Founders: Chirag Patel and Neerav Parekh
Niche: Wireless Middleware Solutions
Number of Employees: 27

After studying and working in the US-like most scions in Indian business families- Chirag Patel returned to India to work in the family’s edible oil business in Ahmedabad. However, he soon realized that his heart lay in technology. And so, along with an old classmate Neerav Parekh, a computer science graduate from Stanford, he formed NET4NUTS in 2000.

Their idea was simple – increasing dependence on the internet meant a lot of chaos in terms of managing various resources. Getting a Yahoo address book, Hotmail account and mobile to work in sync was quite impossible. It was (as Patel puts it) driving everyone ‘nuts’. It was a problem they felt would only get worse, so they formed NET4NUTS with idea of making these services complement each other.

By the end of 2001, with the $1 million funding they got from the World Bank-promoted GVFL., their product ‘AVTAAR’ was ready for launch. The timing could not have been worse-9/11 happened ten days before the scheduled launch. The ensuing tech downturn meant there were no takers for their technology, which was seen as a next-generation product with long-term benefits, and not really a need of the times.

Explains Patel: “People had stopped investing in technology; no one had a cheque book ready.” So they resorted to free trials but even that didn’t prompt companies to invest. Finally they came up with an ASP model where they implemented and ran the product for the client and got paid according to the end use.