Podcast #2005.08

Entrepreneurship and Fundraising 

With Sanjeev Aggarwal

Listen on Google Play Music

About Sanjeev Aggarwal: Founder and CEO of Amplus Solar, Amplus, a  leader in clean energy solutions in Asia a group company of Petronas. Amplus is currently developing a portfolio of renewable assets with a significant focus on providing distributed solar generation.

About Sumeet Singh: Sumeet is CEO at GoMassive. He has over 15+ years of experience in finance and fundraising. At GoMassive he focusses on Pollution & Climate Tech Investments. 

Sumeet: Today we have Mr. Sanjeev Aggarwal, CEO of Amplus Solar with us. Sanjeev graduated from IIM Ahmedabad in 1995 and founded Amplus in 2010. The company was recently acquired by Petronas in a $400 million-plus deal. Today Amplus owns and manages a portfolio of 650 megawatts of operational and under construction distributed solar assets across India, with projects spread across more than 250 plus locations.

Good morning Sanjeev, welcome to our podcast. To start off what prompted you to get into entrepreneurship?

Sanjeev: Okay. Uh, so what prompted me to get into entrepreneurship? I think the, the main thing probably would have been to do something more than what I was doing at that time. When you’re working in any organization, at whatever level, whatever capacity, often you feel that things could be done in a better way, right? So that drives you to get into situations where you want to test yourself and see like whether what I’m thinking is correct or not. So, you set out on your own and try to do things in your own way.

When I started Amplus, people used to often ask what is our vision of Amplus? What is the mission of Amplus? Though coming from the energy sector, it was very easy to say that we want to do something in the clean energy, we want to make the world green. But these are, I think all good to have type of things which ultimately should serve the society. That’s true for any business that we should be serving society.

But I had two basic premises for building the business. One was that I, I told people that we wanted to create a company where people love to work and shareholders love to invest. So we wanted investors to find a company which is, which is full of energy, which is very high on the corporate governance and provide a very good platform for people who can thrive in a meritocratic system without the fear of failure. And actually, take the decisions and do their best. So, two things. Basically, employees and shareholders drive the company.

Sumeet: So when you say you wanted it to be a company where shareholders or investors deploy their capital, and structured a offering that was investor friendly. Was this a key differentiator in you raising $150 million round in 2015? Which was probably your first or second round of fundraising.

Sanjeev: It could have been because ultimately at the end of the day when you talk to the investors, what do they really want? They want a good business model, which should be scalable when you’re talking to any investor, they will, they get how is your business model scalable? The second thing they want is a good management team whom they can trust. And third thing is that, they essentially want to have a business which they can exit at some stage when you’re talking of institution capital. So, these were the two, three factors when we were talking to multiple investors.

I don’t think we were, we honestly set out to raise a very large amount of money. Probably you’re looking at like 10, 15, $20 million at that time, but, uh, I Squared Capital said that we want to commit $150 million. So probably that’s a reflection of that they saw that there is growth potential and this is the right platform to back.