Shantanu Naidu is the founder of Motopaws.
He also works as a Deputy General Manager at Ratan Tata’s office.
Shantanu became famous for his friendship with Ratan Tata.
Shantanu Vyankatesh Naidu (Shantanu Naidu) hails from Pune, Maharashtra, India.
Many of his family members, his great-grandfather, grandfather and father have worked for the Tata Group.
Shantanu did his schooling from Abhinava Vidyalaya English Medium School in Pune.
His parents wanted him to study engineering, so in 2010, he joined Savitribai Phule Pune University (University of Pune) to study a Bachelor of Engineering (B.E.) in Mechanical Engineering.
Shantanu graduated first class with distinction in May 2014.
From May 2009 to May 2010, he worked as an Engineering Intern at the Tata Technologies in Pune.
Infatuation for automotive designing-
After graduating, Shantanu was attracted towards making a career in automotive designing as he thought that he could become world famous by designing luxury sports cars of Lamborghini and Ferrari.
But his father didn’t agree with him becoming an automotive designer as he observed that Shantanu didn’t have enough knowledge about this field.
Later, his father allowed him to become an automotive designer on conditions that first he should introspect about the reasons for choosing automotive designing and how he could contribute to this field.
So, Shantanu started researching automotive designing and in the process met many students and workers of this field and realised that automotive designing is not a cakewalk especially in India.
On the decision making day, he went to the IDC School of Design (Industrial Design Centre) at IIT Bombay and there he learnt from one of the graduating students that there is only 1-3% chance of becoming a successful automotive designer in India.
And thanks to this, Shantanu dropped his plan of becoming an automotive designer.
Career & sympathy for dogs-
In September 2014, Shantanu joined Tata Elxsi in Pune as a Junior Design Engineer.
Here, he was working in the night shifts and used to reach home at around 1 AM or 2 AM.
Shantanu used to ride his motorcycle on his way back home and he used to spot dead dogs on the road which were run over by vehicles.
Initially, he tried to ignore the plight of dogs but after around six months, after observing many dead dogs, he couldn’t refrain from helping the dogs.
Doing the research-
Shantanu started researching about the issue and interacted with many drivers who met with accidents with dogs or came in close encounters with dogs.
He understood the root cause of the problem was that the dogs weren’t visible from a safe distance to the drivers during the night times and this posed a threat to both dogs and drivers.
Shantanu inferred that the drivers need to see the dogs from a safe distance so that they would have enough time to slow down or change lanes or apply breaks.
So, in 2015 Shantanu started Motopaws in Pune.
As he was working as an engineer at Tata Elxsi, finding a solution to the problem wasn’t difficult for him.
Shantanu decided to tie reflective bands around the necks of the dogs, so that they would grow in the dark and make dogs visible from a distance which would ultimately prevent accidents.
As he and his colleagues didn’t have sufficient funds for the materials, they used their unused denims as the base material and on it, they coated the reflective material.
Soon, they fixed hundreds of these reflective collars on dogs and the results were immediate.
Becoming popular & befriending Ratan Tata-
Within a couple of days, the Motopaws team started receiving many anonymous appreciative messages of how the reflective collars were preventing accidents and saving dogs’ lives.
Shantanu’s success story became popular on social media and also got covered by many media houses.
This caught the attention of Ratan Tata and he is an animal activist himself, he appreciated his efforts and also funded Motopaws.
Their common love for dogs cemented their friendship and Ratan Tata was happy about how the young Shantanu was creating a positive impact.
Now, Motopaws is present in more than twenty cities in India.
Until July 2016, Shantanu worked at Tata Elxsi and then, he joined Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell University in Ithaca, New York to study MBA in Business Administration and Management, General.
Here, he won the Hemmeter Entrepreneurship award and Johnson Leadership Case Competition and graduated in 2018.
Just a day later before his graduation, Ratan Tata flew from Mumbai to Ithaca to join Shantanu and his family at dinner.
An interesting fact- In 1959, Ratan Tata also graduated from Cornell University.
Shantanu’s parents wanted him to settle in the United States itself but as he was very attached to his mother and he couldn’t leave her alone in Pune, he returned to India.
Since June 2017, he is working as a Business strategy Intern at Tata Trusts and since July 2018, he is working as a Deputy General Manager at Ratan Tata’s office in Mumbai.
Becoming a best friend of Ratan Tata-
Shantanu is also an assistant of Ratan Tata and their friendship grew so much that they started eating and watching movies together.
In May 2020, he founded On Your Sparks, a counselling platform for the potential entrepreneurs.
During the COVID pandemic, Shantanu fed animals across Mumbai and also helped the policemen.
He is planning to launch GoodFellows, as a startup with an aim of focusing on intergenerational friendships, that is, providing companionship of young people to elderly.
On 11 January 2021, Shantanu published a book titled- I Came Upon a Lighthouse: A Short Memoir of Life with Ratan Tata.
This book is not only his short biography but also about his friendship with Ratan Tata.
Shantanu is a polyglot as he knows many languages like English, Telugu, Marathi and Hindi.
Currently, he lives in Mumbai.
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