Born and brought up in Mumbai, Chandrashekhar Bhide is a Computer Science engineer from IIT Bombay and MBA from IIM Ahmedabad. He also has experience as a Vice President in Digital Banking with multinational DBS Bank. A perfect mix of qualifications for someone to reach the top of the corporate ladder. But this was probably what Chandrashekhar did not want for himself.
“Your logical mind would do a lot of risk-reward calculations every time you think of a startup. But at one point in time, the heart wins over that logical mind. Then you do what you love to do”– Chandrashekhar
As a startup enthusiast and a keen learner, Chandrashekhar moved from his financially stable corporate life to work pro-bono for early-stage startups in fintech, edtech, etc. Earlier, he joined Yes Bank when it was just a startup and launched few product lines. At Idea cellular, he launched Idea Money and Idea Cash. And at DBS Bank, he launched digibank! As you can see, Chandrashekhar has always been passionate about launching new ideas that have the potential to change the way business was conducted.
2.5 years back Chandrashekhar joined Piyush Gupta at Lithion Power in the Electric Vehicles space. Lithion Power operates an IoT-enabled, data-driven Intelligent Energy Platform (IEP) for Electric Vehicles (EVs). The offerings include smart charging & swapping infrastructure with software to track + control assets in real-time & facilitate optimal energy utilization.
They are working with EV OEMs, battery manufacturers, fleet operators, asset managers & other entities in the EV ecosystem to make an EV-only India. A significant portion of Lithion Power’s customers is in the shared mobility segment.
COVID-19 came as an opportunity for Chandrashekhar, CEO ZeroVir
Lithion Power was impacted by Covid19 and subsequent lockdowns, like other startups in shared mobility. Passengers are no more comfortable in sharing a vehicle with a stranger. So Chandrashekhar & the team tried to solve the problem through a contactless, automated, and configurable solution. While scouting for such a solution, they realized no such solution was readily available. He was very well aware that such a system would have much wider utility than just shared mobility.
That’s how ZeroVir was born.
ZeroVir’s objective is to bring trust back to businesses. Users are not sure anymore about hygiene standards at businesses that have shared spaces. Just because of this reason lots of customers are apprehensive about visiting such spaces & consequently, business revenues suffer.
Businesses these days are assuring customers that they are taking sufficient measures to sanitize. But customers are not fully convinced about certain aspects. Customers are concerned about the quality of sanitization at the premises, frequency of sanitization, or cleanliness of the team who did this sanitization? There are plenty of such questions in the mind of customers, preventing them from using those services.
ZeroVir is an innovation born out of necessity
ZeroVir offers peace of mind to both users & providers of public shared spaces (think cabs, buses, lifts, hotel rooms, ATMs, toilets, etc). It is a UltraViolet-C & IoT based automated solution that disinfects such spaces & brings back trust in the system.
At a functional level, ZeroVir offers a contactless, automated, and verifiable sanitization and integrates very well with enterprise software & corporate workflows.
ZeroVir gives full control to the end-user. For example, A hotel customer uses reception area, lifts, rooms, gym, spa, swimming pool showers, etc. With the help of ZeroVir’s solution, a guest would be able to do an on-demand sanitization as/when required – thus providing confidence and a sense of security to customers. Even the CEO of the hotel can track the sanitization level/status of hotel areas online.
As opposed to hotel staff telling you about the sanitization they have done, you would be more assured if the sanitization is under your control.
So ZeroVir started On-Demand sanitization. The high degree of sanitization and safe processes that ZeroVir uses is typically used in the medical industry. ZeroVir has been successfully tested at a Govt. approved laboratory & has got the required certifications.
How ZeroVir can sustain once Covid situation is over?
There is a fair degree of probability that sanitization would become a standard operating procedure (SOP) for all business units.Chandrashekhar
To give a perspective Chandrashekhar mentioned hygiene measures that businesses take to prevent infections that have very low probability. Only because these hygiene measures have become SOP.
In the last 20 years, we’ve had six significant threats – SARS, MERS, Ebola, avian influenza, and swine flu. We dodged five bullets but the sixth got us. And this is not the last pandemic we are going to face.– Prof Matthew Baylis from the University of Liverpool told BBC News.
Chandrashekhar also believes so. ZeroVir in addition to tackling viruses also fights against bacteria, fungus, and other pathogens. Chandrashekhar believes that sanitization in every form will become a “standard way of life” or as they say “the new normal”. ZeroVir’s competitive advantage is that it provides a complete enterprise-grade, safe solution as opposed to partial solutions that are just pieces of hardware.
Finally, we asked Chandrashekhar for strategy advice for our entrepreneur readers.
- Your product may be an engineering marvel; but customers first notice the design aspects. (i.e. look and feel). While building a product, focus equally on features and aesthetics from the very first day.
Design is the fundamental soul of a human-made creation that ends up expressing itself in successive outer layers of the product or service– Steve Jobs
- Don’t get married to your idea. Always be flexible to modify product features if the customers’ needs are satisfied. If initial customer feedback helps improve the value proposition, welcome it and quickly iterate on your product versions.
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