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Rags to riches: From a cargo loader to a CEO

Last updated on: August 15, 2013 14:29 IST

Rags to riches: From a cargo loader to a CEO

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Preeti Chamikutty, Courtesy Yourstory.in

Sudheer Nair dropped out of high school at age 16 and is currently operating Eresource Infotech whose annual turnover is Rs 8.1 crore. Read on to know his inspiring journey to success...

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 a 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. But 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.

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Image: Sudheer Nair, CEO, Eresource Infotech Pvt Ltd
Photographs: Courtesy Yourstory.in

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'Once you have the determination and will power you always move forward'

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Someone has said that when god is shy to announce HIS presence, HE appears in the form of an opportunity. That opportunity was given to me, when somebody asked me to type Bill of Lading at Sahar Cargo complex. You need to start from somewhere. Dr Abdul Kalam started his career as a newspaper boy. Once you have the determination and will power you always move forward. I took the loading job because my family's financial situation demanded that. It was a short stint. I knew I had to move out. Life must be like a flowing river. I believe in that and am still living with that spirit,” says Nair of the beliefs and situations that have shaped his life.

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 ruthlessly 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 a 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.

Sudheer started by bootstrapping and with the support of Vivek Jingade, who now heads the sales and marketing for Eresource Infotech, began his entrepreneurial journey.

“Vivek has been with Eresource since inception and without him we could not have achieved what we are today,” Nair says in praise of Jingade.


Image: Sudheer Nair receiving the Business Leadership Award from education minister Dr Kiran Walia in New Delhi on March 17, 2009
Photographs: Courtesy Eresource Infotech Pvt Ltd

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'I am getting myself educated through my experience'

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Sudheer Nair started with a small team and today Eresource has over 100 employees, across a variety of functions.

He says he never had any problem in finding talent, even as a start-up.

“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.

Eresource is now launching ‘eresource ExV2’ (eresource Express Version 2) -- a new release of Eresource.

“Eresource ExV2 will have compatibility with hand held device, mobile and would be technology independent,” he shares.

Eresource currently works with about 80 to 90 channel partners where 8 are affiliate partners, while the rest are referral partners.

Their customers love them because they undertake the entire implementation and post deployment activities and responsibilities.

“We engage with our customers at great lengths to understand their requirement and then accordingly package the solution and deploy it. This has resulted in zero failure rates,” Nair proudly claims.

The company is looking at appointing partners in each geographic region and has plans to appoint about 30 channel partners, which will help them scale up.

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.


Image: Sudheeer Nair (centre) with his team
Photographs: Eresource Infotech Pvt Ltd's Facebook Page

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