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Manish Sharma

Printo
Founder
Bangalore

Manish Sharma is a co-founder of Printo, India’s first, branded retailchain for print and document services. The flagship store opened in 2006and there are now multiple outlets across the cities of Bangalore andHyderabad, offering everything from business cards and brochures topersonalised party invitations and mugs with family pictures on. It was whenthe company transferred Manish to London that he decided to do an MBA.“I had wanted to feed my interest in economics for some time and the MBAseemed the best route,” says Manish.


He wanted to do a one-year course at a high profile European universityand was accepted at both Oxford and Cambridge. He chose Oxford for itsbalance of historical distinction and contemporary energy. “The school wassteeped in history but had a huge contemporary angle to it, which I foundboth comforting and exciting,” he says.


One of Printo’s lead investors is Sequoia Capital (the money behindcompanies like Google and Oracle). In the mid-term, Printo aims to havesome 250 stores nationwide (present in every large and mid size city) withlong-term potential for the company to grow across India and into otherdeveloping world markets. “There are a lot of very brilliant entrepreneurs outthere and I think it speaks volumes that Sequoia have invested in us,” saysManish. “This is a fairly universal model. It would work anywhere that smallbusinesses and individual consumers need this service and if we servethem well, we’ve got a winning proposition in any part of the world.”


After completing his MBA, Manish was the only Indian student fromhis class to return to India. “I wanted to use my technology skills but dosomething more human, more tangible. So I looked at retail and there aremany opportunities in India.” While getting himself up and running in India,Manish was struck by how hard it was to get day-to-day printing needsfulfilled professionally. “It was an excruciating process,” he says. “And Irealised there was a gap in the market.” It’s now three years since Manishand his partner drove down from Bombay with suitcases and a mattress andliterally set up their first shop.


Now, with 10 stores under his belt and more in the pipeline Manish seesthe MBA as an integral part of his progress. “During my time at Oxford,my financial planning improved dramatically and this showed clearly in mybusiness plan,” he says. “And crucially, when I went out to raise capital, theOxford name lent a lot of credibility to the project and made the whole processa good deal easier.”