From India’s largest solar business to an unexplored bamboo-based textile brand, here’s what SMBStory covered this week
Despite stiff competition from China, Waaree Energies became India’s largest solar business and Ahmedabad-based Mush Apparels explored bamboo to make bath towels.
Here’s a wrap of our SMB stories of the week:
Hitesh Doshi, Chairman and MD, Waaree
When Hitesh Doshi started a thermal equipment trading business in Mumbai in 1989, he only ever intended to make ends meet and earn a living. He borrowed Rs 5,000 and launched Mahavir Thermo Equip to trade temperature and pressure gauges.
In a journey spanning 30 plus years, a period that also witnessed the company pivot to solar, Hitesh transformed his business into Waaree Energies, making it a leading PV module and panel manufacturing firm with 2GW capacity - a number that is steadily growing.
What started with a borrowed capital of Rs 5,000 now sees a turnover of Rs 2,000 crore.
In an exclusive interview with SMBStory, he says: “According to the MNRE, we have the highest installed capacity of solar module manufacturers in India, followed by the likes of Adani, Vikram, etc. Last year, in a pandemic-hit market, we recorded Rs 2,000 crore turnover. Now, we are increasing our capacity to 5GW by December 2021, and hoping to triple our revenue.”
Hitesh and his company Waaree are playing in a market dominated by Chinese imports, and his story is one of championing local Indian manufacturing of solar PV modules and panels.
Mush founders Ayush Agarwal (left) and Nihar Gosalia (right)
Despite working corporate roles at Amazon and TCS respectively, engineering batchmates and friends Ayush Agarwal and Nihar Gosalia longed to start their own company. Thus, they quit their cushy jobs to start Mush Apparels, exploring the use of bamboo in textile- a concept not much explored in India.
Ayush, who had seen ecommerce sellers grow at Amazon, immediately felt bamboo fabric would work well on online D2C channels.
“In 2018, we quit our jobs to start Mush Apparel in Ahmedabad, and bring to life our vision for products made from bamboo fabric. We sell bath towels, face towels, bath sets, and socks made from bamboo fabric on Amazon, Flipkart, Myntra, Tata Cliq, etc,” Ayush says.
“Last FY, we clocked Rs 4 crore revenue, and in the last 12 months, we recorded Rs 7 crore. This year, we aim to reach Rs 12 crore.”
The friends claim that their products largely use a 70-30 blend of bamboo and cotton, which is not common among larger fashion brands which prefer to use a smaller quantity of bamboo in their blends, according to Mush’s founders.
Other top picks of the week:
(Illustration by Gnana Selvam)
In the first week of June, SMBStory launched ‘SMB Specials’ to explore the impact of COVID-19 on MSMEs and resultant shutdowns.
A recent Dun and Bradstreet survey indicates that more than 82 percent of small businesses have been negatively impacted by COVID, and that 70 percent of them expect that it will take almost a year for the demand to come back.
The first episode brought out the impact of lockdown on small-sized darshinis who were not digitally advanced and faced the brunt.
Founded in September 2020 by Rajesh Kumar Subramanium, Chennai-based Ghoshak helps SMBs conduct day-to-day operations like creating an online store, building a website, generating e-bills, sales reports, customer data, inventory management, and more.
Rajesh says, initially, it was a challenge to convince the small shop owners to adopt the Ghoshak business app. The company’s sales team would personally visit SMB owners, explain to them the benefits of using the application, and this is how it got its first few customers on board.
The team also decided to penetrate certain sectors, including local kirana shops, grocery stores, parlours, mobile shops, etc. Gradually, they diversified their portfolio.
Today, Ghoshak has over 10,000 active customers, including footwear shops, meat shops, jewellery stores, chemists, restaurant owners, toy shops, and more.
Since its inception, it has seen about 50,000 downloads of its app on Google Play Store. While the app is not available on the App Store now, Rajesh adds that they plan to launch it in 2022.