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How India’s Metro Man Is Revolutionizing The Face Of The Country’s Public Transport



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Sometimes in life, you can’t help but wonder if you have done enough for your country or even for yourself. For Indian Railway Man, Mr. E. Sreedharan that is clearly not the case. The man has not only been the master engineer behind various metro projects in our country but also completed various tasks well before the deadline.
At the age of 87, Elattuvalapil Sreedharan is the present Principal Advisor of the Kochi Metro Rail Project.

His story is one that should be revered because from the age of 30, he has astonished the country with his dedication and determination towards his work. Born in a remote village in the Palghat district of Kerala, he graduated from the Government Engineering College in Kakinada. He initially worked as a Lecturer in Civil Engineering in Kerala Polytechnic, Calicut, before joining the Bombay Port Trust as a Junior Apprentice.

In 1954 he joined Southern Railway as a Probationary Assistant Engineer when he was selected for the Indian Railway Service. Therein began his incredible journey to become the Metro Man of India. His first achievement was completing the repairs of Pamban Bridge that connected Rameswaram to mainland Tamil Nadu. The railway ministry set a target of six months, Sreedharan’s boss reduced it to 3 months and Sreedharan completed the work in all of 46 days! In a country used to delays, this came as a pleasant surprise. For his outstanding work, he was given the Railway Minister’s Award.

His story then took him to Kolkata in 1970 whereas the deputy chief engineer he was tasked with the construction of India’s first metro. Despite the 20-day national railway strike by 1.7 million workers, Sreedharan’s team continued with their ongoing work. This laid the foundation to all the metro works that have been taken up by the government all over India.

Metro Man wasn’t just equipped to work in the Railway departments. In 1979 he transformed the Cochin Shipping yard and was the mastermind behind the production of their first ship MV Rani Padmini by 1981. By July 1987, he was promoted to the general manager, Western Railway and to the post of Member Engineering Railway Board and ex officio Secretary to the Government of India.

Although he retired in 1990 from his post, the Government of India made him the Chief Managing Director for the Konkan Railway project by George Fernandes, the then railway minister. This unique project with 93 tunnels, covering 760 Km with 150 bridges was completed in 7 years despite a fuel shortage because of the first Gulf War. He completed the project without significant cost and time overruns by factoring all elements and setting up petrol pumps with backup supplies.

He then moved on to work on the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation when then Delhi Chief Minister Sahib Singh Verma made him the managing director of DMRC. His stint in the DMRC earned him the nickname Metro Man for various reasons, with one of them being completing the scheduled sections by mid-1997. His work with the DMRC is praised not because he helped complete the projects but also for completing them within the deadlines and without crossing their respective budgets. Sixteen successful years later in December 2011, he retired after accomplishing the second phase of the project.

For his exemplary work in the Delhi Metro, he was awarded the ‘Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur’ (Knight of the Legion of Honour) by the government of France in 2005 and Padma Vibhushan by the Government of India in 2008.

Despite his retirement from DMRC, Sreedharan also is the Principal Advisor of the of the Kochi Metro Project. He is also the Chief Advisor for the Lucknow Metro Rail Project and has been working with the Jaipur Metro. Despite reports claiming him being denied a seat on the dais for the Kochi Metro launch, his dedication to watching the first metro train has not wavered.

This is the story of an outstanding man who still starts his day at 4 A.M., and never misses a day of meditation or reading the Bhagwad Gita. Every young aspiring entrepreneur has a lot to learn from the Metro Man of India, from his zeal to his disciplined life.

Entrepreneur Stories

Inside T-Hub: India’s Launchpad for Innovation and Entrepreneurship



Aerial view of T Hub Hyderabad

Imagine a building that’s not just a structure but a buzzing ecosystem. A space where startups, corporations, universities, and investors come together to create the future. This isn’t science fiction; it’s T-Hub, India’s largest innovation hub, and it’s rewriting the rules of entrepreneurship.

T-Hub isn’t just about workspaces. It’s a launchpad for ambitious dreams. They’ve empowered over 2,000 startups, turning ideas into thriving businesses. Think funding woes? T-Hub’s got your back, connecting entrepreneurs with angel investors and government grants. Need a mentor to guide you through the rough patches? T-Hub boasts a network of 2,000 mentors ready to share their wisdom.

T-Hub’s vision extends beyond startups. Here’s a glimpse into what makes T-Hub special:

  • From Seed to Scale: Whether you’re a budding entrepreneur with a bright idea or a scaling startup ready to take on the world, T-Hub has programs to support you. From the “seed-accelerator stage” Lab32 program to the “early-stage technology startups” RubriX program, T-Hub provides the tools and guidance needed to thrive.
  • Corporate Muscle: Innovation isn’t just for startups. T-Hub bridges the gap between startups and established corporations like Facebook, Uber, and Boeing. This collaboration allows startups to tap into corporate expertise and resources, while corporations benefit from the agility and fresh perspectives that startups bring.
  • Funding Powerhouse: T-Hub is more than just an idea incubator; it is also a reality maker. Through initiatives like T-Angel and the Digital India Scaleup Program, T-Hub connects startups with high-net-worth individuals, angel investors, and government funding sources.
  • Global Ambitions: Thinking Beyond Borders? T-Hub has you covered. With partnerships across the globe, from the UK government to La Trobe University, T-Hub helps Indian startups access international markets and provides foreign startups with a foothold in India.

And it doesn’t stop there. T-Hub 2.0, their new colossal campus, is a testament to their ambition. This behemoth is not just the world’s largest technology incubator; it’s a microcosm of innovation itself. Universities find a home here, churning out future tech leaders. Foreign partnerships open doors to international markets for Indian startups. It’s a melting pot of ideas, cultures, and expertise, all focused on creating a brighter tomorrow.

T-Hub’s story is far from over. They’re aiming to empower a staggering 20,000 startups in the next five years. With their focus on internationalization and capacity building, they’re poised to become a global hub for innovation. So, if you’re an entrepreneur with a dream, T-Hub might just be the launchpad that takes you to the stars.

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5 Successful Indian Startups Founded By Women



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The workplace has undergone massive changes in the last century.  At the turn of the Industrial Revolution, any workplace was dominated by men while the women were delegated to run the homes.  However, with the advent of the internet and new and exciting technologies, workplaces have undergone a tectonic shift.  Women are no longer comfortable staying at home and are instead opting to lead teams and organisations.  As every year passes, we get closer to true gender equality, women have proven time and again that they are equally capable to get the job done if not better in some instances.  Names like Wolfe Herd (Bumble founder,) Kylie Jenner     (Kylie Cosmetics founder,)  Masaba Gupta (Masaba clothing label founder) are just some of the names who are known for leading world famous brands with their unique style of leadership. 

As the world celebrates International Women’s Day, we bring to you five women founders who run world famous and successful startups.

1) Upasana Taku-MobiKwik

If you are an Indian and are used to doing online shopping, more often than not at the time of payment, you would be directed to a payment gateway.  One of these gateways would normally be MobiKwik.  The startup is a well known name in the digital payments and digital wallet space.  MobiKwik was founded by Upasana Taku in 2009, who prior to founding MobiKwik used to work with PayPal.  Today Upasana Taku is also in charge of bank partnerships, business operations, and talent acquisition at MobiKwik.

2) Richa Kar-Zivame

An enthusiastic MBA student, Richa Kar, developed an online lingerie shopping platform in the year 2011.  Currently, Zivame is India’s leading online lingerie store with a valuation of more than $ 100 million.  The brilliant idea for her own lingerie business came to light when Richa tracked Victoria’s Secret’s sales, who was one of her clients when she was working at SAP.  She observed the lingerie sales figures reached peaks overseas but, Indian women were not provided with the similar innerwear.  While Richa was studying the Indian lingerie market, she realized the social embarrassment in India surrounding lingerie shopping.  Today Richa Kar could be credited with destigmatising the uneasiness surrounding lingerie shopping in India.

3) Falguna Nayar-Nykaa

After a long stint as an investment banker, Falguni Nayar founded in the year 2013. An online one stop shop for beauty products from Indian and international brands, Nykaa changed the world of online shopping.  Who would have ever thought buying makeup online would be so easy? Falguni Nayar proved many critics wrong and created a brand new place for people who love experimenting with styles, designs and colors.

ALSO READ: Zivame: Founding Story

4) Sabina is a popular Indian website for making flight and hotel bookings.  Sabina Chopra was instrumental in identifying the potential for travel commerce in India and people moving towards cheaper or easier travel.  By the time, people started looking to make bookings, Sabina made sure was already in place.  Sabina was the former Head of India Operations of eBookers, which is also an online travel company based in Europe.  Along with this, she was also working with Japan Airlines which further adds to her experience in the travel industry.

5) Rashmi Sinha-SlideShare

SlideShare allows people to upload and access their presentations online.  While this feature is presently available everywhere, SlideShare was one of the first players in making this happen.  Rashmi Sinha was one of the founders of the presentation sharing platform SlideShare.  The company became so successful that in 2012, LinkedIn acquired the company for an amount of $100 million.

Let us know in the comments if you know any other wonderful women who have become leaders of their right or have started up and are doing extraordinary things.  We at Startup Stories wish a wonderful Women’s Day to all the women in the world who are changemakers.

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Why Are Ads On Digital Media Failing To Reach The Right Audience?



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If you are a regular user of social media platforms and also a fan of consuming content on the digital medium, then there is a very high likelihood that you have seen ads on pages you are reading or watching something.  There would be times when you have been targeted by an ad which feels like it was wrongly targeted at you.  Imagine if you are a vegetarian by choice and while browsing online, if you are targeted by a food delivery app which shows ads about chicken dishes.  The ad would only serve to spoil the mood of the online user instead of serving its actual purpose which is to push the user to buy a chicken dish.

These wrongly targeted ads might be the side effects of performance marketing or a weak brand marketing.  Performance marketing means advertising programs where advertisers pay only when a specific action occurs. These actions can include a generated lead, a sale, a click, and more.  Inshort, performance marketing is used to create highly targeted ads for a very specific target audience at a low cost.  Performance marketing usually means high volume for a very specific cost.  

Brand marketers on the other hand believe in narrowly defining target audiences but end up spending a lot of money on ad placements.  Gautam Mehra, CEO, Dentsu Programmatic India & CDO, Dentsu International Asia Pacific said, “You’ve defined a persona, you know the emotions you want to elicit, but then you buy a YouTube masthead and CricInfo sponsorships because IPL is up.  If brand advertisers look at audience-based buys more deeply than just placements, you will see more relevant ads (sic.)”  

ALSO READ: How Digital Marketing Is Impacted Due To The COVID-19 Pandemic

Performance marketing is more of a sales function rather than a marketing function and is about meeting the cost of acquisition.  This is a reason why budgets are usually high for performance marketing.  Mehra goes on to add, “the fact is that an engineer can out-beat FMCGs on performance marketing.  Advertisers who have cracked this are spending 10x and are on an ‘always on’ mode (unlike time-bound brand campaigns.)”

There is always the case of supply and demand, with the supply usually exceeding the demand on digital platforms.  Ultimately, it boils down to the choice between no ad versus low relevance ad and it is quite easy to guess that having a low relevance ad is better.  

Arvind R. P., Director – Marketing and Communications at McDonald’s India (West and South,) said “McDonalds’ for instance, has seen its share of spends on digital grow from 20% levels a couple of years back to over 40% at present.  Outcomes of this journey have been encouraging, proven by our media-mix-modelling and other key metrics.  We have seen best results from an optimal mix of Television plus digital (sic.)”  Moreover, Arvind also believes performance marketing only approach could turn out to be more suited to short term, versus a more consistent full funnel effort.  The latter ensures adequate emphasis on building consideration, as well as growing transactions.  Arvind feels digital is a complex medium which needs investment in the right talent who could use the right tools.  Brands which underestimate the need for the investment are often disappointed from the return on investment from the digital medium.

With the constantly changing consumer dynamics marketers are now shifting to unscripted marketing which frankly needs more insights into the consumer mindset.  The lack of marketers to do the proper research is why digital medium is plagued with irrelevant ads.

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