I believe for the first time in history, entrepreneurship is now a viable career.
Necessity is the mother of invention; adversity must be the father of entrepreneurship. For Sudheer Nair, founder and CEO of Eresource Infotech, adversity brought out the best in him, that coupled with sheer grit and conviction has helped him lead an Rs 8.1 crore ERP firm today.Sudheer’s is a classic tale of rags-to-riches. He comes from a lower middle class family, and does not have any ivy-league credentials attached to his name. He had to discontinue his education at the age of 16, due to the sudden demise of his father and the ensuing financial difficulties. The situation forced him to search for jobs to support his family. Initially he ended up doing odd jobs, which included that of a helper’s job at Sahar Cargo Complex, Mumbai. The enthusiasm he had towards life and the wish to progress has made him what he is today.
On a few occasions, documentations were required at the Cargo Complex and that was Nair’s introduction to the typewriter, eventually transforming him into an expert typist. Next, he took up the job of typing programmes for a programmer and looking at his ability to learn fast, Nair was given an opportunity to learn computers. Gradually, he started generating software codes independently for the company. Nair loved what he was doing and that helped him learn the subject at a deeper level.
The entrepreneur never enrolled for any formal course in computers, but says he was extremely lucky and blessed to have met incredibly talented people in his life and had the privilege to hang out with them.“I did not know any technical people and had zero guidance when I started my career. I would read through technical books. I spent hundreds of hours reading and practicing programmes,” says Nair while recollecting his days of struggle. His entry into the field of ERP was also by chance. While working with Afternoon, a daily in Mumbai, he had developed a smaller version of ERP for the daily. That gave him the confidence to start on his own and ERP was his obvious choice to start up with.
But before he did that, Nair worked for 15 years in Dubai as software professional. He started as a software developer and was the Senior Enterprise Manager, when he quit. “It was a 400-million-dollar company and I was working on enterprise solution. You learn a lot in the process,” he says. When he started Eresource Infotech in 2006, the ERP market was worth $14 billion and Sudheer saw enough opportunity in the space. “The urge to do things on my own was getting on my head and that feeling forced me to quit my job in Dubai and start-up,” he says.
“I don’t think there is any shortage of talent in Mumbai. What is important is the selection process — getting the best from the lot,” he says. Today the company has over 300 clients and about 25,000 users on Eresource ERP.A majority of their clients are from India, particularly Mumbai and Northern states; they also have many clients in the Middle East and few other Asian countries. The biggest player in the ERP space is SAP followed by Oracle, so Sudheer decided they would try and play the cloud card. “We have everything that our competitors can offer, and while some of their solutions may still reside on a local server, Eresource is 100 per cent web based ERP solution. Our competitors don’t really care about localisation, but we make sure our solutions can cater to requirements needed as per Indian statutory and regulatory needs,” explains Sudheer.
Looking back at his journey, Nair admits it’s hardly been a bed of roses: “I cannot pin-point the difficulties I have faced to set up this company. There are numerous.”Though financial problems are on top of list, he considers his biggest capital to be the talent at Eresource.Over the years, Eresource has won many prestigious industrial awards, including the Udyog Rattan Award and Business Excellence Award for the year 2008.They were also conferred the Business Leadership Award by Institute of Industrial Development, New Delhi. And the venture has been recently rated by NSIC-CRISIL and awarded SE 3B.As for the formal education that he couldn’t complete, the entrepreneur says he reads a lot. “I am getting myself educated through my experience. And that is the best education you can ever get,” he sums up.