60 lakhs of loan — searching food for two years — Bamboo House India (more than 2 crores in revenue)
This is the story of Prashant Lingam, co-founder of Bamboo House India that truly inspired me. Bamboo House India builds houses with bamboo and their other venture Recycle India, recycle the waste material and makes useful things with that. They made two complete houses from plastic. (as of 2018).
It all started when his wife wanted to buy an eco-friendly sofa and they searched the entire Hyderabad city. They came home and searched about it on Google. Later they went to a village where people used to make bamboo handicrafts, they were fascinated and fell in love with whatever they saw at that moment. They decided to build Bamboo Houses as on Google they could also see some pictures of houses made from Bamboo. In a way, they wanted to help the community as well because the people had great talent but were not able to make adequate money.
For the next year, they traveled across all the forest locations of the country and stayed there.
The first hurdle in their journey that they realized was something called the Indian Forest Act 1927. The act says you cannot go to a forest, cut bamboo and bring it back to the city without the written permission of the government.
Another hurdle was that they survived a Bomb blast from a very close distance in one of their visits in a part of the country.
Prashant was also picked up twice in a non-local area, he was in captivity for a whole night. That moved him emotionally.
After three years of doing so, they had a loan of 60 lakhs on head.
Life didn’t become easy from there on, Prashant broke his leg and have a rod, he was bedridden for 1 and a half year. At the same time, his wife delivered her first kid and developed a uterus infection that became a cancerous kind of a situation, she was also bedridden for one and a half year.
The situation became worse, they were searching for food for the next two years, they used to eat only in the afternoons, and some money they had to keep for their kid’s milk.
They persisted and continued, life didn’t become easy, during this phase he lost his father, father-in-law and 6 of the closed members of the family. They sunk into depression and decided to give up and commit suicide. They thought nothing is working out and that they have chosen the wrong path.
One thing stopping them from committing suicide was that they had a small kid.
They thought to give ONE LAST CHANCE, they pooled up all the jewelry in the house, they got 60,000, coincidentally with that money they built their first bamboo house.
After that, for the next two years, they built 150 Bamboo Houses.
When they were starting up, they went to almost all the engineering colleges and B-schools of the country to ask for help, nobody took them seriously as they thought nothing lies in the model.
All the two years of their work was featured by the World bank in their project.
All the global universities starting from Harvard, Stanford, Kellog, Cornell, and ISB are doing a case study on their business model.
They received an invitation from the government of the USA and his co-founder, Aruna Lingam was invited to the White House.
In 2017, they received an invitation from the government of Kenya to build bamboo houses in their country.
KEY LEARNINGS :
1. If you have a clear vision, no matter what problems come, you gotta persevere and keep on moving forward.
2. Whatever you start, remember that it would take time and be PATIENT.
3. The social network has been very helpful in their journey, in the last few years half of the orders they got were through Facebook.
4. Failure is always better than regretting. Don’t get into peer pressure.