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Meet Indian-Born Nikesh Arora: The Second-Highest Paid CEO in the US

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NIKESH ARORA - INDIAN AMERICAN BILLIONAIRE

Nikesh Arora, an Indian-born executive, has risen to become the second-highest paid CEO in the United States, drawing attention and admiration from around the world. Here’s an inspiring look at his journey from a small town in India to the heights of corporate America.

Early Life and Education

Born on February 9, 1968, in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, Nikesh Arora’s father served in the Indian Air Force. He attended The Air Force School (Subroto Park) before graduating with a degree in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (BHU) Varanasi in 1989. Following a brief stint at Wipro, he moved to the US to pursue an MBA at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts.

Career Beginnings

Arora’s professional journey began in 1992 at Fidelity Investments, where he took on roles in finance and technology management. Rising through the ranks, he became Vice President of Fidelity Technologies. In 2000, he founded T-Motion, a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom, which later became a core part of T-Mobile’s services. He also served as Chief Marketing Officer for the T-Mobile International Division of Deutsche Telekom AG.

Google and Beyond

In 2004, Arora joined Google, where he held several major positions including Vice President of Europe operations, President of Europe, Middle East, and Africa, and ultimately Senior Vice President and Chief Business Officer. His nearly ten-year tenure at Google solidified his reputation as a top-tier executive.

SoftBank and Palo Alto Networks

In 2014, Arora joined Japan’s SoftBank Corp, becoming Vice Chairman of the group and CEO of SoftBank Internet and Media Inc. He was widely expected to succeed SoftBank’s CEO Masayoshi Son, receiving $208 million in compensation over two years. However, in a surprising move, Arora resigned from SoftBank in June 2016.

He then joined Palo Alto Networks in 2018 as CEO and Chairman, where he continues to lead the cybersecurity company to new heights.

Recognition and Legacy

In 2015, Arora was honored with the Global Indian Award at the ET Corporate Excellence Awards, highlighting his significant contributions and influence in the global business arena.

Conclusion

Nikesh Arora’s story is a testament to hard work, strategic thinking, and resilience. From his early days in India to becoming one of the highest-paid CEOs in the US, his journey is nothing short of inspirational.

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  1. Pingback: From Wipro to Rs 260 Crore Empire: The Remarkable Journey of Shashi Kumar, Founder of Akshayakalpa Organic – Start Entrepreneur Journey

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Ice Cream Sensation Hocco Raises Rs 100 Crore, Valuation Soars to Rs 600 Crore

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Raises Rs 100 Crore, Valuation Soars to Rs 600 Crore

Ahmedabad-based ice cream brand Hocco has successfully raised Rs 100 crore (approximately $12 million) in a new funding round. The investment, led by the Chona family and existing investor Sauce VC, has propelled Hocco’s valuation to an impressive Rs 600 crore. Prominent angel investors, including film producers Ritesh Sidhwani and Farhan Akhtar, also participated in this funding round.

Expansion Plans Fueled by New Capital

Ankit Chona, Hocco’s managing director, revealed that the funds will be used to expand the company’s manufacturing capacity. Despite being just eight months old, the brand is already projecting to achieve Rs 200 crore in revenue for the fiscal year ending March 2025.

Legacy and Growth Trajectory

The Chona family, known for selling their legacy brand Havmor to South Korean conglomerate Lotte for Rs 1,020 crore in 2017, is now focusing on Hocco’s rapid growth. Sauce VC, which has invested in notable new-age brands like Mokobara and The Whole Truth, now owns approximately 10% of Hocco.

“We started in October last year with high hopes, but the response exceeded our expectations. What we anticipated achieving in our second or third year, we’ve accomplished in the first year. Our current plant capacity is between 40,000-50,000 liters a day, far surpassing our initial projection of 15,000 liters by May. By next summer, we aim to triple this capacity to 1.3 lakh liters a day,” said Chona.

Competitive Landscape and Industry Insights

The Indian ice cream industry, valued at around $5 billion, has seen the emergence of several new-age brands like Noto, Get A Way, Go Zero, Frubon, and Minus 30. These brands are challenging established players such as Amul, Mother Dairy, Hindustan Unilever’s Kwality Walls, and Jaipuria group-owned Cream Bell. Investment firms like DSG Consumer Partners, Jungle Ventures, Saama Capital, and Fireside Ventures are backing these new players.

Manu Chandra, founder and managing partner of Sauce VC, commented, “The growth in the ice cream market reflects the increasing disposable incomes directed towards impulse and indulgence categories. Quick commerce channels connect digitally savvy consumers who seek instant gratification, a trend that wasn’t possible five years ago.”

Quick Commerce and Market Expansion

Chona emphasized the potential of quick commerce in expanding Hocco’s reach beyond Gujarat. “Currently, our revenue primarily comes from Gujarat and some quick commerce sales. We started quick commerce in February, and our sales through this channel have been doubling every month,” he said. Hocco plans to penetrate deeper into Gujarat and expand into Rajasthan, Maharashtra, and Delhi-NCR by next summer.

“Quick commerce is a significant disruptor for the ice cream industry. It satisfies the immediate demand with 10-minute deliveries. However, the challenge is that these platforms carry numerous brands, limiting the depth of SKUs. Nevertheless, it’s a huge opportunity,” Chona added.

What do you think about Hocco’s rapid growth and expansion plans? Do you believe quick commerce will revolutionize the ice cream industry? How do you see new-age brands competing with legacy players in the market? Share your thoughts and join the conversation in the comments below!

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Deepika Padukone’s 82°E Secures Rs 50 Crore in Latest Funding Round

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Deepika Padukone’s D2C startup 82°E-Secures Rs 50 Crore in Latest Funding Round

Direct-to-consumer (D2C) personal care brand 82°E, co-founded by Bollywood icon Deepika Padukone, is set to raise Rs 50 crore (approximately $6 million) in an extension of its seed round. This latest injection of capital marks the first round of investment for the company this year, fueling anticipation and excitement in the beauty and skincare industry.

Special Resolution Passed for New Investment

The board of 82°E has approved a special resolution to issue 50,00,000 Series Seed 2 CCPS at an issue price of Rs 100 each, according to regulatory filings from the Registrar of Companies (RoC). KA Enterprises LLP, an investment entity owned by Padukone and her family, is expected to participate, with other investors likely joining as well. The funds will be used for expansion, growth, and general corporate purposes.

Previous Funding and Ownership

This new funding round follows a successful seed round in December 2022, where 82°E raised $7.5 million from DSG Partner, IDEO Ventures, and Padukone’s family office. According to TheKredible, Padukone and her family office currently hold a 59.6% stake in the company, while actor Ranveer Singh owns 5.32%.

Rapid Growth and Financial Performance

Launched in 2022 by Deepika Padukone and Jigar Shah, 82°E offers a comprehensive range of skincare products for both men and women, including cleansers, face masks, moisturizers, and sunscreens. The brand has shown significant growth in a short period, with its revenue from operations reaching Rs 22.82 crore between March 2023 and December 2023. For comparison, the company’s operating income was Rs 11 crore in FY23. Despite its rapid revenue growth, the company reported an EBITDA loss of Rs 25.1 crore during the same period.

Competitive Landscape

82°E competes with established brands like Plum, mCaffeine, Wow Skin Science, and publicly listed Mamaearth. With its strong celebrity backing and innovative product range, 82°E is well-positioned to make a significant impact in the competitive D2C personal care market.

What do you think about the rapid growth of 82°E in such a short time? Do you believe celebrity-backed brands have an advantage in the competitive D2C market? How do you think 82°E will fare against established players like Mamaearth and Plum? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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Meet the Entrepreneur Who Turned a WhatsApp Group into a Rs 6400 Crore Startup with Mukesh Ambani’s Backing

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From WhatsApp Group to Billion-Dollar Company: The Inspiring Journey of Kabeer Biswas and Dunzo

Kabeer Biswas, the founder of one of India’s most notable startups, Dunzo, transformed a simple WhatsApp group into a Rs 6400 crore enterprise. This incredible journey saw Mukesh Ambani, India’s richest man, invest a staggering Rs 1600 crore into the business, propelling it to new heights.

The Humble Beginnings

Dunzo started in 2014 as a basic WhatsApp group initiated by Kabeer Biswas. The group’s quick rise in popularity caught the attention of investors, including Mukesh Ambani. His significant investment of over Rs 1600 crore marked a turning point for Dunzo, catapulting it into the big leagues of Indian startups.

The Visionary Behind Dunzo

Kabeer Biswas, although not the sole founder, was the visionary force driving Dunzo’s inception. Alongside Ankur Agarwal, Dalvir Suri, and Mukund Jha, Kabeer transformed a simple idea into a thriving business. His journey to success wasn’t straightforward; it was marked by diverse experiences that shaped his entrepreneurial spirit.

Before diving into the startup world, Kabeer worked in a plastic factory in Silvassa and then transitioned into sales and customer service at Airtel. His first entrepreneurial venture, Hoppr, was acquired by Hike, which inspired him to continue his startup journey.

Challenges and Triumphs

Despite its meteoric rise, Dunzo has faced significant challenges. The company reported a loss of Rs 1,800 crore in FY23, a 288% increase from the previous year. Additionally, the past 12 months have seen delayed employee payments and the departure of several high-ranking executives, including the finance director and two co-founders.

The Road Ahead

Despite these hurdles, Kabeer Biswas remains optimistic about Dunzo’s future. The company’s ability to attract significant investment and grow rapidly underscores its potential. Kabeer’s diverse background and relentless drive continue to steer Dunzo through its turbulent times, aiming for stability and growth in the coming years.

What do you think about the journey of Dunzo? Do you believe it can overcome its current challenges and emerge stronger? Share your thoughts and join the conversation in the comments below.

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