A youth from Moga in Punjab didn’t know how to speak English but build a successful empire. We are bringing you the story of Manav Garg, the founder of Eka Software Solutions
Grew up in a middle class family
When Eka Software Solutions Founder and CEO Manav Garg speaks in English, it would seem like he’s been familiar with the language all his life. But it wasn’t until college that he actually started speaking it.
Manav grew up in a middle class family, in the small town of Moga in Punjab. He saw his father repeatedly fail at entrepreneurshipbut that did not deter him from taking the plunge himself, after quitting a well-paying job in Singapore.
Clearing the engineering degree
After getting his engineering degree (in Instrumentation and Control) from NIT (then REC), Jalandhar, Manav armed himself with an MBA from IIFT (Indian Institute of Foreign Trade), Delhi.
He became a trader at G Premjee Trading in Singapore, earning a handsome salary, and travelling all across South East Asia. Three years into his job as a coffee trader, he saw an entrepreneurial opportunity through a gap waiting to be filled.
“I was a trader, trading actual coffee. Going to Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand and you know, in the fields actually. Sitting with buyers like Lavazza and Folgers Coffee, which is Procter & Gamble, and selling them coffee,”
“During my experience I met some 400-500 companies around the globe. I saw there was no system (to manage trading and risks in their businesses), I was working on spreadsheets, so I thought let’s just leave my job and try to see what can be done.”
From selling coffee to starting up
Manav left his job without consulting anyone, he didn’t even tell his parents.
His mother had actually been quite opposed to the idea of him starting up, perhaps from her experience of having closely seen Manav’s father fail at it. To add to the odds, he had no clue about software, he simply knew that it could be the answer to plugging the gap he had identified. He then came to Bengaluru.
He met with people at IT giants such as Infosys, Wipro and TCS to get a grip on all things software and IT. Manav’s startup Eka’s first product came out in nine months.
Started in 2004
Started in 2004, the first year of the Bengaluru startup’s operations were financed by the then 30-year-old Manav’s personal savings, after which he approached his former employer and managed to get a seed funding of $1 million. In 2009, Eka secured a $10 million funding from venture capital firm Nexus; in 2013, global private equity fund Silver Lake led a $40 million plus funding round in the startup.
The early days were challenging, but Manav stayed unfazed and managed to navigate them. Today, Eka is a global leader in providing innovative solutions that help customers digitise and improve their direct materials business functions across agriculture, energy, metals, mining, and manufacturing industries.
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