Born in a typical Indian family in a small village of Rahimatpur in Maharashtra, Kailash Katkar had been a mediocre student who was never inclined towards studying. Katkar’s father who worked as a machine setter, dreamt of his son becoming an engineer. Pushing his way through hard times, Kailash Katkar dropped out of studies after failing in the ninth standard. His father’s dreams must have been shattered that day but who knew one day this school dropout will establish himself as a successful entrepreneur in the antivirus market and own what we know as Quick Heal.
Kailash Katkar was here in Chandigarh for an interactive session at CII organised under the aegis of Chitkara Innovation Incubator. Katkar not only shared his success story with the young aspiring entrepreneurs but also answered their queries in a very humble and candid manner.
Supporting the family at a young age
Kailash Katkar had a humble beginning who started repairing radio and tape-recorders at a very early age to support his family financially. Kailash later got a job at a local radio and calculator repair shop where he started working as a calculator technician at a monthly salary of rupees 400 per month. He was so passionate about his work that would repair more calculators in less time. Katkar shares, “While joining as a calculator technician I had to sign a bond that I would not work anywhere else during till I am employed here. With a zeal to learn new things, I signed the bond because I knew this job will make me learn something new.”
The First increment
Katkar was passionate about his work and he had mastered the art of repairing calculators. He would repair all the non-functional calculators within time. Impressed by his technical knowledge and skills, the owner sent him to Mumbai for a three-month training programme. A nostalgic Katkar shares as he goes down the memory lane, “I finished all the levels of the training programme within 3-4 days and I wanted to head back to Pune to work. After returning a got a salary rise and started getting Rs 1,500 a month.” During his stint with the firm Katkar not only became an expert in fixing calculators and radios, but he also learnt the nuances of accounting while handling the books for his employer.
The foundation stone
Katkar, with a zeal of learning new things, followed his passion and inclination towards learning the repair of the then popular office gadgets. Ledger posting machines, Facit adding machines and desktop electric calculators at his office would interest him more than the repair of calculators that had, by now become his forte. He mastered the repair of these machines as well, but life took a U turn when Katkar acquired the skill to fix computers. Signing annual maintenance contract (AMC)with a leading newspaper to maintain these machines was the major breakthrough in Katkar’s career. The initial contract was only for two computers but Katkar soon received another AMC for 25 computers and since then there was no looking back.
Katkar’s younger brother, Sanjay, had been instrumental in materialising this dream and has a major role in establishing the empire which we all know as ‘Quick Heal’ antivirus today. His brother who was pursuing computer engineering in Pune when he insisted him to start developing a basic model of antivirus software. Katkar still remembers the phase when having a computer was like owning a premium car. He says, “When we started developing the antivirus software there were lesser virus threats and we would visit homes to find out the virus in computer and heal it manually. Gradually, we realised that visiting all the homes is going to be tedious in the coming years and we started working on a combo for our customers and we named it ‘Quick Heal’. Though the company was renamed as The Quick Heal Technologies a decade back.
Reaching the top position
Katkar informed that the company grew at a rate of 100 per cent every year and by 2006 we were the number 1 antivirus company in India. With optimism, Katkar adds, “We reached the number 1 position and became the top antivirus company in India as per the market share in 2006 and we reigned the position till the last survey of the surviving company. They actually stopped doing the survey as we had the largest share according to their consecutive surveys in the market and it was growing by the year.”