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Wed 14 Dec 2016 11:35 AM

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Rohan Mehta's start-up success: Turning a pastime into a million dollar business

Rohan Yogesh Mehta, business development manager at Petrochem Middle East and CEO of Raging Tiger Event Co talks about working hard and watching it pay off

Rohan Mehta's start-up success: Turning a pastime into a million dollar business
Rohan Mehta pictured with his father Yogesh Metha.

The questions about Petrochem, one of the Middle East’s largest independent petrochemical distributors, do not come nearly as often these days for Rohan Yogesh Mehta as he is mostly asked to talk about Raging Tiger, an events management company he started in 2013.

After earning a BS in Economics from Northeastern University in Boston, Mehta spent two years working in a chemical refinery in Dallas, Texas.

Returning to his native city of Dubai, Mehta joined his father at the helm of the billion dollar enterprise that is ranked amongst one of the best chemical distribution companies in the world. The dynamic and booming family business benefited from Mehta’s fresh ideas, leading it to diversify into alternative projects and new verticals.

However, it was Mehta’s passion for music, theatre and performing arts that has made him chart his own entrepreneurial path.

In 2013, he started Raging Tiger, a Dubai-based start-up that has been turned into a multi-million-dollar business in just few years, to offer innovative and professionally managed event experiences to fans of South Asian entertainment.

This is his story.

Rohan Mehta and singer and musician Kailash Kher.

How it all started

Both my father and my grandfather have always been very fond of music, drama and performing arts. Actually, fond is an understatement, I would rather say that they are extremely passionate about it! While growing up, I was always surrounded with my family playing classical music in the background in the mornings while many weekends throughout the year were spent attending plays, musicals and concerts.

It was always a family outing and an enriching experience. In time, it started to grow on me and I really began to enjoy it.

Ever since 1990s, Petrochem has been supporting the organisation and promotion of high quality South Asian events, bringing in performers from India and the sub-continent.

My father has always insisted that I stay close to my roots, and is used to reminding me where I am really from. After endorsing the organisation of these events in the GCC region for almost 20 years, and after I moved back from the US, where I spent seven years studying and working, I decided to turn this passion into a business venture.

Today, I can proudly say that we are the leaders in the events industry focusing on South Asian gigs, Bollywood and similar.

How to carve a niche in the events industry

It was always about creating a niche. Entering the event space is like fishing in an ocean full of nets. You have to find your space, focus, and lure yourself in.

What we decided to focus on was our strength. We are Indians and we are proud of our rich culture and heritage. With the large number of Indian population in the country, we have decided to position ourselves within the South Asian diaspora.

This strategy has proven to be extremely successful in the last two years. Since we are Indians, we really understand what Indians want. In creating events of the highest quality and delivering excellent production and content for different audiences, we give back to our society here.

Our events bring a large variety of demographics, low- and high-income people, of all ages, and from everywhere since people fly down from all over the region to attend our events. Creating a niche in the industry was our aim, and we managed to do it!

What’s next?

I look at Raging Tiger as a tree. So far, we have planted our seed in Dubai, which is our home, but we have grown by setting up branches across the country over the last two years. 2017 will be a very promising year since we will start expanding into the rest of the Middle East, and those will be the leaves.

Again, in focusing on our niche, which is the Indian and South Asian high-end events industry, we are able to target the entire Middle East. It is one big market for us because we make audiences feel closer to home.

Another branch of our tree will be surely getting into international events by including corporate events, weddings and the entire portfolio. This is our long term goal. Raging Tiger is here to stay and grow and seize all the Dubai Expo 2020 opportunities by proving itself as a professional event management capable of catering to everyone’s requirements. We will grow with Dubai’s great vision!


5 do’s for entrepreneurs

1. Always be on time - Being on time is an art appreciated by all. It will even motivate you and give you a massive sense of satiety and achievement. This becoming the way of life has only benefitted me.

2. Go with your gut - A gut feeling is a strong one and it’s worked for me 8/10 times. Whenever a decision has to be made even though all the facts in front of me show that there is still a doubt, I would always go back to my gut feeling. At the end of the day, never forget that this is YOUR baby and you are the one who has the most to lose.

3. Wear lots of hats - There is no work too big, too small or someone else’s job. It’s your job and if you don’t know how to do it, learn and get it done.

4. Work hard and work 24 x 7 - There’s no such thing as ‘I’m going to turn off for a couple of days’ or ‘I’m going on vacation so my out of office reply is on.’ For me, that is the first sign of a downhill spiral. You’re an entrepreneur, you have to work long and hard - it comes with the territory. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

5. Delegate efficiently – You are not a superman, no one is. Trust others and give them a chance to grow, you are only helping them to eventually help you! Lots of entrepreneurs think that only they can get the job done because they want it done in a particular way. But if not, you will gain another perspective and in that process you learn some more. Everyone has their talents, use them and gain from that!

5 dont’s for entrepreneurs

1. Get lazy, lose hope, faith and focus. You are where you are because you believed in your dream. You’ve left the job you had, someone’s loaned you money and believed in you to make it happen. Don’t let them or yourself down. There are always ups and downs initially, but don’t forget why you’re in it.

2. Take shortcuts. Taking shortcuts and skipping processes may give you quick fix, but in the long run it will always catch up with you, your team and your business. Loopholes are strategic, but shortcuts I’ve learned are too good to be true. Working long and hard are the only keys to success.

3. Be impatient. Instant gratification always gets the best of us, especially in this day and age. Patience will be worth it in the long run.

4. Be complacent. Don’t be afraid to try new ideas and jump on new opportunities. Explore and spread awareness of your experiences, learnings and your product.

5. Ignore history. Every start-up would like to believe that they have the most unique and original idea or product. Chances are that somebody has attempted your idea before and failed. Ask yourself: “What did they do wrong?” “How can I do it better?”  Digging in deeper into their mistakes will help you succeed and achieve.