A Memorable Encounter: Remembering Rakesh Jhunjhunwala

Nearly 12 years ago, I had the opportunity to meet Rakesh Jhunjhunwala in his sea-facing office at Nariman Point, Mumbai.
When I entered his room, he was deeply engrossed in studying the stock prices, which were displayed on several screens. I stood there, unsure if he had noticed me waiting for him. It gave me time to compose a good opening line. “Hi, Mr Jhunjhunwala, what a great view you have.” He responded with his usual quick wit. “Oh! Thank you, it’s like having a pretty wife. You get used to it.” He broke the tension and put me at ease.
For the next hour, I made my pitch for Y-Axis and he overlooked the fact that we, at the time, didn’t have the kind of revenues he would typically invest in. Nevertheless, he asked his team to go to Hyderabad for due diligence, starting the same weekend.
Eventually, his offer didn’t work out, simply because we were not cash strapped after all. Still, the fact that India’s Warren Buffet had offered to invest in us was more than enough.
I will always remember him for how spontaneous and kind he was to me. Over the years, I often thought about returning to tell him how much we had grown – nearly 20 times from the day we met and how much his encouragement meant to me as a young entrepreneur.
Rest in peace, Mr Jhunjhunwala.
– Xavier Augustin, Founder & CEO, Y-Axis

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