Varun Agarwal

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Varun Agarwal
Varun Agarwal
Varun Agarwal
Born (1987-12-06) 6 December 1987 (age 31)
Bangalore, India
OccupationAuthor, Entrepreneur, Film Maker and Investor
Notable worksHow 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.[1][2][3] 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.[4][5] As a motivational speaker he has given talks in over 100 schools and colleges.[6][7][8]

Early life[edit]

Brought up in Bangalore, Varun did his schooling from Bishop Cotton Boys' School and studied engineering at CMR Institute of Technology, Bangalore.[1]


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.[9][10][11]

Last Minute Films[edit]

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.[3] He then went on to direct the likes of A.R. Rahman and Preity Zinta in music videos.[3][1][8]

Alma Mater[edit]

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.[3] Alma Mater provides students and alumni of premier schools and colleges across India with customized merchandise such as T-shirts, hoodies and accessories.[12][13][14][15]

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.[14]

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.[16][17] Varun has been featured on the cover of India Today as well as on the CNBC Young Turks Show.[1]


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.[11][1]

Music Video[edit]

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.[6] This video, which went viral, was featured on The Enthu Cutlets, a channel promoted by Varun in 2014 to showcase Bangalore's comedians.[18][19][20][21]

The Movie[edit]

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.[22][23][24][21]

Motivational Speaker[edit]

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.[6][7] He has given talks to executives at Unilever in London, college students in Pune and to employees of tobacco firm Philip Morris in Macau.[6][3][8]


Apart from Alma Mater, Varun also promotes the sapling challenge, an initiative to make Bengaluru green again.[25][26][27] In 2014 Varun was seen as the brand ambassador of Lenovo's Flex product.[8]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Varun Agarwal - Keynote speaker". London Speaker Bureau. London Speaker Bureau. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  2. ^ "Being independent". The Hindu. Metroplus. March 29, 2016. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Braving Anu Aunty". The Hindu. The Hindu. March 12, 2013. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  4. ^ "Dangal director to bring alive Anu aunty on screen". Times Of India. TNN. May 18, 2017. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  5. ^ "Dangal Director Working On Screen Adaptation Of a Bestseller". News18. IANS. May 16, 2017. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  6. ^ a b c d Rai, Saritha (January 12, 2015). "Engineering a Revolution". The Indian Express. The Indian Express. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  7. ^ a b "Varun Agarwal". Speakers Connect. Speakers Connect. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  8. ^ a b c d Sharma, Piyush (Jul 6, 2017). "From Running A YouTube Channel To Bollywood, This Is The Inspirational Tale Of Varun Agarwal". MensXP. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  9. ^ "Koramangala is a convenient location for entrepreneurs: Varun Agarwal". 2013-12-09. Retrieved 2014-07-29.
  10. ^ "Notes to Myself". The Hindu. May 18, 2012.
  11. ^ a b Satyendran, Nita (December 22, 2013). "Making a statement". The Hindu. The Hindu. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  12. ^ Shinde, Shivani (January 25, 2013). "IAN invests in Alma Mater". Business Standard. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  13. ^ Sriram, Nitya (December 17, 2016). "'I Failed Engineering, Nothing Bad Happened': Co-Founder Of A Million-Dollar Company". Youth Ki Awaaz. Youth Ki Awaaz. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  14. ^ a b Chaudhary, Apurva. "Indian Angel Network Invests In". MediaNama. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  15. ^ Rhea Roy, Catherine (May 27, 2011). "No sweat, all soul". The Hindu. The Hindu. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  16. ^ "Young Guns Of India". India Today. Dec 29, 2011.
  17. ^ SARKAR, NEEI. "PLAY on your own". The Hindu. The Hindu. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  18. ^ Myrtle Lazarus, Susanna. "One up on Anu Aunty". MetroPlus. The Hindu. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  19. ^ "City's best tubes tickle". The New Indian Express. Express News Service. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  20. ^ "Watch Varun Agarwal's Anu Aunty video go viral". IBN Times. IBN Times. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  21. ^ a b Agarwal, Stuti (May 17, 2017). "Anu Aunty goes to Bollywood". Times of India. TNN. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  22. ^ Bhattacharya, Roshmila. "DANGAL DIRECTOR NITESH TIWARI GEARING UP TO TAKE A NOVEL ROUTE NOW". The Times Group. Mumbai Mirror. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  23. ^ "'Dangal' director wants Varun Dhawan for his next". The Times of India. PTI. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  24. ^ Mid-Day, Team. "When aunties make books happen". Mid-Day. Mid-Day. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  25. ^ PK, Prakruti. "This Environment Day, plant a sapling". The Times Group. Mirror (Bangalore). Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  26. ^ Benu, Parvathi. "hoodie-baba! Here's why Varun Agarwal is a start-up wiz". The New Indian Express. The New Indian Express. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  27. ^ Ganapathy Raman, Sruthi. "Worried about Bengaluru's vanishing tree cover? The #SaplingChallenge is for you". The New Minute. The News Minute. Retrieved 13 November 2017.

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