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I am from a "business" family in India: This means, most of my relatives run small and large businesses. Risk and entrepreneurship is considered normal and a desirable thing to do. Due to this I know a lot of types of businesses and get access to data of their revenues and profitability.

The most profitable businesses I have seen built in the past 5 years, are brick and mortar, infrastructure and real estate businesses. These are not VC funded, or typical for the HN crowd. These are very offline businesses, built on angel capital (friends and family), then institutional bank loans and then directly public money via small IPOs at the best outliers.

A few of these businesses make $100MN+ revenues and the scenarios in which they reached here, was the Government + private contractor nexus. Privileged access to information and contracts is the only case where I have seen hockey stick growths of revenue in India. Most of the profitability comes from "cutting corners".

These businessmen/women stay off the public radar, typically run massively profitable businesses.

Most of them wouldn't consider going to a VC. Private Equity, sometimes yes.

So, in view, its a great time to be in India and to build infrastructure projects, brick and mortar things. A "relationship" with the Government officials is almost a necessary condition to get the contracts. I don't know how honest you can remain in this business, but I have seen so many examples of real startup like hockey stick growth. Hustlers is the word I can think of people who succeed in this type of environment.

From my experience, there's quite a bit of difference b/w North and South India. The North encourages entrepreneurship, while the South's family structure favors "stable" jobs (doctors, engineers, etc).

So you see a lot of founders coming from North India, and a lot of engineers coming from the South. Of course, I'm just generalizing this, its not a hard and fast rule, but something I've noticed.

Real estate businesses in India is the most corrupt type of business. A lot of black money is laundered through these businesses. You also need special relationships with corrupt politicians and sometimes the underworld to make this business successful. If as a entrepreneur you are OK with this, then yes its a good business to be in.

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