14 Apr 2022

Take V: Q&A with Karkhana

Innovation Ecosystem

Leadership & Management

Take V is a Vertex Holdings spotlight series that dives into the inspiring stories of Vertex’s portfolio founders. In this installment, we chat with Sonam Motwani, Founder and CEO of Karkhana. Karkhana is a portfolio company of Vertex Ventures SEA & India.

Can you share your background with us and what inspired you to start up?

I completed my Bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay in 2013. At IIT Bombay, I met many intelligent people and had the opportunity to work with them on some very cool projects. One of those was building an electric race car from scratch. That was my first encounter with manufacturing.

When I started my career with Procter & Gamble (P&G), I worked on solving engineering problems across multiple business units. It was during this time that I witnessed some of the underlying challenges in the manufacturing industry in India. They were difficult challenges, but they were compelling enough for me to want to jump in and work on finding solutions. Eventually, this led to me building Karkhana.io.

What was the most challenging task you experienced or decision made when starting up? And how do you advance when there’s no one single right answer?

The most challenging task while starting up is putting together a team that believes in the vision and is ready to hop on a rollercoaster ride with you to navigate the challenges in a highly unorganised sector.

In most cases, there is a single right answer, even if it doesn’t seem so initially. When there are two seemingly equal choices, I play them both out in my head, and most of the time find myself advocating more strongly for one over the other.

In cases when this doesn’t work, and if the decision is reversible, I’ll just pick one and move forward with it. If it is irreversible, I’ll seek help from somebody more knowledgeable in the domain.

What do you think is the secret sauce in building an enduring company?

Finding out what kind of people you need in the team and hiring the right people.

What is the one thing you do in business that most may not agree with you on?

At Karkhana.io, we are building an engine that simplifies manufacturing for everybody – businesses of all sizes. We work on a Rs. 5000 order with the same level of sincerity as a Rs. 5 Million order, which is not common in the industry. We believe that we can consider this engine working when it makes manufacturing accessible for any volume/quantity.

What is your advice to women leaders and entrepreneurs around the world?

Surround yourself with the right people who have the skills that you are short on. Network with people who would want you to succeed and will help you do so.

Interested in Technopreneurship? Read more here.


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