Interview with Mr. Sagar Gupta, Young Entrepreneur and Director of Ekkaa Electronics, No.1 ODM player in India
Mr. Sagar Gupta is the Director of Ekkaa Electronics. His clear vision and commitment towards quality standards has made Ekkaa the No.1 ODM player in the country.
Despite being a young entrepreneur he has paved his way into the manufacturing industry. Sagar aspires to become a successfully established visionary and strategic leader of the industry in the near future.
Tell us a little about yourself
Sagar Gupta: I was born and brought up in Delhi and received my letter of excellence in academics from HRD Ministry in 2014.
I graduated from the esteemed Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC), Delhi University with a B.COM (H).
I have also cleared levels of CA foundation and intermediate with exemptions. I then, started articleship with an Indian firm handling a client base in excess of 150 companies, directly handling their management consultancy and tax compliances.
I have cleared several NCFM exams and have also appeared in CFA (USA) exams for in-depth finance and economics knowledge.
My father Mr. C.P Gupta came to Delhi from Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh when he was only 20 years old.
He started the company which used to be in the distribution business of semiconductors and electronic components, around 30 years back.
Please tell us a little about your entrepreneurial journey.
Sagar Gupta: I started my entrepreneurial journey in 2018 when I found Ekkaa Electronics. Being a young 26-year-old entrepreneur, handling an INR 600 crore company has not been an easy job for me.
Like every journey, it had its ups and downs. While the downs became my greatest learning, the ups became something I am proud of.
Battling the waves of uncertainties of the global pandemic outbreak of covid, the Russia-Ukraine war and the global cue of recession leading to shortages and a stiff supply chain of semiconductors, Ekkaa has managed to supply the goods and build the trust of their ODM partners and show phenomenal growth in the preceding 3 years
Kindly brief us about Ekkaa Electronics, its specialization, and the services that it offers.
Sagar Gupta: Established in 2018 with headquarters located in Sonipat, Haryana, Ekkaa is an OEM, ODM, expert in designing and manufacturing LED TVs. Being the market leader in India for LED TVs manufactured, it has television sizes ranging from 24″ to 43″.
To effectively support the global expansion, inclusive of its associate office in Shenzhen, Ekkaa has strategically set up additional production facilities in Sonipat and Noida.
Ekkaa specializes in providing effective and efficient delivery of its products to its ODM partners.
Having a fully backward integrated plant helps to have full control over design, software and components depending on their availability, thereby helping them to tackle global semiconductor shortage and create differentiation of the products for the brands.
Ekkaa has a separate team of specialized software development professionals. In the world of smart TVs where everything is connected to the internet, Ekkaa helps to provide application integration, branding, and advertisement solutions in smart TVs enhancing the overall experience for the consumers as well as opening revenue streams for brands in the future, designing and developed as per specific requirements of the brands.
What is your biggest USP?
- Brand Confidentiality
- Product Consistency
- High-end quality regimes
- A strong relationship with vendors
Over and above the USPs mentioned above, Ekkaa is able to maintain product consistency even when the semiconductor and raw material shortage disrupted the supply chains of some of the biggest companies worldwide.
Providing world-class finished products at similar and competitive prices in comparison to Chinese factories, Ekkaa stayed ahead of its global competitors from the start of its journey.
Reducing the significant requirement of working capital requirement for its ODM partners along with handling all the necessary research and development with its state of art production and research facility, Ekkaa has been a one-stop solution for its ODM partners.
What made you choose this type of business?
Sagar Gupta: I initially wanted to settle and complete my CA as soon as possible so that I could start working on my own.
I found a ray of opportunity in my fathers’ business and decided to completely pivot from their old-style business and be aligned with the developing government policies and the “Make In India” initiative.
The vision was to be a core manufacturer in India for all the other electronic brands and not compete with the local Indian manufacturers but to compete and align ourselves with top global manufacturing hubs that have been feeding the world supply chain for many decades.
To provide world-class infrastructure and grow and strengthen Indian brands, and promote make in India.
What was your mission and vision at the outset?
Sagar Gupta: The idea was crystal clear that we had to start a manufacturing facility/ factory that one-ups the facilities and equipment provided by others in the country.
We planned to get everything in-house only and do backward integration in order to have the whole hold or control over the product and to date, they are committed to doing the same thing.
The same ideology as the Chinese and Korean factories we’re working with needs to be brought into the country.
If we have to sell our products and if we have to promote manufacturing in India, then we have to compete with Chinese companies, not Indian ones.
So, the idea was simply to provide global quality products at aggressive prices and open the global market for Ekkaa along with promoting the Make in India initiative.
What is your leadership mantra?
Sagar Gupta: Clarity for all.
Currently, Ekkaa has human resources involvement of around 1000 people directly and roughly 2000 people indirectly.
Having clarity of thought, vision, and mission helps to build a culture, and our only job as a leader is to communicate that vision to each and every person who is in touch with Ekkaa.
Having clear checklists, very well-detailed instructions, and guidance along with very well-designed training programs helps in the overall performance of each personnel.
When everything is properly documented and accounted for, the organization flows smoothly, and the customer gets exactly similar results each time.
What are your company’s goals?
Sagar Gupta: Right now, Ekkaa is the No.1 ODM factory in small sizes LED TVs which are being manufactured in the Sonipat district.
Moreover, Ekkaa is planning to start and expand its manufacturing facility and capabilities in Noida. Ekkaa is coming with a world-class state-of-the-art facility that will be ranked amongst the best-LED TV plant in the world and the highest capacity plant in India, giving them the capacity to produce 1M TV per month.
Along with ODM, the company will also be doing OEM contract manufacturing for most of the big names in the industry.
Along with a LED TV, the company is also expanding in manufacturing commercial and interactive displays.
Ekkaa is also planning to diversify its product portfolio to washing machines, multimedia speakers, Tws, and smartwatches, helping brands to reduce overall costs and reduce dependency on imports as a whole.
What was the inspiration behind turning into an entrepreneur?
Sagar Gupta: Freedom and passion, are the main motivation and inspirations.
Building a system that provides and strengthens you to achieve your overall goals and solve problems is a major fascination.
Breaking the routine and monotony.
Also, from childhood, we’ve seen all the relatives and family members talking and actively involved in business, so that was very well engrained from childhood itself. You can probably say it’s a “Gupta thing”.
What have been some of your failures, and what have you learned from them?
Sagar Gupta: Being new in the manufacturing industry where we had no prior experience in putting up a system to run the factory and manufacturing unit everything was done from scratch and lot of trial and error.
Making a strong and uncertainty-proof supply chain and handling more than 300-500-700 people were the major challenges.
Learning minute things to make the system runs smoothly removing the uncertainties and surprises and delivering the exact same user experience to our customers were the great learnings which we find were greater than the product itself and help you scale phenomenally.
I remember a quote from Michael e Gerber for all the upcoming startup enthusiasts who drop out of corporates:
“If your business depends on you, you don’t own a business – you have a job. And it’s the worst job in the world because you’re working for a lunatic!”
Key things to consider before starting a business
Sagar Gupta: Having an idea that solves anyone’s problem can be converted into business.
Your idea or solution must be economically and environmentally viable and should be able to generate profits in order to keep it running.
Having clarity of vision helps you design overall organization around it. Having a business that is in alignment with your skills helps you to scale and grow faster.
Identify your target audience. Test the market size and competitors’ financial health. See what market and consumers’ requirements are in that industry and how you can solve it.
Once all this is done, we’re to build a business structure and, as per that, need to calculate the startup cost for setting up the facility and products.
After the budget is finalized, we need to arrange the funding. Funding can be from personal savings, loans from banks or relatives or friends, or finding an angel investor.
The last step is to finalize the location which serves your maximum requirements keeping you close to your supplier and customer at the same time and helping you minimize the overall logistics cost and also supporting your budget at the same time.
If you had one piece of advice for a young and aspiring entrepreneur, what would it be?
Sagar Gupta: I believe that young and aspiring entrepreneurs should not give up on their dreams even if they encounter hurdles and obstructions in the short run.
Eventually, if one has enthusiasm and dedication to work, in the long run, everything turns out to benefit not only the individual involved but the society as a whole.
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