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Home NEN Community Community News
NEN Community > Community News
Bordering on the Bizarre
By: Shubha Narayanan

Entrepreneurs are known to take the road less travelled. But some young entrepreneurs emerging from the National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN) are exploring roads untravelled. Here are their stories:

Snakes and Ladders

22-year-old Sumanth Madhav has rescued 6,000 snakes, 6 leopards, 40 bears and two jackals in nine years. This keen wildlife enthusiast, who is currently pursuing industrial engineering at Bangalore’s MS Ramaiah Institute of Technology, regretted not taking up wildlife zoology till he joined his institute’s NEN E Cell. His exposure to entrepreneurship as an NEN E Cell member accelerated his idea of founding a wildlife organization. He started his non-profit venture ‘Vana Mitra’ in Feb, 2009, even before he graduated. “Starting a wildlife organization was just a stray thought; I never imagined I would do it so early. The credit goes to my friends in the E Cell, who were always so excited about their start-up plans and that inspired me to pursue my idea,” says Sumanth.

Sumanth’s passion for wildlife, particularly snakes, began at the age of 12, when he visited the office of People for Animals. He volunteered as a snake rescuer with various animal-welfare organizations where he conducted intensive research on wildlife. However, he was disappointed to find that none of the organizations focused effectively on conserving wildlife. This is why he ensured that Vana Mitra dealt specifically with wild animals and not domestic ones. With a team of three core members and 35 volunteers, and funded through donations, Vana Mitra conducts five-six rescue operations a day.


Vana Mitra

  • Name: Sumanth Madhav
  • Started: Before Graduation (Graduating in 2010)
  • Education: MS Ramaiah Institute of Technology
  • Age: 22
  • Founded in: Feb 2009
  • Location: Bangalore

Design Version 2.0

A friend losing his job may draw sympathetic sighs or a helpful lead to a job opening, but when Danny D’Cruz’s friend Angel Thomas lost his call centre job to a recession, it made Danny diversify his startup Kriya Design Factory. Danny, an Information Technology student at VLB Janakiammal College of Arts and Science, Coimbatore, had initially planned to build Kriya as a logo- and web-design company – a business idea that came to him when he won a logo-design competition organized by his institute’s NEN E Cell. However, with only two orders in 14 months, he realized that the idea wouldn’t work. Quick to spot opportunity, Danny immediately hired Angel, a talented artist, and expanded Kriya Design Factory in April, 2009, to include a new range of products – customized murals. Bolstered by the real estate boom in Coimbatore, many new home-owners are now seeking Kriya’s services. Business is good, says Danny, with 8-10 orders a month and Rs 80,000 in revenue. “That’s up from Rs 500 I earned 14 months ago,” he adds.


Kriya Design Factory

  • Name: Danny D’ Cruz
  • Started: Before Graduation (Graduating in 2010)
  • Education: VLB Janakiammal College of Arts and Science
  • Age: 22
  • Founded in: Feb 2008
  • Location: Bangalore


Two engineers got together to brainstorm on potential business ideas. Information Technology? Nah. Out of the 35 business ideas they listed, 20 were related to food!

Says Nag, “Hanging around one night, we wanted a hot dog. But what you get is the usual boring stuff, and most are unnecessarily expensive. That is when we came up with this idea of venturing into a specialty-food business. Even my father, who is an entrepreneur himself, thought we were crazy, but invested in us nonetheless after he saw our passion for it.”

This is how Nag and Darshan, graduates from Sir M Visvesvaraya Institute of Technology borrowed Rs 1,00,000 from their families right after college to launch Hungry Hogs, a startup that sells hot dogs. They were joined by their third partner Rahul, a BBM graduate who worked with an MNC for six months before taking the plunge.

With 4 different toppings, the response to Hungry Hogs has been so good that they’ve had repeat requests for catering. They already count five colleges amongst their clients. They also hire part time staff – college students who help out during college fests. Hungry Hogs plans to expand into 5 retail kiosks in six months to a year.


Hungry Hogs

  • Name: Nag Manohar, Darshan R B, Rahul Cherian
  • Company founded in: October 2009
  • Started: Immediately after graduation
  • Education: Sir MVIT, Bangalore
  • Age: 22 to 23
  • Location: Bangalore
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