Editor’s Note August 2019

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It was a tragic coincidence as I began writing this having ordered a cup of hot black coffee – the news flashed in my screen about V. G. Siddhartha missing and ultimately him dying which leave many questions unanswered. Firstly, like many startups who have discussed, ideated, worked and closed deals in ‘Cafe Coffee Day’ (CCD) across the country, we too had our first brush of success through CCD. Back in the days when we had started, to get shelf space in magazine racks and airports and even to find a distributor in a duopoly like ‘Magazine Distribution’ business was as tough as finding a share of retail space in today’s high street malls.

Since we were bootstrapped with no background and connections and knowhow of the trade and just a little over 20 years of age – the only thing we had was energy ripped with the passion to make it happen. We begged to CCDs and Baristas to allow us to send our magazines for the readership to coffee drinkers across their 500 stores. Somehow we convinced them and both agreed and soon we found advertisers supporting us since we were being consumed and seen across coffee joints. Rest is a 14-year-long journey to ponder upon, perhaps for some other time.

The death of Siddhartha saddens me and at the same time, it intrigues me that in America filing Chapter 11 and moving on is as easy as two unagreeable partners filing for divorce and moving on. In my opinion, the equity, debt and IT department should always look at the intent quotient of an entrepreneur and how he changed a tea-drinking nation to a coffee-drinking one which apparently was enough to get Starbucks excited to enter India and employing more than 20,000 people especially from small towns and making many CCD memories.

If more such deaths happen, entrepreneurship shall be doomed and so will the bankers whose job is to lend. Our Draconian laws are such that ultimately death remains the only answer to waive off all business and personal loans. Phew! Another reason why we have remained forever bootstrapped having never raised a penny from anyone in any capacity.

The word ‘startup’ heralds an air of optimism, grit, and perseverance; something that is captivating indeed. To second that, entrepreneurship has its own perks too, where we can highlight attributes like ‘hustler’, ‘dreamer’, ‘prodigy’, ‘problem solver’, and even a ‘nation changer’. No, this isn’t an exaggeration, but the sheer truth, which is why we continue to see fresh and enterprising individuals from renowned institutions like IITs and IIMs bidding goodbye to their corporate careers, and donning the entrepreneurial hat. I hope, no one gets deterred by V. G. Siddhartha’s episode and that they continue to fight to shape up their dreams.

Being a startup myself, I have been pacing the same path for the last 14 years and counting. While some days are solitary and tumultuous, there are days when you feel ecstatic and proud to have walked this path. Like every year, Exhibit recently hosted its 6th edition of 501 startups at the JW Marriott. We got some impeccable entries and had shortlisted 25 startups to pitch amid reputed jury members. The event was a grand one, that helped us decipher what youngpreneurs are up to. The jury members had a hard time declaring the winner and runners up, about whom you would find out in the consequent pages.

Moving on, this is our Car and Bike issue, where we drove some of the hottest rides with the man of the moment and a friend who is also my neighbour in Mumbai and I still have to bite myself to believe how an unassuming lad who used to (and still) works out together with me in the gym made it from Vicky to Vicky Kaushal of today


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Do check out the making of our March Issue Cover in this behind the scenes video-

Ramesh Somani

Ramesh Somani

Founder, Publisher & Chief Editor

Entrepreneur by profession, Believes in karma and has tech in his DNA. Of all things harbours a dream to do space travel in his own space shuttle. He is also the Chief Editor & Founder of – Part of Exhibit Group.