From being unemployed to building a million-dollar company, story of Neeraj Gupta is nothing short of incredible. His wife lent him Rs 50,000, with which he started his first venture – a garage in Andheri, from where he moved on to a providing automotive services, and finally ended up starting Meru Cabs.
Born and brought up in a well-to-do business family, Gupta graduated from Mithibai College in Mumbai. As he wasn’t very bright with academic subjects, he graduated with average marks and did not find a good job. Later, his father got him a job at his friend’s textile manufacturing company. But just after the marriage, he quit the job and spent most of his time at home. His wife was working in Jet Airways and his only job for the next five years was to drop and pick her up from the airport everyday.
“My wife got a job at Jet Airways right after college and my only job for the next five years was to pick her up from the airport everyday” — Neeraj Gupta
After five years he thought of doing something of his own and since then he never had to look back. Without wasting any more time, he lent Rs 50,000 from his wife and setup a garage in Andheri. In 1999, he along with his friend founded a company named Elite Class, that offer vehicle repairs and automobile’s annual maintenance services to customers. And beating all odds, soon they started entering into long-term contracts with corporates and in the next 8-9 months, they had companies like Blue Dart, Sony as their clients. In 2001, he decided to start bus service for transportation of corporate employees under the modified brand V-link. He owned a bus from Rs 14 lakhs loan and took up the contract from Tata to start their shuttle service for five of their offices. Six years later, finally, the Meru Cabs was launched.
Once after the launch of Meru Cabs- India’s first metered Radio Cabs Service, the biggest problem was capital raising. To attract private equity investment, Gupta decided to form two semi-company; the first one was ‘V-Link Fleet Solutions’ – which provides the pick-up services for BPOs and the other one was ‘V-Link Taxis’ – which would run the air-conditioned taxis in Mumbai. He got their first investment of Rs.200 Cr from India Value Fund in December 2006. Now Meru has a fleet of 9,000 cars doing 30,000 trips a day in more than six cities with annual turnover of Rs 800 Crores. Recently, they started the special cab services for woman with woman chauffeur.
Gupta proved that entrepreneurial spirit is a mindset that embraces unique ideas, continuous efforts, dedication and hard work. His entrepreneurial journey is a source of inspiration indeed.