the entrepreneurial spirit is as strong as you’ll see anywhere in the world.
That spirit is displayed by the leadership team of Village Laundry Service, a business our venture investment and incubation arm started in 2008 (I remain on the Board of Directors after we brought in a full-time professional leadership team and attracted outside investment). If Murphy ever wrote a textbook, VLS would surely deserve a chapter. We’ve suffered fires, workers disappearing, water and electricity cutting out, and countless other trials.
Yet, CEO Sushil Mungekar and his team persevere. Sushil has shifted the business model from small kiosks at which consumers drop off and pick up laundry to centralized stores offering convenient pickup and delivery. Consumers love the convenience of this concept. A pilot store is on a glide path to break even by the end of this year, setting the business up for rapid expansion in 2013 and beyond (if you want to see my view of the business, skip ahead in the feature that appeared on CNBC’s local affiliate in India to about 13:25).
This spirit of jugaad — of finding creative ways to overcome seemingly impossible obstacles — is the reason that, despite traffic snarls, power losses, and irrational elevators, India marches on. And it is why I still continue to believe.