Fire-proofing of buildings may not be everyones ball game. But then, one entrepreneur down south was attracted by the unusual nature of the business and the fact that in a developing economy with an infrastructure boom, where many buildings get built, fire-proofing is an absolute must. NS Narendra, chairman and managing director, founded Firepro Systems in 1992, with the intention of providing professional services in the fire safety market in Bangalore. An engineering graduate from Mysore University in the year 1990, who specialised in electronics, Narendra says, I started with just Rs 10,000 which were my savings. It was just less money and a lot of ambition.
He was keen to start his own company and had a discussion with his uncle D Naniah on business opportunities available for someone keen on a start-up like him. His uncle identified the fire and security industry as the one with a big future and high growth potential. He advised him to join Steel Age Industries to gain knowledge to start his own companyas those days there were hardly two or three companies that offered expertise in that particular field. I had nothing to loose then, I was just out of college. I come from a middle-class family. My father was an employee with the state government. We come from a small place called Coorg, in Karnataka. They used to stay in Coorg while I lived and studied in Bangalore.
He worked with Steel Age Industries for two years in the Minimax division, which was into fire protectionit is now a part of a global conglomerate called Bunevo. After he quit, he started his own company in December 1992. It was registered as just Firepro because at that point in time, it was a proprietorship company. Narendra says, I started with about three employeesa secretary, an office boy and a sales guy. The secretary happened to be a friend whom I knew for a long time. She stayed for six to seven months and later got married and left Firepro. The office boy who was my domestic servant at home agreed to help out at Firepro and the sales boy was fresh out off college and he was interested in working for me.
Narendra found the first year a bit of a struggle as it took three to four months to get the first project. He says, Our first job was with a medical college in