Focus on quality helped this SMB power backup company to clock Rs 185 Cr revenue
With products like UPS and home inverters, India’s power backup industry is a crowded segment, riddled with organised and unorganised players.
According to market estimates, the industry sees around 40 percent of its sales coming from unorganised players who are able to sell their products at a cheaper price point.
Founded in 2014, Gurugram-based Smarten Power Systems has managed to carve a niche for itself with products attuned to customers’ needs and powered with the latest technology.
Market and Research states that India's power backup market is expected to grow to Rs 504.66 billion by 2023, expanding at a CAGR of 11.28 percent between 2018-2023.
Co-founders Rajnish Sharma, Tirath Khaira, Arun Bhardwaj, and Ravi Dutt felt they could create an impact withPower despite numerous players in the market.
“We were always conscious about customer requirements and wanted to incorporate the latest technology into our products,” Rajnish Sharma, CEO, Smarten, tells YourStory in an interaction.
Rajnish says the batteries in many inverters available in the market start draining when the power goes off, creating inconvenience to customers who have to often get it repaired.
The CEO claims that Smarten did R&D and came up with an inverter, which solves the problem of battery discharge by incorporating the latest power backup technology.
The energy product range of Smarten
In the beginning, the co-founders bootstrapped the startup with Rs 30 lakh they pooled in from their savings and raising loans from banks.
For the first two years, Smarten did not see much demand as the products were priced higher than its competition. “We wanted to create our own identity with products that have advanced technology and features,” explains Rajnish.
Two years later, Smarten started getting traction, largely through word of mouth and the company’s distributor network. The CEO claims Smarten’s marketing strategies sets it apart from its competitors.
Since the company wanted to keep itself abreast with the latest technology and trend, it decided to foray into the solar segment before it even became popular.
According to Rajnish, solar-related products are slowly gaining consumer acceptance. To get stronger traction, Smarten introduced solar-related products that first incorporated the basic technology. However, as demand rose, Smarten expanded its scope to incorporate more advanced features.
At present, Smarten has expanded its range of power backup solutions and solar products—home UPS, inverters, solar power conditioning units, solar charge controllers, solar inverters, panels, batteries, off-grid solutions, grid-tie inverters, and customised solar solutions.
These products are priced, starting at Rs 4,000 onwards.
Retail consumer focus
Today, states like Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Punjab form key markets for Smarten. Focusing largely on retail consumers, the company’s channel distribution network has helped it get stronger traction in the market.
Besides the Indian market, Smarten exports its products to over 55 countries, primarily in Asia and Africa. Today, around 30 percent of its revenue comes from exports.
Over the last eight years, the steps taken by Smarten have paid rich dividends. In FY22, the company registered a revenue of Rs 185 crore, up 66 percent, compared to FY21 (Rs 111 crore).
Rajnish claims Smarten is a profit-making company, and the profits generated over the years are ploughed back into the business.
Smarten aims to introduce a new range of power backup products, including solar power, and expand into newer markets, especially in south India.
In fact, the company has plans to enter the electric vehicle segment in the next financial year as the demand for batteries is rising. However, it will focus on manufacturing electronic components rather than batteries.
The competition remains intense for Smarten Power from companies like Microtek, Su-Kam, Exide, Honda Siel, Luminous, etc.
Rajnish believes competition is healthy for this industry, and Smarten’s strength lies in its R&D investment to bring superior products to the market.
“Customers recognise quality, and unless we upgrade ourselves with the latest technologies, they will not respect you,” says Rajnish.