The people have set a precedent of sorts in the world and changed the notion that even without holding a college, university degree or even a basic school education, one’s hard work, dedication and risk-taking ability can make you become successful in life.
Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg are the two most well-known names. These are stories that are known to the world. There are many more dropouts who are yet to be known before of their dedication and hard work towards becoming successful entrepreneurs. In this post, we will go through the stories of 10 successful college dropout entrepreneurs in India.
When it comes to successful college dropout entrepreneurs in India, Ritesh Agarwal is probably on top. He is the man behind the successful hospitality business app- Oyo Rooms, a network of 2,200 hotels operating in 154 cities across the country.
This company is based in Gurgaon and it was founded by him in 2012. It is backed by Lightspeed Venures, Sequoia Capital and Green Oaks Capital and has over 700 hotels under its brand.
Ritesh Agarwal holds a high school degree from St. John's Senior Secondary School. He dropped out of college and sold sim cards to survive in spite of coming from a well-to-do family. Today, he is a successful entrepreneur, he has won many awards and accolades from his work. He is a regular speaker at entrepreneurial conferences and institutes across the country and the world and a fellow of the Thiel Foundation.
One of the co-founders of Housing.com, Rahul Yadav was born to a middle-class family from Rajasthan. He wanted to resolve the problem of finding houses in big cities and college. So, he decided to leave college in his four years from IIT Bombay. Leaving college just months before completing graduation was a very brave decision and risky as well.
But Rahul Yadav proved himself. He did not only drop out of IIT, but he also launched a successful portal named Housing.com. He co-founded this online portal and became CEO. Today, this portal helps thousands of people daily to search and sell properties worth millions. It is really surprising but within the first week itself, the portal sold properties worth eight million. Rahul was featured in the Forbes list of young entrepreneurs- 30 under 30.
One of the popular names among the top college dropout entrepreneurs in India is Kunal Shah. He is the co-founder of a renowned online recharge platform, Freecharge. The company was started in the year 2012 and soon was acquired by Snapdeal. Freecharge revolutionized the online recharge system with three recharges along with providing offers of the same values.
Kunal Shah did Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Wilson College and later went to Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies from which he dropped out later. His first venture was Paisa back that offered cashback from retailers.
A New Delhi based revenue optimization startup, AdPushup was co-founded by Ankit Oberoi with Atul Agarwal in 2013. AdPushup is an ad platform for the monetization of websites that offers optimization of ads so that publishers and bloggers can benefit from their existing site traffic without any coding skills. The company uses A/B testing to compare between different ad variation like ad placements and sizes.
Ankit dropped out from Maharaja Agrasen College in the first semester because he found that it was a waste of time. His great fascination for the internet made him find Tamranda Web Solution that offered web hosting, domain registration and another service. Also, he served as a director as Innobuzz before setting up Adpushup.
The dropout from IIT Delhi who made news, Azhar Iqubal is one of the successful college dropout entrepreneurs in India. He dropped out in his 4th year of college and made news by introducing News in Shorts the only app that cuts to chase delivering only major details in a news to all those busy and z people to go through all of them.
InShorts is a content discovery startup founded by Azhar Iqubal in 2013. The app offers short 60-word fact-based news stories. In 2017, the company raised Rs 32 crore in a round from Tiger Global Management. As per reports, InShorts has raised over $29 in funds. Now, keeping up with the world with news became easy. It started as a Facebook page and now it has gained a great share of fame
Born in the village of Rahimatpur in Maharashtra, Kailash Katkar worked his way to be chairman and CEO of Quick Heal Technologies. It is a Pune based IT security solution company that was founded by Kailash Katkar in 1995. The company offers security solutions for individuals and businesses with a focus on simplifying IT security management for customers.
Kailash grew up in Pune, where his father used to work at Philips as a machine setter. At an early age, Kailash drops out of his studies soon after he finishes his 10th grade due to family circumstances. He began his career in a repairing shop to support his family. In 1990, he set up his own repairing shop. After three years, he began a computer repair zone- CAT. Around that time, his younger brother Sunjay developed a basic model of antivirus software that helps in resolving the biggest problem of computer maintenance at that time. Later in 2007, it was renamed as Quick Heal Technologies. He accomplished all this without any formal education or degree.
Varun Shoor is a self-taught programmer at 13 and web designer. He had a natural interest in developing web applications. When he found a clear market gap for an easy to use, user-centric approach to web-based ticketed support, Varun established Kayako in 2001. This is a customer service startup of London Kayako that provides a complete suite of custom software including chart software, shared inbox, internal help desk and e-commerce support.
Varun started the company in 2001 when he was just 17 years old with its first office in Jalandhar after dropping out of college. In March 2018, Kayako was acquired by EWS capital.
Varun serves as CEO of Kayako InfoTech Ltd and takes care of overall direction as the leading product architect takes active participation in the design and development of the product line.
Apart from being co-founder and CEO of Fusioncharts, Pallav also serves as CEO at RazorFlow and Collabion. Pallav dropped out from the University of Calcutta but this setback did not stop him from being successful and achieving his goals. While growing as an entrepreneur, Pallav also earned his degree in Masters of Computer Science from the University of Edinburgh.
A unique personality with a great mindset, Mahesh Murthy is another popular name when it comes to successful college dropout entrepreneurs in India. He dropped out of Osmania University to sell vacuum cleaners. Initially, he went door to door to sell. After he started writing, he wrote for Unilever, Pepsi and MTV among others. He created many top-notch commercials, which won his awards.
Later in 2004, he founded the ad agency Pinstorm. Present-day, this company has become a leading search engine marketing firm in Asia. Mahesh decided to offer a pay-for-performance model. It worked well with most corporations and was received well for a startup.
Mahesh Murthy spent 29 years supporting giant brands with marketing counsel and 13 years helping startups with marketing counsel and funding too. Murthy believes that entrepreneurs should Dream Big. The Earth’s the limit.
The last name in the list of successful entrepreneurs of India who dropped out from their college is Bhavin Turakhia. He is the founder and CEO of Directi, an internet domain name registrar company. It was founded in 1998 by Bhavin and his brother, Divyank. Directi is based in Mumbai and it comprises a group of tech businesses owned, operated or invested by both brothers.
What makes Bhavin stand out is his vision, he managed to have a vision about the internet industry in India that only a few have rivalled. He is an engineering dropout who cut off from it after 12th he never stopped dreaming big and achieving his goals.
Many tech businesses like Radix, Flock, and Zeta are under Directi. It has a web presence across domains including web hosting, online advertising, communication and infrastructure also. Today, the company is growing well with more than 1600 employees across 8 offices including India and with over millions of customers and group enterprises.
These are 10 successful college dropout entrepreneurs in India who have become ultra-successful even without their college degree and higher school education. The purpose of this post is not to encourage leaving your college and follow your dream blindly. But just to say that whether you face high expectations, tough life circumstances, or simply struggle to grow informal learning settings, it can be easy to get carried away with letting your academic pursuits define you.