One of my friends from Bangalore, Phanindra Sama started . Redbus is the largest online portal to purchase bus tickets in India. This segment has the largest volume of travellers between cities in India. He was recently featured in a number of news articles including Techcrunch.
When I met Phanindra a few years ago in Bangalore he had just quit his high paying job from Texas Instruments - this was his first job out of college. A couple of 23 year olds and they were just getting started changing this travel segment. He was mentioning how it seemed crazy to a lot of folks that he would quit his well paying job to start a company.
What he and his team have accomplished in such a short time with so little capital is amazing. They have over 50,000 operators signed up and grown to generating significant revenues with just over $1mm in capital. He is in a space where there a ton of big players who have raised significant capital and have huge teams.
They did this by working hard, being scrappy and nailing their core value proposition first. Raising a lot of capital brings its set of challenges. A bunch of social networking companies in India raised a ton of money and have had no where the level of success redbus has had. Who knows maybe if redbus had raised $10mm, they may have added a bunch of social networking features in 2007.
The redbus story is truly inspirational and it is as entreprenuerial as it gets - quit your job to pursue your vision in a risk averse environment, build your product cheaply, get core audience, improve constantly and be focused and do all this without raising capital and getting distracted.
We can all learn from Phani and co.