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“Failed IT Startup Educated Me More Than My MBA” – The Man Who Build A 500 Cr Textile Company

Failure is part of life. Many successful people have failed in life on numerous occasions. But failing in a business startup can be devastating and may possess a long-term impact on the life of an entrepreneur. The ill-effects of a failed business are not limited to financial stress and lack of confidence. Thus, when someone decides to start a business with positivity and hope, they should also be ready to accept failures and make necessary changes to their business model. For everyone planning to explore entrepreneurship as a career option, the story of SK Sundararaman serves as a guidebook.

SK Sundararaman, commonly known as Ram, was keen on becoming an entrepreneur since childhood. He was an excellent student, who, despite being able to choose any qualification stream, went on to do MBA post-graduation. He believed that an MBA may propel his entrepreneurial journey. It was the year 2000 – the internet was the most discussed terminology in the business world. 

Tempted by the internet – the most innovative communication technology world had witnessed back then, Ram decided to float an internet startup. He launched Bannari Infotech – An online networking company for IT Professionals. Despite pouring in huge money and putting enormous efforts, the startup failed due to the non-viability of its business model. The dot com bubble had just burst a few years ago and India was not ready for an internet-based business model.

“The day when I realized that it’s not working left me broken, but fortunately it didn’t dampen my spirit. I had the confidence to start a new venture all over again.” Ram told KenFolios.

In the year 2005, Ram ventured into new business. He launched Shiva Texyarn – An Integrated Textile Company. His goal was to research and develop specialty fabric in India and eliminate the excess price Indians paid by importing the same. Today, Shiva Texyarns is one of the most respected specialty fabric manufacturers in India. They have researched over the years to offer a variety of specialty clothing lineup. One of their products is Dry Sheet – An effective replacement for rubber sheets placed under the toddlers. Shiva Texyarns is also a manufacturer of Chemically-Biological suites for the Indian Armed forces. These specialty suites protect Indian soldiers from chemical explosions. Shiva Texyarns is one of the largest manufacturers of Artist Canvas – A product that places them in the list of the few companies that export to China.

Dealing With The COVID-19 Crisis

In the difficult times around COVID-19, Ram was quick to respond to the situational change. He decided to come up with a line of products to combat COVID-19. Shiva Texyars introduced affordable face-masks and PPE kits. Their affordable specialty masks come with antiviral treatment and a double-layered shield for just Rs 49.

“Launching the new line of products seemed a bit bland in the beginning. However, now that we are getting a humongous response from the buyers, it feels worth it.” Said Ram. 

Despite failing in the first attempt, Ram continued learning and built a large company – He thinks that understanding the views of others about a planned business-model is extremely important. A firm believer in research-backed businesses, Ram perceives innovation in the manufacturing technologies and products. Ram advocates calm and composure in the COVID-19 crisis. He says that the failed startup educated him more than his MBA. Failure at first made him realize the importance of tough times in the lifecycle of an entrepreneur. When asked about the difficulties, he says with a smile, “this too shall pass.”

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