They stood above everyone else. And apart from everyone else.
Vijay Shekhar Sharma
The canny ability to foresee the future and invent accordingly.
Patym’s Vijay Shekhar Sharma is a first generation entrepreneur and also an investor. (Image: Agencies)
In today’s business environment, where change is not only constant but rapid, it’s crucial to be on top of the game. And Patym’s Vijay Shekhar Sharma has proved his ability to adapt innovatively to the current consumer trends and also predict future needs, more than once. His
prescient entry into the mobile marketplace and payment banks makes him our Trendsetting Entrepreneur.
A first generation entrepreneur, Sharma is also an investor. Interestingly, he also had a lot of former entrepreneurs in his team. The reason: “I would always prefer an entrepreneur who went through tough times over a cushioned, ‘been there, done that’ person, as the former is still hungry and wants to achieve success,” the Coldplay fan says. Earlier this year, Sharma was awarded an honorary doctorate degree. And it can be said that for contemporary times, Dr Sharma is just what the doctor ordered.
A winning combination of personality, style – and the flair to bring it to work too.
Sonam has always set fashion goals with her style statement. (Image: Agencies)
A week ago, an online essay by Sonam Kapoor went viral. “I didn’t wake up this way,” she said, squarely addressing issues like body shaming, her teenage insecurities, being taller than boys her own age, her laughter lines, her dark circles, her cellulite. “Flawlessness is a dangerous,
high-budget myth and it is time we shattered it,” she told BuzzFeed.
By putting her insecurities right there, right in front of the whole world, Kapoor showed a rare confidence. And in front of millions of
people aspiring to be cool, she owned the word. Kapoor has been India’s poster girl for fashion since she made her debut in Bollywood, and then on the glamourous red carpet at the Cannes film festival. But this year has been special— she also made a huge impact with a heart-wrenching performance in the critically and commercially successful Neerja. It was a film that stood entirely on her shoulders in an industry driven by malecentric budgets and box office.
In 2016, Kapoor enhanced her formidable digital presence (7.3 million Instagram followers, and counting) by launching her own app. All of this makes her a winner. But what adds an edge to her trendsetting cool? Candour coupled with attitude — just completely Sonam Kapoor.
Kavin Bharti Mittal
The foresight to look ahead, and stay ahead, of the curve while leading a company.
Mittal is the youngest Indian to create a company with a valuation exceeding $1 billion. (Image: BCCL)
At 28, when most people are still exploring career options, Kavin Bharti Mittal, founder and CEO of Hike Messenger, became the youngest Indian to create a company with a valuation exceeding $1 billion. Founded in December 2012, Hike attained the celebrated unicorn status in less than four years, becoming the fastest Indian company to do so.
With Hike, Mittal aimed to create one of the best places to work at in the country. His sense of design and understanding of human
behaviour pushed him to create culture at the intersection of product design, liberal arts & technology.
At the core of the startup is an 11-point manifesto that guides its 250-people strong team, labeled the Hike Code. Transparency is
championed. And the traditional vertical organisational structure has been traded in for smaller, agile cross functional teams.
With Hike, this millennial CEO has created an office he’d love to work at, refusing to police his employees and trusting self organised teams to be the best.
TRENDSETTING POWER DUO
Bhavin and Divyank Turakhia
The real deal, the ultimate proof that two bright heads are edgier than one.
Bhavin and Divyank Turakhia rank on the list of self made billionaires. (Image: Agencies)
When most of their friends were probably still dealing with teenage and all that goes with the territory, Bhavin and Divyank Turakhia
were busy laying the foundations of a multi-crore, multi-country business empire. The brothers, who started their journey in 1998,
have risen to the ranks of the self made billionaire club in a relatively short span of two decades.
Both the brothers call Dubai their primary residence, but spend large amounts of time shuttling between their offices in Mumbai, New York, Zurich, Los Angeles and Beijing. The two started out together, running the same businesses, sometimes even managing the same departments. As their businesses grew, they started managing different products and departments. Since 2005, they have been running separate businesses. This wasn’t about each going off on his own, but rather the classic divide and conquer strategy at play. They continue to leverage their strengths collectively and rely on each other.
The trust they share is infinite, as was evidenced by the $900 million deal inked by the two in August. The company being sold to a consortium of Chinese investors was run by younger brother Divyank. The deal, though, was negotiated by older brother Bhavin in China.
It hardly matters to them. In their minds, they share everything.
TRENDSETTING SPORTS STARS
The rigour and determination to make a mark at the highest level of competition.
Dipa is the revelation in Indian sports. (Image: BCCL)
If you walked into Tripura University in August, you would have seen a 23-year-old girl with large eyes appearing for an MA political science
exam. And you would have noticed her strong neck and shoulders.
Just days earlier, at the Rio Olympics, that powerful torso had vaulted her in the air, after which she performed disability defying somersaults to nearly win a medal for India in gymnastics. And in those few moments— from the start of her 24 metre run up till the smiling acknowledgement of the judges and the crowd — Dipa Karmakar showed India what it is to have a spine.
Dipa was the revelation of the year in Indian sport. India had some history in badminton and wrestling, the two sports the country won a
medal in. But not so in gymnastics. Dipa is a pioneer. Besides, her story had drama, emotion and the art of life hacking. Or jugaad, to use our
own word. Her coach Bisweswar Nandi used parts of a discarded scooter to cobble up a makeshift vault for his protégé to practice. And the
spirited girl took off, soaring above mere mortals.
Electricity lights up homes but it brought a dark episode for Devendra Jhajharia. At the age of 8, he was electrocuted by a live wire. His left arm had to be amputated. Jhajharia had climbed a tree when he came in contact with the wire. Ironically, he did not even know what electricity was at that time because Churu, his village in Rajasthan, did not have it.
The loss of the arm, however, led Jhajharia to sport, and he picked up javelin because it was more manageable than shot put or discus throw. Once again, the lifehacker present in all Indians came to the fore. In an interview to livemint.com, Jhajharia revealed he made his first javelin out of bamboo.
Wood turned to gold as Jhajharia won the javelin competition (F46 category) at the Athens Paralympics in 2004. He did it again in Rio, this time breaking his own world record set in Athens with a hurl of 63.97 metres (almost as much as the distance from the stumps to the boundary at Wankhede Stadium). Not easy to do for most able-bodied people.
PT Usha’s full name (Pilavullakandi Thekkeparambil Usha) was a favourite quiz question for kids of the 80s. Trivia fiends of today, remember Periyavadagampatti. It’s a village in Tamil Nadu where Mariyappan Thangavelu comes from.
As a boy, Mariyappan liked volleyball. A bus accident at age 5, however, crushed his right leg. His physical education teacher advised him to take up athletics. And in Rio, that advice became a record-breaking reality, as Mariyappan won the Paralympics high jump T-42 gold with a leap of 1.89 metres. The sight brought on goosebumps. Mariyappan hopped on his left leg to the bar, then briefly touched both feet on the ground and launched himself smoothly over the barrier. “And he’s over (the bar)! Thangavelu!” the commentator said. Back home, his mother Saroja was stopped by her children from going to work — she sells vegetables in the local market. With several cash awards announced for her son — including one of Rs 2 cr by chief minister Jayalalithaa, the days of earning a daily wage are perhaps gone forever.
A holistic professional space that inspires an ethic – while sharpening the mind and the body.
Myntra CEO, Ananth Narayanan. The organisation believes in providing an employee-friendly environment at work. (Image: Agencies)
Every floor of the Myntra headquarters in Bangalore speaks fashion. Different levels are inspired by various facets of style and oomph. One level, for instance, is inspired by fashion magazines while another transports you to iconic high streets around the world. The sight will make you want to shop till you drop. And if you think about it, that’s what the brand would like all its shoppers to do on its app.
But there’s more to the office than imagery. The open cabin culture is such that employees are not isolated. Seniors and juniors have similar work stations and every floor has one long table which is a de facto communal table. The vibrant office design encourages camaraderie and communication which translates into bright ideation.
Myntra also has one of the largest spaces dedicated to indoor games. There are indoor arenas even for outdoorsy sports and activities like cricket, running and bicycling. Not surprising then, they also have their own cricket league — the Myntra Premier League, which sees high employee participation. And this is in addition to a badminton court, gym and snooker and foosball tables. Clearly this is an office that works hard for its employees.
The enterprising attitude to take forward and build on an eminent family legacy.
Radhika believes in persuasion rather than imposition. (Image: Agencies)
Some journeys have to be savoured. Some have to be fast and exciting. Radhika Piramal wants to take VIP Industries to Rs 2,000 crore in
revenue in the next four years. At the helm of the 45-year-old familyrun company, Piramal has introduced various sub-categories of
products, including Skybags (soft luggage), Caprese (handbag) and Carlton (premium luggage). Despite her lineage, Piramal’s first stint at VIP was in sales and marketing roles. Piramal chose to leave her comfort zone and gain experience abroad. As a leader, she believes in persuasion rather than imposition, an attribute not common in family businesses.
TRENDSETTING YOUNG BUSINESS PERSON
The smarts to embark on new initiatives with fresh energy and fresh thinking.
Ananya Birla is the perfect example of a young startup boss. (Image: BCCL)
At an age when many of her peers are trying to find themselves, Ananya Birla has arrived – and with style. While her family name could
open doors, she has carved out her own niche. With her gold-tinged hair, tattoos and guitar, Birla is anything but the conventional CEO.
And with three business ventures under her belt, the young leader is going from strength to strength. First, there was Svatantra Micro finance, which she launched in 2012, while still a student. It lends to women entrepreneurs in rural India, providing technology-enabled cashless disbursement. The venture is currently working on a cashless collection mechanism that will require the use of digital wallets. The loan book has swelled to Rs 500 crore in four years. Birla is on a mission to create awareness on mental health with mPower and has also recently launched CuroCarte, a global e-commerce platform for luxury products. A diverse mix of design, beauty and lifestyle – the website captures Birla’s eclectic tastes.
Birla also has a music album in the making.
The formula-breaker, the hit-maker, the storyteller par excellence.
Anurag Kashyap turned 44 this year. And yet, he approaches every film — as a director, producer or writer — with the same consuming
hunger that he did when he began working in the Hindi film industry in his early 20s. If in 2015, he directed the sweeping period
jazz epic ‘Bombay Velvet’, this year, Kashyap went the opposite way with the gritty, arresting thriller ‘Raman Raghav 2.0’,
that opened at the world’s biggest film festival in Cannes.
A pure storyteller, he’s consistently redefined trends — with his path-breaking script for the 1998 underworld classic ‘Satya’, and as director of the excellent ‘Black Friday’ (2007), and the avant garde ‘Dev D’ (2009) and epic ‘Gangs Of Wasseypur’ (2012). Like all trendsetters, Kashyap might falter, but he has always had the courage to pick himself up after a failure.
He has backed interesting new voices as producer, including cinema like ‘Udaan’ (2010), ‘The Lunchbox’ (2013), ‘Queen’ (2014), ‘Masaan’ (2015), and this year’s box office dark horse ‘Udta Punjab’. With ‘Raman Raghav 2.0′, Kashyap proves that it’s impossible to slot him, or even predict what his next will be.
TRENDSETTING DIGITAL STAR
TVF (The Viral Fever)
Capturing viewership online, as hit entertainers and smart strategists.
TVF was the brainchild of Arunabh Kumar, an alumnus of IIT Kharagpur. (Image: Agencies)
The consumption of content has undergone a fundamental change in the last few years. No longer are cable news companies and big corporate entertainment companies calling the shots. The wave of digital content creators is giving them a run for their rating points.
And one company at the forefront of this wave is Mumbai-based The Viral Fever (TVF). Initially creating short original comedy and spoof videos on YouTube, the team graduated to creating online series like ‘Permanent Roommates’, ‘Barely Speaking with Arnub’ and ‘TVF Pitchers’. ‘Barely Speaking with Arnub’ has been so popular that Shah Rukh Khan and Arvind Kejriwal have appeared on it as guests.
A brainchild of Arunabh Kumar, an alumnus of IIT Kharagpur, TVF has now created a separate website – TVF Play. It hosts their videos, promotes movies and original digital content. Earlier this year, the six-year-old company received $10 million from Tiger Global, the Silicon Valley investor which invested in Flipkart. The fever is spreading.
TRENSETTING BOSS WITH STYLE
A lethal mix of keen business sense and sharp fashion sense.
Karan Johar has never looked back in his life after the blockbuster ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’. (Image: BCCL)
Karan Johar, like his cinema, lives and dreams big. His company Dharma Productions, established by his father Yash Johar in 1976, actually had its renaissance moment when Johar made the blockbuster ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ (1998). From that point on, there was no looking back as he continued to roll out one box office hit after another.
It was inevitable that Johar would take over the reins of Dharma. With his canny knack of staying ahead of the times and creative forte, he soon fashioned it into one of the Hindi film industry’s most formidable production houses.
In all this, Johar has continuously transcended his cine connections and established himself as a brand. He directs, writes and produces.
He acts and dances. He hosts, he roasts. But no matter what hat he wears, KJo exudes flair.
The imagination to explore new frontiers.
The team intends to send spacecraft to the moon by end of 2017. (Image: Agencies)
While most new age companies are trying to solve earthly problems, TeamIndus has its eyes set on exploring the moon. It’s the first time the idea of building and sending spacecraft to the moon is being attempted by a private company in India.
TeamIndus is also the only Indian contender for the Google Lunar XPrize, and it believes the research will help in creating technology that will sustain life outside earth. Rahul Narayan, team lead of Axiom Research Labs (the parent body of TeamIndus), says that apart from the moon, he would like to explore Phobos and Deimos (Mars’ moons). “It would also be interesting to figure out if the Saturn rings really have a hidden wormhole (ref Interstellar),” he says. The first thing he would like to do after landing on the moon is take a selfie with the “pale blue dot” in the background.
The Bengaluru-based team intends to send the spacecraft to the moon by end of 2017. The journey hasn’t been easy. It was hard convincing investors to back this ambitious project.
Yet, conviction in their belief and tapping into the vast knowledge of ISRO has made TeamIndus a reliable bet, and a wor thy winner of the Trendsetting Idea category.
TRENSETTING GLOBAL PERSONALITY
The boldness to throw oneself in foreign waters and make a success of it.
Khan has proved a trendsetter on the global acting arena through his performances. (Image: BCCL)
In 2008, Irrfan Khan hit the big league globally. He starred as a perceptive policeman in ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ and walked onto the stage with the rest of the team as the film swept the Oscars. The film’s director Danny Boyle compared his talent to that of an athlete who can execute the same move perfectly, over and over again. “It’s beautiful to watch,” said Boyle. Eight years, and several more acclaimed performances later, Hollywood superstar Tom Hanks had this to say about Khan recently, “I’m just beguiled by his magical eyes. He has a physicality to him that is so specific and endearing.” Hanks stars with Khan in the forthcoming film, Inferno.
Khan has proved a trendsetter on the global acting arena for his emotive performances in ‘A Mighty Heart’ (2007), ‘The Namesake’ (2007), ‘Life of Pi’ (2012), the HBO mini-series ‘In Treatment’ (2010), ‘The Lunchbox’ (2013) and ‘Qissa’ (2014), as well as mixing it up with the commercial big budget heavies like ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ (2012) and ‘Jurassic World’ (2015). All this, while continuously receiving laurels for his work back home for films like ‘Paan Singh Tomar’ (2012), ‘Piku’ (2015) and ‘Talvar’ (2015).
It’s Khan’s boldness to leave his comfort zone and throw himself in foreign waters, that has had him winning audiences abroad as easily as he does back here. It’s his audacity to dream that makes him a trendsetting global personality.
TRENDSETTING HOME SPACE
A design mind that elevates personal spaces, balancing luxury, comfort and elegance.
In her own words, she’s always “dared to dream the impossible”. Having obtained an Associate Art Degree in Interior Design in 1995, Khan today has evolved into a respected name in the interiors space. When she cut the ribbon to The Charcoal Project, a 14,000 sq.ft. interior design store with works curated by Indian and global artists, in 2011, the industry knew that a star was born. She then went on to introduce her own hand-crafted furniture collection — Sussanne Khan pret home. Khan’s portfolio boasts of several residential and commercial
spaces, holiday villas and show apartments for real estate companies.
Her celebrity friends trusted her with their homes and the result was breathtaking, worthy enough of coverage in recognised publications.
Her latest work is characteristically stunning. Entrusted with the revamp of Adar and Natasha Poonawala’s Pune farmhouse, Khan
gave the space an earthy finish. She completed the project in record time, a rarity in the world of interiors.
And though she loves designing for big and small spaces, Khan says her signature style has to be, “quiet luxe”. A term that aptly describes
her personality as well.
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