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    For KETAN Rahangdale, starting a million-dollar company before he turned 20 was never really on the agenda. He’d been DJ-ing at house parties and small gigs since he was 12. His biggest grouse playing live, though, was constantly tripping over a tangle of cables and wires emanating from his console. Rahangdale, however, soon found a way to turn this pet peeve into a business opportunity – he began working on making wireless headphones. In 2012, while still at the University of Miami, he started EarTop Technologies, a pioneer in wireless audio technology; he hadn’t turned 20 yet.
    If there’s a common thread that runs through the success stories of Facebook, Dell, DropBox, Reddit, SnapChat and list of other pathbreaking start-ups, it’s that they were all founded by a bunch of college kids. Attribute it to the restlessness of youth, an obdurate tenacity to prove a point, greater exposure to information or the lower stakes involved in failing; our lifestyles are being shaped by ideas exchanged at keg parties or scribbled on paper napkins in sudden fits of inspiration towards the end of an all-nighter.
    This trend augurs well for a country like India. According to a United Nations report last year, India has the largest and fastest growing youth population, with 28 percent of its population between 10 and 24 years of age (and 65 percent under 35). Against this demographic context, it is encouraging to hear the stories of young entrepreneurs like Ashrith Govind, the 20-year-old who started WiLoop.
    Govind identified a business opportunity with a service that’s perceived as near-indispensable in our metropolitan public spaces these days: wi-fi. WiLoop looks to create a series of what they call “WiLoop zones”, within which registered users can log in and connect to the Internet. They’ve tied up with a series of cafes and restaurants that include the popular Smoke House Deli and Bierre Republic, which see sizeable footfalls all week round. But here’s where they begin to add value: WiLoop also provides these establishments with customer analytics, so restaurants can identify key demographics to give their loyalty-building campaigns more focus.
    Four months in, WiLoop has already attracted private investor interest. Additionally, they’ve expanded to Hyderabad and are on course to make inroads into the capital City in the next month. For Govind, it’s an exciting time, with decision-making for his company becoming a daily feature. And yet, with a few months to go before finals, he’s hoping he has enough attendance to score a hall ticket and then graduate.
    — pauldharamraj@gmail.com

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