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An entrepreneur born to succeed
Kishore Butani and Sakshi Sharma,
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December 28, 2006
How do you take Rs 10,000 and convert it into a Rs 200 crore (Rs 2 billion) company that is all set to complete a major US acquisition in a year?

Well you need to be taken hostage by your client, be locked in a room for a few hours and also promise to give up your bike in exchange for a job half done - at least that is what Kunwer Sachdev, CEO of Su-Kam, a Rs 200 crore Delhi-based company engaged in the business of power inverters UPS and batteries says as he recalls the time when he began his entrepreneurial venture in the early '90s.

Kunwer Sachdev started out as a cable TV operator and recalls an incident that took place in his initial years, which incidentally was a turning point in his career.

CEO of Su-Kam, Kunwer Sachdev told Moneycontrol,  "During the early years of struggle I was into the cable TV business and did not have any domain knowledge. I took up any and all types of projects from people. There was one such project that I could not complete on time. It was for a hotel and seeing that I could not deliver, the owner locked me in a room. I stayed put in the room for two hours until he opened the door and asked for his advance money back. But since I had spent that in buying the equipment, I told him to keep my bike instead should I fail to deliver. Eventually I did complete the job and he was happy. Now he is a very dear friend of mine," recalls Sachdev.

They say entrepreneurs are not taught, they are born and perhaps Kunwer Sachdev is one person who perfectly fits this theory. Additionally, as any entrepreneur would testify, failure is not only an important ingredient but also a very important aspect in any successful venture.

"When I started making invertors in 1997, we experimented with new technologies. We didn't have any idea what we were doing and we kept borrowing components from different products. Money doesn't matter in any entrepreneurship, I started with only Rs 10,000. There were a lot of negatives in the beginning. I remember going to a bank for a loan of Rs 5,000, and they took so much time that I said forget it. From that day I didn't go to banks, I have raised funds in my own way," says Sachdev.

Early this year, the $200 million Reliance [Get Quote] India Power Fund, picked up a 20 per cent stake in Su-Kam in a Rs 45 crore (Rs 450 million) deal. Su-Kam has already made inroads into world markets such as Asia, Africa, Middle East and the Pacific Region and is now looking to make a strategic US acquisition.

"We are looking to acquire a company in the US in the next one year. I haven't seen any company that we might want to acquire yet, but the acquisition will be complete in a year. Deadlines are very important for me," says Sachdev.

Sachdev is confident of scaling up his operations in India as well. "We will keep on scaling up. My balance sheet for the last 6 years shows more than 100 per cent growth in each year. It has been a challenge for me to sustain that year after year. This year we installed invertors on all major cell sites across the country, and we have a big order from Reliance Infocomm.

We are in talks with Bharti and other telecom players. Next year, I plan to do Rs 1,000 crore (Rs 10 billion) business, and I can see that happening," concludes Sachdev.

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