In the dynamic world of technology and startups, a few unsung heroes have achieved tremendous success, and Sameer Gehlaut is one such individual. Born on March 3, 1974, Sameer Gehlaut, with a net worth of US$1.2 billion, stands as the Founder of Indiabulls Group, earning the title of “India’s youngest self-made billionaire” by Forbes. Serving as the Chairman of the group, Sameer has led Indiabulls into diverse sectors, including Real Estate, Infrastructure, Housing Finance, and Securities.
A Mechanical Engineering graduate from IIT Delhi, Sameer’s entrepreneurial journey began with the acquisition of ‘Orbitech Pvt. Ltd.’ in 1999, a non-operational Delhi-based securities company. Starting with a modest office near Hauz Khas bus terminal in Delhi, Sameer, along with Rajiv Rattan and Saurabh Mittal, initiated brokerage services, gradually expanding to India’s first Internet brokerage services.
Leveraging Angel Investment
In a strategic move, Sameer sought investment and attracted attention from Rishi Khosla, fund manager for Lakshmi Mittal. The Mittal family, impressed by Indiabulls’ business plans and execution capabilities, provided the company’s first Angel Investment of $1 million at ₹5 per share. This marked Mittal’s first investment in India, reaping remarkable returns.
Diversification and Growth
Indiabulls continued its expansion by opening physical offices across India. Recognizing untapped potential in consumer finance and real estate, the company evolved from a brokerage firm to Indiabulls Financial Services, offering consumer loans and going public with an IPO in 2004.
Strategic Expansion into Various Sectors
Indiabulls’ growth strategy involved a seemingly unconventional expansion of branches across major cities and towns. The company’s entry into the loan market was followed by an unexpected move – the establishment of exclusive branches for Indiabulls Loans, signaling a comprehensive foray into consumer finance.
Diversified Portfolio and Global Presence
The group’s market cap witnessed exponential growth, reaching ₹29,000 crores in 2007. Indiabulls expanded into real estate, power plants, and entered the life insurance business through joint ventures. The company established a CSR arm, ‘Indiabulls Foundation,’ focusing on health, education, sanitation, nutrition, disaster relief, and sustainable livelihoods.
Separation of Co-founders and Ongoing Success
In 2014, Sameer Gehlaut and his co-founders harmoniously parted ways to focus on specific businesses within the group. Despite the restructuring, the group’s fortune more than doubled in the past year, attaining a market valuation of more than ₹34,000 crores. The real estate arm is set to build a $500 million luxury development named ‘Blu’ in Mumbai.
Global Investments and Continued Innovation
Indiabulls Housing Finance made a groundbreaking move by investing $100 million and acquiring a 40% stake in the UK-based ‘OakNorth Bank.’ This unprecedented investment not only signifies global expansion but also provides a platform for learning in a highly regulated market.
Challenges and Resilience
Indiabulls faced challenges, including scrutiny by the Securities & Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and accusations during the 2006 IPO scam. Despite these hurdles, Sameer successfully cleared all allegations and maintained the company’s reputation.
Indiabulls Group has received numerous accolades, including the Presidential Award for ‘The Fastest Growing Company’ by NAREDCO in 2014 and recognition as the “Best Employer Brand” for human resource practices by The Institute of Public Enterprises in 2012.
In essence, Sameer Gehlaut’s visionary leadership has steered Indiabulls Group towards unprecedented success, with a diverse portfolio and a significant impact on various industries.