Home30Under30 2024Shaping a Better Future: Sabareesan Palaniswamy's Journey in the Sustainable Energy Revolution

Shaping a Better Future: Sabareesan Palaniswamy’s Journey in the Sustainable Energy Revolution

“Venturing into the startup space can be an exhilarating yet challenging journey. However, it’s important to start by identifying a real and pressing problem that your product or service can solve.”

In a freewheeling chat with Entrepreneurs Today, Sabareesan Palaniswamy, Co-Founder and CEO of Helios Batteries and Managing Director at Tannova Energy Ltd. in Tanzania, talks about what it means to be an entrepreneur in today’s day and age as he walks us through his own journey as one. 

A results-oriented leader deeply entrenched in the energy sector, Sabareesan Palaniswamy began his career in LED lighting solutions and soon evolved into a driving force in the green energy revolution, focusing particularly on mobility and energy storage solutions on both domestic and global scales.

Sabareesan Palaniswamy boasts several certifications, including one in Design from the University of Pennsylvania, an Internal Auditor certification in Integrated Management Systems from MSME-Technology Development Centre, and a certification in Electric Vehicle Charging Stations from the Ministry of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises, Government of India. Additionally, he has made investments in Harvard Business School.

Beyond his clean energy ventures, Palaniswamy’s interests encompass a diverse range. He finds solace in books, enjoys the art of public speaking, draws inspiration from travel experiences, and has a keen interest in branding strategies, adding depth to his multifaceted approach to various endeavors. 

Current Ventures

With a profound understanding of sustainable technologies and their environmental implications, Palaniswamy’s leadership at Helios Batteries has been pivotal in innovating within lithium-ion battery manufacturing, propelling initiatives toward a cleaner and more efficient energy landscape.

Helios Batteries currently specializes in producing eco-friendly lithium-ion batteries tailored for electric and hybrid vehicles, offering advanced battery management and integrated charging solutions. Since 2020, their batteries have been deployed across diverse industries, marking a significant stride in sustainable transportation and energy storage solutions on a global scale.

With a vision to become a premier provider of industrial batteries, power supplies, and charging solutions within the energy ecosystem, Helios aims to set new standards for quality and innovation in the industry. Speaking of their vision, Sabareesan Palaniswamy

“Our vision is to emerge as the leading provider of industrial batteries, power supplies, and charging solutions in the energy-driven ecosystem, establishing new benchmarks for quality and innovation within the industry.”

The establishment of Tannova in Tanzania also proved to be a significant leap in their global presence. Functioning as more than a lithium-ion battery and Electric Vehicle manufacturing center, they aim to offer a comprehensive suite of solutions for the Electric Revolution, spanning from battery packs to charging stations.

Their USP

Helios Batteries distinguishes itself through a dual commitment to top-tier quality and personalized solutions for clients. Sabareesan asserts,

“We do not offer off-the-shelf solutions; instead, our technical team designs battery packs specifically to meet the unique requirements of each client. Once the design is finalized, we provide clients with detailed specifications and a quotation. Upon the client’s confirmation of the pricing, we proceed to supply a sample battery pack for testing and evaluation.”

Challenges faced

Helios Batteries encountered significant challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, which helped them understand how important financial stability is. He explains,

“This financial preparedness enables us to sustain operations, invest in innovation, and support our workforce during challenging periods.”

Maintaining transparent communication with customers also used to be a challenge. Sabareesan reveals, 

“During disruptions, we prioritize keeping customers informed about potential impacts on deliveries and services. Proactive communication helps build trust and reinforces our commitment to customer satisfaction.”

He also highlights the vulnerabilities in global supply chains they faced during the pandemic. To address this, the company diversified its supplier base for critical components. Actions involved establishing relationships with suppliers in various regions, assessing their resilience, and maintaining strategic reserves of essential materials to offset potential shortages.

Achievements so far

When asked about the company’s yardstick of success, Sabareesan highlights that they measure success through brand recognition and high customer satisfaction. Over time they’ve gained recognition from various Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) in the electric vehicle sector for their high-quality products and strong customer support. Their exceptional retention rate of nearly 90% and zero returns on sold batteries within two years highlight their commitment to delivering top-notch products. 

Plans ahead

In terms of what holds in the future, Palaniswamy envisions guiding the company in pioneering advanced clean energy storage solutions, while also forging partnerships that resonate with their commitment to a sustainable future. 

His strategic focus lies in intensive research and development to create batteries with superior energy density, rapid charging capabilities, and enhanced safety features, catering to the evolving demands of Electric Vehicles (EVs) and Energy Storage Systems (ESS). Palaniswamy aims for global expansion through partnerships with international electric vehicle manufacturers, renewable energy developers, and tech leaders, intending to drive sustainable mobility solutions worldwide. 

He also hopes that his dedication to staying attuned to emerging trends will drive the company’s mission to bring about a change in the global energy landscape.

Lessons learned

Sabareesan signs off by going over some of the major lessons he has learned throughout his journey. One of the most important lessons he highlights is the significance of surrounding oneself with a group of diverse and talented people. According to him, 

“A strong team is a key asset for any startup.”

He further adds,

“Look for individuals who bring different skills and perspectives to the table. Foster a culture of

collaboration, innovation, and shared goals within your team.”

Another crucial lesson he shares is the importance of establishing a clear business plan and long-term vision. He notes,

“Set short-term and long-term goals, and regularly reassess your progress against these objectives.”

Moreover, as he points out, practicing efficient financial management, especially in the startup’s early stages, is paramount. Maintaining a close eye on cash flow, prioritizing essential expenses, and seeking sustainable growth over rapid expansion ensures financial stability. 

Lastly, he says that placing the customer at the core of the business strategy is fundamental. Actively listening to customer feedback, understanding their needs, and iterating products or services based on this input fosters loyalty and satisfaction.

Snigdha Basu
Snigdha Basu
A multifaceted writer, Snigdha Basu is a freelancer and a columnist at Entrepreneurs Today. She also spearheads Chic Life Edition - her own Digital Magazine with sustainable fashion, beauty, and culture at its core. Reach out to Snigdha at [email protected] for inquiries.
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