Nitin Bhatnagar

Co-Founder of Ellington Group

Nitin Bhatnagar is a successful entrepreneur and the co-founder of Ellington Group. With over twenty years of experience in financial services, Nitin first began his career in investment banking for the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi in New Delhi, where he prepared reports on the financial creditworthiness of Indo-Japanese joint venture companies.

Nitin’s wealth of experience eventually landed him several executive roles including, the Business Development Manager for the Standard Chartered Bank in India and then the Relationship Manager of the Van Gogh Preferred Banking department for ABN Amro Bank. Nitin’s work ethic spoke for itself, and he was promoted to Vice President and Head of Sales of their Dubai office, where he was responsible for sixty Van Gogh Relationship Managers covering India, Pakistan, UAE, and the Middle East.

Nitin’s next move was to the Bank of Singapore as Managing Director, Private Banking and Head of Non-Resident Indians for Africa and Europe focusing on new customer acquisitions for the bank. Before starting his own business, he also joined Bank J Safra Sarasin as Managing Director, Private banking.

In 2014, he made the decision to invest in Ellington Properties and in 2017, joined in managing the company. With a portfolio of over eighteen residential projects, Nitin and his partners plan to expand globally. Nitin is also the Founder and Promoter of Canarax Trading LLC and Quantum Capital Management Consulting.

Where did the idea for your career come from?

Ellington Properties came to live when my partners and I sat together and decided there was a gap in the market where you can either get a quality apartment at a very high price – almost unaffordable to the mid-level segment in the market or if it is affordable then the quality is very low that it is not livable. So, we decided to bridge that gap.

As for Canarax Trading, it was based on my investment banking experience where I wanted to be part of certain industries that made it to the banking world, so I started a trading and manufacturing business for metals and other materials.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I start my day reading the global news as this helps me understand how to maneuver both businesses on a day-to-day basis and where the opportunities lie.

After having breakfast with my family, I head to the office to start my meetings with the team and clients since we explore mines in different countries and go on exploratory site visits before we proceed with commercial discussions with the governments.

As for the business in Ellington Properties, my involvement is at a high level where I am part of board meetings deciding on new plot purchases or joint ventures, project development and design as well as other joint venture opportunities to help us expand the portfolio of our real estate product.

Most of my day is spent talking to both our teams in office and clients since it ensures to keep the business moving and our main vision aligned with our colleagues.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Whenever I meet people, I always listen for gaps or shortcomings in products and services and it helps me be very creative with what I want to try next for my businesses.

Bringing them to life is always with the help of my team and they assist me in exploring how the idea can be executed, the costs and the opportunities to expand it and make it big in the market. Accordingly, we take a call whether to go live or not.

What’s one trend that excites you?

I’m excited about the innovations that address human needs. Those are the innovations that make you take a moment to yourself and wish you would have thought of it. That’s what gets me going.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Talking to my colleagues in the office and sharing ideas and discussions over those ideas. One single discussion always leads to many opportunities for us to explore.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Work hard but also take time for yourself to enjoy life since time passes by quickly and you will only enjoy your success if you enjoy your life.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

Every person has three faces, but generally people don’t want to accept this fact.

The first face that you show to the world.
The second face that you show to your close friends, and your family.
The third face that you never show to anyone. It is the truest reflection of who you are.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Talking to people. It’s only by continuously talking to people that you come up with ideas and be able to bring ideas to life and always make your team understand the importance of staying ahead of what you do to succeed in life.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Always start the next day from zero.

This helps you always think like you need to do more for your business and to improve. Whenever we achieve success, we make sure to celebrate it as a team, but we come in the morning and start working and focusing on the next big goal for the business.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

Trying to venture into multiple things before setting foot on the ground and going live.

It is great to come up with many ideas, but it is greater having that one idea work for the market and getting it out there then moving on to the next business opportunity.

With experience and time, I learnt to keep certain ideas on the shelf till I get other business opportunities going and then revisiting these ideas to see what would still be needed in the market and if the team and I can make it work.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Most ideas are about knowing what gaps are in your market so in our region one business idea would be a driverless delivery service. I have seen it work well in Houston by Dominos and it is a much-needed addition in Dubai or the Middle East since the market has geared more towards online purchases and online grocery shopping or food ordering since the pandemic.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

That’s a good question and makes me think a little bit more about how I spend. Can’t think of anything as of now but it will get me thinking going forward.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

Google – as I research a lot and always wonder how people managed to get information before the .com period.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

How to win friends and influence people by Dale Carnegie.

What is your favorite quote?

You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop. By Rumi

Key Learnings:

  • How important it is to always remind yourself even of the small successes in your career as it led you to who you are today.
  • Never underestimate the importance of an idea. Always explore it further
  • Think of the best money you spend and how it helped you grow or expand your sphere whether professionally or personally.