It takes gumption, to start a company in one of the non metros and aspire to make it big. Sasisekar Krish has it. Few years ago, he decided to quit his job and become an entrepreneur. But there was no money to do that.
He went to Hubli, one of fastest growing cities in Karnataka, to join as a partner in a semiconductor company. He ended up working at The Indus Entrepreneurs, which was looking for an executive director in Hubli. In the next few months, he saved up money for his venture and built up his network.
By January 2010, he was ready. In a year, he’d saved up Rs 16 lakhs to start his venture. With a small loan from his parents and family, he started the company nanoPix, which sells industrial devices based on image processing. It’s first commercial product, a cashew grading machine, uses the image processing to sort cashew nuts into different grades.
“In Hubli, I asked a friend to help me connect with Tata Marcopolo. I wanted to build a machine which could sort nuts and bolts for them. My friend was closely associated with the cashew industry and he put me up to this idea,” recalls Sasisekar, who graduated from IIT- Madras.
Based on the algorithms he developed, the machine could correlate multiple camera images and extract useful images without having to spend too much on computation power. “We built products for agriculture, medical etc,” he said. But the first commercial product, which took nearly 30 months to ready, was the cashew grading machine.
It wasn’t easy to convince his parents that he was leaving the well paying job to do a startup. But when they understood they even parted with their retirement money. The company also secured a small loan with the help of the Deshpande Foundation in Hubli.
“It will take me a couple of months before I can start repaying but I’m confident that I’ll be able to repay the entire loan in six months,” said Sekar, who was born in Trichy and lived in Bangalore for most of his working life.
It isn’t easy in places like Hubli to find high end talent. So Sekar has taken a different approach. “Our strategy is to find excited young folks who know nothing about the industry and throw challenges at them. It becomes more exploratory,” he says. Currently, nanoPix employs 28 people.
Sekar’s wife Suchitra, has been a big support, he says. Suchitra now runs most of the company’s operations while Sekar concentrates on sales and technology.
These days, many new startups are coming up in Hubli, an industrial town.