From being a start-up in 1998 (when it was founded), Su-Kam has grown exponentially to become an Indian MNC and a successful example of “Make in India”, as it has offices and over 40,000 channel partners in many countries around the world.
Su-Kam Power Systems Ltd. is India’s largest power solutions company which has presence in 90 countries worldwide and holds a record for being the only company in this field to file for over 100 patents. It manufactures more than 200 products including various solar products, UPS, batteries and customized solar solutions. According to a recent report published by Bridge to India, Su-Kam has the biggest share in India’s residential solar market. From being a start-up in 1998 (when it was founded), Su-Kam has grown exponentially to become an Indian MNC and a successful example of “Make in India”, as it has offices and over 40,000 channel partners in many countries around the world. The first Indian power solutions company to win the title of ‘Superbrand’, Su-Kam is counted among one of the fastest growing companies according to India Inc. In an interaction with Sujata Sangwan of BWDisrupt, Kunwer Sachdev, Founder & MD, Su-Kam, shares his entrepreneurial journey and future plans of the company. Idea Generation: Su-Kam began as a star up in 90’s. We started our journey as a cable TV company in late 90s when the term ‘start-up’ was little known and much feared. Let alone finding investors, it was extremely difficult to hire talented people. Who would leave their plush Government job for joining a 6-month-old company?. “Sachdev established India’s leading power technology brand without having any technical background. Graduate in Statistics and Law, Kunwer, had to read his old physics book like a bible when he decided to manufacture inverters.” The inverter in my home used to break down frequently and I had to call or an electrician. One day I got so frustrated that I decided to tear it apart to see what was so wrong. I was surprised to see sub-standard material and poor technology in Indian inverters. I took the inverter to the technical team in my cable TV company and that’s when I realized the huge untapped potential of power backup products in Indian market. I decided to shut down my profitable cableTV business and laid the foundation for Su-Kam’s power electronics business. My aim was to provide products based on best technology to Indian consumers. Unique Key Points: The experience and the journey has been incredible. When we entered the power backup market in India, the entire industry was unorganized. Indian consumers were forced to buy sub-standard inverters which would go kaput regularly. Su-Kam brought cutting edge technology to the market because Su-Kam has been a tech company from its very inception. You can say that innovation is in our blood. We were the first company in India to set up a R&D facility and develop technology indigenously. At that time, the only high quality products available were American – too expensive for most of the Indians. Due to our focus on R&D, Su-Kam became the first Indian company to make sine wave inverters in India and probably the first company in the world to make plastic body home UPS. Interestingly, Su-Kam coined the word ‘Home UPS’. We combined the features of UPS and inverter into a single advice which now everybody calls ‘Home UPS’. In 2004, Su-Kam became the only Indian company to make sine wave inverter which could even replace generators. We made 100kva inverter. At that time only two other companies in the world had such a product. Recently, we have released world’s first touchscreen solar inverter. Traction Details: Su-Kam revolutionized the Indian power backup industry by giving excellent technology products to customers in India at affordable prices. Su-Kam’s popularity grew so much that we decided to enter into exports. We saw huge potential in countries in Africa and Southeast Asia because these countries had similar problems like India. Our product was specifically built for Indian conditions so it was a good fit there as well. I take pride in saying that a 100% ‘Made in India’ company captured Indian and foreign markets in such a way that China couldn’t get successful in this area. Otherwise cheap Chinese products are everywhere. We understood the problems of the needs of our people and offered solutions with technology.” Su-Kam, besides making inverters, batteries and solar products (for which it has become a household name), has created many innovative technologies that have application in many other fields. Our portfolio includes 250 products which reach millions of people worldwide through our network of 40,000 dealers and distributors spread across 90 countries. Competition: When we entered the power backup market in India, the entire industry was in disarray. We did what nobody was doing – we invented and Initialized latest technology to provide great products. So there was no competition there. We have never really bothered ourselves with our competitors and we continue to do that. We only focus on making ourselves better. Challenges Faced: As an entrepreneur you encounter challenges daily. Our initial challenges were more about hiring and retaining talented people, setting up the business etc. Innovating and creating cost-effective products based on superior technology is a continuous challenge which we absolutely love – it is our driving force. However, I realized that the biggest challenge in our sector is that the consumers lack knowledge about power electronics. There are myths and lack of proper information about even the basic concepts related to inverters, batteries and solar products. This restricts the customer from making informed decisions. So we are now on a mission to impart training and educate common people. We are doing this through the use of animation videos. These videos present technical concepts in a very easy-to-understand manner. These videos are uploaded on our YouTube channel and promoted on our Facebook, twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn – this way they reach millions of people worldwide. I got to know that a young boy from Gujarat converted his existing inverter and battery into solar system after watching our DIY video on the same subject. Isn’t that great! Future Plans: Su-Kam is India’s home grown power technology company. We are continuously developing products that are good for the environment while also being cost and energy efficient. Our R&D is coming up with testing products that can help you find out any product’s efficiency before you buy it. We have created embedded software’s to develop the products. We don’t make any product without the embedded software’s. In fact, all our new products run on latest generation of processors – the same processor which runs your laptop and smartphones is being used in our power products. We have launched a series of ‘Smart products’ which have touchscreen, Bluetooth, and can be controlled/monitored remotely by downloading an app on your smartphone. Our focus is average Indian so we are developing solar products for residential markets – products that help people harness and use solar energy in their homes while also sending it back to the grid at the same time. We have recently developed India’s first hybrid solar inverter, touchscreen solar off grid solar inverter, appliance comparison device, and remote monitoring systems. We aim to take green solar energy to each and every home in India.