Serial Entrepreneur: Bhanu Prakash Reddy Varla, EGMP 2005
Determination drives us to achieve goals, reach milestones and even empower us to become enablers. Mr Bhanu Varla is one such person who is befitting example of what a person can achieve if someone who puts their mind to it. He is a successful entrepreneur with many ventures under his wing. In a candid interview with Mr. Bhanu Prakash Reddy Varla.
Can you please tell us something about yourself and your work.
An Industrial Engineering Graduate from Osmania University and to be the first Gold Medalist passed out of MBA in Technology Management ( A course designed and Proposed by our former President Dr. Abdul Kalaamji ).
IT & IT enabled services always inspired me after my MBA in TM and I went ahead to finish my PGDCA and then into some specialized courses in a similar field. I was working with Microland at Hyderabad when an opportunity to start a joint venture in IT Training presented itself and I am glad I could grab it. Blue Chip Infotech Ltd emerged as one of the leading computer training institutes with high numbers of admissions.
After my stint at Blue Chip, I joined SPM Instruments (Swedish Company), which gave me exposure to industries of huge sizes. This also gave me a chance to travel extensively and the entire experience was very inspiring.
I stumbled upon the opportunity involving Barcode Scanners & printers, which is when Bartronics was born. Bartronics is the first Barcoding company in India which became famous as Middleware Integration and emerged as Bartronics India Limited, though I had many testing times, we managed to remain on top in the field.
I was working with ASCI (Administrative college of India, Hyderabad) as a Tech consultant for industries where I had the opportunity to interact with the IIMB professors. This rendezvous impressed me to take upon the executive course- EGMP Batch 2 and I also set up an office in Bangalore. Taking the course brought the biggest change in my perspective as a businessman, it empowered me to think out of the box and take calculated risks.
Ever since Bartronics, the entrepreneurial fire in me has aspired me to aspire, grow, and take on multiple opportunities. Graylogic group of companies emerged as one of startup evangelist where we started a Consulting company called Beenfield Consulting and helped many companies in mentoring / funding / consulting / Technology and Advising Board to Many start-ups
We wouldn’t be wrong to call you a Serial Entrepreneur. What are some ventures you are involved in/with?
Yes, I take pride to be called a Serial Entrepreneur as I have seen al the ups and downs and faced the toughest situations in life as I had no Godfathers in the Industry to help me at tough times.It is a hard way that I have learned everything and that is a great experience in my life.
My First Business venture was “Bartronics India Limited “. The first Barcoding coupled with RFID / Smart Card company to go for IPO both at National Stock Exchange / Bombay Stock Exchange eventually to Nasdaq.
And though we delivered solutions across the globe to Manufacturing/ Shipping/ Airports wherein we integrated the AIDC ( Automatic Identification Data capturing solutions) across different verticals. Our most formidable achievement was implementing the crowd Management system implemented at Balaji @ Tirupathi temple.
Few of our successful start-ups –
- SEND FAST, A last-mile Delivery platform catering Tier II – Tier III companies as hassle-free delivery with great user experience.
- RICE BOWL, A food delivery company to beat the routine of Biryanis, went ahead to set across BLR/ Delhi / Mumbai / Chennai and other cities
- METAMORPHOSIS, to teach students about Entraprenuirship for class 6th to 12th
- HABIT AUTOMATION, an IoT company developing unique solutions @ Electricity / Water and Gas Metering Applications and Solutions
- RDP, A think Clients manufacturing and became the first low-cost laptop manufacturing company in India
- Jadooz Cinema, one fo the revolution int the cinema Industry eventually turned to help local Entrepreneurship
- Matrix Sea Food and VAM Life Sciences explored into Aqua business
- PayMyGST, First company in India to develop full-fledged software to cater to large interesting companies, white-labeled to most system INtegtraors across PAN India
- URBANKISAAN, a Hydroponics venture ( vertical farming ) / soil-less farming with IoT enabled eventually got selected at Y-Combinator
Please tell us more about your ( latest ) Venture – Urbankisaan.
Urbankisaan is attempting to solve the problem of food waste which is prevalent on account of changing consumer habits, farmlands being located outside cities, and the non-availability of fresh food. As per UN stats 2015, we will have to produce 75% more food that will require outside-the-box thinking with respect to optimal usage of water and land.
We are into two segments first is the B2B segment where we set up the commercial farms on Hydroponics for retailers, restaurant chains, and B2C markets for home growers where they can grow their own food in the Balconies, rooftops. A lot of homework has been done on this subject which helped us to be on the number one slot and got selected by Y-Combinator.
Out Story of Urbankisaan was featured at Discovery Channel, Forbes, EdX, Hindu, Zeen NEWS, ToI, Eenadu, Mumbai Live, Indulge, many other channels, and they have narrated in words better than ours and happen to be on TedX to talk on this project too.
Entrepreneurship according to you?
Entrepreneurship according to me is taking ownership of one’s thoughts and actions that are not determined by policies, time, cost, etc.
Business failure is Guaranteed. It is important to not be worried about failures, it is a learning curve that will consist of both business high and lows. One should reaccess, reevaluate, and move ahead with more vigor. In retrospection practicing DISCIPLINE, FOCUS, NETWORKING, MUTUAL RESPECT, and CONTINOUS LEARNING goes a long way for an entrepreneur.
Lastly ” Great things never come from comfort zones “
What is that one life lesson that being an entrepreneur has taught you ??
One thing I can surely say that It has taught me a lot of self-discipline. It has also shown me how much you can truly accomplish with nothing. You would be surprised by how far you can get with very little resources out of the dear desire to do/create something worthwhile to remember and cherish throughout your life, Now I wanted to build a business to help others and it also like a game, it’s like a scoreboard, the beautiful thing about business is its a game that never ends……
One business achievement you are really proud of?
I belong to a South Indian family and used to visit Tirumala every year so when Bartronics was called to help with crowd management, it left me elevated. Tirupati temple receives about One Lac pilgrims every day so to be able to solve this problem, we designed a project called Sudharshana Dharshanam using Barcodes as Technology with wrist Bands which created history and attracted Mecca Masjid team to visit Tirumala, through us to see how we managed the crowd systematically.
Eventually, we also dealt and helped with Laddu Prasadam counters, Asset tracking, and employee tracking at that Sacred place. This is when we started a temple division in the company catering only temples through unique solutions some of our Projects were Amaranath Shrine ( tracking the pilgrims from start to end ), Vaishno Devi Temple, Mumbai Ganapathi temple to name few. We were also able to provide a unique solution to Mecca Masjid for tracking the pilgrims from different countries using RFID tags.
We also got into the Guinness Book of world records for using the highest number of the fingerprint database at the shrine.
How has IIMB Contributed to your entrepreneurial Journey ??
The outcome of my journey with IIMB was threefold. First, the more stories and case studies I heard, the more insights I gathered about the industry, and my own personal goals. Second, I started to understand the universe of entrepreneurship from a very high level from Professors who had that flavor to reach your heart, a spectrum ranging from a group trying to solve a problem to “intrapreneurship,” a form of well-funded entrepreneurship that takes place within some large companies. Third, I forged a plan on how I was going to explore my existing business to the next level, where I was stuck.
Knowledge gained at IIMB helped me to keep vigilant about new opportunities as creating never stops. Believe in self is essentially important as is accepting failures. Lastly, giving back to the society/ community/ nation is very enabling/ empowering and motivating.
Any fond remembrance about the institute you would like to share?
Those long stone corridors bring in many stories in my mind, as rightly someone said just take a walk down any of them and you will find what you’re looking for, it’s true. One thing for sure, you will never reach a dead-end here, these were the words of truth. We had a diverse batch in terms of age background, profession, and work experience. The most interesting part os classroom discussions and post classroom discussions. I cannot forget those memorable days during my stay @ campus.
Feel Proud that I was part of IIMBUE from first to the recent one, I held the position of Secretary for 7 years and built the Hyderabad Chapter and played a role at all chapters and thanks to my seniors who encouraged and as a President / Chapter director three consecutive terms @ Hyderabad, where I had an opportunity to give my shot for all the CSR activities right from feeding the needy at Govt Schools.
You believe strongly in giving back to the society, What initiatives have you been a part of?
I feel humbled that I can be a part of many socially responsible activities and could become a small part of the bigger picture. Some initiatives close to my heart are –
- Giving back to Society started with setting up a D-HUB center across Telangana and AP to help the poor students to learn the latest technologies called “Naa Desham – Naa Vooru ”
- Chairing a Project TiE Grad – A Global Acclaimed project to help the Graduate engineering students, enabling 40k plus students by training them in Entrepreneurship.
- Being part of the help center 14567 that helped senior people
- Mentor IIM Vizag for driving Women Entrepreneurship.
- NATA Committee Member, USA and also a TEDx Speaker