At Microqual, a company manufacturing passive components for radio frequency/microwave industry, customer need is the biggest differentiator. Clued in to what will be the next demand in market and what technology will drive the industry is something Mahesh Chaudhary has mastered since he started Microqual in 1999. Today, company has over 4000 products in its portfolio and registered 500% growth last year. Mahesh tells YourStory that they are in the business of pain-killers.
I come from a business family. My father is into dyes and chemicals. But I always wanted to do something different...something of my own, on my own.
In 1999, I completed my graduation and was looking for a job when I met one of my distant relatives. He knew how to make a telecom splitter. I decided to take it to the market and sell it. I also convinced him to start a company together, which will manufacture and market these products.
It was tough to convince clients initially. I was a commerce graduate, selling technical product. There was no brand pull. Once, a client even tore up a purchase order of Rs25 lakh saying our products were inferior. We had to do a lot of hard selling.
And then, my partner left in 2002.
I took all these difficulties as a challenge and vowed to give it my best shot. I started interacting with clients and learned a great deal about the telecom infrastructure industry. I identified their problems and existing needs in the market. I soon realised there was a need for good quality antennae. I roped in a few IIT guys and got one developed as per market requirements.
I haven't had to look back since then. Today, we have a portfolio of roughly 4,000 products.
There have been several turning points since then. The first was getting an order worth Rs 4 crore from Ericsson when our topline was just Rs 4 crore.
The opening of our factory in Rudrapur in 2006 was also significant.
Another turning point was the special MBA programme for family managed business houses I went in for at S P Jain College, Mumbai. Under the programme, we were taught various aspects of business for a week and then given three more weeks to apply the same in our family businesses.
Then, there was the $10million private equity funding from NEA-IndoUS ventures, JAFCO Asia, and BTS India Fund last year, which helped put our business on the fast track.
Not for once have I thought of doing anything else. Even as a 10th standard student, when I used to frequent my father's office, I knew there was no learning curve for a youngster like me. I just had to go solo.
The greatest differentiators in all this have been our customers. Our resources lie outside. We have always come up with solutions based on the need gaps of our customers. I often say to my employees that we don't sell devices but pain killers to our customers.
The goal now is to make Microqual a billion-dollar company by 2014.