Interview: Rajnish Sharma
CEO & Director at Smarten
Energy Storage Market in India is Still in its Nascent Stage
May 19, 2022. By Manu Tayal
In an exclusive interaction series with startup companies in the energy and mobility space, Manu Tayal, Associate Editor, Energetica India, interacted with Rajnish Sharma, CEO & Director, Smarten, a Gurugram-based energy startup. Here’re the edited excerpts from that interaction:
Que: Tell Energetica India readers in brief about Smarten including its vision.
Ans: Incepted in 2014, the Gurugram-based energy startup, Smarten, is one of India’s leading power-backup manufacturers. The company aims to fill a major gap in the energy consumption space by developing a highly efficient alternative source of energy.
Led by a team of over 300 technologists and dignitaries in power, Smarten aims to disrupt the energy storage market with 100% localised products for the B2B and B2C segments. Smarten products help combat rising utility bills while encouraging people to make eco-friendly lifestyle choices. With a vision of ‘Fusion is the Future’, we at Smarten aim to encourage and transform all energy consumption to solar, tidal, and wind energy.
Till date, our revenues are Rs 185 crores. The company is set to clock Rs 300 crores in revenue in this fiscal i.e. FY 2022–23.
Que: What are Smarten’s various product offerings and their market USP as compared to peers?
Ans: With the motto of evolving renewable energy, Smarten offers a comprehensive selection of cutting-edge products that provide consumers with reliable power back-ups, such as home UPS and inverters, PWM based Solar PCU, MPPT based Solar PCU, Batteries, Solar PCU, Solar Charge controllers, and other addons. The company aims to provide innovative solutions to the world’s growing need for sustainable energy consumption.
Que: Kindly share information about the company’s manufacturing facilities including its R&D and testing parameters?
Ans: Smarten has its own state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, which is spread across an 1800 sq ft area, with plans to expand to 1,00,000 sq ft in the near future. This facility is equipped with the latest technology that manufactures up to 3,000-4,000 products per day. The company also has an in-house R&D centre, which is a powerhouse of innovations. All the products, from the very start till the end, are assessed by highly professional quality assurance.
Que: Shed some light on your educational background, achievements, and experiences across sectors, along with other founders if any. How did the idea of forming Smarten come into existence?
Ans: I, Tirath Khaira, Arun Bhardwaj, and Ravi Dutt co-founded Smarten in 2014 and were joined by a great core team of over 300 technologists and dignitaries in power. I and the other three co-founders had known each other for over a decade. With more than 20 years of experience, we have worked together with India’s largest power solution company. To provide innovative solutions to the world’s growing need for sustainable energy consumption, we began our entrepreneurial journey.
As the CEO and Director of Smarten, I drive the vision, strategy, and growth of the company. With over 20 years of experience in the field of energy, I hold a strong vision of innovating and offering the best quality products and empowering every home and commercial area with Smarten’s world-class product line of solar inverters, solar batteries, solar panels, and much more.
Tirath Khaira, currently the Director, Planning and Operations Head at Smarten, has a strong track record and has worked with numerous A-list multinational companies.
Arun Bhardwaj is the Director and export head, and Ravi Dutta is the Director and R&D head at Smarten. Coming from the same business, we saw an abundance of prospects in the industry, ranging from technology to a wide range of products with high market demand.
Thus, Smarten was founded to cater to our society. We're all experts in our fields of work, whether it's R&D, product development, sales, or worldwide marketing. As a result, we already had a good name in the industry. That's why we came up with the idea of offering some innovative products that could address some of society’s current issues.
Que: What challenges did you see in the Indian energy storage market, and what will be the potential solutions?
Ans: There are a few challenges in the energy storage market in India. The first is that the market is still in its nascent stage and there is a need for an ecosystem for this sector to develop. Another challenge is the lack of government support for this sector. Some of the possible solutions to these challenges are to focus on market creation and promotion through policy, R&D, and investments in the market.
Que: In the initial phase, do you face any challenges being a startup entrepreneur?
Ans: The initial phase of any startup is always a challenge. The primary challenges are managing the funds, getting the right talent on board, and finding customers. However, with our strategic planning, we can lower our risk factors and achieve our goals.
Que: What are your views on the government support for the start-up ecosystem in the country? Any suggestions?
Ans: We welcome the government’s move to support the start-up ecosystem in India. The government provides a lot of incentives for startups, which is a good thing for the new economy. We appreciate that the government has not just made policies for new technology but also takes a hands-on approach to encourage startups in other areas.
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