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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Meet the former child loom worker who built Rs 6 cr electric scooter brand

Devireddy Venugopal launched his electric scooter brand in August last year. His startup, Venu Motors, has been able to sell around 1145 vehicles with revenue of Rs 6 crore so far.

Devireddy Venugopal persevered in life despite the odds, dropping out of school after Class Six, completing Class Ten through an open school programme, and then completing a diesel mechanic diploma degree.

He began his work as a lowly collection executive at a financial firm at the age of 19 for a salary of Rs 5500. He currently runs an electric two-wheeler firm located in his birthplace of Dharmavaram, noted for its silk sarees, in Andhra Pradesh’s Satya Sai District, which he founded 11 years ago.

His firm, Venu Motors, debuted two models, Thunder and WenU, in August of last year. In less than a year, it has sold around 1145 automobiles and generated a revenue of Rs 6 million.

Venugopal said, “Thunder costs Rs 53000, while WenU costs Rs 55000. The cars’ Lithium-ion batteries charge in 3-4 hours and can go 80 kilometres on a single charge.”

The plant manufactures around 160-200 autos per month and has monthly sales of approximately Rs 66 lakh. Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams received their first automobile in August 2021. (TTD).

The manufacturing plant is near Dharmavaram, about 31 kilometres from Anantpur. In town, the firm maintains a 2500 square foot showroom. Venugopal dropped out of school after sixth grade to work in a loom with his mother. For the first time, Venugopal speaks to the public about his life story and recalls his tribulations as a boy, when he had to work in a loom to support his family after his father abandoned his mother to marry another woman.

At the time, he was just three years old. He also has a little sister. His mother first worked in his father’s loom, but she was unable to handle it alone, and the firm finally failed. His mother was compelled to weave on another person’s loom.

Venugopal attended Gnana Jyoti School, an English/Telugu medium school, until Class Six. Due to financial difficulties, he dropped out of school after sixth grade and began weaving alongside his mother. He earned a certificate in diesel mechanics and Class 10 through an open school programme.

In 2011, he moved to Guntakal, roughly 120 kilometres from his village, and got work as a collection professional at Spandana Sphoorty Finance Ltd for Rs 5500. He returned to Dharmavaram two years later, when he worked as a collection officer for Indusind Bank, earning Rs 7500 a month.

After around two years, he went to work for a two-wheeler lending firm. Venugopal has always had a soft spot for two-wheelers. So, in 2014, with the goal of opening a two-wheeler showroom, he approached a Bajaj dealer to inquire about a sub-dealership.

However, he was unable to obtain the dealership. “I was told I was too young to run the company,” he recalls. He began working with Muthoot Finance in 2015, earning Rs 12,000 per month.

Venugopal has named 35 new dealers in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana. His life has taken an extraordinary turn following his marriage to N Padmavati, a clerical staff member at Indian Overseas Bank, Anantpur, in 2016.

Padmavati became his staunchest ally and motivator. Her bank employment not only increased the family’s overall income, but it also supplied funding for him to establish a business. By the end of 2019, he had made contact with a Hyderabad-based firm, where he spent approximately a year and a half learning about various elements of making electric scooters.

Venugopal received a licence from the Government of India in June 2021 to manufacture electric two-wheelers, and manufacturing commenced in August 2021.

He put roughly Rs 50 lakh towards the project. I made Rs 20 lakh by selling a house “Venugopal, who immediately hired dealers in a number of cities and towns, adds

“Initially, we did not require a deposit for a dealership; nevertheless, we now charge Rs 50,000.

The deposit allows the dealer to make a buy-now, pay-later order with us for replacement parts. “Every 3-4 months, I would recommend completing a safety check.

To maintain a scooter’s vital systems, we charge a minimum service cost of Rs 150 “Venugopal has reached this position in his life without the help or support of anybody other than his wife. His father is now ecstatic about him, and his mother loves telling others about his incredible journey.

Venugopal intends to build a high-speed model and hopes to have 100 dealers in South India by March 2023. “People used to look down on me and tell me, “You’re lucky to have a wife who works for the government.”

They now consider my wife to be “fortunate” to have me in her life “Venugopal explains. Despite having only one day off a week for family time on Sundays, his family is his #1 priority.


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