Graduating from a renowned engineering college in Pune and being placed in companies with a high denomination salary, wasn’t the road to happiness for Pratik Deshmukh and Amol Gulhane. These engineering students decided to tread the path filled with risks and challenges to launch their startup called Robolab Technologies. The founders explain, “With Robolab we intend to establish robotics and automation labs in engineering colleges and schools across the country. Leveraging our vast knowledge and experience, we expose students to current technologies being adopted and used by leading business houses and industries, making them industry ready.”
The venture grew out of their love for robotics and realising the need for a startup such as Robolab. Being a part of the Robot study club, one of the 52 student managed clubs that COEP harbours, their talent was nurtured. “We were inducted into the club by our seniors, who then trained us in robotics and technical working. This made us realise our true passion, and as we took part in competitions across India and won awards for the same, our motivation increased. If we wanted to do something, we realised that is the platform that we could leverage,” explains Deshmukh.
It was a tough call to make, with parents advising the duo, to take on the lucrative jobs they were being offered instead of starting out on their own. But, Deshmukh and Gulhane took the plunge into the world of startups. “We love robotics, and being placed in a company is a good option. But, we thought why do something we aren’t interested in? We rather solve a genuine problem,” says Deshmukh. By “genuine problem”, Deshmukh meant the lack of facilities and opportunities to study and work on robotics. He adds, “There are 3,500 engineering colleges in India. Yet, the number of institutes having world class labs like we enjoyed, can be counted on your fingertips.”
After an exhaustive round of research and surveys, the co-founders concluded that due to lack of these opportunities, a student’s full potential could not be reached. This is where Robolab comes in, providing a platform which would mentor a group of students from an institute and empower them, to be self-sufficient for the future. “There has been a rising culture of engineering students outsourcing their projects by paying money. We want to change that,” says Deshmukh.
The hunger to transform the educational facilities in the country made them approach their institute’s director a day before their examinations. Seeing potential, Robolab Technologies Pvt. Ltd became the first incubated company of the COEP and the BHAU Institute of Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Leadership (BIEL). With a clientele consisting of educational institutes, this startup builds the lab and continues their association for a year after. Deshmukh elaborates, “We assist them further to make sure the machines work.
Also, we take 30 students from the institute and train them ourselves.” Recognising this as an opportunity that every student must avail of, Gulhane says, “This basically translates to activity based learning. We even work with schools now, as robotics has several added benefits. It helps the child for decision making, builds group activity qualities and enhances their creativity as well.” Starting off in Pune in 2013 provided to be beneficial as “accessing hardware here is so much easier.” The budding entrepreneurs would like to position Robolab Technologies as a training company for the next 10 years and later venture into product selling, as their long-term objective.
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