Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Sent An Unsolicited E-Mail to a VC Firm - Not Sure What Would Come of it

As all my friends who check my blog out know, I do want desperately to be able to sell some of the products that I post about here in South Asia. I have introduced a company here to a state government in India and they are talking about their products there. I hope to work with more companies - there is a heavy demand for several energy saving and renewable energy generating devices in that part of the world and I hope that a major VC business would do something somewhat different - fund a marketing project especially focused on India. There is a reason for this: The US Exim Bank offers Export Credits worth $ 2 billion for exports to India alone. And, India is a country that is fond og high-tech and increasingly aware of the problems of severe pollution and of expensive energy costs. It is also a country where power shortages hurt people across the country for 5 to 12 hours in every 24 hour period. The government of India, socialist as always, keeps trying to get people to participate in ridiculous Build, Own and Operate programs asking them to build fossil-fuel based mega powerplants. No one is going to bite after the Dabhol Power Company debacle. The best alternative would be to decentralize and offer renewable home power systems.

Some states in India have already mandated the use of solar powered water heaters for all new homes. But this is simply not enough. Most new homes use inverters to store emergency power which they draw from India's horrendously inefficient power grid. There is a compelling demand for products that would convert solar energy through advanced photocoltaics that are roof-mounted or from small-wind turbines to power homes through long power-free hours. If someone were to finance the marketing of these products in India, there wouldc ertainly be profits to realize from this business. A simple import and redistribution network could be set up to sell a number of these products, and, with proper marketing especially through FM Radio and the print and television media should, simply speaking, work.

I wrote to a large Venture Capital company two days ago with a tentative question asking if they would be interested in financing a marketing business for renewable energy devices in India. To be honest, I have no idea what this will lead to. I am bracing myself for a simple rejection form letter so that, if something even mildly positive comes in response, it would be something that would surprise me positively. The company in question funds several green products but I don't know if they would like to fund a business that sells these and other products. I hope that they would see the importance in marketing these products through smeone who knows how to sell something, who understands the problems in the market that he talks about, and who has been keeping an eye on government financing available in the USA for this kind of business through the Exim Bank.

If I do not get any communication from them for the next three weeks, I shall post the mail that I sent them over here. If they do reply and tell me that they are not interested in this business, I shall let the correspondence die and then send a modified proposal (incorporating any of the exciting new developments that come up in the next three weeks) to another VC. I do not plan to be disheartened by rejections - they are a way of life and I hope to persevere through them. At the moment, as my friends know, I am an adult student at a superb university here and I have to concentrate on keeping my grades up even while I work on something that I would do come January.

Please watch this space!


Mohanakrishnan B said...

Which VC firm did you send it to? From what I see happening here in India, States in the North of India are doing more in the interests of the people than States in the South. Try to get people interested in Uttarakhand,Himachal Pradesh,Haryana, Gujarat etc. They appear to have a long term perspective and are keen to improve their lot.

Mehul Kamdar said...


I shall e-mail you the details separately. Yes, it is unfortunate that in India some states are more active than others as far as renewable energy is concerned. Haryana has the best policies for buying renewable energy especially from solar and wind farms and West Bengal and Gujarat are also becoming more active. The underdeveloped states that you talk about are also active, which is a very good thing because their people have suffered with 8 or 9 hours of power a day and they have the good intentions of boosting their power supplies with clean power. I wish I knew whom to talk to over there - dealing with companies is less complicated than dealing with governments in India as you know. Unfortunately, I do not know of any companies that are active in those parts of India and that is my biggest problem . . .

I still haven't heard back from the VC form - as I said, I'll give this three weeks from the date on which I sent the mail before doing anything. You will have the information shortly, though.