Success is a very dangerous word to Kunwer Sachdev. To him, success is nothing but a continuous journey that never ends. It is like chasing some targets and setting new ones. After achieving one target, the chase for a new target begins. This is the philosophy of Kunwer Sachdev’s life that made him ‘Inverter Man of India’ to ‘Solar Man of India’ and Su-Kam set an example of ‘Make in India’ as a global brand under his leadership. Let’s watch his journey of endeavor.
Must Watch: Kunwer Sachdev’s Journey of Self-Made Global Entrepreneur
“My story can inspire people to think big. They will realise that anything is possible in life and it is they who can change their own lives. How? If you have the vision, passion, focus and the zeal to grow, no obstacle can push you back. Is that too much to change your life from nothing to something”? –Kunwer Sachdev.
Born : 16 November 1962 Delhi, India
Residence : Gurgaon, Haryana
Nationality : Indian
LLB Delhi University 1989
BA (Statistics) Hindu College, DU, 1984
10+2 Goverment School, Punjabi Bagh, Delhi, 1981
Occupation : Founder &MD-Su-Kam Power System Ltd.
Spouse : Khushboo Sachdev
Children : Kanav & Shourrya Sachdev
Kunwer Sachdev started his career by selling pens on the cycle with his elder brother. But he believes in visualising invisible to make impossible possible. This visionary thought process ignited his zeal to enter into a business of cable TV communications in 1992 with cash of Rs.10000. Kunwer didn’t stop here, he foresaw the growth of the power backup industry in India and founded Su-Kam® Power Systems in 1998. To explore regularly, he further saw towards the Sun’s rays power and decided to exploit it for the benefit of mankind. Thus his next venture was solar power to grab Sun’s energy. Now a business that started with only Rs. 10000 has compounded to Rs. 2300 crore and has become a multi-national company (MNC) with its operations to almost 90 countries worldwide.
Brief coverage of Kunwer Sachdev’s life and ups & downs under the following headings:
- Family Background & Education
- Working with Others
- Early Business to Entrepreneurship
- Star-up Entrepreneur to ‘Inverter Man of India’
- The Solar Man of India
- Technical Vision to R&D and Patent
- Unique Marketer
- Global Brand Maker
- Public Speaker
- Media Coverage
- Awards & Nominations
- Favorites and…
KUNWER SACHDEV FAMILY BACKGROUND & EDUCATION
Kunwer Sachdev was born in a lower-middle-class family on 16th November 1962. He was one of the three sons of a section officer in the Indian Railways. His father always wanted to be an entrepreneur and to realize his dream he shifted to a residential colony full of entrepreneurs. He had tried a lot of different businesses but he never did well financially. He was a very hardworking man and that trait is seen in all the three sons of the family. The family has been through so hard times when on kid’s birthday getting a shoe or a shirt as a gift was a big thing. Kunwer’s mother was a housewife.
Kunwer studied in a government school in Punjabi Bagh, New Delhi. He always knew he would be an entrepreneur, so he did not focus on his studies, yet he finished his BA in Mathematical Statistics from Hindu College and LLB from Delhi University. To improve English he started reading English books. And he learned how to talk to people, to take people along, how to make groups and learned to organize things.
KUNWER SACHDEV’S WORKING WITH OTHERS
Kunwer Sachdev helped his elder brother who started a small business of selling writing instruments (pen) since he was in standard 10. When turned 15, he began helping his brother sell pens to shops in Delhi. It was the late 1970s, and the nation’s capital was not immune to rolling blackouts, which increased in frequency during the sweltering summer months.
After passing college, Kunwer Sachdev joined his brother’s pen business as a full-time and wanted to grow it as a brand bigger to Luxor. As his ideas did not match his brother’s, he left his business.
He worked at various commercial pursuits casually, including a law firm and a cable TV equipment manufacturing company. He had joined a cable company as a sales executive and learned a lot about cables and sales.
KUNWER SACHDEV’S EARLY BUSINESS & LAUNCH OF SU-KAM
Coming from lower-middle-class family background, Kunwer Sachdev never let financial constraints stop him from first thinking big and then becoming a serial entrepreneur from a young age of 15 years.
Throughout his working time at his brother’s pen business, law firm, and a cable company, he always thought of starting his own company. During that time, cable TV boom had just begun to unveil in the country. Anticipating a good market for cable TV accessories like dish antennae, modulators, satellite receivers, and amplifiers, he started his own cable TV business. To make it flourish he ventured into manufacturing cable TV accessories like amplifiers, modulators, and satellite receivers in 1992. He named it ‘Su-Kam’, a name that he had conceived at his college canteen for his brother’s pen business.
When Kunwer Sachdev started his business of manufacturing cable equipment, people around him warned that it would not work, but he sported a ‘can do’ attitude and was confident enough to take the risk.
Kunwer Sachdev’s cable TV business became successful and proved to be a great learning experience for him. He was good at sales, but he had no understanding of technology. Hence, many times he was fooled by people on the technicalities of things.
In 1993, when he was not even well settled in his business, he bought a 20GHz spectrum analyser at a cost of Rs 25 lakh, which nobody in his financial position would have taken such a step. Many saw it as a waste of money, but Kunwer Sachdev knew how useful this equipment would be in his business. That was his passion for learning and doing things in the right way.
Kunwer got the advantage of being an early bird in the cable TV domain and he was lucky that the brand became popular with the cable operators in Delhi. Soon, his products started selling in all parts of north India. He managed to get the exclusive right to distribute products of Echo Star, USA, in India. By 1995, Su-Kam had expanded its operations and was doing respectable business.
Kunwer Sachdev faced several failures in his career which made him stronger and more determined and focused. He took failures as challenges and challenges gave him the boost. There was a time when he could not pay the salary to his staff for at least three months. There were many such hardships in his life which he took as part of the learning process. At a time, when he was not in a position to afford full-time staff, he requested his ex-colleagues to work for him after their office hours.
However, this did not work well as the products started showing negative results and the company started losing faith among the customers. It was then Sachdev started learning about inverters himself. He took out his old physics books and started reading them once again. He also started reading about electronics and found interest in the subject. He then opened up inverters, mobile phones, and other gadgets, removed all parts, and assembled them again. This is how he learned about the technicalities of electronic gadgets.
The cable TV equipment business had reached its peak and by 1998 its growth had hit the market share. By then Kunwer Sachdev started planning to move ahead to bigger business. Success in the cable TV business gave him the confidence to think bigger, and in 1998 he started his next venture under the name Su-Kam Power Systems Ltd, an inverter business.
START-UP ENTREPRENEUR TO 'INVERTER MAN OF INDIA'
The story of Inverter Man of India began in 1998 when Kunwer Sachdev’s home inverter stopped functioning. Sachdeva opened it up and repaired it according to his knowledge and it started working. Back then, there was no inverter brand in India and the market was unorganized.
It struck him that the inverter business could be a tremendous business opportunity to be exploited, as he could foresee inverters becoming popular in households and small shops. He first started importing inverters from other countries and studied them. He studied almost all the inverters available in the Indian market. He realised that all the inverters had the same ineffective capacitor technology that made them so unreliable.
He hired a technical person to help him make an inverter. After being motivated by Kunwer Sachdev for months, the technician, who had never made an inverter before, made one successfully. This inverter was an improvised version of a Videocon inverter adapted to the Indian power conditions.
Scouting across industries, Sachdev put together a varied bunch of people to innovate further and develop new technology. Some were from the UPS industry, some from diverse digital product industries, and some even from the missile industry. A company working on components for the Agni missile had wound up and Kunwer Sachdeva hired the engineers who had nowhere to go.
Initially, Kunwer Sachdev developed just one inverter product and for one year he did business with that one product. It was not a smooth ride as many quality issues cropped up. He personally visited customers’ houses and checked the inverters to study the reason for failures. Deep into the night, he sat with his R&D team and experimented and re-experimented with this one product and finally re-developed it successfully. A man with a strategic vision and understanding of the market potential of inverters, Sachdeva was always restless to make innovative products.
Su-Kam started climbing the chart steadily but strongly. Low cost and hands-on approach have been the key drivers of Su-Kam’s competitiveness. Sachdeva constantly innovated with new technology and rapidly changed the products as per the requirements of the customers. Next, he started making batteries, as inverter and batteries are complementary products, and he knew that this would enable him to offer a more economical bargain to the customers. Before the company became defaulter of bank loan, there were 1500 people across 25 offices and had 7500 plus channel partners.
KUNWER SACHDEV–THE SOLAR MAN OF INDIA
With his aim to make continuous improvement in power solution systems, Kunwer Sachdev’s next attention went towards the power of the Sun’s rays coming to the Earth every day. And he thought to exploit the renewable solar energy for the benefit of mankind. So he grabbed this opportunity to start his next ventured into the solar sector in a major way. Since then he is working constantly on developing technology on solar energy. He has developed several innovative and cost-effective solar products like Su-Kam Solar UPS (Brainy) based on Sine Wave, India’s first touch-screen, and wi-fi enabled Solar Power Conditioning Unit, Solar DC Power Systems…
Kunwer Sachdev visualises a solar revolution happening in India within the next 5 years and by 10 years market may even reach a saturation point.
He would even go on to say that this ‘Solar Revolution’ in India would be as big as the ‘Mobile Phone Revolution’. It will be bigger than any other country in the world.
After all, in a country that has a population of more than 1 billion, anything that gets popular becomes a revolution for the world to watch.
Demand for solar products has increased by 30% percent in just one year! Soon it may even surpass the sales of Su-Kam normal inverter, UPS, and batteries. As more and more people are going for Su-Kam solar inverter, Brainy, especially when they are purchasing inverter for the first time.
Existing companies and others who have just started to enter the solar market in India are coming up with innovative technologies that may reduce the cost of solar power solution products even further. AS a result, many Indian houses and businesses will opt for solar in the coming days.
He also looks to those areas in India which have not been electrified till date. Residents of such places have never experienced electricity from the main grid supply. So Off-grid solar can be of major help here.
For example, recently Su-Kam installed DC Solar Home Lighting Systems in 40,000 households of villages in Uttar Pradesh under Lohiya Awas Yojna with efficient and cheap Off-grid DC Systems since DC systems consume much less power as compared to normal solar systems.
Main-grid supply in those areas is either absolutely missing or is very unreliable but now they have DC solar home lighting system. They run fans, lights, charge their mobile phones, listen to the radio, and are enjoying 24×7 Off-grid solar power. There is no need for the above use to waste energy by converting DC into AC!
Kunwer Sachdev’s next dream is to see every Indian house running on solar. He thinks that solar will help reduce India’s dependence on coal for electricity and can very well supplement our electricity production.
The electric power customers have realized that the price of electricity which comes from the Main-grid is increasing by 10% every year. Businesses are forced to pay higher prices as commercial rates are levied on them. On the other hand price of solar is coming down so rapidly that in most cases you can recover the cost of a solar power system within just two years!
Su-Kam has solarized many petrol pumps in India. The pump owners have been able to recover the cost within the first year. It is also helping the environment.
Sachdev looks forward to undertaking solar initiatives in upcoming smart cities and thus lead in a solar revolution in India.
KUNWER SACHDEV— TECHNICAL VISIONRY FOR R&D AND PATENT
Kunwer Sachdev a technical visionry for R&D and patent without an engineering degree, but he knows the nuts and bolts of the technology Su-Kam is betting on. He believes that research and innovation based on the latest technology are the only tools to sustain and progress in the power business. Thus, it is his technological attitude towards innovation that makes his company the market leader in India.
For this reason, his R&D team of 60 experts, scientists, and talented engineers have created India’s first touch-screen MPPT based Solar Power Conditioning Unit (PCU). It is wifi enabled can be monitored from anywhere in the world. The team has also made a mobile app to monitor power savings.
Another innovation that he will soon roll out is Electroscopy – India’s first device tells you about the internal functions of electrical equipment. It can be used to compare two inverters for their DC/AC waveform, switch-over time, harmonics, and efficiency – things which are important but can’t be seen otherwise.
Not only inverters, this device can compare the efficiency of any two electric appliances such as blenders, refrigerators, etc. Until now anyone could fool you by saying that their product is efficient but now you can ask them for proof by using this.
Su-Kam is the only organization in the industry with an R&D unit certified by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR), Government of India.
Kunwer Sachdev examined impossible ideas, tried them out with his R&D team, developed them, and won patents for them. He has more than 75 patents, 181 copyrights, 169 trademarks, and 83 design patents to its credit in India, USA, and other countries. Besides being credited with the largest number of patents filed for technology and design, Kunwer Sachdev has also developed two patented software solutions—Powerdoc Monitoring System for remote monitoring of large-capacity products and Recall Software, which enables diagnosis of problem areas without the need to open up an inverter.
KUNWER SACHDEV’S EFFECTIVE BUSINESS APPROACH
Kunwer Sachdev’s solar power solutions business model is based on a sort of hybrid between completely decentralized solutions such as individual solar lanterns and large solar farms approach to make solar power solutions reach the masses. For this reason, he doesn’t sell to the government, which involves sourcing land to generate the required 25-30 MW of power. He sells to an individual customer or a group who provides the land and Su-Kam provides the technology. Whatever the solar unit produces power gets it mixed into the customer’s normal power supply because of which a household’s bill gets reduced. Thus, customers recover the investment in a few years, and the burden on the government to generate more power is lessened.
Su-Kam is still in the pilot phase of this project. Since it started in 2014, the company has installed solar products—which provide eight to 10 hours of power supply daily in 1 lakh homes across India. And its export to more than 90 countries accounts for 15 percent of its sales (both regular and solar-powered devices).
KUNWER SACHDEV—A UNIQUE MARKETER
Kunwer Sachdev had developed leadership qualities early in his college period that helped him later on in business development. He recognized the importance of marketing strategy to expand business all-around quite early. To make it practical Su-Kam became the first inverter company to advertise in newspapers along with a proper manual/catalog of all its products.
Kunwer Sachdev also realised the importance of ‘internal branding’ through its staff. He set the company culture in such a way that the entire staff happily celebrates all festivals (including Su-Kam’s special ‘Sports Week’) like a big family.
In association with ETV and actor Ravi Kishen, Kunwer also launched the first reality TV show to find India’s greatest Salesman – Sales ka Baazigar and also gave real jobs to the winners. The show got an amazing reception as thousands participated (even from remote villages) and millions watched it on their TV screens.
KUNWER SACHDEV—A GLOBAL BRAND MAKER
Shortly after Su-Kam® became a popular brand for power back-up solutions in India, Kunwer Sachdev visualised his Indian brand capturing global markets. Su-Kam® was the first company in the industry to start exporting its products to foreign markets in 2003.
Mr. Sachdev traveled around the world to identify opportunities and develop products for these markets. As a result, Su-Kam® has now established itself as a reliable brand in 90 countries worldwide. Su-Kam® has won awards in Africa, Middle-eastern countries, and Nepal. In Africa, people trust Su-Kam products more than Chinese or American companies.
Su-Kam has solarized 35 schools in Rwanda and installed solar street lights in remote villages of Malawi too.
KUNWER SACHDEV—A FUTURE TARGET SETTER
Kunwer Sachdev has entered into the latest technology-based R&D program for making highly innovative and efficient solar products. It will enable the return on investment (ROI) to be reduced to 3 years from 5 years since the company is providing solutions that can convert normal inverters to a solar inverter at a very low cost.
At the same time, the company Grid-tie inverters will not only fulfill the energy requirements of the home where they are installed but they will be able to feed excess power back to the grid hence enabling earnings as well.
Thus, solar along with storage will be the next big thing worldwide, and Su-Kam will be a company selling power rather than selling power products.
KUNWER SACHDEV—A PUBLIC SPEAKER
“Change the market before it changes you”, Kunwer Sachdev said in his speech at the India International Science Festival at Anna University in Chennai on 14th-15th Oct 2017. He was speaking on the topic “Process, Manufacturing and Electrical” on the theme titled “Make in India” during the event.
Mr. Kunwer Sachdev has been invited as a key speaker at many entrepreneurship summits, and many leading business schools like IITs, IIMs, and BITS to talk about his success mantra.
MEDIA COVERAGE OF KUNWER SACHDEV
Kunwer Sachdev’s success story has been featured in books and TV shows and turned out to be a great source of inspiration for many. As a bestselling author, Rashmi Bansal has featured Kunwer Sachdev and Su-Kam® journey in the popular book ‘Connect the Dots’.
Porus Munshi, another famous author, has written about Sachdeva’s innovations in his book “Breakthrough Innovation: How 11 Indians Pulled Off the Impossible”. Mr. Sachdev has also been interviewed by a well-known journalist, Richa Anirudh, for the show Zindagi Live.
He has been interviewed by many national and international media outlets such as Forbes, Business Standard, Hindu, Times of India, Hindustan Times, etc.
He has been invited for ‘KHAS MULAKAT’, a talk show on ETV Hindi channel on 5th August 2016.
AWARDS & NOMINATIONS TO KUNWER SACHDEV
Kunwer has won several awards for entrepreneurship, technology, and innovation. Most notable of them being the Government of India’s ‘Bharat Shiromani’ and Ernst and Young’s ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’.
SU-KAM INNOVATIVE JOURNEY TO A CLOSING
Su-Kam, the India’s largest power solutions provider including various solar products, UPS, batteries and customized solar solutions proceeded to an end without disclosing its valid reason. The reason of the company’s bankrupt situation is till now a hidden fact. From being nation’s top power solution provider, it dropped to be a debt ridden asset for the markets. It was closed in April 2019. But, claim for the trade mark of the Company between Su-Kam Power Systems Ltd. and Mr. Kunwer Sachdev was filed in Delhi High Court (October, 2019).
KUNWER SACHDEV—A MAN OF CHANGING & EXPERIMENTING VENTURE
Mr. Kunwer Sachdev is the Managing Director and CEO of Su-vastika Solar, founded in 2019. Mr. Kunwer a visionary entrepreneur with vast experience, deep knowledge and business acumen that he brings with him will surely take Su-vastika to greatness to open a new door in power system through solar energy through out the World.
Kunwer Sachdev's Favorites and…
Did you know Kunwer’s favourites and… ?
- Favourite food: Paneer
- Favourite dress: Jeans and T-shirts
- Favourite colour: Blue
- Favourite pastime: Playing piano, squash and swimming; doing Yoga and running marathons; reading books and talking on the phone.
- Favourite music: Ghazals by Jagjit Singh.
- Favourite film: Lakshya of Hrithik Roshan.
- Favourite book: Good to Great and Execution.
- Favourite historical figure: Sardar Patel and Lal Bahadur Shastri.
- Dangerous word: To him success is nothing but a continuous journey which never ends.
- His vision: To visualize invisible to make impossible possible.
- Success mantra: To accept challenge & “Can do” attitude coupled with grit, perseverance and a strong belief in himself.
- Biggest obstacle: No management and technical background, no financial backing.
- Unsuccessful stints: Tried his hand at selling pens and then worked as a sales executive in a cable company.
- Suggestion to youth: Be passionate and create an identity for yourself first.
- His strength: He’s very disciplined, punctual and fitness freak.