Jyothi Labs grew to Rs 1,000Cr firm in 25 years; now we will triple in size in 3 years: Ullas Kamath

Indian enterprises need to come up with products that are simple, cheaper, better and faster, in order to succeed in the market, said Ullas Kamath, joint managing director of Jyothi Laboratories Ltd, a Mumbai-based FMCG company.

He was speaking at the opening panel of VCCircle Bengaluru Investment Summit 2013, which also brought in Manipal Health Enterprises CEO Rajen Padukone in a session moderated by Sandeep Singhal, co-founder and MD of WestBridge Capital, to discuss how to scale up an SME to a bigger enterprise.

“We started the business in Kerala and it took us almost 15 years to grow from zero revenues to Rs 100 crore. However, it took only 10 years to grow from Rs 100 crore to Rs 1,000 crore. At Jyothi Labs, we believe in simplicity. We never complicate things and that is our success formula. We are now looking to reach Rs 3,000 crore in revenues in three years,” said Kamath.

He also said that he never listened to ‘expert advice’ as that would complicate things. “We ourselves find the solutions to our problems. Also, unlike our peers, we follow an unconventional route in whatever we do, including hiring. We have even hired people whom we met at airports, on the road or even on the sidewalk. We believe in hiring hard-working people than intelligent ones because the former set of people always ask you ‘how to do it’ and the latter group always asks ‘why to do it’,” he quipped to the wild applause of the audience.

Kamath also said that the more you play with data, the more you are complicating things. “We are working with less data at Jyothi Labs. More data would mean more headaches,” he observed.

Healthcare: Attrition, lack of talent key challenges to scaling up

Participating in the discussion, Manipal Hospital’s Padukone said that attrition and lack of talent are the key challenges the healthcare sector is facing in India. “It is hard to get skilled workforce, especially for managerial positions. Attrition is another issue. As we invest a lot in training people, attrition affects us badly,” he said, adding that Manipal Hospital is opening two centres in Bangalore in the next 12 months.

Internet as a way to scale up retail revolution and what hampers it

In another panel discussion on the internet and technology, Bharat Singh, CFO of the bus ticketing site, said that the internet is a great way to scale up the retail revolution in India. “From a retail or e-commerce perspective, a completely different paradigm shift is happening in India. The internet is changing the way people shop today and India is a perfect place for online retail revolution,” noted Singh.

He, however, declined to comment on what is reportedly an impending deal where redBus will be acquired by South African technology major Naspers for over $100 million.

Vinay Gupta, founder and chairman of Flightraja Travels Pvt Ltd, which runs the travel portal, said that e-commerce in India needs to enrich its learning from foreign markets. “There are so many friction points that are stopping the internet growth in India. But the country has an advantage over other markets. It produces the largest number of engineering graduates every year and we have to capitalise on that. Similar to what is design for Silicon Valley and manufacturing for China, India has the potential to become a leader in the internet technology,” he said.

(Edited by Sanghamitra Mandal)

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