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Vishal Pandya & Vibhav Nuwal — REConnect Energy
How do you come up with an idea for a startup and choose a business partner? Vibhav Nuwal and Vishal Pandya have an interesting and unusual answer to this question — social network. They started interacting via LinkedIn and soon found out that starting up together made a lot of sense as not only did they share a passion for the energy sector but also had complementary skill sets (Vishal did his M.Tech from IIT Bombay while Vibhav did his MBA from Columbia Business School). However, they wanted to be doubly sure of their idea. The validation arrived in the form of a happenstance meeting with a stranger, who, a week later, became their first customer. Thus, REConnect Energy was born in 2010.
Over the past seven years, REConnect Energy’s growth story has known no bounds as Vishal and Vibhav have transformed it from a mere Renewable Energy Certificates (REC) trading company to a technology company with a diversified portfolio of activities. To achieve this, the duo has grabbed every opportunity that has come their way with both hands. They accepted and executed a contract to service 13 plants when they only had resources to service one; to meet client expectations, they set up a predictive analytics team overnight! The slow moving and policy dependent energy sector, however, made it difficult for the two founders to find a firm foothold.
The years 2012–2013 were especially tough to get through. The government went into a policy paralysis; the ensuing delay was like a death knell to them. Their revenues declined severely as the market’s confidence in the future of the renewables sector eroded. Their team started losing patience and they even considered the unthinkable — selling off the company. However, they navigated these challenging moments with the support of their families, particularly their spouses. Vishal and Vibhav’s firm belief in their team’s abilities helped them stay afloat. Their confidence in their relationships with their customers created the foundation for them to scale and expand REConnect Energy’s scope of work and cater to both the demand and the supply sides.
“If you think that by running a business you will make a lot more money, that should not be the objective — your dreams will be shattered very soon.”
Vishal and Vibhav feel that the mutual respect that they share for each other’s capabilities has been the most critical component in their journey; the latter’s patient and tactful nature balances the assertive streak of the former, thus making them a force to reckon with!