Small Enterprise India, had caught up with a few of the Startups during the Headstart’22 event and had an insight into their successful journey. Excerpts from our interview with Sravan Appana, CEO & Cofounder, iGowise Mobility Pvt. Ltd
- Brief intro about you and the company, your team, and your journey so far.
We are entrepreneurial engineers and innovators with a keen business sense. We understand the customer experience and listen intently to our customer’s problems, both stated and unstated. We are dreamers and are restless until we execute our dreams. We are curious, always learning & relearning. We love to experiment.
Customer delight is the game we play. Technology is just our most valuable weapon.
Most importantly, we enjoy building impactful products, together. The 30-member is a healthy mix of energetic young talent from institutes such as IIT Patna, VIT, etc., and functional experts from across the industry including Tata Motors, Bosch, Mahindra and Mahindra, and PwC India just to name a few.
I am an alumnus of the Indian School of Business with 12+ years of experience building world-class products in different domains. Having built technology products in enterprise order management, Fintech, IOT & Cloud space, I wanted to dive into the mobility industry to explore the world of autonomous mobility.
Suresh, a hard-core engineer, after working in the public engineering space (Indian Railways) and on the corporate side (Adani) started his decade-long successful entrepreneurial journey working in engineering services for all the major metros in India and even the high-speed rail project of Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train in partnership with the Japanese. His seamless ability to bring concepts from other domains and industries coupled with his ingenuity of frugal engineering got him 20+ patents in the mobility space.
2. What made you become an entrepreneur?
I’ve been an explorer. I’ve explored 20 different countries, worked in 6 different industries, even got schooled in 7 schools, and built various technology products centered around the core human experience. I’ve always been termed different by my peers. There’s always been a curiosity to do things differently. ‘Why not?’ This has been the phrase I’ve known for my teachers, my colleagues, and even my parents. I’ve observed that 1000s of folks work in the mobility sector. Hardly anyone trying to solve the bane of human existence, traffic congestion. I envisioned and conceptualized a system that addresses both parts of the problem, vehicle, and infrastructure. In my quest, I met this veteran entrepreneur who was already building the autonomous lightweight shuttle pod system that I envisioned. I reached out just to pick some insights from his journey so far. And 2 years down the line, we are building our shared mission together.
3. What purpose does your brand solve? Which industry does it fall under?
Safe, Sustainable, Smart mobility! That is our mission.
- 1.5 lakh road accidents in India equivalent to one Pandemic every 3 years.
- 2 wheeler users are 30X more prone to fatality in an accident compared to any other vehicle
- 70% of the 2-wheeler fatalities involve a young bread-winner for the family
That is the mission we set out for ourselves. And we are incredibly proud to introduce our Trigo which is 5X more stable, 3X more Spacious, 5X more fire-resistant, and 3X more long-lasting than other 2-wheelers in the world. A complete family vehicle with unique AFO tech allows women and the elderly to ride it without fear. Built for the Indian roads and non-existent parking spaces. Truly a multi-functional vehicle that can elevate the social status of the household.
Our all-weather all-terrain bike is going to provide an alternative for people who are looking for the comfort, convenience, and weather protection of a car. We are in the mobility space. We offer a chance towards dignified, smart, sustainable & safe mobility for everyone irrespective of age, gender, and economic class
4. Have you raised any funding earlier?
We are frugal innovators and have iterated four generations of prototyping just by boot-strapping. We pooled funds earlier from some Angels, friends & family for setting up our infrastructure. We have secured a convertible note from my AIC ISB part of the Seed-fund-India scheme. We have just started our fundraising journey to scale up to the next level.
5. If you haven’t raised any funding, what are your plans for fundraising?
As we are ramping up our production & manufacturing capacity, we’ve started exploring both Venture capital as well as Venture Debt. Including Angels, VCs, AIFs, and even grants and schemes for startups. We’re also exploring crowdfunding to pool funds from our early adopters and customer ambassadors to make them part of our growth journey.
6. Briefly explain your Business plan – Why your brand, competition, USP and how do you see it growing in the next 5 years?
Our eventual goal is to provide access to dignified mobility to the common rural aspirational household. But we will enter the market with a narrow focus on being the SUV among motorcycles for urban joint families that value the safety, space, and status of an SUV car.
While others are content with offering a little bit more range, a little bit more speed or charging time, with our unique patented AFO technology, we are offering what no one else could match.
Better safety and stability even on muddy roads, best-in-class ground clearance, Ultra-low CG, best-in-any-class ergonomics, unparalleled acceleration, 12o gradient steep hill-climb, 300L luggage space to carry entire airplane baggage on Trigo family EV. Elderly Saree-clad women can also travel quite comfortably on our Trigo without sitting sideways.
We may be initially competing with the 2-wheeler manufacturers in India. You can mark our words; our all-weather all-terrain bike is going to give a run for the money for the entire car industry by reducing the need to upgrade to a personal car by manifold. While helping reduce the road footprint and thus traffic congestion on our congested city roads.
7. How was your experience at Headstart H.S.X 2022?
It was a great experience here meeting people from different industries and networking with them. It’s the first-ever public exhibition of our product. We’ve received rave reviews, great leads, helpful connections, and some really valuable constructive feedback as well. We are so glad for the incredible opportunity.
8. Please share your advice for aspiring startups
There is no guarantee of success. But if you have figured out a way to enjoy the journey, the destination can be a bonus benefit that can pleasantly surprise you. Starting up is a lot like parenting. You put the needs and aspirations of your customers, your investors, your employees, and your partners before yourself. Create an environment for them to grow and nurture naturally. And you will receive a lot of fulfillment as well as actual returns. But if you only do it for the returns or worse, because everyone in your peer group is doing it, it can be an incredibly stressful experience.
- Aim high!
- Keep moving forward with small and consistent steps!
- Keep building resilience to survive the external winds and waves!