In His Next Innings: ‘Want To Be An Investor To Enable Entrepreneurs’

With this mega exit, Mithun Sacheti expressed his satisfaction, affirming that there could not be a better home than Tata for CaratLane. He revealed his future aspirations to remain and actively invest, harnessing his wealth of experience and resources to nurture other businesses

In an exclusive conversation with Resham Suhail of BW Businessworld, Mithun Sacheti, Founder of Caratlane shares his learnings, his future plans and advice for next-gen entrepreneurs. Excerpts

What do you intend to pursue next following this exit? Would India continue to be your playground for your future bets?

Currently, I am looking to be an investor, I want to enable other businesses by helping them learn from the knowledge that we have gained. Yes, I see maximum hope in India. But you will always look for opportunities around the world as well. But by and large, I don't see myself living anywhere else or doing anything which is non-India at this point. Even if I have something that I want to do abroad, it is within which it is with an idea to operate from India. 

What was your family’s reaction to your exit? 

They knew it, we have been discussing it. They realise that especially after, Rakesh Jhunjhunwala ji passed away, I was alone in this discussion. To think that you are talking to a Titan board, which is the Tamil Nadu government and the Tatas, it can be fairly daunting. So for them, there was a sense of relief that everything happened without spoiling and everybody came out happy at the end. That feeling made them very proud. 

Any comments on Avnish Anand’s appointment as CEO?

Avnish is somebody I learned so much from every day. He is the smartest guy to run a D2C business, I can sleep very peacefully knowing that he is running it. We are not alike as personalities at all. But at the same time, we are very synchronised about how we want to build and what it takes. There could not be a better leader that Titan could have chosen. 

If you look back, what are some of the most significant lessons you learned, both personally and professionally?

When I started this business, I was a shopkeeper. I came from running a family jewellery business in which I used to manage six people in a store and a few dozen in the factory. That is the kind of scale of people management I was able to do. But today, to see that we are now so good at people management, the change in my own perception. I feel like that journey has been the most fruitful one. My ability to manage people, grow with people and make them grow along with me, I think that has left me very satisfied.

What are some of the great ideal Indian businesses and entrepreneurs that have impressed you? 

I appreciate and admire many Indian businesses. I am a big fan of what Deep Kalra has done with travel, MakeMyTrip. Sanjeev Bhickchnadani is somebody I consider iconic. In that generation, these two were iconic businesses to look at. The leap of faith that the Flipkart founders took on India. I think they enabled thousands of entrepreneurs to dream and build something extraordinary over there as well. So, massive respect for them. 

What Girish Mathroobutham did with FreshWorks, has put Chennai on the map for SaaS, he has given identity to all of us in Chennai. Also, the same with Sridhar Vembu, Zoho made all of us believe that Chennai can, anyone can do this. I really look up to him. 

I am very excited to see what is happening with PhonePe and Paytm these days and the like. Look at the government itself and what they have done with UPI. I feel that inspiration all around India and our ability to solve problems is phenomenal. 

Other than jewellery, what sectors attract you the most?

Consumer businesses is broadly what I look at. India's big win is the population and the consumption class. I am not a big fan of finding a problem in America and trying to replicate the same thing over here. I feel that in all those areas where technology can play a role in increasing the demand, consumer businesses will flourish. So for example, travel is about increased consumption. Whether, the businesses in travel luggage, ticketing or hotels all of this as a sector can be looked at. 

Any other protagonists we are missing out on who contributed to Caratlane’s stellar story?

All my colleagues at CaratLane and their families. Their families give up a lot. For the company to grow 10 times every four years, is a lot of work. Frankly, work-life balance is not even a word in our company. It is all about work-life integration and that is how I look at it. So, the silent heroes in all of this are the family members of all those who work at CaratLane, an unbelievable amount of sacrifices.

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