TOMORROW Inc: OUR 2020 LIST OF CHANGE MAKERS, LEADERS AND SCIONS
Entrepreneur magazine|September 2020
While working for our fifth edition of Tomorrow Inc. our flagship IP of generation next leaders, we make sure to come out with new names across industries who are making a mark in the family or generation run businesses. Our research starts with various sectors and people who are taking ahead the growth path to extend it to the next level. In a family business set up every generation faces challenges of their own while problems are of a different nature for a first-generation entrepreneur - the second generation always thinks about scale up from there on while the third generation thinks of diversifications of different kind. The scions you will read about in the ensuing pages made sure they bring a flavour of the current world to the business their fathers/forefathers have started. In this journey the learning has to never stop as stakes are much higher when the business has reached certain scale. All eyes are on them on how much longevity they can bring to the business. Here’s to those who re-thinking the family business.
Punita Sabharwal

The Money Wizard

ALEXANDER GEORGE MUTHOOT, DEPUTY MANAGING DIRECTOR, THE MUTHOOT GROUP

Alexander George Muthoot formally joined the family business in the year 2006 after he returned from the US after completing his studies. Talking about his tryst with the family business, Muthoot shares, “Though I was part of the family business for about four years even prior to going to the US, but I would say my full-fledged involvement in the family business kick-started from 2006 onwards.” From attending office everyday morning along with his father M. G. George Muthoot, Chairman of The Muthoot Group of Companies to attending morning prayer at 9 a.m. sharp (which is a universal prayer across all their branches), being part of morning huddle meetings with senior functionaries, visiting various branches in Delhi and outside along with his father for business reviews were all part of his early involvement in the business.

Muthoot has been driving branch expansion in a big way especially across North, East & West India from 37 branches when he joined in 2006 to +1,800 branches today. Talking about introducing changes in a family business which is 800 years old, Muthoot says, “As an organization, we are very process-driven and since we have carefully thought and well-defined processes in place; it is never difficult to present, deliberate, approve and implement any change or any decision. Hence, to encourage collaboration, we have constituted a Family Board where all suggestions are put forth, discussed, deliberated and once approved, they are meticulously implemented.” Muthoot contributed in a number of areas such as improving the Group’s brand image by engaging the legendary Amitabh Bachchan as the Brand Ambassador, partnering with leading IPL teams like Delhi Daredevils earlier and now with Chennai Super Kings. He also invested heavily on technology, Muthoot Chatbot, to name a few and more importantly focusing on transforming Muthoot Finance from being just a gold-loan company to a diversified financial powerhouse with 20 diversified business divisions.

Going forward, his greatest objective is to make Gold Loans a respectable and preferred choice for credit for every individual, every household and every businessman. To achieve this, he is driving widespread branch expansion plans across India. Currently present in USA, UK, UAE, Costa Rica, Sri Lanka and Nepal he would like to expand the overseas presence to many more countries in the coming years.

The Linen Empress

SUCHITA OSWAL JAIN, VICE CHAIRMAN & JOINT MANAGING DIRECTOR, VARDHMAN TEXTILES

At the time of joining the business, Suchita Oswal Jain was only 22. For the initial few months, she worked closely with the yarn exports, HR and IT (Information technology) teams, trying to absorb the business and streamlining the processes at the same time. “I was fortunate enough to be trained under Shri S P Oswal, a Padma Bhushan Awardee who laid the foundation of this great institution,” shares Jain. Having him as her mentor not only gave her insights into industry but also amplified her passion for this family legacy. In less than a year, she had identified an opportunity that ignited her inner spark - the forward integration of Vardhman Group and setting up of a griege fabric division in Himachal Pradesh. This was an enormous responsibility as everything was to be created from scratch, but she was determined to lead. “We started with establishing a small set up for manufacturing and gradually began exporting, owing to the supreme quality Vardhman is renowned for,” adds Jain.

Jain introduced new marketing strategies, emphasized product development, and widened the product basket at Vardhman. From a production centric business, she took the bold step of moving towards a customer-centric business segment. While Vardhman was a reputed name in yarn industry, proceeding to fashion-fabric business was a new experience altogether. Talking about her interest in the family business, she says, “I had seen my father work towards establishing this business and wanted to expand the horizons further.” Her particularly admires the way she led the establishment of connections with International brands like GAP, Timberland, Target, Banana Republic and Old Navy.

At present she is working towards consolidating the business operations wherein the primary focus will be on textiles only. Suchita has two daughters Saumya and Sagarika. Both were very young when she joined the business. “I would juggle between work and family but got adequate support from my husband and family members. My husband always encouraged me. Now my girls are grown up so I can dedicate more time to the business.”

THE ALCHEMIST

VINTI SARAF MUTREJA, CEO AND MANAGING DIRECTOR, VINATI ORGANICS

As a child, Vinati used to go to work with her father and learn about the business. Soon after she completed her education, she joined the family business. Sharing her early memories of being introduced to the business environment, Mutreja shares, “I remember going on a “road trip” to Mahad when I was about six years old. Our first factory was just being built then and my sister and I would get very excited because it was called “Vinati”.”

Established in 1989, Vinati Organics Limited (VOL) is a specialty chemical company, focusing on manufacturing specialty chemicals and organic intermediaries. Vinati has turned around the fate of the company by taking some right decisions at the right time. Since her joining in 2006, the revenues have increased from Rs. 66 crore to Rs 1,000 crore. Moreover, she is an inspiration for women who are hesitant to join the STEM industry. Talking about her experience in the industry she says, “It’s an industry where experience is valued and people are judged based on number of years in the field. Initially I thought that people had preconceived notions because of my youth. However, I have realized it is also a result-driven industry and as long as you are able to deliver, age and gender matter very little.” Part of it is conditioning, she remembers her grandmother telling her “You are your parent’s son, you have to take care of the business when you grow up”. On her next business move, she mentions, “We are adding several new products to our portfolio, the biggest being butyl phenols which cater to fragrance and antioxidant industries. We are also looking at more niche chemicals based on value addition.”

At present when women are juggling multiple roles and trying to find a balance, Vinati urges women to keep me-time for themselves. She is quite vocal about finding the right balance between work and home. Work from home during lockdown due to Covid-19 pandemic could be overwhelming for some. However, she believes one can be on top of things by following a daily routine, devoting some time for exercise and meditation and eating healthy.

The Mattress Maker

UTTAM MALANI, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CENTUARY MATTRESSES

Belonging to a pedigreed family who has been in several different businesses over the last 100+ years, Uttam Malani is a third-generation entrepreneur whose grandfather founded Centuary Mattresses. A graduate of Georgia Tech, Atlanta, Malani started his career as a ‘Supply Chain Consultant’ at Capgemini in Atlanta, Georgia (USA) before moving to India to join the family business. Having joined Centuary as Management Executive in 2007, Uttam has played a key role right from his initial days at the company wherein he has had to work diligently in order to gain acceptance from internal and external stakeholders as well as make people change-ready. Taking over the mantle as Executive Director in 2013, Uttam’s dedicated involvement at the company has ensured a consistent and continuous growth. Talking about some of the bold moves he has made at the company, Malani says, “Over the last 12 years of being part of the business, some of the moves I have been involved in include creation of the Centuary exclusive retail format for foraying into high-end offerings; setting up of the exports division; private label manufacturing for IKEA; starting the e-commerce division of Centuary way back in 2015 (when e-commerce was largely considered to be just another fad).” Malani was also the early adapters of digitisation, employing a SAP backed ERP architecture; which helped to do away with antiquated MIS and reporting systems; and brought in a new way of running and controlling the business. Talking about the difference in operating style of the father and son, Malani shares, “I tend to be more analytical and data-driven; whereas my father belongs to the golden generation of Indian entrepreneurs who have achieved much success by backing their gut and taking bold decisions.” Some of the plans he recently executed or are the launch of product extensions into baby mattress and sleep accessories category.

THE ANCIENT HEALER

VEDIKA SHARMA, DIRECTOR & FOUNDER MANTRA HERBAL & PRESIDENT BAIDYANATH JHANSI

Vedika Sharma comes from a family that has been in the business of Ayurveda since over 100 years. Growing up in a business environment, all her dinner conversations were invariably about work, business or Ayurveda and that made her understand the basics of running a business and the fundamentals of Ayurveda.

Once she completed her studies in the UK and came back to India, she worked with a few different organizations. Though she always planned to eventually start her own marketing agency a part of hers always also wanted to do something in the field of Ayurveda and promote the practice of Ayurveda across the globe. Reminiscing the same Sharma says, “I realized during my time in London that my friends there knew more about Ayurveda and Yoga than my friends back home and that’s when I decided I wanted to join the family business and spread the knowledge about Ayurveda in my generation.”

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM ENTREPRENEUR MAGAZINEView All

Top 3 Cool Products of 2021

The year 2021 has seen several new integrations in terms of people’s lifestyle, the technology used, and much more. While lockdown and isolation have been stressful with the pandemic, we sure have developed a habit of ordering innovative and interesting products online and finding good use in something cool. Some cool products have surfaced in this duration, and you might want to get your hands on them.

1 min read
Entrepreneur magazine
June 2021

What Does the SPAC Buzz Mean for Indian Startups

SPAC or Special Purpose Acquisition Company is fast becoming a preferred route for startups to list on the US bourses, but a tough regulatory landscape pose challenges After a failed attempt at an IPO and losing billions of dollars two years back, WeWork is finally going public again. Has the office-space sharing company’s finances changed for the better this time? Nobody knows. Instead, the company has taken a different route to reach the stock markets: SPACs.

4 mins read
Entrepreneur magazine
June 2021

TECH- LEADERSHIP SEARCH MAGICIAN

2021 is a year full of hopes for start-ups as they look to increase the revenue generation and try to keep their venture on an upward growth trajectory. 2020 was a year full of ups and downs. The lockdown proved to be an obstacle in the growth of these start-ups as the economy slumped and almost everything came to a standstill. After the upliftment of the restrictions and the lockdown itself, things started picking up pace again and there was rapid development for the start-ups not to forget, many new start-ups came to the fore. The start-ups got fresh funding and with those funding one of their main targets was to broaden the employee base and hire in key technology and leadership roles. Edtech, E-commerce, software-as-a-service (SaaS) and Fintech have gained significant scale and are on the lookout for talent who can initiate an even more aggressive growth model.

6 mins read
Entrepreneur magazine
June 2021

Think Like a Disruptor

If you want to shake things up, you must have a mindset that’s different from everyone else’s. Here are three ways to reshape your thinking.

5 mins read
Entrepreneur magazine
June 2021

WILL YOU WALK TO WORK?

With the outbreak of Covid-19, the ensuing security risks and administrative challenges of a largely remote working office culture have proven to be daunting to employees and organizations alike. Providing a solution to ease this, using coworking spaces and workspaces which allow users to book a place to work from near their homes is expected to see a rise. The Government norms around occupancy for private offices are not expected to become lenient any soon. However, industries such as Banking, Financial Services, Insurance and many more carry huge data security risks which cannot be secured by employees at their homes. This month at Entrepreneur, we analyze how well prepared are coworking spaces to provide COVID-safe and security-enabled spaces near homes, thereby providing the same atmosphere, amenities and cyber security that an entity would have given at its own facility. Will this be the new future of work?

10+ mins read
Entrepreneur magazine
June 2021

SPAC

A ‘SHOT IN THE ARM’ FOR INDIAN COMPANIES AND START-UPS

3 mins read
Entrepreneur magazine
June 2021

BETHENNY FRANKEL IS A TIME-MANAGEMENT MACHINE

She builds multimillion-dollar brands, stars in TV shows, and vigorously defends every moment of her day. The secret? It starts with deciding what matters (and what doesn’t).

8 mins read
Entrepreneur magazine
June 2021

THESE STARTUPS ARE PREVENTING INDIA'S RICH HANDICRAFT CULTURE FROM FADING AWAY

Startup community realised artisans typically are unaware of marketplaces and heavily rely on middlemen

8 mins read
Entrepreneur magazine
June 2021

From SMS Era to Internet Age, This Unicorn Helps Enterprises Build Strong Customer Relation

According to the founder Beerud Sheth, Gupshup at present serves more than 100,000 businesses and developers globally

5 mins read
Entrepreneur magazine
June 2021

How 1 Ex-Cognizantand 3 former ZOHO Employees Went On To Create A Unicorn

In April 2021, Chargebee raised $125 million in Series G round, almost tripling its valuation to $1.4 billion

4 mins read
Entrepreneur magazine
June 2021
RELATED STORIES

SUJATA MASSEY

Sometimes, an idea needs time to incubate until it’s ready to grow. That was the case with Sujata Massey’s series about Perveen Mistry, a woman attorney practicing in India during the 1920s.

10+ mins read
Mystery Scene
Summer #168 2021

USS NEW JERSEY

The Big J is One of Three Iowa-Class Battleships That’s Now a Museum

5 mins read
Recoil
July - August 2021

How to Fix Your Credit Reports

Before you apply for a mortgage or car loan, check your credit files for errors that could derail your plans.

5 mins read
Kiplinger's Personal Finance
July 2021

Where to Invest Now

AFTER A POWERFUL START, STOCKS WILL GRIND HIGHER IN THE SECOND HALF OF 2021. BUT WATCH OUT FOR CURVEBALLS.

10+ mins read
Kiplinger's Personal Finance
July 2021

Marriage and Taxes: What You Need to Know

Most couples will owe less in federal taxes by filing jointly, but sometimes it pays to go it alone.

2 mins read
Kiplinger's Personal Finance
July 2021

AMERICA IS GETTING OLDER

Census data show a decline in younger workers. That puts more pressure on programs that support seniors.

3 mins read
Kiplinger's Personal Finance
July 2021

THE NICKEL BEHIND THE NICKEL

The word “nickel” is a homonym with two distinct meanings. It refers to both our five-cent coin and an element. Everyone is familiar with the coin, but not necessarily with the element.

3 mins read
Rock&Gem Magazine
June 2021

Composting 101

The basic premise of composting is simple: Biodegradable waste (food scraps, coffee grounds, old leaves) returns to the ground from whence it came. But composting can be more complex than you think. We’re here to demystify the process so you can make it a regular part of your routine.

4 mins read
Clean Eating
Summer 2021

The New Economics

Policymakers learned the lessons of 2008 and deployed a wider set of tools to help repair the damage from Covid. They know how to create a recovery, but can they manage the boom?

10+ mins read
Bloomberg Markets
June - July 2021

Tracking Vaccinations

WHEN IS ALL THIS going to be over?

1 min read
Bloomberg Markets
June - July 2021