“I left US and went to Australia at the displeasure of my parents. I started working odd jobs such as cleaning bathrooms, washing dishes and after a while I got a job at Vodafone Australia. I got promoted six times to the Business Development Manager for the entire state of Western Australia,” she explains. Always wanting to do something in Nepal, she returned home leaving a fancy job and a promising future in Australia.
A city filled with dust and horn shrieks echoing the roads, Pranayna K.C. and her NIU electric scooter silently and economically navigates the roads. “It happened abruptly”, she says. “While doing my masters in Singapore, I came home on break and me being a very restless person, I was looking for work and passing my resume around.” She shares, “Then somehow NIU head hunted me and after a quick meeting, I declined the offer because I did not see a future of electric scooter in Nepal. But it was a challenge and I felt if anyone can do it, it was me.” She shares that she started as an employee but was laying the ground work from Singapore while doing her Masters. “After my studies I started working here and within a couple of months I decided to invest in the company”, tells Pranayna K.C, CEO of Eco Infinity Pvt. Ltd.
Perhaps, she must have seen some potential in the city which led her to establish a company in a country where there is lack of electricity. She answers, “There are two factors. Nepal is the second richest country in water resources and also because we depend on India where we import 85% of products.” Talking about Load shedding she cites that because of mismanagement and corruption, which is very evident to all of us, is not as much of an issue and shares that, “If India has promised to go electric by 2030, what option do we have? So rather than panicking we can start the process now and electric scooter has a huge market too.” She also mentions about the voltage fluctuations, which is a problem in Nepal, and retaliates by saying that her products has one of the best battery management software which controls the voltage fluctuation and it does not let it affect the battery.
A woman with a strong sense of faith, Pranayna believes in aiming for the stars. She shares, “I am not where I want to be, but I have definitely grown from where I used to be.” Talking about the market she exclaimed, “While electric scooter is not something new in Nepal, our predecessors did not handle the situation well. I am giving my 100% for this company. This is not a side business for me.” She shared her vision about being in competition with all the major players in the current market and also train young people on the subject of lithium ion and have enough trained professional for servicing.
To be in the competition with big dogs of Nepalese market she states that she targets her potential consumers by making the product look cool. “I think it depends on the product itself. The popularity depends on either because it’s a reputed product or if it’s a consumer friendly product.” By making it look cool and by promoting their product through customers who she claims are their brand ambassadors and by also provide great customer service she wishes to establish a strong relationship with her customers. Believing in a quality over quantity, she talks that, “When we go into marketing we are very selective but very premium.”
A trailblazer in the Nepalese market, she proudly states that, “We are the first electric scooter company to have a designated number plate and made licensing necessary. We also actually created the policy for electric vehicular insurance. It was a hassle but we did not want to take any shortcuts and follow the legal process.” Definitely a game changer in the Nepalese market where businesses pop up without licensing and a good insurance policy.
Being the only women director in the motor industry in Nepal she states that it is awesome. “I do not compete with them. Women bring a very different perspective to the business. Women are very empathetic and bringing empathy to a business is very important but people think it’s crazy.” She laughs and shares, “I love walking into meetings and seeing old men and they ask me if I have a boss and I say I am the boss and the looks on their faces is priceless. Every time I walk into the room I have to prove myself and it is so fun because I have so much experience behind me.”
Running a company at such a young age requires lots of support and inspiration and as cliché as it sounds Pranayna’s inspiration come from a place which is near and dear to everyone. Her family. “I come from a household of 4 daughters, me being the youngest one. My sisters provide me with inspiration because I grew up seeing them tackle difficult situation with strength, resilience and perseverance. That is what gives me strength and I constantly find myself thinking that if they can do it, so can I. Apart from her family she also looks up to political figures and women power houses such as Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, Ang Sang Suu Ki, Oprah Winfrey. “It’s because it is difficult for women to reach those position. They are women who failed multiple times and yet their success stories are remarkable.”
Talking to younger girls who are trying to break the glass ceiling she asks them to open up their horizon. “Inspiration lies out there; you just have to look for the right one. And if people ask to prove yourself, prove it and shut them up!!”