Have idea? Will pay

In this issue we look at first generation wealthy individuals up to the age of 50

Iwant to be rich. Isn’t that the first answer that pops into your head if asked what would you like if you had a wish?

While getting rich overnight is not something that happens to many people, the good news is that there has never been a better time for wealth creation, whether you are an entrepreneur with a smart idea or a professional.

It was not always so. Not only was access to capital difficult, but sluggish growth, small market size and low middle-class incomes were a deterrent to start-ups. But, in the past 15 years, the number of active venture capitalists (VCs) and angel investors has multiplied over 16 times. According to data compiled by Venture Intelligence, a VC and private equity research firm, currently there are 104 active VCs and 28 active angel investors in India. Just VCs have deployed over 4,000 crore so far this year. Then there are private equity firms, family offices and investment trusts scouting for start-ups and chasing up valuations. VCs invested $813 million in 2013. The number has already crossed over $700 million for the first seven months of 2014.

The affluent entrepreneurs we spoke to for this edition agreed that until 2006, investors didn’t take 20-24-year old entrepreneurs seriously. Most of them would back only those who had experience behind them or had inherited well-known last names. But now, as the Bansals of and V.S.S. Mani of JustDial found out, the young and the restless have a shot to be young, restless and rich!

It is not just entrepreneurs who have managed to garner wealth in the past two decades; professionals, too, have kept pace. It may have begun with the boom in information technology, but now the concept of employee stock ownership plans is prevalent even in traditional industries such as banking, consumer goods and capital goods. This has created thousands of millionaires in India in the past two decades. Just take a ride around the Millennium City Gurgaon to see what I mean.

As India completes 67 years of freedom, we thought it was a good time to document some of the stories of economic freedom and talk about a subject that was almost as taboo as the three-letter word that still is! In this issue, we look at first generation wealthy individuals up to the age of 50. We looked for self-made, first-generation rich and found lots of stories to tell.

In analysing their success stories, we tried to unlock their success recipes, investment strategies and spending patterns. What we found is that the wealthy are generally reclusive, especially when it comes to talking about their wealth and what they do with it.

What we offer here is a glimpse into the lives of entrepreneurs, professionals, artists and fashion designers. After speaking to the new rich, wealth managers, psychologists, graphologists and luxury brand companies, we have pieced together a broad sketch of the new rich in India, their consumption patterns and what makes them tick.

They may be a new breed of go-getters, but we found that the basic rules of wealth creation have not changed much over the years. Yes, it is still the boring old grandmother’s homilies that still do their magic—perseverance, determination, creativity and vision, and not cold pursuit of money. Hopefully the people and their stories in this edition will inspire you the way they inspired us.