Bengaluru based businessman - Ajay Shetty completed his graduation from ChristCollege, Bengaluru and followed up with a master's degree from New York Institute of Technology and New Jersey Institute of Technology. Ajay has always been an entrepreneur at heart, even though he started in finance. His experience as an ex-banker with Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch gave him a firm grounding in how financial markets operate globally, with experience in New York and Hong Kong. Ajay enjoys his time with family and friends, loves travelling and plays a good sport. Here he speaks about his new venture Salud Beverages and more.
From being an investment banker to an entrepreneur. How did it all happen?
In 2011, I thought wine in India had a massive gap, so I decided to relocate to work on the idea. It was just a perception of what was going on with a lot of interest, and there was a buzz in the market. I decided to follow my gut feeling pretty much. I think I have always been an entrepreneur of some sort. So, the idea to get into food & beverage, specifically wine and the opinion that wine had an ancillary to every culture always inclined me. Coming from a family of farmers also added to the idea. I had never worked in India before I started my entrepreneurial journey. It was the right time for us. We built the brand Myra and were able to sell it. Now, we have “Salud”.
Why is Salud unique?
Salud is unique because we are not just an alcobev brand but a lifestyle brand. The focus is on making interesting drinks more mass. We took the idea of putting India’s first gin & tonic in a bottle quite seriously as we were looking at the drink being globally explored. The idea of Salud as such has been unique because both the concept and the journey from the last 12 months have been phenomenal. Salud is a friend and family enterprise. The people, ideas, and concepts make it unique, to be precise.
Why the name Salud?
Salud means ‘Cheers’ in Spanish. It is a celebration, and since we are a beverage powered company, it perhaps makes the most sense.
What is your advice for budding entrepreneurs today?
Work hard and execute new ideas.
Is Salud just India bound?
It is currently available only in two states in India. We are registering in three more states. We intend to go global in the future, and we are already in discussions with two countries to export. The goal is to make it a global brand with a worldwide bottle experience.
How do you unwind from a busy day?
I spend time with friends and my family. I like spending time with my friends. If I get the time, play a sport or read. Passionate about travelling and work helps me travel, so sometimes that works. So, these things help me unwind.
Describe Ajay Shetty in one word.
What is your favourite family activity?
Getting everyone together and spending time with all of them.
What are the other areas you would like to invest in?
Our focus is going to be on the food & beverage industry and anything to do with lifestyle such as merchandise, music, experiences etc., considering we are here to change the way the world unwinds.