Weeks after Ratan Tata-backed mobile energy distribution startup Repos Energy launched their organic waste-powered ‘mobile electric charging vehicle’ solution, the founders shared how a call from the industrialist changed their fortune.
When starting out with Repos a few years ago, co-founder Aditi Bhosale Walunj and Chetan Walunj figured out that for the company to grow, they needed a mentor--somebody who has worked towards a greater good. And the first person they could think of was Ratan Tata.
When Aditi Bhosale Walunj suggested that they meet him, Chetan Walunj was quick to remark, “Aditi, he (Ratan Tata) is not my neighbour that you are saying let's go meet him.”
She, however, did not back out. "We both have had no formal business education but we learnt one thing very early in our lives--an excuse towards anything is a foundation which one builds a house of failure," Aditi Bhosale Walunj wrote on LinkedIn.
"Everyone told us you cannot meet him (Ratan Tata) and that it's impossible. We didn't use this as an excuse. "NO" was never an option..."
Explaining how they finally got the chance to meet the industrialist in Mumbai, Aditi Bhosale Walunj wrote that they prepared a 3D presentation of how Repos Energy wanted to change the energy distribution and deliver any energy/fuel to the last mile using technology and then sent handwritten letters to Ratan Tata. They also reached out to sources who could have connected them to him and even waited for 12 hours outside his house.
Later, when they returned to their hotel, the couple received a call at 10 pm."I was reluctant but when I answered, the voice on the other hand said
'Hi! Can I speak to Aditi?," recalled Aditi Bhosale Walunj. Although she asked who it was on the other end of the line, she said that in her heart she knew that this was the call that they had been waiting for.
“This is Ratan Tata here. I got your letter. Can we meet?” she heard on the phone.
Aditi Bhosale Walunj recalled experiencing multiple emotions at the same time. She was numb, had goosebumps with tears running down her face and a smile on her lips.
"The next day we reached his house at 10.45 am at his house and waited for him in the living room with our presentation. And sharp at 11 am a tall, fair person with a blue shirt walked towards us. And it felt like SILENCE," she wrote.
"That meeting at 11am went up to 2 pm and those three hours were sheer mediation for us where he heard our idea, shared his experiences and guided us."
The Repos Energy co-founder said Ratan Tata asked her what she expected from him to which the couple replied, “Sir, help us serve people and take our country global. Guide us.” He responded with an "okay".
"We stepped out of his house, like we were walking out of the temple. After that Repos is where it is today because of him," Aditi Bhosale Walunj said. "
"From Tata Motors helping us, to conversations with Ratan Tata... to showing him our first Mobile Fuel Station to him and getting his feedback and receiving his first token investment in 2019 and another round in April 2022--this would not have been possible without his whole team."
She also thanked the deputy general manager at Ratan Tata’s officepersonal manager Shantanu Naidu who she said has been "an angel in disguise for us" for the Repos founders.Read more: Ratan Tata’s assistant Shantanu Naidu shares two key takeaways from his boss