, he helped many of his friends crack the CAT exam. His credentials? Well, Raveendran cleared CAT twice in the 100th percentile.

Byju’s is a USD 3.6 billion behemoth that has a presence in the United Kingdom, United States, and other countries where English is spoken, read, and understood. Byju’s flagship offering is an education tutoring app that makes course-related content available to classes 1 to 12 and helps students prepare for IT-JEE, NEET, CAT, IAS, GRE, GMAT, and other competitive exams.


Teaching was Raveendran’s true calling and he made an entrepreneurial career in it. His story emphasizes the importance of following your passion and making things happen.

Awards and Recognitions:

  • 2021 Forbes India Leadership Award (FILA) Entrepreneur for the Year
  • 2020 Fortune Magazine’s ’40 Under 40′ list
  • 2020 Ernst & Young Finalist, Entrepreneur of the Year, India
  • 2020 Ernst & Young Winner, Business Transformation Award
  • 2019 Manorama News Newsmaker Award
  • 2017 The Indian Express IT Awards

Youtube: BYJU’S CEO Byju Raveendran In An Exclusive Interview On India Today At WEF

20. Dilip Shanghvi: The Medicine Man

  • DOB: 1 October 1955 (age 67)
  • Birthplace: Amreli, Gujarat, India
  • Education: BCom, University of Calcutta
  • Title: Founder and MD of Sun Pharmaceuticals

A son of a drug wholesaler, Dilip decided to start a drug manufacturing company, Sun Pharma in 1982 with a capital of meager INR 10,000. The founder and his foundation have had a phenomenal rise over the years. Currently, Sun Pharma is India’s leading pharma company and the world’s fourth-largest specialty generic pharma company with a strong footing in 100 countries. Likewise, Sanghvi is the 14th richest Indian with a net worth of US$14.3 billion, as of 2021.


Every big thing has a small beginning. You just need to be persistent and think big.

Awards and Recognitions:

  • Padma Shri in 2016.
  • 8th in India’s Most Powerful People of 2017 list by India Today
  • Ranked the 14th richest person in India in 2021 by Forbes

Youtube: Dilip Shanghvi On Allegations Against Him And Sun Pharma #BQ

21. Nandan Nilekani: Driving Force Behind Aadhaar

  • DOB: 2 June 1955 (age 68)
  • Birthplace: Bangalore, Mysore State (present-day Karnataka), India
  • Education: Bachelor of Technology (IIT Bombay)
  • Title: Non-Executive Chairman of Infosys, and Chairman of UIDAI

Another IIT-alumni-turned-founder, Nandan met Narayan Murthy when working for Patni Computer Systems in Mumbai in 1978. Three years later, they, along with five other fellow workers set out on their entrepreneurial journey and established Infosys. And, as they say, the rest is history.

Nilkani donned different roles at different points in time in Infosys, including MD, COO, and president before becoming CEO in 2002. In his five-year stint as CEO (2002-2007), the company’s revenue went up by sixfold to $3 billion. The company reinstated him as the CEO again in 2009.

Despite his startling achievements in the corporate world, we best know Nilkani as the driving force behind “Aadhar.” On the insistence of then Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, he chaired the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), which gave every Indian his/her unique identification number.


Nilekani’s contribution to shaping India’s digital landscape is undeniable, both as a founder of Infosys and the chairman of UIDAI. Unlike many top entrepreneurs of India, he has played a vital role in shaping the public policy discourse as well.

Awards and Recognitions:

  • Padma Bhushan, in 2006
  • Named Businessman of the Year by Forbes Asia (2006)
  • NDTV Indian of the Year’s Transformational Idea of the Year Award in 2011
  • Named Corporate Citizen of the Year at the Asia Business Leaders Award (2004) by CNBC.
  • Joseph Schumpeter Prize for Innovative Services in economy, economic sciences and politics – 2005.
  • Time 100 list of ‘World’s Most Influential People [44] in 2009 by Time magazine
  • First Indian to receive the ‘Legend in Leadership Award’ by Yale University in November 2009
  • One of the youngest entrepreneurs to join 20 global leaders on the World Economic Forum (WEF) Foundation Board in 2006
  • India Today magazine ranked him 12th in India’s 50 Most Powerful People of 2017 list.
  • Lifetime Achievement Award from E & Y. CNBC- TV 18 in 2017
  • 22nd Nikkei Asia Prize for Economic & Business Innovation 2017.

Youtube: Nandan Nilekani’s ideas for India’s future

22. Karsanbhai Patel: The Detergent Revolutionary

  • DOB: 1945 (age 77–78)
  • Birthplace: Patan, Gujarat
  • Title: Founder Chairman of Nirma

A lab technician turned the detergent market upside down when he launched Nirma in 1969 in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Nirma was as effective as any detergent back then but came at a fraction of the cost of established brands. Add to it the catchy jingles that caught the attention of housewives, and the product quickly gained popularity.

Later, the brand entered into the premium soap segment and diversified into cement, cosmetics, and education. If Forbes is something to go by, Nirma is one of the largest producers of soda ash in the world by volume. Source: here.

And, for the founder, Karsanbhai Patel is a Padma Shree awardee and the 30th richest Indian as of 2019 (Forbes) with a net worth of USD 3.9 billion. Interestingly, the name, Nirma, was inspired by his daughter, Nirupama.


Karsanbhai proved that a grassroots entrepreneurial venture can disrupt established markets dominated by multinational corporations. He comes across as an inspiration for the coming generations of budding entrepreneurs of India.

Awards and Recognitions:

  • Padma Shri Award for the year 2010
  • ‘Outstanding Industrialist of the Eighties’ by The Gujarat Chamber of Commerce
  • Ranked No. 30 by Forbes in the list of India’s richest persons ($3.9 billion) in 2019
  • ‘Udyog Ratna’ award by the Federation of Association of Small Scale Industries of India (FASII) 1990

Youtube: How Nirma Detergent Became ‘Sabki Pasand’ | Success Story | Karsanbhai Patel | The Better India

23. Ajay Piramal: The Healthcare Tzar

  • DOB: 3 August 1955 (age 68)
  • Birthplace: Bagar, Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan, India
  • Education: University of Mumbai
  • Title: Chairman of Piramal Group and Shriram Group

In 1977, at 22, Ajay joined the family business that dealt in textiles. However, he preferred to create a legacy in the pharmaceutical industry, and hence, the Piramal Group. As of now, his company has locations in 30 countries and caters to over 100 markets globally. Besides pharmaceuticals, the company has stakes in healthcare, life sciences, financial services, alternative investment, and real estate.

That’s not all, as Ajay went on to found the Shriram Group, which deals in Finance, Insurance, AMC, properties, and more. As one of the top entrepreneurs of India, Ajay headed both his foundations into several strategic business acquisitions and partnerships.


We remember Ajay for his contributions to pharmaceuticals, healthcare, finance, and other sectors that had a significant impact on India’s business landscape.

Awards and Recognitions:

  • Honorary Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2022
  • Business Leader of the Year Award, 2018, International Advertising Association Leadership Awards
  • Special Achievement Award, Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Awards (APEA) 2018
  • CNBC Asia’s India Business Leader of the Year Award, 2018
  • CNBC Asia Business Leader of the Year Award, 2017
  • Corporate Citizen of the Year award by AIMA Managing India Awards in 2016
  • SEN Sustainability Award – Philanthropy and Best of Best by the World Presidents’ Organisation (2015)
  • Business Leader of the Year 2015, by Indo-American Chamber of Commerce
  • Outstanding Philanthropist 2013 and 2014, Forbes Philanthropy Awards
  • Kriyasheel Global Achievers Award (2010)
  • India Innovator of the Year 2008 awarded by CNBC TV 18
  • Entrepreneur of the Year Award of the UK Trade and Investment Council in 2006
  • Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the Healthcare and Life Sciences category in 2004
  • “Business Leader Award” in the Pharma Sector at the CHEMTECH PHARMABIO AWARD (2004)
  • “Life Time Achievement Award” by The Rotary Club of Mumbai Mid-Town (2004)
  • Global Leader of Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum (2004)
  • Rotary International (District 3140) Certificate of Appreciation and “Four Way Test Award” in 2001
  • CEO of the Year Award’ by World Strategy Forum (1999)

24. Sanjiv Bajaj: Entrepreneurship Runs in the Genes

  • DOB: 2 November 1969 (age 53)
  • Education: MBA from Harvard University
  • Title: Founder, Chairman & MD, Bajaj Finserv

Entrepreneurship runs in the genes of Sanjiv, grandson of Jamunalal Bajaj and son of Rahul Bajaj. He started out with Bajaj Auto in 1994 where he introduced an innovative supply chain management system that closely resembled that of General Motors. However, his biggest success came in 2007 when he founded Bajaj Finserv, which is presently one of India’s largest financial service companies.


He continues to serve as the non-executive director of Bajaj Auto, and the chairman of Bajaj Allianz General Insurance. His ability to embrace change has helped the Bajaj group grow and evolve.

Awards and Recognitions:

  • Transformational Leader Award (large-cap category) 2017 at the Asian Center’s Leadership, Corporate Governance, Sustainability & CSR Awards.
  • Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2017.
  • Economic Times Awards for Business Leader of the Year 2018.
  • All India Management Association’s Managing India Awards – Entrepreneur of the Year 2019.
  • Financial Express – Banker of the Year 2019.

Youtube: Sanjiv Bajaj on taking business to the next level of digitization

25. K.M. Birla: The Global Visionary

  • DOB: 14 June 1967 (age 56)
  • Birthplace: Calcutta, West Bengal, India
  • Education: London Business School (MBA)
  • Title: Chairman, Aditya Birla Group (heir)

A scion of the Birla family, Kumar Mangalam Birla has been instrumental in helping the Aditya Birla Group expand to 26 countries and achieve an annual turnover of US$45 billion as of 2021, which is a huge upturn from US$2 Billion in 1995. Over half of the company’s revenues are generated outside India. It has interests in metals, cement, textiles, carbon black, telecommunications, financial services, and other sectors.


Kumar’s global outlook and vision helped his company go international.

Awards and Recognitions:

  • The 9th richest person in India (2023) with a net worth of US$13.8 billion by Forbes
  • Padma Bhushan (2023)
  • Global Asian Award ABLF (2019)
  • Global Entrepreneur of the Year in Business Transformation by The Indus Entrepreneurs (2021) Read More: here.

Youtube: Kumar Mangalam Birla ने किया कमाल | BIZ Tak

26. Vineet Jain: The Media Baron

  • DOB: 1967 (age 56)
  • Birthplace: New Delhi, India
  • Education: MBA Schiller International University
  • Title: MD of The Times Group

Vineet Jain has been associated with a 180-year-old media group, Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. since 1987. His great-grandfather, Ramkrishna Dalmia, established the media group, which now has stakes in Print, TV, Internet, Radio, Events, and OOH media segments. However, the group’s flagship brand is the Times of India, the world’s largest circulated English newspaper at 2.8 million copies.

Vineet also ventured into movies, producing some popular flicks, such as Talvar, Razee, Junglee, and Brailley Ki Barfi.


Inheriting a business is one thing and leading it to greater heights is an altogether different ballgame. Vineet Jain has done remarkably well in the true spirit of entrepreneurship, which makes him one of the top entrepreneurs of India.

Awards and Recognitions:

  • Rajiv Gandhi Award in 2009
  • Impact Person of the Year Award in 2013
  • Entrepreneur of the Year Award – The Bombay Management Association 2013
  • Media Person of the Year award – International Advertising Association in 2015
  • Art Karat Award in 2018
  • ITA Sterling Icon of Indian Entertainment Award in Media category 2009

27. K.P. Singh: A Visionary Developer

  • DOB: 15 August 1931 (age 92)
  • Birthplace: Bulandshahr, United Provinces, British India
  • Education: Meerut College
  • Title: Chairman and CEO, DLF Limited

Kushal Pal Singh, an ex-Indian Army Captain inherited his father-in-law, Chaudhary Raghvender Singh’s foundation, DLF in 1979. Under his leadership, the company grew into India’s leading real estate company with a land bank of 10,255 acres (42 km2) and a market cap of 1.25 trillion rupees. As of 2019, Singh has amassed a net worth of 11.9 billion USD, making him the 25th richest Indian and one of the leading entrepreneurs of India.


Singh made a fortune in real estate, turning adversities into opportunities.

Awards and Recognitions:

  • Padma Bhusan Award 2010
  • The richest real estate baron and eighth richest person in the world, Forbes 2008
  • The Samman Patra Award, in 2000, for being one of the top taxpayers of Delhi
  • Delhi Ratna Award, by the Government of Delhi
  • NDTV Indian of the Year Award 2008
  • Entrepreneur of the Year award at The Asian Awards 2011

Source: Here.

Youtube: KP Singh Of DLF Group Shares His Journey As Real Estate Developer | Business Lunch | CNBC-TV18

28. Richa Kar: Changing the Intimate-Wear Landscape

  • DOB: 17th July, 1980 in
  • Birthplace: Jamshedpur, Jharkhand
  • Education: Btech (IIT) & MBA (NMIMS)
  • Title: Founder CEO Zivami

A Jamshedpur girl changed the way females shop for lingerie in India. Meet Richa Kar, the founder of Zivame, the most popular lingerie platform that offers 5,000 designs, 50 brands, and 100 sizes. Zivami allowed Indian women to access high-quality intimate wear from the comforts of their homes with a guarantee of fine service and affordable prices. Besides lingerie, Zivami even sells sleepwear, fitness wear, and clothing for women of style and substance.


Entrepreneurship is all about bringing change and Richa did exactly the same. She not only shattered the taboo surrounding lingerie but also made lingerie shopping a private and seamless experience.

Youtube: Zivame Founder( Richa Kar ) Success Story | Story of lingerie brand | Enhancing the Inner Beauty

29. Kishore Biyani: Sam Walton of India

  • DOB: 9 August 1961
  • Birthplace: Bombay, Maharashtra, India
  • Education: H.R. College
  • Title: Founder and CEO of Future Group

Just like Sam Walton, Kishore initiated and developed the Future Group into India’s leading retail group with 150 locations across India that cover 70 million square feet of retail space. He started by selling fabric under the brand, WBB: White, Brown, and Blue, and later under the Pantaloons brand owned by ‘Manz Wear Private Ltd.’ By 2001, he launched “Big Bazar,” the Future Group’s flagship.

The Future Group has its share of ups and downs but Kishore managed to tide over them. In the early 200s, he ventured into other sectors finance, and agriculture, and produced some Bollywood duds like Na Tum Jaano Na Hum and Chura Liya Hai Tumne.


His “whimsical decisions” like excessive short-term borrowing for expansion and aggressive diversification proved counterproductive, leading to his undoing. However, we remember Kishore for his business acumen, and ability to take risks and stage a comeback.

Awards and Recognitions:

  • CEO of the Year (2001)
  • Most Admired Retailer of the Year (2004)
  • Retail Face of the Year” by Images Retail Awards (2005)
  • Entrepreneur of the Year” by Ernst and Young (2006)
  • CNBC Awaaz Consumer Awards (2009)

Youtube: The Big Bazaar Story – Kishore Biyani On Building A Retail Empire

30. Ashish Hemrajani: The “Showman”

  • DOB: 1975
  • Birthplace: Mumbai, Maharashtra
  • Education: MBA College of Commerce and Economics, Sydenham

After managing clients for J. Walter Thompson, an advertising agency, Ashish founded Bigtree Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. in 1991, before turning 25. The company survived the dotcom crash in the early 2000s and launched BookMyShow in 2007. Valued at INR 3000 crores, Bookmyshow is an online platform with tickets for movies, events, concerts, and sports matches available. Just recently, Ashish’s net worth hit the 1000 Crore mark, which roughly translates to USD 1.2 billion.


With a simple idea, Ashish allowed us to skip the long queues for ticket bookings. Despite the odds, he persisted with his idea and emerged as one of the inspirational entrepreneurs of India.

Awards and Recognitions:

  • BW Applause Person of The Year Award in 2019

31. Supam Maheshwari: Laughing His Way to Success

  • YOB: 1974
  • Education: Btech (Delhi College of Engineering) PGDM (IIM-Ahmedabad)
  • Title: Co-founder and CEO Firstcry and Xpressbess

A first-time parent, Supam struggled to find quality baby products online. This struggle became the inspiration for FirstCry in 2010. With Ratan Tata as one of its investors, FirstCry has grown into the leading baby products retailer with 380 physical stores and a strong online presence. His entrepreneurial spirit also led him to co-found an e-learning platform, BrainVisa Technologies with Amitava Saha, which they disposed of later. Supan also made forays into logistics with XpressBees.


We rate Supam as one of the leading entrepreneurs of India simply because he turned a problem into an entrepreneurial venture. That’s what entrepreneurship is all about.

Awards and Recognition:

“Most Popular Online Site” honor at the Delhi-based Child Awards ceremony (2013)

Youtube: Supam Maheshwari – The OG Behind 3 Unicorn Startups | FirstCry | GlobalBees | Xpressbees

32. Anil Agarwal: “Mining” the Fortunes

  • YOB: 1954
  • Birthplace: Patna, Bihar, India
  • Title: Founder & Chairman Vedanta Resources & Sterlite Industries

Anil had a humble start as a metal scrap trader in the late 70s but went on to buy Shamsher Sterling Corporation in 1986, which was primarily into manufacturing enameled copper. Other strategic acquisitions like Madras Aluminium (1995), Bharat Aluminium Company (BALCO) (2001), and HZL (Hindustan Zinc Limited) (2002) helped Sterlite venture into mining.

He later came up with Vedanta Resources, which is presently busy mining iron ore, gold, and aluminum in Goa, Karnataka, Rajasthan, and Odisha. Just recently, Vedanta announced a collaboration with Taiwan’s Foxconn to develop India’s first semiconductor and display plant. The joint venture is the first step towards making India self-reliant and a major exporter of semiconductors.


Known as ‘Metal King,’ Anil has literally mined success for both himself and India. He has pledged 75% of his total wealth, which currently stands at 4 billion USD, to charity.

Awards and Recognitions:

  • The Economic Times, Business Leader Award – 2012
  • Mining Journal Lifetime Achievement Award – 2009
  • The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year – 2008
  • The Asian Awards Entrepreneur of the Year – 2016
  • The One Globe Forum (OGF) award for creating a strong social impact for the communities the group operates in, and for initiatives such as Nand Ghar – 2018
  • Dr. Thomas Cangan Leadership Award– 2013, Faculty of Management Studies – Institute of Rural Management, Jaipur (FMS-IRM)
  • The Asian Achievers Awards – Lifetime Achievement Award 2019
  • Asian Business Philanthropy Award 2021
  • CIF Global Indian Award 2022, Toronto Canada 2022

Youtube: How To Get Rich & Make India Win Ft. Anil Agarwal, Vedanta Founder | Raj Shamani | FO 97

33. Kunal Shah: Crediting Change

  • DOB: 20 May 1983
  • Birthplace: Mumbai, Maharashtra
  • Title: Founder and Chairman Cred, Freecharge

Kunal Shah has a knack of building Fintech startups. He is currently the Founder and CEO of CRED, a Fintech platform with a consumer base of 5.9 million and a valuation of USD 2 billion. Founded in 2017, Cred offers rewards on each credit card bill payment made through it and accounts for 20% of credit card bills paid in India as of 2023.

An MBA dropout, Kunal launched PaisaBack, a cashback and promotional discount campaign platform for retailers. However, it failed and Kunal came up with another startup, FreeCharge in 2010, which he led as the Chairman until 2016 even after Snapdeal had acquired it.


Kunal’s story teaches us one basic fact – failing is just a part of the entrepreneurial journey. You have to learn from it and move ahead.

Youtube: Kunal Shah – This is the only thing people pay for

34. Deepinder Goyal: Changing the Food Culture

  • DOB: 26 January 1983 (40 Years)
  • Birthplace: Muktsar, Punjab
  • Education: BTech IIT Delhi
  • Title: Founder and CEO of Zomato

A small-town, average student who stuttered when he talked not only got into the IIT but also went on to simplify food discovery in India. It’s an incredible story of Deepinder Goyal and his foundation Zomato, which is a godsend for a generation that lacks the time and inclination to prepare food.

Deepinder’s entrepreneurial career started in 2008 when he left his job and founded a food startup, Foodiebay, which was rebranded as Zomato in 2010. Zomato “connects customers, restaurant partners, and delivery partners.” You can use it to find “restaurants, read and write reviews, view and upload photos, order food delivery, book a table, and make payments while dining out at restaurants.


With a simple idea, Deepinder changed the way food is discovered and ordered, making life easier for the common folks. That’s what the leading entrepreneurs of India are supposed to do.

35. Nithin Kamath: Democratizing Trading

  • DOB: 5 October, 1979 (43)
  • Birthplace: Shivamogga, Karnataka, India
  • Education: Bachelor’s in Engineering from Bangalore Institute of Technology
  • Title: Founder & CEO, Zerodha

An entrepreneur, stockbroker, and columnist, Nitin is placed 1104th on the Forbes World’s Billionaire List with a net worth of 2.1 billion USD. His romance with stock trading started at the young age of 17 and became a proprietary broker while in college. He even took up a job in a call center and provided portfolio advisory services before collaborating with his brother Nikhil to establish Zerodha.

Zerodha did something unprecedented when it introduced discount broking and new technologies that turned the brokerage industry on its head. With an evaluation of 1 Billion USD, Zerodha stormed into the Unicorn club in 2020. As of now, it is a behemoth with 3 million trades daily, 22 lakh active users, and 2 lakh new accounts added each month.


Nitin used his ingenuity to make trading convenient, accessible, and affordable for the common folks. Rather, the name he chose, Zero + Rodha, means zero obstacles.

Awards and Recognitions:

  • Startup of the Year (Bootstrap) – 2016
  • 10 Indian businessmen to watch out for in 2016
  • Emerging Brokerage Firm of the Year – 2015
  • Emerging Brokerage Firm of the Year – 2014
  • Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year – 2014

YouTube: “Exclusive Interview with Zerodha’s Founder & CEO Nithin Kamath by Anil Singhvi”

36. Peyush Bansal: A “Vision”-ary Shark

  • DOB: 26 April 1985
  • Birthplace: Delhi, India
  • Education: IIM-Bangalore
  • Title: Founder and CEO Lenskart

Peyush has the credentials to be on the popular show, Shark Tank. As one of the most successful young entrepreneurs of India, he co-founded Lenskart in 2010, along with Amit Chaudhary and Sumeet Kapahi. Starting out with contact lenses, Lenskart went on to emerge as India’s largest optical prescription eyewear retail chain with a valuation of USD 1.5 billion as of 2019. Investors like Ratan Tata and S Gopalakrishnan of Infosys have stakes in Lenskart.

Peyush left his lucrative job at Microsoft to pursue his childhood dream of founding a business empire. His first foundation was, a web portal designed to help students find colleges, housing, coaching, jobs, books, and more. He then founded Flyer in 2019, which also failed to find takers. Eventually, he co-founded Valyoo Technologies, which owns Lenskart.


Peyush made accessing eyewear easy, quick, and cost-effective in India. That makes him a problem-solver in a country where 40% of the world’s blind population lives. Also, despite failures, he believed in himself, which led to his meteoric rise.

Awards and Recognitions:

  • The British Association Medal in 2006 by McGill University
  • Red Herring recognized Valyoo Technologies as one of the top 100 Asia companies in 2010
  • The Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year in 2012 by Indian E-tail.
  • Marketing Sherpa Email awards to Lenskart in 2014
  • The India TV Yuva Awards (in the Business Category) in 2015
  • Listed in Fortune India’s Best 40 under 40 entrepreneurs in 2019

Youtube: Peyush Bansal’s Lenskart’s Journey – Shark Tank India

37. Deep Kalra: Making Trips Seamless

  • YOB: 1970 (age 53)
  • Birthplace: Hyderabad, India
  • Education: MBA from IIM Ahamadabad
  • Title: Co-Founder of MakeMyTrip

There was a time when planning a vacation was a nightmare. Then came Makemytrip in 2000, allowing common folks to plan and book travel from the comforts of their homes. From air, rail, and bus tickets to holiday packages and hotel reservations, MakeMyTrip offers it all and more through a technology-driven platform.

As of 2023, it is one of the most valuable companies with a market cap of USD 4.19 Billion and 146 franchisees in over 100 cities, including Singapore, Dubai, New York, and Kuala Lumpur. The man behind the resounding success of MakeMyTrip, Deep went to IIM Ahamadabad for his MBA and later worked for the likes of ABN AMRO Bank and GE Capital. He quit his stable job to co-found a venture that simplified travel.


As one of the top entrepreneurs of India, Deep’s story goes on to prove the power of an idea whose time has come. Deep started his venture in 2000 in the midst of the dot-com boom and changed the way we plan vacations forever.

Awards and Recognitions:

  • Ranked #1 in a list of most powerful digital influencers in India by KPMG in 2011
  • Member of the Executive Council of NASSCOM
  • World Travel Awards in 2013 & 2014 recognized MakeMyTrip as the “Best Travel Portal India”
  • “The Best Companies to Work For” by Great Place to Work Institute in 2010, 2011, 2012 & 2013.
  • Member of CII’s sub-tourism committee
  • Chairperson of NASSCOM Internet Working Group

Source: Here.

Youtube: Building A PROFITABLE Business In India Ft. MakeMyTrip Founder Deep Kalra | Raj Shamani | FO 94

38. Mukesh Ambani: The Titan

  • Born as: Mukesh Dhirubhai Ambani
  • DOB: 19 April 1957 (age 66)
  • Birthplace: Aden, (present-day Yemen)
  • Education: Mumbai Institute of Chemical Technology (B.E.)
  • Title: Chairman and MD, Reliance Industries

No list of entrepreneurs of India is complete without Mukesh Ambani, one of the richest people on the planet with a real-time net worth of 95 billion USD. Save for the brief period when Gautam Adani overtook him, Mukesh continues to be the richest Indian for decades now. Mukesh is at the helm of Reliance Industries, a conglomerate with an annual revenue of USD 110 billion.

Under him, the company has made forays into telecom, retail, green energy, and other sectors. He has committed to investing USD 80 billion in the coming decade on renewable energy, which aligns with India’s goals of achieving sustainable development, reducing carbon emissions, and enhancing energy security. However, reports often surface accusing Mukesh of “market manipulation, political corruption, cronyism, and exploitation.”


Unlike his brother Anil, Mukesh successfully led an already-established business empire to new heights through hard work, commitment, and a sharp business sense.

Awards and Recognitions:

  • One of the 100 Most Influential People of 2019, under the “Titans” section by Times Magazine 2020.
  • Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2000
  • Global Vision Award at The Awards Dinner Asia Society 2010
  • School of Engineering and Applied Science Dean’s Medal by University of Pennsylvania 2010
  • Harvard Business Review ranked the 5th-best performing global CEO in 2010
  • Global Leadership Award by Business Council for International Understanding 2010
  • Foreign associate, U.S. National Academy of Engineering 2016
  • Othmer Gold Medal by Chemical Heritage Foundation 2016

39. Adi Godrej: Journey of Innovation and Sustainability

  • DOB: 3 April 1942 (age 81)
  • Birthplace: Bombay, Bombay Presidency, British India
  • Education: MIT Sloan School of Management
  • Title: Chairman of Godrej Group

Adi inherited a century-old consumer goods company, Godrej, and transformed it into a USD 2.5 billion revenue-generating conglomerate. As of now, the group has interests in real estate, consumer products, industrial engineering, appliances, furniture, security, and agricultural products. Just two years back, Adi decided to give up his position as the Chairman of the Godrej Industries but continues to chair the Godrej Group and Emeritus of GIL.

They credit Adi for scripting Godrej Consumer Products’ expansion into emerging markets like Asia, Africa, and Latin America across home care, personal wash, and hair care categories. He has a knack for introducing innovative products that meet consumer demands and championing sustainable development. That’s the hallmark of one of the visionary entrepreneurs of India.


Adi Godrej’s legacy is one of leadership, attention to market demands, and a commitment to sustainable and socially responsible business practices.

Awards and Recognitions:

  • Rajiv Gandhi Award 2002,
  • Padma Bhushan 2012
  • American India Foundation (AIF) Leadership in Philanthropy Award 2010,
  • Entrepreneur of the Year at the Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Awards 2010
  • Best Businessman of the Year for the GQ Men of the Year Awards 2010
  • Chemexcil’s Lifetime Achievement Award 2010
  • AIMA – JRD Tata Corporate Leadership Award 2010
  • Bombay Management Association – Management Man of the Year Award 2010-2011
  • Qimpro Platinum Standard Award for Business in 2011
  • Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2012
  • Asian Awards Entrepreneur of the Year 2013
  • All India Management Association – Business Leader of the Year 2015
  • Golden Peacock Lifetime Achievement Award for Ethical Leadership 2016.

Youtube: Adi Godrej has shown courage rare for corporate leader to flag social discord as threat | ep 213

40. Radhakishan Damani: The Retail Mugol

  • DOB: 12 July 1955 (age 68)
  • Birthplace: Bikaner, Rajasthan, India
  • Education: MA dropout
  • Title: Founder of DMart

Radhakrishnan Damani’s real-time net worth of USD 27.6 billion makes him India’s third and the world’s 78th richest person. His wealth comes from diversified investments, notably in VST industries and India Cements, and his foundation, D-Mart. From a single location in Mumbai in 2002, D-Mart has grown into a thriving retail chain with 330 stores across 14 states in India, and a 10,713-strong permanent workforce.


Success comes with hard work and focus, especially in a sector as competitive as retail.

Youtube: Radhakishan Damani Life Story

41. Rahul Bhatia: Sky is the Limit

  • DOB: 18 December 1955
  • Birthplace: Nainital, (now in Uttarakhand), India
  • Education: BTech, Electrical Engineering, University of Waterloo
  • Title: Group Managing Director of InterGlobe Enterprises

Rahul Bhatia teamed up with his father (Kapil Bhatia) and an airline professional (Rakesh Gangwal) to come up with InterGlobe Aviation in 2006. The foundation, better known as IndiGo, has emerged as India’s biggest airline with a 55% market share and 300 planes flying to 26 overseas and 75 domestic destinations as of 2023.

As a Group MD, Rahul has led IndiGo into a collaboration with UPS to come up with Movin, India’s newest logistics brand. With a real-time net worth of USD 4.2 billion, he is the 38th richest Indian and one of the leading top entrepreneurs of India. Interestingly, his first venture was in telecom, which never materialized due to regulatory hassles.


Rahul’s story emphasizes the value of teamwork, calculated risk-taking, and big thinking.

Awards and Recognitions:

  • ‘Entrepreneur of the Year in 2011 by Ernst & Young and The Economic Times
  • ‘Outstanding Start-Up’ Award at the Forbes India Leadership Awards in 2011

Youtube: Rahul Bhatia, Group MD, InterGlobe, in conversation with Shereen Bhan (Part 1)

42. Vineeta Singh: Going Places

  • YOB: 1983 (age 40)
  • Birthplace: Anand, Gujarat, India
  • Education: IIT Madras, IIM Ahmedabad
  • Title: Founder Sugar Cosmetics

Having been to IIT Madras for her BTech and IIM Ahmedabad for her MBA, Vineeta is going places. She is the founder and CEO of a beauty-product startup, Sugar Cosmetics, a judge at a popular reality show, Shark Tank, and has graced the cover pages of Forbes India, Business Today, and Businessworld.

Vineeta’s journey started in 2007 when she founded a failed venture, Quetzal, which offered background verification checks to recruiters. Initiated in 2012, her second venture, Fab-Bag also failed miserably. Undeterred, she eventually tasted success with Sugar Cosmetics, which she co-founded with her husband.

Business acumen aside, Vineeta is also a triathlete and ultramarathon runner, having taken part in 20 marathons, ultramarathons, and 12 half-marathons. Even her 6 months of pregnancy couldn’t stop her from participating in a 21-km Mumbai Marathon in 2018. Incredible, isn’t it?


Vineeta is an inspiration for a generation of budding women entrepreneurs, inspiring them to chase their dreams.

Awards and Recognitions:

  • Start-up of the Year Award by Entrepreneur Awards, Delhi (2019)
  • W-Power Award by Forbes India (2021).
  • BW Disrupt 40 Under 40 Award by Businessworld (2021).
  • Fortune’s 40 Under 40 (2021).
  • World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leadership list (2022)

43. Tulsi Tanti: The Wind Man Of India

  • DOB: 2 February 1958
  • Death: 1 October 2022 (age 64)
  • Education: BTech from Birla Vishvkarma Mahavidyalaya
  • Title: Founder, Chairman Suzlon

When running a textile unit, Tulsi was fed up with the frequent power outages and rising power bills. In desperation, he decided to go off the grid and bought a few wind turbines. He was quick to develop a liking for wind power, and hence, Suzlon. At its peak, Suzlon installed 12,700+ wind turbines in 17 countries and put together 14 state-of-the-art manufacturing units in India.

As his foundation grew, so did the founder. He chaired ZF Wind Power Antwerpen, a highly-rated manufacturer of wind turbine gearboxes based out of Belgium. He also served as the president of the Indian Wind Turbine Manufacturers Association. Sadly, we lost him to a cardiac arrest in 2022 at 64.


Tulsi was a visionary who realized the need for clean, green power to fuel India’s economic growth.

Awards and Recognitions:

  • Canada India Foundation (“CIF”) Chanchlani Global Indian Award
  • Champion of the Earth by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in 2009
  • Hero of the Environment by TIME magazine
  • Entrepreneur of the Year 2006 by Ernst & Young
  • World Wind Energy Award by the World Wind Energy Association
  • The CNBC TV18 ‘India Business Leader Award’
  • ‘Global New Energy Business Leader Award’ by China Energy News
  • ‘Asia’s Most Promising Leader Award’ by Ibrands, Dubai

Youtube: WEF 2018: In Conversation With Suzlon’s Tulsi Tanti

44. Niranjan Hiranandani: The Real Estate Tycoon

  • DOB: 8 March 1950 (age 73)
  • Birthplace: Bombay, Bombay State, India
  • Education: Chartered accountant from Sydenham College
  • Title: Co-founder and MD, Hiranandani Group

An accountant, Niranjan sought a future in textiles and established a textile weaving unit in Kandivali, Mumbai. He then invested the profits made in textiles in 250 acres of land in Powai, Mumbai in 1985. That marked the start of a real estate business, Hiranandani Gardens, which later became the flagship of Hiranandani Group. In 2021, Forbes placed Niranjan in the list of the 100 richest Indians, with a net worth of USD 1.6 billion. He also incorporated Yotta Infrastructure and invested in energy infrastructure.


Niranjan’s story is a delightful journey of chasing dreams and building fortunes.

Awards and Recognitions:

  • Construction Week India Awards 2022
  • 10th Construction Week India Awards 2020
  • Realty+ Conclave & Excellence Awards 2020

Youtube: Niranjan Hiranandani, MD, Hiranandani Group: We Live & Die But Business Will Go On Forever!

45. Sudhir Mehta

  • Born as: Sudhir Uttamlal Mehta
  • YOB: 1954 (age 69)
  • Education: BA Gujarat University
  • Title: Chairman, Torrent Group

When Sudhir was 5, his father, a clerk-turned-salesman-turned-entrepreneur, Uttambhai Mehta incorporated the Torrent Group. Later, he went on to chair the group and steer it to new heights. As of now, Torrent Group is a true blue conglomerate with a yearly revenue of 2.7 billion USD and interests in gas, pharmaceuticals, and power. And, its chairman is one of the wealthiest Indians with a net worth of USD 3.9 billion, according to Forbes.


Sudhir strengthened Torrent Group’s presence and worth through vision and leadership.

Youtube: Dr. Sudhir Mehta on ET Now – Leaders of Tomorrow – Season 10 – Part 1

46. Arshneer Grover

  • DOB: June 14, 1982 (age 41)
  • Birthplace: Delhi, India
  • Education: Civil Engineering IIT, MBA IIM Ahmedabad
  • Previous Title: MD, Founder BharatPe

Call him insensitive to others’ opinions or even rude but his business sense cannot be overstated. Born to a Chartered Accountant father and a teacher mother, Arshneer was a brilliant student who made it to IIT Delhi and then IIM Ahmedabad. He started his career with Kotak Investments and later served Grofers, PC Jeweller Ltd, and American Express in different capacities.

When Arshneer set out on his entrepreneurial journey, he ended up creating India’s largest offline merchant network, BharatPe. His association with his foundation was short-lived, as he unceremoniously exited the company within 3 years and 6 months of its inception. Even Shark Tank decided to skip him from its second season. Down but not out, Arshneer is planning a comeback with another venture.


Arshneer changed the merchant network forever, making mobile payments acceptance-free and easily accessible.

Awards and Recognition:

  • Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2021
  • BharatPe – the emerging company of the year award 2021
  • Represented BharatPe and India Cashless at the Asia Pacific Initiative Forum 2019
  • Fortune India listed him in the list of 40 under 40 Brightest Young Indian Minds

47. Sanjeev Bikhchandani: Internet Pioneer

  • DOB:
  • Birthplace:
  • Education: BA from St. Stephen’s College, MBA from IIM Ahmedabad
  • Title: Founder & Executive Vice Chairman of Info Edge

When you first stepped into the labor market, you must have stumbled upon, India’s leading online recruitment portal. It is a vision of Sanjeev Bikhchandani but not just the only one. He even went on to incorporate other popular web portals like (matrimony), (real estate), and (education) under the umbrella of Info Edge.

Sanjeev is not just one of the most successful entrepreneurs in India but also has an eye for investments. He has stakes in Unicorns, such as Zomato, InMobi, Ola Cabs, and Sanjeev champions the cause of education with his other foundation, Ashoka University, a Haryana-based liberal arts institution.


Among the first ones to realize the power of the internet, Sanjeev built fortunes by helping employers connect to talent and vice versa. He even made accessing life partners and property easy for millions of users across India.

Awards and Recognitions:

  • Padam Shri
  • Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2008
  • Midas Touch Award for the Best Investor 2021
  • President of the Delhi chapter of TiE [The Indus Entrepreneurs]
  • A member of the Global Board of Trustees of TiE
  • Member of the Council of Management of All India Management Association
  • Chair of the Internet Council of NASSCOM
  • Dataquest Pathbreaker Award & the Teacher’s Achievement Award for Business
  • In 2011, the Distinguished Alumnus Award by IIM Ahmedabad
  • CF Andrews Distinguished Alumnus Award by St. Stephen’s College 2012
  • Lakshmipat Singhania – IIM Lucknow National Leadership Award 2012.
  • as one of India’s fifty greatest CEOs ever by Outlook Magazine 2017
  • Lifetime Achievement Award in IT given by the Financial Express in 2019

Source: Here.

Youtube: The Journey of Mr Sanjeev Bikhchandani

48. Yashish Dahiya: Simplifying Insurance

  • DOB: 16 September 1972
  • Education: BE from IIT Delhi, a PG-Diploma from IIM Ahmedabad, and an MBA from INSEAD
  • Title: Founder and CEO of

Thanks to Yashish, policy buyers can use the power of information to make informed decisions. His foundation, is currently India’s largest online insurance marketplace worth USD 1.5 billion. It enables you to compare and purchase all types of insurance policies online, be it health insurance, life insurance, motor insurance, or more. Before becoming an entrepreneur, he had fruitful stints with Illinois Tool Works, Bain & Co, and First Europa.


The man changed the way insurance is bought and sold in India through his vision and customer-friendly approach.

Awards and Recognitions:

  • EY Entrepreneur of The Year (EOY) 2019 Award in the Financial Services category

Youtube: Deeptalk with Yashish Dahiya (Founder of Policybazaar) – Episode Highlights

49. Radhika Gupta: Managing Trust

  • YOB: 1983
  • Education: University of Pennsylvania (Double B.S.)
  • Title: CEO, Edelweiss Asset Management Ltd.

“The girl with the broken neck,” Radhika heads one of the top investment management firms in India, Edelweiss Asset Management Limited. No other female is spearheading a major asset manager currently, which makes her stand out in a male-dominated setup. In her early days, she worked as a Business Analyst at McKinsey & Company. However, in 2009 she incepted Forefront Capital Management, which merged with Edelweiss in 2014.

She even penned ‘Limitless: The Power of Unlocking Your True Potential‘ in April 2022, which was published by Hachette.


Despite her “disability,” she continues to set the trajectory of Edelweiss’ sales, investments, and distributions with her experience, passion, and ingenuity. No wonder, we rate her among the top entrepreneurs of India.

Awards and Recognitions:

  • Young Global Leader Award – World Economic Forum in 2022
  • Mentioned in India Today’s list of the Most Powerful Women in Indian Business in 2021
  • Impact Creator Award in 2021 by the Government of Maharashtra
  • Featured in the 40 Under 40 Business Leaders list by the Economic Times
  • LinkedIn Top Voices List (Finance and Economy Global)

50. Albinder Dhindsa: Grocery Delivery Innovator

  • YOB: 1983
  • Birthplace: Patiala, Punjab, India
  • Education: B.Tech, IIT-Delhi, and MBA, Columbia University
  • Title: CEO of Grofers Pvt Ltd

Albinder took the hassles out of grocery shopping with Grofers, now Blinkit. Before incorporating Grofers in 2013, Albinder was associated with Zomato, from where he attained his seed investment. Interestingly, he was never interested in becoming an entrepreneur unless he found an immense demand for grocery delivery. Today, Blinkit is the leading online grocery platform that delivers grocery, bakery products, flowers, fruits, vegetables, baby care products, and more. And, its founder is one of the top entrepreneurs of India.


Grocery delivery in under 90 minutes was impossible unless Albinder decided to intervene.

Youtube: CEO Albinder Dhindsa Discusses Grofers Rebranding To Blinkit | Startup Street | CNBC-TV18


So, that was our take on the top entrepreneurs of India. These men and women rose through the ranks to emerge as thought leaders in their respective industries and an inspiration for the next generation of Indian entrepreneurs.

In their prolific careers, they generated fortunes for themselves and value for the common folks, and helped the Indian economy grow and evolve. They overcame the odds, solved problems, and made life easier for us all.

Even people like Ratan Tata, Shiv Nadar, and Azim Premji continue to give back to the society and nation through time and money. That’s something we all need to learn from.

People are also reading:

Rohit Kumar
Rohit Kumar
Passionate about content quality and attention to detail, Rohit has penned over 15,000 copies for some of the leading online and offline publications in his eight-year career. Currently heading the content team at Dunia Ka Gyan, he believes in team spirit, ingenuity, and reader satisfaction.

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest Articles