Click the link to read An Inspiring Article of Mr. T. S. Sateesh.
I have had the immense pleasure of photographing a very important figure in Bangalore, India. The Bangalore Mirror has published the story of one man whom I consider to be a very special person among Entrepreneurs whom I have met in recent years. A true gentleman at heart, and a very compassionate human being. He is the managing director of Lamborghini Bengaluru and Hoysala Projects Pvt Ltd Mr.T.S. Sateesh.
He came from a poor family in Magadi. Today, he owns the first Lamborghini showroom in South India and is a real estate tycoon
TS Sateesh (44) Chairman and Managing Director, Hoysala Projects Pvt Ltd and Lamborghini Bengaluru
TS Sateesh is the man on the speed dial of anybody who dreams of a Lamborghini in South India. During the week, he heads a 400 cr company and leads a bountiful life. But on Sunday mornings, as he has done without fail for three years, the 44-year-old can be found wearing the traditional panche, chanting the Purusha Suktha while performing the morning arati at the 1,000-year-old Ranganath Swamy Temple at Magadi.
It’s his way of giving back to the town that he grew up in; the temple that his forefathers served at as priests. After all, he has much to be thankful for — it’s been a remarkable climb up the ladder for a man who moved to Bangalore in 1983, and started out as a tea and coffee server at an advocate’s office as a 16-year-old.
For his birthday last September, he gifted himself a Lamborghini Avendator Roadster worth Rs 8 crore. “I always wanted to buy a sports car and was looking at Porsche but many people in Bangalore already drove it. I didn’t know much about Lamborghini and started researching it. I wanted to own something unique,” says Sateesh in fluent English (a language he didn’t know when he first came to Bangalore). Subsequently, he opened the showroom of the Italian luxury sports car, the first in South India, in January 2014.
A far cry from the days when food would be rationed by his poor family among his two brothers and four sisters. “My grandfather and father earned Rs 200 per month,” Sateesh recalls when we meet him at the swanky Lamborghini showroom on Lavelle Road. “We were very poor and there would rarely be enough food for all of us at home. We often had our meals at the temple. There was little opportunity to earn a living in Magadi.”
Study and work Sateesh moved to Bangalore as a 13-year-old with his elder sister Lata and her husband. They lived in a rented 10×10 house in Malleswaram and he pursued his higher education in an English medium school. “It was challenging to adapt from a Kannada medium school to English,” he says.
His brother Parsthasarathy, who worked at a private firm, ensured Sateesh’s education never took a backseat. By the time he was 16 and completed his 10th standard, his brother had brought his family to Bangalore.
Sateesh continued to work while pursuing a degree in commerce at Dayanand Sagar evening college. He changed jobs and moved to Minicom, a small private firm before he bagged a typist’s job at Titan Watches in 1987.
The big leap came in 1990 when he joined Hewlett Packard (HP) as a typist (purchase department) for a salary of Rs 1,200. Here, he juggled roles — in exports, stores and taxation — climbed ranks, and finally quit in 1999 as logistics manager earning a salary of Rs 1.5lakh. “I got nine promotions in 10 years,” he says proudly.
Real estate struggle In 1999-2000, he rolled out the real estate business with a small 4,000 sqft plot, and an initial investment of Rs 50,000. Sateesh puts his ambition, curiosity and interest down to his years at HP. “The transparency in functioning there gave me much satisfaction. I was extremely motivated to start a company on my own once I left,” he recalls.
He learnt the ropes from friends in the real estate business who took up small projects. Sateesh was a part of numerous evening dinners that involved discussions on the industry.
“I had a fair bit of knowledge about it and had seen my friends make money.” But soon, the recession hit. Things got worse when he, a rookie in the business, got into a legal tangle and became the victim of a cheating case. “Luckily, I had earned a lot of goodwill in HP. Many of my colleagues came forward to buy our apartments by taking bank loans.”
He thought about going back to a regular job. “The first five years were very difficult. I regretted getting into real estate and quitting HP. In 1999, a job paying Rs1.5 lakh a month was a big deal.” But he kept at it, supported ably by his wife. “I did not have a family life for almost six-seven years. To fail was not an option. But I had learnt to stay focused on my goal from my mother,” he says.
The project only took off in 2008-09 when he started building multiple residential projects, in Bangalore and Kerala. “We crossed the 400 crore mark in mid 2013,” he says with a smile.
Giving back All the while, for 30 years, as he built an empire inch by inch, Sateesh never looked back. “I had a dream one day and there was something about it that made me go back to Magadi. What I found there was disheartening. The 10-acre temple land was in shambles,” he says.
He launched Sriranga Seva Trust, donated two jewelled crowns worth Rs 2 crore to the deity and even adopted the Govt. Thirumala School, where he studied till standard seven. He is now working on building a check dam to store rainwater in the village and has made provisions to supply drinking water to 10,000 households in Magadi.
“I have succeeded but it is when I go to my hometown is when I am the happiest and feel satisfied that I am able to give back to the people,” says the auto czar, who lives with his two sons, (eldest in 1st PUC and the younger one in 8th standard), his wife Heena and 85-year-old mother Rajalakshmi at his mansion in RMV Stage II.
Quick tips – The one thing he learnt as a child which he still uses in his business: To stay persistent and persevere towards my goal. – The cars he owns: Five BMWs, two Audis, a Volkswagen Pussat and a Hyundai Verna – The one lesson he would like to share with budding entrepreneurs: To dream big, stay focused and transparent.