Cashing in on the ride

BY RADHIKA SAXENA

Full of ideas, 21-year old engineering student from Lucknow, Durgesh Nandan, says he always wanted to do something different but learnt about entrepreneurship only after reading numerous magazines and books on the subject. The social sector excited him and he was contemplating various start-up ideas, when an auto-ride one day gave him his answer! A ‘missing person’ ad stuck on the back of an auto was the trigger that set into motion Durgesh Nandan’s ‘Automotion Ads’ – a transit advertising company that provides advertising space on local public transport like autos.

“Autos ply all over the city reaching the local population. So I thought, why not use this as a communication medium for companies?” says Durgesh. 

Launched in October 2010, the start-up has already signed on clients like IIM Lucknow and Yamaha Motors, and targets local businesses like gyms, schools, coaching classes among others. With a network that is slowly expanding, Automotion Ads, currently, provides ad space on over 100 autos in Lucknow with plenty of opportunity for growth. And in a move to empower the autorickshaw drivers, Durgesh shares 50% of the profits with them, educates them about insurance and even promotes the education of their children with the help of an NGO he has connected with. 

However, Durgesh’s father, a writer, wants him to have a career in the civil services and make “good money”. But the son, not to be deterred, argues that he has the ideas and the passion and that the money would follow. 

For now, from juggling college and exams – to meetings with prospective clients and auto drivers – to jumping over the college wall to get to work after attending a few lectures – to being selected among the Top 30 Student Startups at NEN First Dot —Durgesh’s start-up is certainly on an exciting ride!


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