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Monday, August 20, 2007

Nitesh group may go public soon

He took a small step to achieve a bigger dream. Nitesh Shetty is a 30 year old former star tennis player, who gave it up to become one of many of India's young entrepreneurs.

He started a billboard company at 20 and called it Serve and Volley/ He borrowed money Rs 12,000 from his mother to get started. Today, it's one of the biggest companies dealing with outdoor advertising. But this was not all and he set out to do different things as well.

This made him launch the Nitesh Group, which is now into real estate and is one of Bangalore's top real estate companies. As its managing director, he's well aware that daring to dream big is not just about grit and gumption but also about spotting the right opportunity at the right time.

So, in keeping with this motto, he has brought down the Ritz Carlton to India and their first hotel is going to come up in Bangalore's central business district in 24 months. They are not going to be managing it - for that they are roping in experts who know how to run a world class hotel.

But he credits this new direction he took in his life to Mrs Nalini Mohan, who gave him his first break. She allowed him to develop a piece of land that she owned. While she consulted with her husband about the land, Nitesh went ahead and hired a consultancy firm from Singapore and an archtect from Hong Kong. So, when she came back with her permission, he had his plans ready to show her and she was impressed and the rest is history.

But he did have to struggle to prove to people that he was in for the long haul despite being so young when he started out. He recalls the times when he wasn't taken seriously by the local councillor when he went to get a license for a billboard or when banks wouldn't extend him a loan because he had no knowhow or collateral to start a real estate project.

But that's in the past. Today, he's got big investors like Citi backing him, but picking prime real estate in the heart of Bangalore is his priority. He plans to concentrate on the growing needs of the real estate market, focusing on the very high-end niche.

The Group works with A-list office spaces and hotels and are currentlt developing the Ritz Carlton hotel, which is India's first in the heart of Bangalore. It's a 260 room hotel with an investment of Rs 500 crore.

What's more, the Group has moved into seven new cities and is looking at going public very soon. Managing Director, Nitesh Group, Nitesh Shetty told CNBC-TV18, "Definitely, an IPO is on our mind but we're waiting for appropriate timing and size. The real estate business has been five years now from the time it has been started. We're quite happy with the partners who have come on board with us and we have actually moved into 6-7 cities and we've moved into almost all the verticals of A grade buildings - office, malls, hotels and residences."

Along with construction, he's looking forward to integrate smoothly with infrastructure development as well. He also has plans to go into virgin markets, where he can beat the smaller players.

Going forward, he's got some vision documents ready that will ensure that he creates a world class company. A company that will be able to sail away from the competition and leave them behind - through easy and tough times - just as smoothly.

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