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The Accidental Entrepreneur

“To him that will, ways are not wanting” — George Herbert

Daniel Raj David’s entrepreneurial journey began on the back of this quote. After having a not-so-great experience during his summer internship, he decided to pursue a project under Prof Krishnan at IIT Madras. Little did he know that he was taking the first steps on his entrepreneurial expedition. What started off as a trickle in the form of just another college project, turned out to be a flood. The project he was working on with Tarun Mishra, his senior, and Prof Krishnan, gradually turned into a massive business opportunity. Prof Krishnan and Tarun were working on developing a technology that could generate signals in the vicinity of temperatures as high as 350 degree Celsius. Daniel, a mechanical engineer, was brought on board to create a product based on this technology. The result was a machine that could inspect oil pipelines at very high temperatures, and generate reports there- by preventing accidents that could cost a company crores of rupees. Realising the immense potential of this machine, Detect Technologies was founded while Daniel was still pursuing his engineering degree.

Today, as one of the promoters of Detect Technologies, he is engaged in bridging the gap between the petroleum industry and new technologies. In its short history, Detect has won an enviable client list across the heavy industry segment. It has also raised funding from giants such as RIL, HPCL, and BPCL. Such a high-intensity and power-packed start has pushed Daniel to hone his R&D and managerial skills. Thus, as only a young graduate (he graduated in 2017) Daniel has been able to gain skills that any other fresher can only dream of acquiring.

Having developed the technology in a state-of-the-art laboratory, Daniel and his team had assumed that the road ahead would be easy, and on-field implementation would be a piece of cake. But this seemingly simple task took them three long years to accomplish. While the technology was ready in 2013, the first successful implementation was only in 2016. Along the way, Daniel and his team had to keep their investors-cum-customers abreast of each and every development and the expected pitfalls. Managing investors’ expectations has been tough for this team of entrepreneurs which is technologically adept but are still learning the ropes of running an enterprise.

“With a great team you can do anything. It is the most important thing for the startup.”

Daniel firmly believes in the necessity of having a good team. He has several highly specialized people from his alma mater working with him currently. Now he dreams of showing the world that India is not just a country capable of producing software companies, but one that also has strong R&D capabilities. He and his team continue to grow from strength to strength. Their second product, an industrial inspection drone, is quickly gaining traction.

Barely out of college, Daniel Raj David is no rookie. He has learnt his lessons well and the rewards are pouring in. To him, this is just the beginning!

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