Analjit Singh Curated
Founder and Chairman of Max Group
CURATED BY :
Do you see growth opportunities in the healthcare business?
Huge growth opportunities. Healthcare, if done and executed right. But most people will not be able to get it right. Most people will try and fail because of the population in our country, because of a very small percentage of it that can actually access healthcare, because of technology in this sector.
Manufacturing is huge right? It’s like a huge umbrella.
Our manufacturing space is only in one sector, which is polymers area. I am talking about that area, I am not talking about planes or furniture or phones or cars. Let’s see. See, we never looked at anything else all these years. That’s why I coined this expression that I will look now at WWOB—wider world of business. Education is that. Differentiated real estate is that. Investing is that. Everybody did investment. Other than financial services companies, people didn’t use investing as a business. And you don’t have to be financial investor to invest. So, investing will be a vertical of ours. Could be in shoes, could be in water, could be in plants.
Every time the economy is on the cusp, and every time we talk about India being the next big thing... there are sections which are being talked about such as manufacturing, real estate, education... Do you see the economy like that?
I do and on the manufacturing side, I can’t tell you anything today. We will, if all goes well, we will be in that space, in the prime minister’s central part of his vision... Make in India. I will give you a beautiful project, if it succeeds, I don’t know, I can’t tell you today, we are working on it. I can’t tell you what it is today. But if it succeeds, Mr. Narendra Modi will use this as an example of Make in India.
Why are you interested in the real estate business?
I have a bit of khurak (itch) here. Actually, my grandfather was in the contracting business. That was my great grandfather’s business in Pakistan. The bhai family were contractors. They built the road from India to Burma as a case in point. So, even now, you go to Lahore and all, and you will see a lot of buildings built by them. People in the street remember them as a family. So, I have a ‘khurak’ for civil, real estate and stuff. I like land. I like construction, I like design. I like building.
Is there someone else in your fraternity who has done this really well? Is there a role model?
I won’t go to the extent of saying whether I have a role model. I won’t say that I am looking at somebody and say look how he did it. But I can tell you who has done it and done it very successfully. He is Vikram Lal. He is very restful and peaceful as a person. Look what has happened to Eicher. He wanted a particular life for some reason and he went after it and he has got it.
If you forget about the future for now and look at the past 16 years, what are the things that you have picked up?
I don’t call myself a promoter. I prefer the word sponsor. I think if a sponsor does not have an affinity with the business, that business unless by luck things take-off, I think that business drags. The affinity of a sponsor to a particular business segment is very important. If Bharti Airtel Ltd founder Sunil Mittal did not have an affinity for telecom or for technology, Airtel would not have been what it is today. If I did not have an affinity for being in the businesses of life and, therefore, focus on healthcare and insurance for 15-16 years, it wouldn’t have worked.
Are you open to trying out new things in business?
I will do new things, but I will say I am not besotted with it anymore. My interest is more to tame myself and tame my mind and tame my life.
What is the traditional way in entrepreneurship?
It is perspective of the market, key differentiators, compatibility of extensive weaknesses of the individual and the firm to be able to do something like this. So, therefore, in the traditional criteria of finding these opportunities what I mean is market, differentiator, opportunities, regulation...new factor, completely new factor in the decision-making set. The market is over-crowded. Everybody is in the business of over-promising and under-delivering. Capital is no longer a constraint like it was before. To some extent, even technology is no longer a constraint to those people who have some experience and network, you can find the technology. Anything is possible. If you run a world-class airline, technology is available. So, execution is the key. Team is a big factor. Team was never a question in our mind in the past 10-15 years. Today, if I were looking to be in a big business, probably the first question that I will ask apart from market and differentiator is people and team; and then you look at these new-world solutions that you are talking about as how they can become enablers to what they can do.
As a strategic businessman, what are the things you are looking at now? When you look at these opportunities, what excites you the most?
I am not so sure that people in my situation look at entrepreneurial opportunities from purely a new-world perspective, as you pointed out. I think they look at entrepreneurial and future opportunities in rather a traditional way but think of these developments as enablers.