Founder and Managing Director of the fast-growing real estate company, Nitesh Estates, Nitesh Shetty is an aggressive leader and a perfectionist. With a keen eye for detail and remarkable business acumen, he set out to be an entrepreneur at the age of 19 with a capital of Rs. 12,000 that he borrowed from his mother. He first started a billboard company in Bangalore called Serve and Volley and went on to become one of the leading players in the Indian market. But this was not enough to satiate the ambitious and zealous young businessman.
As one might guess from the name of his company, Nitesh is very fond of Tennis. In fact, he has won several state level championships and was ranked among the top 10 players in India in the Juniors category. He even wanted to make it as a tennis pro but realised in time that he had reached the peak of his game and didn’t want to pursue a career where he would not be No. 1.
Born to an upper middle-class family in Bangalore, Nitesh didn’t exactly have a humble beginning but he didn’t have any privileges or a godfather in the real estate industry either. It was his sheer passion and perseverance that helped him gain a foothold in a very tough market.
Nitesh Shetty has always believed that dreaming big is not only about grit and gumption but also spotting the right opportunity. And so he did. He spotted a prime property where he used to put up billboards, in the Central Business District of Bangalore and convinced the landlady to let him develop the property. All of 22 at the time, he broke through the stiff barriers of an industry where an inexperienced youngster stood no chance. He approached every bank in the city to get funding for the project. While they all agreed that it was an excellent opportunity, no one was willing to take a chance on a young boy when a South Indian bank, Dhanalakshmi Bank decided to provide the required capital. And so, Nitesh Estates’ first office building – Nitesh Broadway was developed on the most sought after location of the city, MG Road.
There has been no looking back since then for Nitesh. His vision was clear – to cater to the growing real estate needs while focussing on the high-end niche. In 2007, Nitesh bagged a Rs. 100-crore housing project for ITC Limited – Nitesh Garden Enclave, and carved a space for Nitesh Estates in the city’s real estate market, paving way for the company to be classified as one of the leading real estate firms in South India.
With almost 800 employees on the rolls, Nitesh Estates is going strong and there is considerable expansion planned in the near future spread over developments worth Rs. 5,000 crore (over 800 million USD). While the core focus remains to be on Homes, Nitesh plans to develop more properties in the Office space, increasing its share in the business. The Hotels and Malls categories are still in their nascent stages with only one property in each category, even though both the properties – The Ritz-Carlton, Bangalore and Nitesh HUB, Pune are among the best in their class.
In 2010, the company went public, furthering the stakeholders’ trust that they were here for serious business. Nitesh Shetty got more investor partners on board and ventured into the Hotels and Malls space.
He brought India’s first Ritz-Carlton to Bangalore in 2013, developing a 277-suite five-star hotel worth Rs. 800 crore that was at par with the hotel chain’s international standards, both in design and operations. He was quick to gather that the Bangalore market was ready for a high-end experience and he did not hesitate in grabbing that market.
Nitesh Shetty was also the first developer in India to bring in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) starting with investment by Och Ziff, and then followed Apollo Global Capital, Citigroup Property Investors, HDFC Asset Management Company, and Goldman Sachs Inc.
Nitesh HUB, Pune is another example of what one man’s vision and hard work can achieve. He acquired a dying 1 million sq. ft. mall in collaboration with Goldman Sachs, and turned it around into a sought after entertainment destination of the city with a host of popular and luxury brands, all housed under one roof.
Nitesh has always given importance to stunning design that is functional when it comes to his buildings. That is the reason he makes sure that the best of architects are hired from around the world. Several of his projects have been designed by architects of international repute such as US based Kohn Pederson Fox (KPF), Warner Wong Design, Wimberly Allison Tong & Goo, Super Potato and many more. He is often heard saying, “We want to change the skyline of Bangalore for the better so it is at par with the biggest cities of the world”. Nitesh Estates’ luxury projects like Nitesh Park Ave and Nitesh Plaza are a testimony that he is a man of his word.
But the skyline is not the only thing he is changing. All the projects developed by Nitesh Estates have an impressive green cover, reducing the overall carbon footprint of the Garden City, and qualify as Green Buildings.
This young entrepreneur doesn’t confine his efforts to his buildings in order to contribute to the society. He contributes regularly to an NGO, Cherysh Trust, which strives for the development of underprivileged women and female children. Nitesh Estates is also associated with a Chennai based NGO, Ekam, that works towards providing quality healthcare to disadvantaged children and mothers. Besides these conventional measures, Nitesh also takes it upon himself to promote art and culture in the city by supporting and encouraging small local artists.
It is probably his immense love for the arts that also reflects in his indomitable collection of art pieces – both paintings and sculptures, spread across all the properties. The Ritz-Carlton, Bangalore alone has over 1000 pieces of art.
Nitesh Shetty as well as his company, Nitesh Estates Limited have been lauded on multiple occasions and by various bodies, both national and international, for their leadership and excellence, respectively in the form of prestigious awards bestowed upon them, the most recent ones being Asia’s Greatest Brands & Leaders 2016 conferred upon Nitesh Shetty as well as his company, Nitesh Estates under distinct categories. Nitesh Estates has also been featured in Forbes “Treasure Hunt” among the Top 10 stories of successful businesses that were never on anyone’s radar. These achievements simply validate Nitesh’s motto that he wants to be the best in everything he does. That’s the attitude he works with while motivating and encouraging his team to follow his footsteps. A born leader, he leads his team by example, and with an energy that is enough to fuel his entire team to march ahead at the pace he sets.
Presently, Nitesh is focussing more on the commercial space and wants to rapidly expand the A-grade office range. To this effect, he has recently invested Rs. 1500 into the category and expects to develop approximately 5 million square feet of office space. Given his determination and track record, there is no doubt he will achieve whatever he sets his eyes on.