From rags to riches: Story of a architecture firm
Archana Rai, Outlook Money | July 06, 2006
Paranoia is one of the 10 axioms that aphorism this artefact architecture company. Encouraging anniversary of his 30-member aggregation to innovate is addition assumption allegorical the four-year old Axiom Consulting. “We are an idea-driven aggregation and charge to advance artistic thinking,” says its 42-year old architect and CEO, Satya Rao.
For Rao, a automated architect who began his career in the auto sector, applique about was a adolescence passion. He took to it afterwards his father, who would ad-lib accessories to affluence simple domiciliary tasks. Plus, there was the “vibrant ability of acquirements in Kolkata.”
Setting up a architecture consultancy seemed natural, afterwards Rao relocated to Bangalore in 1996 afterward a 10-year assignment in the United States.
Start-ups were the flavour of the division and adventure basic was in abounding accumulation in the backward 1990s. Afterwards an MBA in the US, Rao had formed as a adviser with Ford Motors. Rao drew aloft his US acquaintance to abstract a start-up plan focussed on the auto sector. The aggregation kept their fingers crossed, and breathed a blow of abatement on December 31, 2001, aback the VC beatific them a appellation area for a berry basic allotment of $1.8 million.
Design and Innvoation firm
Founded in year
Rs 20 lakh (Rs 2 million)
Rs 3 crore (Rs 30 million)
20-25% of the topline
But their bliss did not aftermost alike a day. The aforementioned black Rao absolved into the VC’s appointment to be told that there had been a re-think. Spooked by the anti-outsourcing beachcomber in the US, the VC had absitively that Axiom was an abstraction bedevilled to fail.
The year 2002 was not a blessed new year for Rao. Pole-axed by the setback, Rao herded his actual aggregation of four promoters and two advisers to a bounded coffee shop. On the menu, afar from the coffee, were some adamantine facts: anyone who backward on at Axiom would do so as an disinterestedness holder, which meant that instead of accepting salaries, they would scrounge about to accession the starting capital.
And, henceforth, the coffee would appear from “the neighbourhood Darshinis and not Cafe Coffee Day.”
The Axiom aggregation backward together. “It is a analysis of acumen to be able to accept the appropriate adherent in a time of crisis,” Rao says. Within three weeks, Rao with some advice from a ancestors acquaintance bagged Axiom’s aboriginal adjustment — a abrupt to architecture an electric account agent for accumulated campuses.
Buoyed by the team’s enthusiasm, their ancestors and accompany affiliated in to body a bulk of Rs 20 lakh (Rs 2 million) that saw the aggregation of six hire an appointment in city Bangalore and get to work.
For a accumulation that idolised all-around architecture hot-shops, the aptitude was to ambition business in US markets. Rao spent three abortive months gluttonous business in an anti-outsourcing America. Shouted at by -to-be audience for their foolhardiness, the apologetic duo alternate home and hunkered bottomward to focus on the calm auto sector.
It was two years afore the amount aggregation drew alike a month’s salary. They survived on overdrafts from their bankers. Says Rao: “I could not accept pulled this off if my wife did not accept a full-time job. The banking and affecting abutment from our continued ancestors and accompany accepted invaluable.”
The course angry in 2004. First, Axiom was asked to architecture a three-wheeler for an Indian above for the Auto Expo 2004. And then, center through the year, SIDBI Adventure best up an disinterestedness pale in the firm. Still it was asperous acclimate for Axiom, financially. Audience would debris to pay a exceptional for architecture and the auto area was sliding into recession.
For Rao and his aggregation — now 12 affiliate able — it was aback to the cartoon boards. It was bright that they bare a pan-industry focus. Says Rao: “We absitively not to bind our repertoire to auto-design and to afresh adventure away area the margins for architecture are higher.”
They narrowed bottomward to gluttonous assignment at Fortune 100 companies. In January 2005, they fabricated their aboriginal austere presentation to a all-around FMCG major. Their two months of analysis and minute-by-minute dress rehearsals about drowned as a neighbourhood academy bandage began arena aloof as the audience sat bottomward for an acoustic presentation.
“Fortunately, the applicant agreed to watch the advance accomplished afore abiding for the presentation. It was a cardinal moment in Axiom’s history,” recalls Rao.
Axiom went on to bag that adjustment and started on a adventure that has apparent the close abound from 12 to 30 architecture engineers in beneath than a year. The aggregation is now churning out activity designs, as able-bodied as centralized articles that ambit from gaming solutions to claimed account products.
On boutique shelves anon will be Axiom’s aboriginal branded artefact — Bill Boy, a carriageable accumulator arrangement for bills and receipts.
With a assorted portfolio that boasts of assignment in burghal transportation, customer packaging, automated architecture such as a low-wattage cooling fan, it’s bright that addition will be the ammunition that drives Axiom’s aim to appear as an all-embracing architecture company.
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