Pushkar Limaye – Founder@Carnot, Interview On Building a Successful IoT Solution for Tractors in India – Making Tractors Profitable!

Pushkar Limaye is the founder of Carnot, a company that offers IoT solutions for tractors in India. With a network of over 25,000 customers, Carnot has effectively utilised social proof and a simple missed call system to generate leads and increase customer acquisition.

In this interview, Limaye discusses the struggles and triumphs of building a brand and marketing story, the significance of work culture and self-care for founders, and the value of adhering to first principles in a startup.

Carnot has established a strong market position through its partnership with Krishi, a brand under the Mahindra Group, and a combination of physical and digital marketing efforts. The company aims to be the most desirable product for India’s 4 million rental entrepreneurs

Let’s hear more about this innovative product from the founder himself!

YC- Pushkar, Welcome to the Yellow Chapter. It’s great to have you here. Our goal today is to understand better who you are as a person, your life experiences and choices, and learn more about Carnot. Please tell us a bit about your upbringing, family, and education.

Pushkar- I was born and raised in Dadar, near Shivaji Park in Mumbai. My childhood was spent living in a chawl, where eight of us shared a small house of just 150 square feet. In addition to my sibling, grandparents and parents, two uncles, who were still studying, also lived with us. Despite the cramped living quarters,  I have fond memories of my childhood. 🥰🥰

I attended a Marathi medium school until 10th grade. It was only after that point that I was exposed to English. 

I come from a very humble background. My father is a Chartered Accountant and currently works at H-Energy. My mother worked for the State Bank of India (SBI) for 33 years. However, she retired through the voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) because I had a baby six months ago.

I have an older sister named Dhanashree, who works at Capgemini. She is married and lives in Dadar.

Like many households in Mumbai, my parents followed a traditional dynamic: my father worked to advance his career, and my mother worked at a bank. They saved money to move from the chawl to a small one-bedroom flat. It is a common aspiration for middle-class families to purchase an apartment. When I was ten, we moved to a 1BHK in Vile Parle. 🏡🏡

My mother was a rank holder in school and college 🏅🏅. She chose to prioritise raising us and put her career on hold. She is a highly energetic person who made sacrifices in her professional career for the sake of her family.

Everyone in my family has a background in Chartered Accountancy due to an exciting story. My grandfather had poor eyesight and could not become a CA because the profession requires the ability to read large amounts of numerical data. However, he ran a coaching class for CA aspirants in Sangli, a town in Maharashtra. He hoped his children could achieve what he couldn’t and encouraged them to pursue careers in CA. Both my father and uncle became CAs, and from a young age, I was encouraged to follow in their footsteps.

My family encouraged me to excel in math, and I was eager to do so. Until 10th grade, I thought becoming a CA was my only option and did not consider or explore other fields, such as engineering.

One day, my father suggested I consider exploring other options before pursuing a CA (Chartered Accountant) degree. He encouraged me to find out what my friends and the top students in my school were planning to study.

YC- Could you tell me more about your decision to study engineering?

Pushkar- After realising that I didn’t want to pursue Chartered Accountancy, I started talking to my friends and discovered a nearby coaching centre called  Golden Gate to IIT. I decided to take the entrance exam and was fortunate enough to receive a scholarship. 

It wasn’t one of those fancy classes. Some of my close friends were taking classes there and urged me to join them. The course had 50 students. My sister had already passed the State Common Entrance Test- CET and encouraged me to try for IIT-JEE. I decided to give it a shot and found that engineering was a natural fit for me. 

Even now, when I want to understand a concept or something happening around me, I approach it with the same level of clarity and first principle understanding I had during my JEE days. I never enjoyed studying as much as I did while preparing for JEE. It seemed a perfect fit, and I did well on the exam.

2009-2013: B.Tech Mechanical Engineering @IIT Bombay
Based on my AIR, I had two options for study at IIT Bombay: Electrical Dual and Mechanical or Computer Science at IIT Roorkee or Kharagpur. I attended IIT Bombay, which was close to my home.

YC- A lot of engineering students read my blog. Can you share some suggestions on how they can make the most of their college experience?

Pushkar– Engineering is no longer a narrowly defined field. Whether you are a mechanical engineer or a civil engineer, it is crucial to be a competent and skilled engineer. Here are some suggestions I have: 

1. One way to find your passion in engineering is to use the method of elimination. This means trying out different things and experiences in college, such as extracurricular activities, to see what you enjoy and what you don’t. 

Sometimes, people are lucky enough to find their calling immediately, but others may need to try different things before discovering what they truly love. It’s important to know what you don’t want just as much as what you do because it can help narrow down your options and guide you towards your true calling.

2. One of the benefits of engineering is that it is a highly technical and modern field of study. However, in India, education often places less emphasis on understanding first principles. I advise students to focus on the foundational concepts, even if the material being taught seems overly complex or jargon-filled. 

It’s okay if you don’t understand everything, but try to grasp the basics of what interests you and aligns with your passions. Embracing first principles and staying true to your interests will set you up for success in the long run. That’s one piece of advice I often give to my cousins who are currently in college.

3. View engineering as a form of personality development course. It’s not just about achieving good grades or high test scores but about becoming a more well-rounded and evolved person. 

For example, when I first started college, I was intimidated to interact with others in English. I had never done that before. But,  I saw this as an opportunity to challenge myself and grow.

4. It’s important to remember that sometimes, it’s okay to fail or make mistakes, particularly in engineering. At times, be laughable. These challenges can help you grow and come out of your shell. I’ve noticed that some people get stuck in a cycle of fear or anxiety about failing. 

Embrace it as an inherent part of the process and let go of feelings of insecurity or inadequacy. Instead, focus on the opportunity to learn and improve.

5. A quote from one of my professors at IIT Bombay inspires my final advice: “Every rat race creates two types of rats: a winner and a loser, but in the end, they are all rats.” 

This really resonated with me during my placement and career decision-making process. It reminded me not to get caught up in the “rat race” of trying to achieve certain milestones or benchmarks just for the sake of it. 

Engineering, like any field, can be competitive, and getting caught up in the idea of being a “winner” is easy based on external metrics like salary or job title. However, it’s important to remember that these things don’t necessarily equate to true success or fulfilment. Focus on what truly matters to you in your career.

YC- What advice do you have for engineering students considering changing or selecting a new job? What mindset should they adopt when seeking out new opportunities?

Pushkar- 1. Every job can be evaluated based on the specific role or the person filling it. For example, in a large corporation, the particular responsibilities of a data analyst may be more important than the individual who holds the position. However, in a smaller company, the person filling the role may significantly impact the overall success of the company.

If you are hired for the same role in an early-stage startup, you matter more than the role. The success or failure of the role is more closely tied to your performance. Try to find positions where you can have a larger impact and where you matter. This can provide valuable exposure and experience, mainly when you are younger and have fewer responsibilities.

2. One approach to considering your career path is to take a long-term perspective. You can start by thinking about where you want to be in the future and then work backwards to determine the steps you need to take to get there. For example, when I started my career, I envisioned creating a world-class product from India, and I saw engineering as a way to achieve this goal. 

This top-down approach can help you clarify your priorities and make informed decisions about your career.

3. Engineering students should consider entrepreneurship, especially in the early stages of their careers. Coming from a founder, this opinion might be biased. It’s not about being a successful entrepreneur. But this experience can teach you much about the value of stability and structure in a job. 

I’ve seen many brilliant people struggle because they are unprepared for the uncertainties of entrepreneurship. So consider giving entrepreneurship a shot early on, even if it’s just for a short period. It’s okay to waste a year or two on this kind of experience, as it can stay with you and shape your perspective for a long time.

YC- Can you provide a brief overview of your professional journey?

Pushkar- Sure!

 2013: Founder and Tech Lead @Timbr 📳📳

I was fortunate enough to secure a job at Schlumberger through the placement process at IIT Bombay, but my start date was delayed due to some issues in the oil and gas industry. As a result, I had a period of eight months where I didn’t have any work. I stayed in the IIT Bombay hostel during this time because I still had friends completing their dual degree programs there.

During this time, my friend Rahil Shah  (now the founder of Zomentum) and I came up with an innovative idea that involved using sound (encrypted with data) to trigger an action on a smartphone.

For example, imagine you’re watching a Domino’s ad, and your phone suddenly says, “Hey, you just watched this ad. Click here to get the offer in the next 10 seconds.” That was the concept we came up with. To be honest, we were just doing it for fun. At the time, there was a lot of buzz around startups, like housing.com, but I didn’t want to start one myself. It was just something we were doing for fun.

We showed a demo of this idea to a few people, and it generated a lot of interest. Our concept eventually led to the creation of Timbr, which was incubated at SINE, IIT Bombay

Rahil had received an offer from Twitter, but his start date was also delayed due to some H1B issues. Eventually, we became worried about missing out on other opportunities. When we received the full-time job offer, we had to decide between continuing the startup or taking the job. Ultimately, we chose the job because we needed more guidance and mentorship to continue the startup successfully.

I don’t regret the decision to discontinue Timbr, but I do sincerely regret joining Schlumberger. While it is a great organisation, it wasn’t the right fit for me.

April 2014: Wireline Field Engineer @Schlumberger ⛽⛽

I joined Schlumberger in April 2014 as a Wireline Field Engineer. My role involved using sensor pipes to explore oil deposits in the earth. I spent four months in Abu Dhabi for training, working in an artificial rig. After training, I was sent to the field in Barmer, Rajasthan. 

While I was impressed by the advanced technology in oilfield engineering, I eventually realised that the work did not align with my long-term goals and aspirations.

The job at Schlumberger involved being present on the rig, instructing people, and earning money, but it didn’t impact my personal growth or fulfilment. Despite the financial benefits, I realised it wasn’t what I wanted. 

While I was on a layover at the Mumbai airport✈️✈️  on my way back to Barmer, I made the spontaneous decision to resign from my position at Schlumberger. I went to the Mumbai office and resigned the next day.

September 2014: Senior Firmware Engineer @Leaf Technologies 💻💻

I joined Leaf, a home automation startup backed by Sequoia Capital, as the second employee. 

I initially thought this job would be an excellent opportunity to work on a high-tech project and learn about the startup process. However, I quickly realised that I was the only one working late nights on an alpha product that still needed to be fully developed. While the other employees were hardworking, I was disappointed by the reality of the situation.

I joined the company expecting to learn everything about building a startup. In hindsight, I learned a lot about what not to do at a startup while working there. After six months, I realised that the direction of the company and the work culture were different from what I had hoped for, and that’s when I decided to quit.

I was confident that I could run a successful startup if I learned from the mistakes of my previous experience. I decided to give entrepreneurship another shot and build something I could potentially sell or be acquired in 4-5 years.

May 2015 – Present: Co-Founder @Carnot Technologies 🚗🚗

YC- What inspired the idea for Carnot Technologies, and what led you to focus on the agri-tech domain?

Pushkar- Agri Tech was not my original plan; it was totally accidental. My experience as the leader of the Formula Student competition 🚘🚘at IIT Bombay played a significant role in taking this path. This competition has defined my engineering journey. I spent 50% of my time at IIT-B building a car for the race. 

We developed India’s first fully electric race car, which could accelerate from 0 to 100 in 3.6 seconds.

Through the competition, I gained valuable skills in building products, managing teams, securing funding and managing stakeholders. I transformed from a shy Marathi medium boy to someone confident in leading and building teams. 

The car we had created for the competition used telematics, which allowed us to analyse data from the pit lane while the car was running. When I looked at my dad’s car or the new one my uncle bought, I noticed that many companies offered features like YouTube systems and leather finishes, but no one talked about real-time performance data for cars. That’s when I had the idea to create a company that focused on providing this type of information.

The idea behind Carnot Technologies was to build a top-notch telematics system for cars that could analyse data in real time and provide a premium experience for drivers. My goal was to sell 10,000 units in the first year and create a product that was proudly designed and built in India.

That’s how Carnot Technologies started in 2015. 

The founders: There were three of us – Rohan Vadgaonkar, Prathamesh Joshi, and I.  

We were all part of the Formula Student team in college. I led the tech team💻, Prathamesh built software🖥️, and Rohan secured funding💸. 

We all worked at Leaf Technologies for a short time before deciding to start our own company. We realised we were already leading the show and decided to take the leap and create our own business. 

Rohan had previously worked at Procter & Gamble. Prathamesh was my hostel mate at IIT-B. I might have seen him every other day for the last 13 years. 

YC- Can you explain the transition of Carnot to an agri-tech product? How did this change come about, and what factors influenced this decision?

Pushkar- Unfortunately, Carnot struggled to find a suitable market for our high-quality product, as it was quickly replaced by a cheaper device made in China.

Our company had a strong foundation in product technology and intellectual property, but we realised that we needed to be more assertive in sales, operations, and business development. We also recognised that our product needed something unique to stand out, but the car market didn’t offer that opportunity. Ultimately, we concluded that a tracking device is just a tracking device and decided to pivot to a new market.

One day, while I was driving in my car with the aux cable and charger plugged in simultaneously, I noticed that my audio system was producing strange noises that sounded like my engine. I recorded the signal from the battery as an MP3 file and analysed the data, just like I would with a song. It was a lot of fun. Through this process, we discovered that we could use the battery voltage or the vehicle’s battery to detect engine speed and lower fuel efficiency, and we patented this technology.

Later, we participated in the Qualcomm Design India Challenge, a competition that encouraged inventors to develop a patented idea and build a prototype using $10,000. Out of 400 applicants, ten were shortlisted and given the initial funding. From that group, three finalists were chosen to receive an additional $100,000.

For the competition, we developed a bike application using our patented battery technology🏍️🏍️, which applies to any vehicle. We won the prize money of $100,000 for our prototype. This provided an excellent runway extension for our company.

At that point, we were approached by two potential strategic investors, Hero and Mahindra. Hero reached out to us through a subsidiary company called Napino, while Mahindra contacted us directly for other projects. We completed a project for Mahindra free of charge and were also in communication with Hero.

We realised that our technology would not be compatible with bikes because anything that increases the cost by 100 rupees would not be suitable for bikes, as they are very price sensitive.

However, Mahindra had a similar focus on technology and appreciated our tech. They were also building their telematics in-house, which was one of their top priorities. We decided to raise the next round of funding from Mahindra and pivot to the agri-industry in 2018. 

YC- Can we discuss some SaaS numbers, the market, the ideal customer profile, and competition in India and globally for Carnot?

Pushkar- I’m bad at them, but let me give it a shot!

  • Product Description: We offer an aftermarket telematics solution for tractors and other agricultural machinery that allows farmers to track and analyse data in real-time, helping them optimise the performance and efficiency of their equipment.
  • TAM: Our target market includes anyone who rents tractors, which we estimate to be 4-6 million users in India. 
  • Cost: Our device costs around $100.
  • Revenue: We are selling 2,000-2,500 devices per month, generating revenue of $200k-250k per month or $2.5-3 million annually.
  • CAC: We are in the middle of a pilot program where we’re trying to sell our device via a D2C (Direct-to-consumer) route. We use digital marketing and in-house funnels built on WhatsApp to reach out. We have reduced the cost of customer acquisition (CAC) to around Rs.400-500. So, we can sell a $100 device for a CAC of $6-$7 using the most efficient channel.
  • ICP- We have two profiles 🚜🚜
  1. Wealthy farmers who use our device as a business management tool to track and optimise their fleet of tractors. Generally, running and renting tractors is a side business for them.
  1. A farmer with a land of 2–2.5 acres who has purchased a tractor through EMI and rents it out as a side business. This farmer views the tractor rental business as an opportunity for growth and is considered a rental entrepreneur. He hopes that the tractor will provide additional or equivalent income to what he earns from farming. 
  • Customers: We have sold 25,000 devices and have 20,000 active users. Of these devices, 25,000 have been sold to channels, and approximately 21,000 have been installed in India. We also have about 3,000 installations in Africa.

YC- How challenging was persuading farmers to purchase a $100 telematics device?

Pushkar- It was tough. For example, at a demo show, we showcased the device with an advertisement featuring a picture of a tractor and a hand holding a phone that demonstrated tracking capabilities. Despite the ad’s simplicity, only one farmer purchased the device. However, when they received it, they inquired about the phone model that was supposed to be included in the product.

Initially, managing sales from our Mumbai office took a lot of work. Therefore, the core team of 8 individuals relocated to Lucknow for eight months and rented a 3-bedroom apartment. While there, we participated in approximately 50 farmer sales demonstrations with Mahindra to gain a deeper understanding of the market and enhance our sales strategies.

Sales (through dealers) – 

During our sales efforts, we encountered some unusual situations. One memorable incident occurred when a group of farmers became upset because there were no Rasgullas (a type of Indian sweet) available, only gulab jamuns. They reacted by firing shots in the air and throwing the gulab jamuns in the gutter. 

From this experience, we learned:

1. Social respect and social proof are essential to farmers.

2. Selling a digital product to them can be similar to trying to sell an Apple Watch to someone who is not tech-savvy and may not see the value in such a product. 

3. Additionally, we realised that the benefit of our device may not be immediately apparent and may take a few months of use to understand fully.

It can take time to demonstrate the device’s value to farmers, as it may take time to see the product’s benefits. This creates a systemic issue, as it is easier to establish a network and build social proof when the benefits of the product are already apparent. However, when the benefits are not immediately noticeable, establishing social proof and building a network can be challenging.

We discovered that we needed to identify effective channels for rapid expansion. Initially, we attempted to sell the device through Mahindra dealerships and other dealership networks, as well as using a distributor model. However, we discovered that unless the dealer had a high level of influence and resources, such as owning a Scorpio vehicle and having two bodyguards, they could only sell a limited number of devices for us with a small profit margin.

That’s when we began to focus on improving our channels for distribution. We created innovative products, such as offering sales insights to dealerships and managing the Facebook pages of some dealers at no cost. As a result, our distribution channels improved, and the dealers became more invested in the success of our products.

At the same time, two things happened: 

  1. Once we had established a network of 1000-2000 users, we saw an increase in social proof, which made it easier to sell our products.

Once we had the first 1000 satisfied customers, it became easier to acquire the next 1000 through word-of-mouth marketing and referrals.

Sales (feild sales) – 

The entire team became salespersons to acquire the first 50 customers. Rohan and I travelled to West UP and hired a small street theatre troupe (Nukkad Natak) to perform a play about blind Dhritarashtra managing tractors using our Simha kit. This effectively communicated our message to potential customers and persuaded them to try our product.

To encourage the initial group of customers to purchase the device, we offered a free one-month subscription with the purchase.

Another issue we faced was difficulty with transportation. Typically, we were able to complete four installations per day. However, in this region of India, it took longer due to the poor quality of roads and the vast distances we needed to travel. This posed a significant operational challenge as we constantly travelled to different locations to install the device. Despite these difficulties, we actively participated in field sales efforts and successfully sold the product.

YC- SaaS founders have three problems — product-market fit, marketing, and sales. What is your take on each?

Pushkar- PMF – Achieving an excellent product-market fit has been crucial to our success. Our customers spend an average of 50 minutes on the app during the farming season, which is equivalent to watching a movie. 80% of our farmers have renewed their subscriptions and paid approximately 2000 rupees per year to continue using the service. In total, 4000 farmers in India have paid 2000 rupees to continue using our IoT service, which serves as solid marketing for our product.

Marketing – Data-led approach –

Our approach to marketing and sales is data-driven, likely due to my technical background as a founder.

 I rely more on numbers and data rather than on gut instincts. Our current goal is for our product to be the preferred choice among India’s 6 million rental entrepreneurs. We want people to automatically think of our company when asked if they have installed a kit on their tractor and for our company to be the first one that comes to mind.

The company’s vision is to help farmers increase their profits and improve their businesses. This can be achieved through increasing revenue, reducing expenses, or finding new avenues of income. We are building our brand and marketing strategy around this goal.

We do not currently engage in below-the-line (BTL) marketing except to support our dealers. These dealers already have well-established networks, such as the Mahindra dealership and channel, which is much larger than our company could achieve. As a result, we have formed a strategic partnership with Krish-e, the agri-tech arm of Mahindra, to leverage their extensive network.

In the direct-to-consumer market, we sell our product under the brand name krish-e Smart Kit. Previously, it was branded as the Simha Kit, but we rebranded it as the krish-e Smart Kit. The krish-e branding and marketing efforts have been instrumental in promoting our device. This is where the strategic partnership with Mahindra has been precious.

Sales – 

Talking about sales, we have two main channels:

1. Feet on Street –  refers to our strategy of working with dealers and hiring local individuals to sell our products directly to customers. These individuals go out into the community and promote the product to potential buyers.

2. In addition to working with dealers, we also have a direct-to-consumer (D2C) channel in which we generate leads through platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook. We also utilise our customer relationship management channels for WhatsApp marketing and retargeting efforts.

3. We also have a call centre operation with a team of 20 people who can sell 20-25 kits per agent per month through Telesales. We plan to increase the size of this team to around 50-100 people by March of this year to continue driving sales.

YC – How does the average usage of the app vary during the farming season and off-season?

Pushkar- Many of our users in the non-farming season rent their tractors to be used in sugar cane factories and brickworks. Nearly 90% of users access the app daily when the tractor is in use. During the farming season, users spend an average of one hour daily on the app. 

During the off-season, usage remains at around 20 to 30 minutes. This is because a significant portion of the user base continues to utilise their tractors for various purposes, as they are paying for the tractor through a loan and cannot afford to let it sit idle.

YC- What are the top three benefits or promises your company makes to farmers when selling the product?

Pushkar- 1. With a single click, track the location of your drivers and eliminate the need to ask for their location constantly.

2. Accurately track and measure the area of land worked on by the tractor. In the past, farmers had to rely on manual methods such as using a tape measure or pacing out the distance, which could lead to inaccuracies and result in lost profits. Our product allows them to track and measure the land worked more accurately, improving their efficiency and profitability.

3. Fuel monitoring – Our product helps farmers to identify if there is a drop in fuel efficiency or if the driver is using the tractor in a way that consumes more fuel than necessary. This allows them to identify and address any issues that may be causing inefficient fuel consumption, potentially saving them money on fuel costs.

We promise farmers that our product will provide peace of mind and increase their revenue. We estimate that our product helps every farmer earn an additional 15,000-20,000 rupees per month.

YC- What were the top three apprehensions regarding trying the product?

Pushkar– One challenge we faced was the need for more social proof. People may be less likely to try our product if they don’t see their neighbours using it.

Another issue we faced was the challenge of communicating the value of our product using data and numbers. Many farmers don’t understand their profits and may simply say they are doing well without providing specific figures. Therefore, presenting data and numbers didn’t convince them to use our product. We had to use social proof and other tactics to effectively convey our product’s value to these farmers.

A third challenge we encountered was that the drivers of the tractors often interacted with the dealers. They were hesitant to use our product because they saw it benefiting the tractor owner rather than themselves. They believed the tool was negative and wouldn’t promote it. We had to be careful with our branding and messaging to emphasise that our product wasn’t meant to penalise the driver. Instead, we focused on how it brings fairness to the system and helps the driver earn more money for their work. We overcame this challenge by highlighting the benefits for all parties involved.com

YC- You mentioned that Carnot uses social media for customer acquisition. How would you bucket the percentages of customers acquired through each approach?

Pushkar-If we were to focus on the digital channel and exclude the dealer channel, the two most essential factors in driving customer acquisition were:

a) an easy way to capture leads. 

b)social proof

These elements were critical to our success in digital marketing efforts.

Easy way to capture leads – One strategy that we knew would not work was asking potential customers to fill out a form to submit a lead, given the educational background of the farmers in India.

Instead, we implemented a system where interested customers could give a missed call to a specific phone number, and we would then contact them to gather the necessary information. This approach proved to be much more effective for us.

Social proof – We utilise platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube for marketing, but we have found YouTube to be the most effective. 

In our experience, video content has been more successful at generating leads than other types of content, such as text. Videos can grab the viewer’s attention through the thumbnail. If they see another farmer using the device and benefiting from it, they are more likely to show interest and seek more information. 

Spot sales are rare, as people tend to save the lead and consider purchasing the device when needed. This is where retargeting efforts come into play.

YC- What advice or suggestions would you like to share with other startup founders who are just starting their entrepreneurial journey?

1. As a founder, it’s essential to stick to first principles and not get swayed by the actions of other startups. While it may be common for startups to raise money, a founder should not feel pressured to do so if it doesn’t align with their goals or values. The personal goals and desires of the founder are essential and should be a significant factor in decision-making for the startup.

2. Founders should prioritise their well-being and not push themselves to the point that it negatively impacts their health. They should care for themselves physically and mentally, just like top athletes. This includes managing stress, guilt, and other factors affecting health and fitness. 

By taking care of themselves, founders can model healthy behaviour for their team and create a high-performance culture. By adopting the mindset of a top athlete, founders can inspire their teams to strive for excellence.

3. Avoid taking shortcuts when building a solid work culture. It takes time and effort, similar to raising a child. By prioritising work culture from the start, a founder can create a team that can effectively run the company, even if the founder takes a step back. Obsession or a need for control can prevent the development of a strong work culture, so it’s essential to be mindful of these tendencies.

4. It’s essential to have a clear exit strategy from the start. For our company, the goal was to be acquired by a company that could scale the technology. When the opportunity to be acquired by a company like Mahindra arose, it made sense to take it.

However, some founders may have different goals and may choose to work on their startup for a more extended period. Founders must determine their own goals and approach accordingly.

YC- What books would you recommend to other startup founders?


  1. Hard Things about Hard Things by Ben Horowitz
  2. The one thing by Gary W. Keller and Jay Papasan. It is a book about focus.

Pushkar, it was wonderful speaking with you. Thank you for taking the time to chat. Yellow Chapter wishes you all the best in your future endeavours. 

Feel free to contribute