CXOToday has engaged in an exclusive interview with Mr. Pushkar Limaye, Co Founder and CTO of Carnot Technology
- What inspired you to start Carnot Technologies? and what led you to focus on the agri-tech domain?
The Founding member Pushkar Limaye started his entrepreneurial stint back when he was leading the Design team at IIT Bombay for designing a Formula One Student Racing Car. From being the first team to qualify from India for Formula one racing championship to the roller coaster journey to design Carsense and winning a Qualcomm design grant worth 100,000 US $, Carnot Technologies has grown by leaps and bounds.
Carnot’s journey began with the Carsense product in a 200 sq ft office in Mumbai with 7 people in 2015. After realising that there was a need for a truly tech-enabled product to transform the Indian agri-tech space, Carnot’s team had its Ahhaaa! Moment! This was when Rental Entrepreneurs started using our product.
Fast forward to 2022, today, Carnot’s team has grown from 3 founders to a 75+ strong team with core values to bring efficiency to rental business while helping them increase their business and make tractors smarter. all this has been possible virtually through the app.
Having always wanted to work to create impact through technology and after learning from Carsense, Pushkar decided to start up in the agriculture space where he could see great potential for disruption.
2. Please elaborate on your journey and give an overview of your professional journey.
Set out to solve the automobile visibility problem with a small plug-and-play device that would give real-time updates to one’s smartphones from the car, Carnot Technologies has already raised substantial investment from Mahindra and Mahindra and is expanding its business overseas as well. The flagship product Krish-e Smart Kit is helping rental entrepreneurs earn up to 30% more.
Carnot Tech identified a specific set of l communities that have been involved in agriculture – Rental Entrepreneurs. Keen on building products that solve real problems, Carnot Tech found its true potential when the founders got to know about a community of entrepreneurs who were earning their livelihood by renting their tractors. When the company scratched the surface of this business venture, it realised that the tractor rental business was not just a small community but a huge sector of around 60 lac people.
These Rental Entrepreneurs were renting out tractors every day without the relevant knowledge about managing their tractors, their drivers , diesel expenses etc, the community was functioning in a very obsolete pattern with no set income. While their business accounted for more than 90% of the trac actorization of India, their earnings via the same were not as fruitful
After a tryst with the tractor community, Carnot Tech made history with their product. The IoT platform Simha (rebranded to Krish-e Smart Kit ) by Carnot Tech now has over 25,000 tractors, and harvesters working on over 3 million acres of land each season. The platform is backed by 5 tech-patents. What began with 3 IITians is now a company of over 70+ team members, operating in more than 8 states and impacting over 1.5 Lac farmers.
3. How do you explain the transition of Carnot to an agri-tech product? How did this change come about, and what factors influenced this decision?
Focused on identifying the issue that plagues the agricultural sector, the core team spent 6 months in Uttar Pradesh and mapped out this Rental Entrepreneur persona. They understood the gaps in the system and realised that their telematics system could solve these problems with the telematics data. Their product is now helping these Rental Entrepreneurs monitor their tractors and streamline their income. Deciphering that these entrepreneurs did not have the bandwidth to define the average of how much work their tractor has done, Carnot Tech tested their telematics product to accumulate relevant data and make it accessible to the tractor owners. Their product and services now ensure that the tractor is not misused, prevent theft of diesel etc.
In addition to streamlining income for the rental entrepreneurs, Carnot Tech also brought them to the centre stage as a key cog in the agricultural industry which had long been overlooked.
The core idea was to bridge the gap with technology and help the agricultural sector grow with tech.
4. Can you help us understand the SaaS numbers, the market, the ideal customer profile, and competition in India and globally for Carnot?
Carnot Tech is the only company in India working with these rental entrepreneurs. Carnot Tech’s AI-enabled IoT device helps small rental tractor entrepreneurs & Enterprises to take the guesswork out of daily operations. It consists of an advanced device that can be retrofitted onto any tractor or harvester & pairs with the Krish-e Smart Kit app to provide powerful insights. It includes customizable web dashboards for enterprises and is capable of supporting fleet of tractors.
With the growth of the company, Mahindra And Mahindra has further invested strategically in Carnot Tech. As Service contractors for the Krish-e app, the company is helping Mahindra and Mahindra tap into the farmer community to reach a wider audience of first-time tractor buyers.
Carnot Tech is now working on its global expansion. The company went international and deployed its IoT kits in Benin, Tanzania and other African countries.
The advantage that Carnot Tech has over other agri-tech solution companies is that it understands the need specific to the Indian agricultural sector. They have realised the pain points are the same for many other similar locations overseas also and hence the IoT kit is a great product market fit and impacts the farmers’ income across the globe.
5. How challenging was persuading farmers to purchase a $100 telematics device?
Selling IoT kits or any tech device to the farmers has never been easy for anyone, it tasted our patience but our determined approach and team’s effort started bearing fruits. Our approach to sell the IoT kits to REs is to educate the customers on what they can know about their hard-earned assets effectively and save a significant amount of money.
6. How does the average usage of the app vary during the farming season and off-season?
On farming season i.e Kharif and Rabi, we see an average Daily User engagement time of more than 50 mins which is way more than the industry standards.
7. What are the top three benefits or promises your company makes to farmers when selling the product?
The platform is easy to use for Rental Entrepreneurs and adds real value on the ground for them.
When the company started, the primary pain point which they identified was the lack of reliable tools which can help the REs to manage their tractors effectively.
However, as Carnot Tech took the Kit to market, REs started seeing the results and the company quickly realised that the larger problem was the lack of awareness among the farmers.
With an AI-enabled IoT Kit connected to tractors, REs use the mobile-based application for real-time live tracking of their assets, exact acreages of work done, fuel status, and Accounting solutions.