We often find people saying “There is always a woman behind a successful man.” – some may say otherwise, and some may even find this a ‘sexists’ remark – but we rarely discover any real-life examples to prove this theory. Neeraj Gupta‘s story is a sparse exception – it is a story of the husband-wife marital support system – and a story of an ordinary man accomplishing extraordinary success.
Neeraj Gupta graduated from Mithibai College with an average score. He was always keen to do business but lacked resources and courage. The situation demanded him to take-up a job suggested by his father. Neeraj started working in a textile company owned by his father’s friend – unmovingly. He then got married – marriage was the best thing that happened to him in recent times. Lacking interest in the job, Neeraj soon called it a quit.
For almost five years after his marriage, Neeraj remained jobless. His routine was to pick-up and drop his wife at the airport – she worked with Jet Airways. He would think of different ways to set up a business and later drop the idea due to a variety of reasons.
In the year 1999, Neeraj decided to open a garage in the Andheri area of Mumbai. He borrowed Rs 50000 from his wife to start the business. His partnership company ‘Elite Class’ was offering car repairing and maintenance services to customers under an annual contract. The immense potential in his area of business and their expertise helped them build a very good clientele in a short span of time – their clients included the likes of Sony and Blue Dart. After initial success, Neeraj bought a bus with the help of a 14 lac loan and started operating it as a shuttle service for Tata Group Employees – his transport business was done under a new entity named ‘V Link’.
It was in the year 2006 when Neeraj took the boldest ever decision of his business career. He launched India’s first meter-run radio taxi service despite lacking finances – he was sure that his expertise combined with the innovative idea will attract investors. Neeraj launched two companies to propose a viable business model, his company V-Link fleet solutions carries BPO employees to their office and back, while the other company V-Link Taxis would transit commuters on Mumbai streets. A balanced business model helped him raise funds of Rs 200 cr from the ‘India value Fund’. Meru soon reached a fleet of 9000 cabs doing 30000 daily trips across 6 Indian cities churning annual revenue of Rs 800 crore.
After seeing growing competition from other players like Ola and Uber, Meru cab continued its services in different forms and remained operational. Though Meru received huge competition from newly launched companies with a newer business model, they remain the first of its kind radio taxi service in India.
Neeraj Gupta’s story is a tale of combining zeal with innovative ideas and hard work to build a gigantic fleet business comprising of thousands of cars.
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