Not often, you find a startup, which do not rely on marketing to gain traction during its initial days. What makes it more interesting it the fact when the founder behind the startup himself has been in the marketing industry for a long time. The story of Kaushik’s success started during college days while developing small robots and hovercrafts. After graduating, Kaushik moved on to in the marketing sector, but changed lines to full fill his passion for electronics.
But it all came together after he decided to give his dream a shot by starting Ethereal Machines, which specializes in manufacturing CNC Routers. The approach of Kaushik has been highly proactive as he was never very comfortable with the idea of spending tons of investors’ money in order to gain a clientele. Surprisingly, he does not believe in spending a penny on marketing. From the first order, he went on to break even, which shows his dedication and ingenuity. He is highly motivated person and has a defined aim of making a mark in the entrepreneurial sector.
Please provide a brief overview of your product/ service.
Ethereal Machines manufactures CNC Routers. Our machines are the most cost effective in the market right now. We make machines tailor made to the requirements of the client. Customers, across India, face problems while trying to incorporate changes for their specific needs. Ethereal Machines helps customers address their varied needs and provides technical support as well. The machines are being used on a host of materials ranging from hard materials like marble, granite, aluminum etc. to soft materials such as thermocol and foam.
What inspired you to build the above product/ service?
My founding partner Navin and I used to build small robots and hovercrafts when in college. We realized that to manufacture more efficient robots, we needed more precisely cut parts and highly accurate markings. For this purpose, we decided to purchase a CNC Router. We soon realized that the cheapest machine in the market cost of approx INR 6-7 Lakhs.
It is then that we decided to make our own CNC router. Our first machine was built within INR 1.5 Lakhs. Since then, we have never looked back.
What is your life mantra?
Never pay heed to the people who say that your venture will not succeed (A couple of people who told me that Ethereal Machines would never make a profit contacted me after a couple of sales, expressing their intent of investing in us.)
The joy you feel when your client makes money off your product should be your only guiding force.
What was the most challenging part of your journey till now?
The toughest part was bagging our first order. Each machine costs a few lakhs and customers needed to trust us with that kind of money. It took us 63 rejects and 3 months of running behind several prospective clients to get our first order. Having declined a job at a top consultancy firm, it was a quandary.
We would show clients only the prototype machine that we had built during college. The machines we sell now are much advanced versions of what we displayed to clients initially.
How did you overcome those challenges?
Patience. Tons of patience.
How would you differentiate your startup from rest ?
We aren’t very comfortable with the idea of spending tons of investors’ money in order to gain a clientele. Ethereal Machines had a break-even with its first order itself. Surprisingly, we have also not spent a penny on marketing. It has all depended on the one to one interaction we have had with our clients.
Share some details about the investments that you have been able to fetch for the business till now.
We have raised USD 30,000/- till date. Will be gunning for a higher value in the near future.
How do you protect yourself from the problem of Brain Drain?
Everyone who joins Ethereal Machines is treated like family. The more the access they have to us, the more comfortable they feel in working with us. This is also effective right now because we are a small team.
We delegate responsibilities and when things go wrong, I personally apologize to the clients and take the blame. This fosters loyalty and acts very effectively in cutting down mistakes in future.
According to you, what are the three qualities an individual must have to achieve success?
Patience and a solid team backing the product, everything else can be taken care of.
Share any one habit which you think makes you more productive.
My co-founder, Navin and I have demarcated areas of work. He doesn’t interfere in my part and I don’t question him about his end. We do own up to each other’s faults when the need arises.
Answer in less than 50 words
One tip to success:
I wish there was just one. It would have been easier for me.
One mistake you believe every individual must avoid:
Giving detractors too much of your time.
One most important lesson that you have learnt till now:
Make customers realize that you want them to grow richer and help them to achieve that.
What are your plans for next 3 years?
We have machines in 4 states of India right now. We hope to hit at-least 15 states in the next 3 years and build a team of 50 engineers.
If you get a chance to start your career again what would you do differently this time?
I am happy with Ethereal Machines. I wouldn’t want to do it any differently.
Share a quote that inspires you the most.
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?” – Martin Luther King.