’’From struggle to success’’ A life with light
Can you imagine living in the dark? S Deepak Kumar and Vishnu Raghunathan can! They faced this problem and it didn’t take much of a time for them to take an action and help many others bring a light in their life.
S Deepak Kumar and Vishnu Raghunathan are the two founders of Lytyfy. In this interview S Deepak will tell us more about his journey.
1. What is your idea/ business about? How the idea was born?
As part of our first job after graduating from college, we were posted in Dhamdaha Block of Purnea district which falls in one of the most backward state, Bihar in India. We had to stay in the villages as part of the work routine and it was here where for the first time in our lives, we experienced powerlessness in the literal sense.
Every evening after coming back from our workplace, we used to stay in the dark. We used to cook, eat and sleep in the dark. It was at this time that we realized the importance of light in our lives. While working, we realized that all the people in the nearby locality have been living like this and many of these had never even experienced a life with light. We decided to do something about the same and hence started with a market based solution of providing clean and quality access to energy in rural areas. In order to help the rural poor who are unable to afford the cost of the new products at one go, we have created a social investment platform which facilitates end user financing for such customers.
2. Tell me about yourself and your team?
Deepak has done his masters in Environment Management after pursuing his bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering. He has designed community based last mile energy delivery systems and renewable energy projects which have enabled more than 15,000 households to adopt solar energy products in rural areas.
Vishnu has done his masters in Rural Management after pursuing his bachelor’s in Electrical and Electronics Engineering. He has facilitated and worked with more than 2000 women self help groups and lead community based microfinance, health and livelihood projects impacting more than 25000 families.
Our team has grown to a team size of 8 comprising of 3 member field operations team who look after day to day activities at field level and 3 member technology team which comprises of bright engineers who take care of the technical aspects of social investment platform operations.
3. What are the main struggles that you have experienced?
Personally, both of us are first time entrepreneurs. Hence, it was difficult to adjust to the demands of the task at hand. The fluctuations in the business cycle were new thing as suddenly the bandwidth of demands of the business expanded beyond what we could think of. Managing the uncertainties is one of the major challenges of entrepreneurship and we found that embracing it is the only way out.
4. How did you solve your problems?
We decided to take one step at a time and stopped worrying about things which were beyond our control. This helped us in focusing our energy on what is important and helped us in prioritizing our non negotiable tasks over other tasks. We also came across mentors and seniors who helped us in preparing and facing the challenges and struggles which comes with running your own venture.
5. If you had a chance what would you do in differently?
Hindsight is always helpful and you always find a better way to do things in retrospection. But in reality life isn’t that way. You have to plan your approach and strategies looking forward which isn’t easy. We feel that we should assess the situation based on the knowledge and wisdom that we have at our hand at present moment and take the plunge based on what we have and not worry about having plan b or c. Hence we are happy with what we have done and have no regrets. Ultimately it’s important to realize that the fun lies in taking the journey not reaching the destination.
6. What was the best advice you got and what was the worst?
The best advice that I have got from one of my mentors was to focus on unit economics at every moment so that you have feel of things. All kinds of advice are useful. Ultimately, you are the decision maker who should act in a sensible manner.
7. What will be your advice to the other entrepreneurs?
Enjoy the journey rather than worrying about the destination!
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July 22, 2016