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Looking Back

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Dhama Apparel Innovations, Kranthi Kiran Vistakula
Started by founder-CEO Kranthi Kiran Vistakula, Dhama Apparel Innovations made two important changes last year. It moved out of the National Institute of Design incubator in Ahmedabad to a 3,500-sq. ft manufacturing unit in Hyderabad. More significantly, it found a set of strategic investors to replace Reliance Venture Asset Management and Mumbai Angels. The two venture capital firms had entered the company in 2009. "We had different views on how the company should be scaled up," says Vistakula, referring specifically to the Reliance exit. Using its proprietary ClimaCon technology, Dhama designs functional apparel that can be adjusted to warm or cool climate. The new investors are from the manufacturing sector and are helping the company scale and strengthen its management team. Vistakula's vision is to grow Dhama into a global brand based on intellectual property. The company currently has a revenue run-rate of Rs 17 lakh per month and employs 20 people.

Husk Power Systems, Gyanesh Pandey, Ratnesh Yadav, Charles Ransler, Manoj Sinha
Patna-based Husk Power Systems, which generates electricity by burning rice husk in off-grid villages in Bihar and parts of Uttar Pradesh, has grown to over 50 micro-power plants from the 24 that it had at the time of winning the awards last year. It now powers more than 200 villages, up from 80. Besides the International Finance Corporation's earlier commitment for $350,000, the company also raised $1.25 million in Series A funding from Acumen Fund, Oasis Fund and others. Other existing investors in the company include Draper Fisher Jurvetson and the Shell Foundation. Setting itself the target of 500 installed power plants by December 2012, it also expects to have a workforce of 700 operators, 35 cluster-level managers, 10 mid-level managers and five senior managers by then. Most of the original founding team is still intact, though it is not clear whether Charles Ransler, who was largely responsible for the company's fund-raising and marketing activities, is still with the team.

Gensol Consultants, Anmol Singh Jaggi
Carbon credit trading and advisory firm Gensol Consultants is currently in the middle of a business model realignment. Sensing imminent problems in the global market for carbon credit trading with the end of the Kyoto Protocol agreement in 2012, founder-director Anmol Singh Jaggi has started diversifying into new areas. "The European and US markets, the biggest buyers of carbon credit from the developing world, look uncertain post 2012," says Jaggi. To hedge against this, Jaggi has set up a new vertical that advises companies on how to set up solar power factories, malls and other facilities. The company has also recently added waste management services to its portfolio. It expects revenues of Rs 50 crore by the end of this year, on the back of these new service lines. Solar projects, it expects, will bring in Rs 25 crore. Profits are projected at Rs 8 crore. Last year, the company also raised Rs 6 crore in venture capital funding from US-based India Venture Partners.

Sammaan Foundation, Irfan Alam

Sammaan Foundation, a Patna-based company that uses cycle rickshaws for outdoor advertising, has grown its services to more than 20 cities. Founder-chairman Irfan Alam has also launched a new initiative called Sammaan Swasthya, which involves tie-ups with pharmaceutical companies to provide free medical check-ups to its 500,000 beneficiaries (rickshaw pullers). Initially free of cost, the service will later be offered at a subsidised rate to ensure sustainability. The company's long-term vision is to create a larger financial inclusion business around rickshaw pullers. It has already forayed into services such as vehicle financing, opening savings accounts on behalf of banks and housing finance for the rickshaw-puller community. Last year, Alam was part of a special delegation of Indian entrepreneurs who travelled to the US to meet President Barack Obama. The company is now looking to raise institutional funding. Details on its current revenues and profits were not available.

Ideacts Innovations, Rudrajeet Desai, Saurabh Khullar, Maninder Gill
Sequoia Capital-backed Ideacts Innovations, a Pune-based company that hawks a desktop advertising application called Clinck! for cyber café owners, says that revenues have grown 100 per cent since it won the award last year. At the time, the company was not profitable. It did not provide an update on whether it is profitable now. Expansion plans in the immediate future include scaling up the model to cover Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities in India, says Neeti Malhotra, head of finance. In the past, the company raised more than Rs 25 crore over two rounds of funding from Sequoia and SVB India Capital.


(This story was published in Businessworld Issue Dated 06-06-2011)