Blank Slate to Real Estate

Tanmay Kholkar, founder of Goa’s fastest growing real estate company Manas Developers, lays bare the tale of being a first-generation entrepreneur, redefining the real-estate landscape, and taking a leap of faith

Kaya at Lakeview Miramar, Panaji

Much like a construction project that is built from the ground up, Tanmay Kholkar’s story is one that begins from a blank slate, destined to write its own fate. As a first-generation entrepreneur born into a household which hadn’t ventured into business, his maiden enterprise, Manas Developers, is the fruition of his vision to craft his very own legacy.

“Ours was a rather conventional middle-class family set-up – a banker for a father and a teacher for a mother,” he shares, “there was no business background whatsoever.”

As he affirms, it was not the zeal to be his own boss that chalked the entrepreneurial walk, but the liberty to grow at his own pace, to create and innovate in the arena rather than join the rat race. The drive to build his own venture didn’t stem from a pre-set agenda, rather, it catapulted as an organic inkling from his fascination with the stories of entrepreneurs who set off from humble beginnings, scurrying their success to dizzying heights. Besides behemoths like the Tatas and Birlas who many look up to, Goan entrepreneurs like the Dempos, the Salgaocars and a first generation entrepreneur like Anil Counto became a source of inspiration for the thriving entrepreneur in a young Tanmay Kholkar.

His biggest role model, however, is his father, Ulhas Kholkar – his ardent ally and strongest supporter. Speaking about his father, he explains, “My father, despite having no knowledge of the business scene, has an ingenious marketing bent of mind that made him the most brilliant guide, mentor and PR manager that my younger self could ever ask for.”

Quite apt as he puts it, the banker father knew his way around people and their ponderings, thereby weaving for his son an elaborate network of individuals – modest, prominent and illustrious. Not only did he expose Tanmay to the myriad of dynamics among people in the market, but also enabled him to appropriate the boon of confidence when interacting with folks of all kinds. “I owe it all to my Baba – the catalyst who cradled my dreams to culmination,” the first-generation entrepreneur beams with pride.

Schooling at the Bal Bharati Vidya Mandir School in Ribandar brought him in contact with students hailing from families with modest as well as impressive professional backgrounds – business being a major page turner for him.. This, he states, was an eye-opening experience that holistically transfixed his affections to the world of business, eager to make his mark in the field.

Why real estate? One might ask. To this question, Tanmay remarks, “In this industry, the projects that we construct will always remain as living archives of our labour – the feeling of fulfillment one derives from seeing their edifice stand tall is nothing short of bliss.”

That’s not all why real estate became his refuge. “The need for housing is one that never falls short – the industry is here for the keeps,” he claims. Moreover, the real estate industry offers ample leeway to be creative and explore divergent possibilities that probe beyond the curbs of brick and mortar.

While these are rather pragmatic points of perception to look at, it all began when his father appointed him as a supervisor for a project that he was offered to develop by a friend at a small site in Porvorim. At twenty-one, scarcely stimulated by a stipend of 150 rupees, Tanmay Kholkar was instead fiercely fuelled by the fervour to fix his finesse in the field.

“This opportunity enabled me to establish my foothold in the industry. My success at handling this project seemed like a seal of approval, bearing reassurance that this was the path for me.”

As the story goes, this path was indeed made for him. From initially starting off as a contracting company, Tanmay has managed to carve a niche for his enterprise as a widely preferred development partner in Goa. The ‘Manas’ in Manas Developers, which is the name of Tanmay’s  son, implying fortitude of the mind, is a reflection of the grit and persistence that makes a person who he or she sets out to be. Manas Developers, staying true to its name, has battled against all odds to emerge as the fastest growing real estate company in the state. Despite the stiff competition in the real estate industry in Goa, twenty years as contractors and eight trips around the sun as developers has led Tanmay’s enterprise to concretize.

Doing things ‘out-of-the-box’ is the rally call of this real estate magnate in the making. While that’s not what he would like to be called, his initiatives towards building homes and not mere concrete boxes definitely makes him a worthy recipient of this sobriquet. “It’s more about delivering the product the right way and less about the money. Giving concrete shape to our client’s dream of owning a home which is a place of pride for their family gives us the most satisfaction and is at the very core of our commitment,” he states.

Moreover, there is always something for everyone at Manas Developers, which is a member of CREDAI Goa. Valued in lakhs or crores, standard or ultra-premium, diversity is the hallmark of their offerings. In no way does any client feel left out, be it in terms of their budget or their aesthetic needs. At the same time, being a sanctuary of sentiments, venerating the sanctity of the soil is something that Tanmay swears by.

One such example of cultural sensibilities is the Manas Pela Capela. Nestled in the verdant relief of Verna’s mushrooming modern locale, this reflection of an uber-swanky lifestyle also pays poignant homage to the heritage of the land. As strong believers in the marvels of the almighty, Tanmay and his team sought to seek the warm blessings of Our Lady of Vailankanni. They paid their respects to the Vailankanni chapel in the vicinity by christening the project as Manas Pela Capela, a Portuguese term for ‘Manas by the chapel.’

“It is been a fruitful journey,” he beams, looking back on the highs and lows, ebbs and flows that made him the man that he is. Entrepreneurship is not a walk in the park, and that’s a truth universally acknowledged. However, it is this drive to navigate these challenges that defines the viability of his enterprise.

The biggest challenge for his venture, according to Tanmay, is gaining the trust of clients. Handling this challenge with utmost sincerity is crucial as it all begins and ultimately ends with customer satisfaction.

“These are people who trust us with their hard-earned money and savings when they show interest in any property that we offer. But it is not just a piece of land – it is a product of emotions, expectations, and aspirations that is closely attached to their faith in our integrity,” notes Tanmay.

That’s not all. Another major hurdle is the general public perception that all real estate players are anchored by a cartel of unscrupulous intentions, always prepared to pounce on their prey – charging exorbitant prices for poor quality construction, indulging in unfair practices, and violating the code of ethics. “While these concerns are justified, such sweeping generalisation happen to offer a lopsided view of the real estate landscape as a whole,” he asserts. True, as he says, such categorization fails to segregate the ones who seek to do good from those who are bent on blaring the bad. “On our part we are extremely conscious about being sustainable and conscious of the environment that we dwell in, be it through up-cycling of materials, smart planning which takes into account natural lighting and ensuring adequate green cover in all our projects”, emphasises Tanmay.

Moreover the real estate industry is always in the spotlight. He hopes however that the government aids in the ease of doing business, supporting their ethical and sustainable undertakings.

Manas Developers pride themselves on being a class apart. Besides staying true to their innovative streak by developing distinct living spaces that deviate from the norm, much emphasis is laid on delivering top-notch quality in each endeavour. “We do our best to win the trust of our clients by honouring our ideals and ethics, above and beyond providing user-friendly design and striking aesthetics that exude a feel-good effect,” the prime mover of Manas Developers conjures.

When asked about his vision for the blooming of his enterprise, Tanmay meekly ascertains that he has no plans to diversify. “We are solely focused on doing what we do best at the moment. Foraying into divergent arenas is a risky venture – a luxury that a first generation enterprise like ours cannot afford as of now,” he shares.

Being a first generation entrepreneur is associated with innumerable demands both at home and at the workplace. However, this family man has managed to strike just the ideal work-life balance.  Self-care activities that foster a healthy mind and body – yoga, badminton, swimming, or even a run on the beach – are some of the strategies that help him straddle the stipulations of his calling. Being an avid cricket enthusiast, he also became the owner of the very competitive cricket team ‘Manas Mavericks’, one of the only five teams that were part of the maiden edition of the prestigious Panjim Gymkhana Members League (PGML) held in early 2022.

Giving back to society is important to Tanmay. As a member of Rotary Club of Panaji Mid-Town, he has been funding the education of students for the last several years. “Many of them are now successful professionals working in India and abroad. They continue to stay in touch and I am proud of the individuals that they are today,” says a visibly emotional Tanmay. From extending assistance to organisations with medical supplies and essentials, through the pandemic to offering support to educational and sports establishments, Tanmay stays committed to the cause of giving back. “That’s why I have established KayaM Trust,” he explains. Community outreach will be executed through the trust in the years ahead.

A father of two, Manas and Kaya, Tanmay appears to have his hand full, managing his household as well as his entrepreneurial stronghold. Even so, he is adept at managing his time fairly well. But he doesn’t do it all alone – his wife, Krupa, has a pivotal role to play in this regard. “My wife has always been my anchor support,” he shares, “from helping out with the business in its formative years to taking charge of the family, she is an inspiration.” Krupa, hailing from Baroda, in Gujarat, is quite the resourceful personality. She has also taken to entrepreneurial pursuits through her artisanal candle making venture ‘Lit n Glow.’

Tanmay reminisces about his late father-in-law. “My father in law KamaleshChokshi has been a great supporter of my work and has shared his wisdom and advice on business with me when I needed it the most. We lost him last year unfortunately and that void is going to stay with us always.”

Being an entrepreneur has its fair share of struggles, but it is also incredibly rewarding. If not an entrepreneur, what other role would he fancy? To this question, Tanmay responds in a nonchalant note – “a nomad.” His passion for travelling has taken him to numerous places across the globe. Appreciating the cultural idiosyncrasies, relishing the gastronomic delicacies, and discovering the historical rarities of lands far and near are something that he takes utmost delight in. That’s not all, having developed a keen interest in classical music at a very young age; he would have found his musing in singing. However, fate and fervour had other plans.

While those plans panned out just right, it wasn’t without its fair share of trials. Having trailed through the thrills and travails of being a first generation entrepreneur, Tanmay has some words of worth for aspiring entrepreneurs. He urges budding go-getters to have faith in their abilities and own up to their follies. Retrospection and introspection should be the key tools of tactic. “Believe in yourself, trust your ‘manas’, and take a leap of faith – things will ultimately fall into place,” he encapsulates the essence of his learning. Tanmay has taken a giant leap from his humble beginnings to where he stands today. He now has his sights set firmly on the future ahead, the future certainly looks bright!

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