The entrepreneurial spirit is rising in India to meet the needs and demand of the country’s rapidly expanding middle class. With opportunities everywhere, and with a solid training in management, ex-Bain executives, the so called ‘Bainies’, are among the most prodigious of this generation’s starters- with more than a dozen successful start-ups between them.
Bain & Company opened its first office in India nine years ago. Since then, the firm has not only expanded rapidly but also lost many of its talented employees to themselves - as they left to start their own journeys. That so many of the ex-employees would become successful business owners was not part of Bain’s wider strategy in India, according to the firm. “We want people to come to Bain for learning experience, and to learn general management,” remarks Sri Rajan, Managing Director of Bain India. Rajan adds that the firm would prefer to have retained the talent.
Yet many left. Examples of successful start-ups in India by Bainies include the founding of Zomato, a mobile restaurant search and discovery service, by Deepinder Goyal and Pankaj Chaddafi; Delhivery by Sahil Barua and Mohit Tandon; mobile pay app Momoe by Ganesh Balakrishnan and Karthik Valdyanathan; shopping store Kaaryah by Nidhi Agarwal; FabFurnish by Valbhav Aggarwal; Wishpicker by Apurv Bansal; Online Prasad by Goonjan Mall; and Mockbank by Konark Singhal.
According to entrepreneur star Goyal, the success of so many businesses from Bainies comes in part from the culture in which they developed at Bain. “I think Bain's strong alumni network goes to show its focus on identifying some seriously talented folks, hiring the right people and creating an environment which provides a comprehensive understanding of the daily realities of running a business,” he explains. “We learnt how to take ownership of work and how to manage teams.”
Bainies thereby help each other through a wider support network by which they are able to gain mentoring advice for the development of their projects from each other. Bain is also relatively selective in the kinds of talent that the firm takes; its hires are highly intelligent and self-motivated to be trained in consultancy. “Being a consultant, you do three things: you get to the point; you identify the problem and get after it; and you need to not just analyse but also articulate the issue,” says Agarwal.
Also many ex-Bain employees flourish in the business sports world, with Patriots President Jonathan Kraft having spent two years at Bain, and Andrew Wasynczuk, who also worked at Bain, later becoming the Patriots’ Chief Operating Officer. The Boston Red Sox hired Tim Zue, who spent a year at Bain learning about the business world as its Vice President of Business Development, and co-owner of the Boston Celtics Steve Pagliuca has been working at Bain for 26 years and functions as Bain Capital’s Managing Director and as Co-Chair of the Boston 2024 Olympics Finance Committee. Another example of Bainies developing their own projects includes the story of Matt Jorgensen, who decided to leave the firm to start a new apparel business.