study by IBM Institute of Business Value, done in collaboration with Oxford Economics, to understand Indian Startup Ecosystem, mentions that 90% of Indian startups fail within the first 5 years. With that as a reference, the mere fact that Zenatix survives and I am writing this article is by itself an achievement.

As every founder or person associated with startup ecosystem will tell you – it is a roller coaster ride and ours has been no different. By definition, founders are almost always unsatisfied with the current state of affairs and always want to achieve more. In the same spirit if you ask us, we would have wanted a lot more in these 5 years when we started off in 2013. In effect, that brings in another aspect of starting off and surviving – patiently building it brick by brick, staying true to the fighting spirit of entrepreneurship.

At this juncture, as we look back to the past and into the future, there are a few things, I thought are useful and important to contemplate and share. Elsewhere, I have written about genesis of Zenatix, our solid technology (hardware capabilitiesintegrated hardware-software development and tech backend to support operations) and how we transitioned from an earlier thought of “energy analytics” company to an IoT company. Energy is a difficult sell (although it is still a primary use case for us and a solid foot-in-the-door) and scaling up operations (IoT installation Ops are different from e-commerce delivery Ops since there is a strong component of maintenance involved) are all hard problems to solve. So there is no doubt that we are in a tough and chaotic space – but i guess that’s true for any space where a startup can emerge and innovate.

If it was simple and obvious, someone somewhere would have already done it.

While manoeuvring through these challenges, a common theme that has remained for the last 5 years and should remain going forward is to be on a path of “continuous improvement”. We have always strived to improve upon what we are doing (in terms of technology, partnerships we strike with our customers, solving operational challenges through technology etc.). This is also the reason, we all enjoy coming to work every day and doing something that excites us.

Product-market fit is very important in any startup’s journey. We believe IoT driven, cost-effective connectivity is that product market fit for us.

Current WattMan offering involves implementing the whole value chain (from hardware to software and taking on the Ops too) on our own, thus understanding the challenges all across and building the right tools and platforms to address them. Broader objective is to build these tools and platforms in a way that can provide us with disproportionate scale in the coming years. This will require answering some tough questions – Should we expand on the solution for current market segment? Should we build something for the OEMs instead? How do we expand to international markets? How do we get to revenue that is more proportionate to the efforts that we put in? How to build all this in a sane way (read profitably!) without burning too much of external money while still not compromising on the speed of execution?

Contribution from every single person in the team has been important thus far and will remain the most important thing in the coming future too.

A big challenge to that effect is ensuring that everyone in the team is aligned to the culture and vision. We started with an aim to contribute to sustainable planet. Getting deeper insights using IoT which can translate into smarter connected solutions for OEMs and/or optimal end-use for the end-consumer are different means of working towards that vision. Today WattMan delivers that vision by optimising the end-use for distributed chains. It is important that the broader “why” is clearly percolated down and is not lost while being busy in routine challenges that cater to “what” and “how” of Zenatix. While early on, every member in the team was working closely with the founders and that deeper belief and energy rubs off without any explicit effort, as the team expands, it then becomes imperative of other members in the team (especially those who have been with Zenatix for some time) to not only stay true to that belief and energy but also rub it off to new people who join us in our journey. This notion, being abstract, is a hard one to execute and it will remain one of the core responsibility, of not just the founders but the core team members, to ensure that this is clearly defined and percolated down as we expand on the team.

Financial support is another key for the sustenance and growth of any startup. We have found a believer for Zenatix in Hero Electronix. I have also written in detail on why this partnership makes sense. Over the last 6 months, this partnership indeed has played well for the company in many different ways. As part of the Hero funding, our previous backers (Angels, Blume Ventures and Pi Ventures) all made their exits. We always take it upon ourselves that one of our key responsibilities is to ensure that the investors, who have believed in us, do not loose out. While it worked well so far and the previous investors did not loose out, it is now our responsibility that the new investor (or should I say partner) also benefit in the long run.

To sum up, as we look forward to the next phase of Zenatix we seek high scale growth where everyone in the company is aligned to a well defined purpose while ensuring that we continuously improve upon ourselves and achieved desired success for those who believed in us.