Pranav Pai Vernekar
“What differentiates successful entrepreneurs from unsuccessful ones is that they do not give up”
Pranav Pai Vernekar always wanted to create a world of automation where robots would make human life much easier. From wireless industrial functions to household activities, from teaching to storing data, these “intelligent human machines” would be multitasking beyond human capabilities and comprehension.
“As an Engineer, technology has always fascinated me – especially Robotics”, Pranav says. “I built my first robot with two of my classmates in my second year of Engineering. It was a simple ‘white line follower’ and ‘obstacle avoider’. During my final year, with the same team, I built a more advanced robot that could be controlled over the Internet and also transmitted video over the net. Coincidentally, a couple of months down the line, I saw an identical robot in the cerebral TV series The Big Bang Theory. It was so cool! In the Final Year of Engineering, along with my friends, I started a Robotics company called Accipion. We even conducted a few workshops, which generated capital for our product development projects. However, the final product never materialized.”
As time would tell, the effort was not in vain. The experience would come prove beneficial while starting Inventrom. After completing a B.E in Electronics and Telecommunication, Pranav surprised many by preferring an MBA from Goa Institute of Management, over an advanced education in Technology and Robotics.
“Considering that both my parents are from business background, I had an inclination towards business from childhood”, Pranav explains. “But it was my startup experience during Engineering, which made me realise that Business Management skills have to go hand in hand with Technology in order to ensure success. A good salesman will find it very difficult to sell a bad product, while a good product will not sell if the communication to the customer is poor. It is only when different skills come together that you are able to create products that are magical.” …And magic he did create.
Apart from the in-class pedagogy at GIM, Pranav found a brilliant opportunity to figure out the business side of Robotics during his Summer Internship with Robosoft. The foundation of Inventrom - Pranav’s second startup, and the one that is growing by leaps and bounds today - was laid while he was in his 2nd Year PGDM in GIM. By a strange coincidence his first colleague at Inventrom, Vinayak Joshi – a year Pranav’s junior at engineering college - moved from Vasco to the housing board colony, which is on the slope leading to the GIM campus from Sanquelim. They had their first company meeting at the breakout rooms of the college. Pranav even got his website designed by one of his juniors at GIM, who ran an online marketing and web designing startup as a student.
“GIM is very different” Pranav says. “Most of the B-Schools focus on placements with a higher salary rather than on better profiles and a job where the students can make the world a better place. At GIM we were always told that the core motive was not only placements but better management education. They said with good skills and knowledge, a lucrative placement would automatically happen. This is very true. Also, GIM offers a course on creative learning. Such initiatives help in developing entrepreneurial skills in a big way.”
As a student of the first batch to study at the sprawling new Sanquelim campus, he actually saw the campus spring to life before his eyes. From hanging out in local eating joints like ‘On the way’ and ‘JK’ to lots of hostel parties, club activities and events like Sangamam, Inception, Pranav is very impressed in how far the campus has grown and improved.
Pranaz was placed on-campus at GIM as an Associate Research Manager with IMRB International; however, within 6 months Inventrom was doing well enough for him to be a part of it full-time. He left his job and began diversifying. As of today, Inventrom boasts of a variety of products like Minion Bot, Techno Bot, Zazu Wireless Programer and Topping Pi. Apart from these cutting edge technology products, Inventrom also holds workshops and trainings for corporations and working professionals.
“My leaning towards Branding Management and Working Capital Management is pretty much because of the classes in GIM by Prof. Parulekar and Prof. Ram, respectively. In fact, Professor Ram’s teachings of ensuring working capital against investment has been a key principle for financial management at Inventrom. At GIM, I was part of the Ribandar Talks club where I had to interact with a lot of prominent people. This experience comes in handy when we have to meet people to pitch our products.”
For Pranav, the ultimate kick is visiting GIM to select candidates for internships with his firm. He finds it very cool to sit across the table from where he was sitting a few years back. Pranav is grateful for the opportunity to give back to the institution that not only nurtured his startup, but also groomed him for entrepreneurship.