“I always wanted to be a businessman having read the biographies of leading business magnates such as Ratan Tata in my childhood days,” says Abhishek Kulkarni. However, not born with a silver spoon in the mouth, he had to take a call center agent job early in life which gave him a monthly earning of Rs 10,000 due to financial constraints at home.
Despite getting three promotions, Abhishek felt he needed to do something on this own and most businesses require some investment but he found out something that required only a two-wheeler and a mobile- real estate broking. One day he informed the family members that he is quitting his job and venturing into business. That was six years ago. Unlike other brokers, Abhishek is focussed on selling luxury apartments that bring good value to the business. Legal, financial services, house keeping are some of the other services his company provides to real estate investors.
It is quite fashionable to talk about expansion and diversification of business and its strategies in management schools and seminars. However, Abhishek had only one model to follow- meet the unmet needs of his clients and grow. When taking celebrities and bollywood stars to see the apartments for sale, he realised that there is opportunity in providing helicopter and chartered aircraft services to them. Thus Billion- Air Aerospace Pvt Ltd was established.
He plans to take the Non Scheduled Operating Permit (NSOP) from Director General of Civil Aviation and have one aircraft and a helicopter and fly on metro routes such as Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkatta to any destination and also to Middle East. “Unlike schedule airlines which has intense competition, higher Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF), operational costs at airports, price competition for fares, in private chartering service there is no price war,” says Abhishekh. Seven seater helicopters can lower the price per head and could operate in the Pune-Mumbai region in 50 minutes. Lot of companies own helicopters which have NSOPs and it is given on hire when it is idle. However, there are fewer private planes and hence a huge opportunity for NSOPs.
His media business, Million Media & Communication Pvt Ltd launched in 2017, was also a result of his association with leading celebrities and industrialists in real estate business. His magazine Just Urbane focusses on lifestyle and fashion for men. It talks about food, travel, lifestyle, dress and etiquette that make a complete man. “I felt there are so many women’s fashion magazines but fewer magazines catering to the lifestyle and aspirations of men,” Abhishekh said. His childhood dream was to launch a newspaper but since he didn’t have the money and family background he didn’t venture into and chose magazine publishing instead.
Again his association with celebrities in real estate and aviation business helped him venture into celebrity management for corporates events and product launches. His banner Just Urbane has already brought in celebrity Sonu Sood to walk the ramp while several stars are lined up to hit the ramp in the future including Siddesh Chauhan, Manish Paul, and Arjun Rampal. From show stoppers to opening of showrooms, he has added glitz and glamour by bringing in celebrities.
Doesn’t managing diversified businesses take a toll on his time, energy and health? “In media and real estate, I need to go into the nitty gritties while in aviation business I have a retired captain from Air Force who handles the day to day operations.”
The idea of launching HelpEaze, a a mobile app for emergency medical operations, came to his mind when he was going to office one day and saw an ambulance not able to go ahead because of heavy traffic. He felt a Mobile App that can provide emergency services such as request for blood, fire brigade, ambulance, police services was the need of the hour. It was not launched with a profit motive but seeks support from companies who have CSR funds to support it. If more funds are made available, we can add more ambulances in cities and highways, Abhishekh said. The app won the appreciation of Union Transport Minister, Nitin Gadkari and the State Government.
He has successfully expanded his real estate consultancy business, ‘Million Sqft Realty Pvt. Ltd’ in Pune, establishing foot prints across Mumbai, Bengaluru, Delhi, Goa, Dubai and London in a short span of 2 years. And he had the funds to diversify his business till now. Going ahead, he has plans expansion in the next three years and an IPO is also a possibility. His business has grown on an understanding of the requirement of celebrity clients. He is not worried about the competition and expansion in real estate space across the country as it is a big opportunity. The developers can’t sell the properties on their own, Abhishek says with confidence.
Looking back at his Call Center days, Abhishekh feels that it wasn’t a useless exercise for someone who wasn’t even a graduate. “I learnt to support my family, imbibed discipline, ethics and integrity in that job.”