Dr. Kushant Uppal: An inspiring entrepreneur

“Entrepreneur’s need to remember that they are the best marketer’s for their products and company” says Dr. Kushant Uppal, Founder, and Managing Director, Intelizon. He founded Intelizon in 2007 with the vision to create a world of smart energy which formed the basis for the name. INTELIZON means intelligent solar- ZON means sun in Dutch and INTELI is short for intelligent. “The idea of Intelizon was seeded in 2006 when I was in Silicon Valley and solar was catching attention. The opportunity to create solar lighting products for rural markets was a dream since it had a social, environmental and economic impact” speaks Dr. Kushant. Intelizon is a journey where they have created technologically the most advanced solar systems addressing the requirements at the bottom of the pyramid. The lithium-ion based solar street lights and the DC systems are state of the art, cost-effective and have been proven to work in tough conditions. The IOT based remote monitoring and control and the AI-based inbuilt camera systems are path-breaking with a global market.

“I was exposed to entrepreneurship at an early age as my father had his own business. I have a B-Tech from IITM and a PhD from University of Southern California and worked at the hub of entrepreneurship, Silicon Valley for a decade creating world leading products in the telecom sector. Having seen corporate success and with encouragement from my wife, the idea to work on a business with triple impact became the driving passion for my career” says Dr. Kushant. Intelizon has a team of professionals who are dedicated to the company’s vision and are passionate about their work. They work tirelessly to build trust and long-term relationships with their customers and suppliers alike. He believes the ethics they have built has set the platform for a long-lasting entity which will impact the world positively. The initial challenges were to understand the Indian ecosystem for building teams, projects and channels for the rural markets. As with any entrepreneur, you roll up the sleeves to understand the problems at its root and solve them one by one. “It took us a few years to get the market and product fit right. The markets were not ready for our products in the initial years. It took us the first 5 years to focus on the right market segment and have grown 4X in the past 5 years. Solar streetlights has become our bread and butter” says Dr. Kushant.

Unique Offerings

“We are pioneers in lithium ion based solar street lights. We are the only company in the world who has lights successfully operating in the field for more than 6 years. We also have home lighting systems based on lithium ion batteries. Our uniqueness lies in innovation- Theft proof designs for street lights, remote monitoring and control systems using Wi-Fi/GSM/Bluetooth and most recently inbuilt lights and cameras for wireless surveillance. We also provide best in class quality, reliability and customer service” speaks Dr. Kushant. Solar street lights is an unorganized sector and they are unique in terms of providing technology and building a brand. Their customer satisfaction metric is based on the strong and long lasting relationships built with their channel partners. They are seeking people and businesses who are as passionate in creating the world of smart energy and building not only a business but also impacting lives and helping the environment.

They have a team of self-driven and passionate people who are encouraged to come up with ideas and excel in execution. Their passion for innovation, quality and customer service drives excellence. This has led to an installed base of over 25000 solar street lights and 100000 solar home systems with a return rate of less than 1%. Intelizon has impacted more than 2 million people, reduced CO2 emissions by 30000metric tonnes and saved over 16million units of electricity to date.

A realistic Work life-Balance

Dr. Kushant believes work-life balance is the key to success. This philosophy allows one to work efficiently at work while being an effective support at home. Family support is critical to maintaining sanity and balance in the life of an entrepreneur. “In my case, my wife has been the pillar of support since the ideation in 2006 till today. I have also received tremendous support from my father who is involved in the day to day finance management at Intelizon and gave me good advice on the Indian business environment in the early days. My wife, parents and kids inspire me the most” asserts Dr. Kushant. Kids in general have a positive mindset and are passionate about learning which forms the crux of an entrepreneur’s life. His wife multi-tasks and balances work, kids, parents, home, etc., which is a huge motivation and makes entrepreneurship feel simple.

Future Vision

Dr. Kushant has a few goals for the near future:

  • Scale Intelizon globally and establish it as a top player in the solar lighting segment
  • Create technically advanced products with a global appeal
  • Mentor young and budding entrepreneurs to help accelerate their dreams

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