Great Companies: How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
Raj Mehta: As a child, I was compelled to ride my bicycle considerable miles for errands. I despised it since I am naturally lazy, so I set out to find a solution. As they say, "Necessity is the mother of invention," and one thing led to another, and I came across the idea of building an electric engine for my bicycle. Even back then, I was aware of the significance of developing an environmentally sustainable solution. I couldn't get the notion out of my head once I was hooked, and I became obsessed with making it a reality. Researching, seeking help from my teachers and anyone I could find, at the age of 12, I managed to create a workable model of an e-kit that converted by cycle into an e-cycle. The challenge of making it, the research experimentation, finally the sweet success not to miss the convenience it lent – I knew this is what I wanted to do in the future. I had never envisaged starting a company. But a chance interview with a leading news agency got viral, and demands for e-kits began pouring in, and I was in business. I was 14 when I set up Raj Electromotives, making me the youngest entrepreneur in the automotive industry.
Even when creating the first prototype, it was evident that the production of e-kits would require a few critical components to be imported. Hence once we started the company, I applied for an import-export license becoming the youngest person to ever apply for one and be awarded one at the age of 17. None of this would have happened if my grandfather had not stepped in to loan me Rs. 8K in exchange for being allowed to keep a close watch on my finances.
Raj Electromotives started operations by producing conversion kits for pedal cycles. It soon expanded its portfolio to include conversion kits for tricycles for differently-abled people, bikes (India’s first retro-fitment kit to convert a Petrol Bike to Electric), and pedal rickshaws, both freight and passenger rickshaws. Raj Electromotives Conversion Kits found traction both in the domestic and overseas markets. Today Raj Electromotives Pvt. Ltd. supplies to more than 19 countries across the globe.
Furthering the vision of clean commute, Make in India, and saving fossil fuel, in June 2019, I started a subsidiary of Raj Electromotives – Greta Electric Scooters, which manufactures a range of e-scooters and received our ICAT permit in late 2019.
Greta Electric Scooters has made its presence in India and Nepal and are under test for certification in Select European markets.
To our merit, we have a charging station at the highest altitude, thanks to our recently opened showroom at Leh, Ladakh.
Great Companies: What are the various Services provided by Greta Electric Scooters
Raj Mehta: Our company offers affordable two-wheeler electric scooters with state-of-art features. Currently, the company has rolled out four models in the market. Greta Electric Scooters offer best-in-class comfort and superior performance with mileage in the range of 100 km per charge. All four models come with DRL, EBS, reverse mode, ATA System, smart shift, Digital instrument cluster display, keyless start, disc brakes and anti-theft alarm. They come in attractive colors support light designer consoles with extra-large storage space.
Great Companies: What makes Greta Electric Scooters different from hundreds of other similar service providers?
Raj Mehta: Its my vision that sets me apart from the rest. My vision is to make commuting easy and affordable for the majority of people. With that aim, I've brought to market, a line of affordable two-wheelers with state-of-the-art-features and with exceptional quality.
Recognizing that every customer has unique requirements, we also allow customers to choose the four battery variants. Now customers can tailor the scooter to fit their need and budget.
Great Companies: What are the struggles and challenges you face?
Raj Mehta: Every start-up is loaded with challenges, mine was no different. It is those who persevere, overcome them and, pave the way to success - Luckily for me I persevered.
Given my age I believe my challenges were a shade different to start with, as I stated not with an idea of starting a company but with finding a solution to a real problem I was battling – peddling long distances. For me it was like taking an idea out of thin air and giving it all to bring it to fructification.
But once I got to making that idea a commercial success I faced the same challenges that most start-ups do : Idea & validation, Funding, Market understanding, Defining USP, People management, Procurement, establishing a supply chain, Understanding the basics of Financial Management and Operations.
For a young entrepreneur they unexplored chapters of their education and they need to quickly clear while executing and getting the business in place.
It is challenging, mind boggling and often disheartening. Often we give in to fine tuning our model and learning to perfection before taking the leap and that is where many fail. The key is to execute and make learning and improvements a way of life.
Great Companies: How do you plan to grow in the future? What does 5 years down the line look like for Greta Electric Scooters?
Raj Mehta: Five years down the road I would like to see Greta Electric Scooters as a dominant player in the market if not a market leader in the e-scooter segment.
Our active search for dealers and distributors across the country is the first step in the direction. We intend to have an experiential area in as many dealer outlets as possible to allow customers to get a hands-on feel of the product and access to experts who can address all their concerns & queries. To ensure a superlative post sales experience most of the dealer touch points will offer post sales service too and we will train their staff for the same. Our FY22 target is to add 50+ touchpoints to our network.
We will explore international markets too as an when the opportunity presents itself. To be competitive and pass the stringent international quality standards, our emphasis is on implementing state-of-the-art features and deliver quality in accordance with international norms.
Great Companies: If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
Raj Mehta: Every journey starts with a single step but to complete the journey successfully you need the drive.
A famous quote of an American Entrepreneur, Scott Blesky says- “It’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen”
Its not about age, resources or finances it is about the conviction that becomes your stubbornness to bring your idea to life.