|Born||6 December 1987|
|Occupation||Author, Entrepreneur, Film Maker and Investor|
|Notable works||How I Braved Anu Aunty and Co-Founded A Million Dollar Company|
Varun Agarwal (born December 6, 1987) is an Indian first-generation entrepreneur, film maker and author. He has co-founded three companies, including Alma Mater, an online store for student and alumni merchandise, and authored a national bestseller How I Braved Anu Aunty and Co-Founded a Million Dollar Company. His book is being made into a Bollywood movie by Nitesh Tiwari, the director of Dangal, and produced by Siddarth Roy Kapur and Ronnie Screwvala. As a motivational speaker he has given talks in over 100 schools and colleges.
Varun has co-founded three startups, Alma Mater, an online store for merchandise especially for students of colleges and schools which was started in 2009, Reticular, a social media marketing company started in 2010, and Last minute Films, a production company for online video content which was started in 2005.
Last Minute Films
While pursuing his second year of engineering, he launched Last Minute Films, a video production company which made music videos, corporate films and ad films that have gathered more than 3,50,000 hits on YouTube. His breakthrough came when Bombay-based band Pentagram asked him to make a video for their song Voice, which went viral on YouTube and eventually got TV rights from VH1. He then went on to direct the likes of A.R. Rahman and Preity Zinta in music videos.
In 2009 Varun and his friend and school classmate Rohn Malhotra founded Alma Mater. A company that designs memorabilia for schools and colleges across the country, Alma Mater was run from Varun's garage for over six months before investors saw potential in the business venture and pumped in the capital. Alma Mater provides students and alumni of premier schools and colleges across India with customized merchandise such as T-shirts, hoodies and accessories.
Alma mater's clientele is largely school and colleges, but they get orders from startups/ SMEs, small businesses, government organizations like the Army, the Airforce and the Indian Navy and private organizations, like hobby groups, for merchandise. Alma Matter is working with 3,500 schools/colleges, 800 corporates and 400 private groups in over 350 different Indian cities and 10 different countries with over a million dollars in revenue. Alma Mater has tied up with Aramex and Blue Dart, along with local players for delivering its products in northeast India and South India. Varun says that the current aim of the company is to become profitable as well as more responsible.
Alma Mater has also launched a customised online Do-It-Yourself (DIY) online T-shirt maker tool called PLAY. The user can join or create a group, make custom T-shirts with an online editing tool, share it with friends and group members and invite others to join. Varun has been featured on the cover of India Today as well as on the CNBC Young Turks Show.
Varun also wrote the bestselling ‘How I Braved Anu Aunty and Co-Founded a Million Dollar Company’ that dealt with his entrepreneurial experiences. The book is an autobiography and is about how he started his company Alma Mater with his friend, Rohn Malhotra, and about all the hurdles they had to overcome in the process. The book was rolled out in 2012 by Rupa publishers and is a national bestseller. ‘How I Braved Anu Aunty & Co-founded A Million Dollar Company’ had already hit the number 5 spot on the Amazon India bestsellers list.
He has teamed up with a Bangalore-based stand-up comedian Sanjay Manaktala to make a music video called ‘Anu Aunty, Engineering Anthem’ based on his book. This video, which went viral, was featured on The Enthu Cutlets, a channel promoted by Varun in 2014 to showcase Bangalore's comedians.
Siddarth Roy Kapur and Ronnie Screwvala will be making a movie which is an adaptation of Varun's book ‘How I Braved Anu Aunty and Co-founded A Million Dollar Company’. Nitesh Tiwari, who directed the Bollywood movie Dangal, is working on this new film.
Varun is one of the prominent storytellers and motivational speakers in India. Varun has also given INK talks, the Indian version of TED, where he shares his story. His first INKTalk's speech has marked more than 7,50,000 views on YouTube and is constantly increasing. In the beginning of 2017, it was viewed by over 1.6 million people on YouTube. He was part of the INK team that gave talks at the UN, the Pentagon, Facebook, Google and the TIE Con in the USA. He has given lectures at Google India HQ, Cisco India HQ, Yahoo India HQ, HP India HQ besides all the IITs, IIMs and over 100 colleges across India. He has given talks to executives at Unilever in London, college students in Pune and to employees of tobacco firm Philip Morris in Macau.
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