Despite having grown up in a business environment, Tara Singh, daughter of Analjit Singh, the Chairman of the Max Group, seems to believe in business with a difference.
Her father Analjit Singh had a knack for seeding businesses that some would say were ahead of their times in sectors as diverse as telecom, healthcare and even insurance.
26-year-old Tara Singh's Antara Senior Living is a first of its kind concept, which creates residential communities for senior citizens with the aim of creating an enjoyable and active lifestyle for its residents. The first project is coming up in Dehradun and Rs 520 crore has already been pumped into the 20 acre property, with 217 apartments and 50 wellness suites. The project is all set to open by 2016.
Tara Singh is on a mission to help create a fun and active lifestyle for citizens in their silver years. Antara Senior Living comprises apartments ranging from one to three bedrooms priced between Rs 1.25 crore and Rs 4.50 crore. Penthouses of course are over Rs 5 crore.
At Antara, a potential resident must be over 60 years and have a net worth of at least Rs 5 crore. The complex has been designed to have all-weather access, it is completely step free and along with Wellness centers, has an art village and even a sports center. It is a fully-owned subsidiary of Max India.
Tara chose not to make Antara an independent business entity. "As we started developing the idea and realizing the potential of this opportunity, at the same time we realized it is so synergistic to the Max businesses of life because Antara represents a business of life. We are taking care of seniors as they age. The fact is that it seemed that it would be the best way to grow Antara and build it if we had the Max support from a funding aspect, from a corporate governance aspect, from a pure mentorship aspect, it would be the best way for Antara to become a healthy, successful business," she says.
Max India so far has committed Rs 250 crore for the project, of which a Rs 117 crore has already been deployed. A lifetime lease model is offered to customers at Antara to make it financially viable for customers - residents pay the market value of the apartment when they move in and receive prevailing market rates when they leave.
Even though Tara Singh has her hands full with Antara, she says she will be taking up other business ideas as well. She divulges though that they are all in the senior living space.
When asked if she would eventually like to join Max India’s mainstream businesses, she said, "If we ever exemplify the potential to join the existing businesses, I will not call them the core businesses, then as we grow older, we would sort of prove ourselves and see if we get involved. But at the moment, Vana was my brother Veer Singh's calling and Antara is my calling and therefore the platforms have been set for us to do this. But in our own way we are continuing to learn and be exposed to the existing businesses within Max."
While Tara is focusing at senior living, her elder brother Veer's big idea is centered around wellness and hospitality. Vana Retreats, a 21-acre estate, also located in Dehradun, will offer guests a wellness experience with a strong emphasis on nature and ecology.
26-year-old Veer Singh hasn’t yet made a stop at the family business and he likes it that way. Work on Vana Retreats in Dehradun began in 2007, but it wasn’t until 2009 that Veer came on board with a concept of Vana as a wellness center with a strong emphasis on ecology. Today Veer leads a team of 125 designers, architects, therapy specialists and horticulturalists. This venture is not a part of Max India, but the investment to set up the first Retreat has come from the family purse.
When asked if Veer feels the pressure of making his business a success, he said, "I got involved with the project about four and a half years ago in 2009. It took me a while to understand how to manage a project, how to manage design, understand basic financials etc. It has been a learning curve on all fronts. I have got about a decade of learning in four years and that is because we have done everything in-house."
The Vana team plans to launch the first retreat by the end of this year and eyes potential clientele from the US, UK, Germany and India. On the drawing board are plans to create the next Vana at an overseas location, but of a much smaller scale. So if Veer’s vision turns into a reality then one can expect six Vana properties to relax and rejuvenate in over the next decade.