Thanmai Viswanath had grown up seeing her father running their family business — Bangalore Valves Pvt Limited — with a fierce passion. When her father decided to wind up the business in 2016, Thanmai left her corporate job in the US and took over the reins of the company, which manufactures aerospace and gas turbine parts.
“I had loved my (corporate) job, but there wasn’t too much variety. Also, I had been helping my father on the side with marketing. We got a phenomenal response from customers and it created a lot of excitement, especially from customers we were exporting to. I realised that I had more potential,” says Thanmai.
Learning on the go
With an impressive lineup of products, BVPL also sources fabrication items and exports products to the US and UK as well.
The 32-year-old entrepreneur has a BCom degree and is an alumna of IIM-Kozhikode. Before taking over BVPL, Thanmai had worked at companies like KPMG and Cognizant. Thanmai says that she learnt a lot during these stints. “I am motivated by my belief in my product, quality and teamwork. We are a small team with high regard for customer service and quality consciousness,” she says.
While starting out on a new job can make anybody nervous, for Thanmai, her customers’ response was very encouraging. “I didn’t know how customers were going to react as I am not an engineer by profession. Whatever I know about engineering, it is because of my father and my team. I was surprised by the attention shown and trust entrusted by the customers in me,” she adds.
Just a few years after Thanmai took over, the business netted an annual revenue of Rs 1.3 crore in 2019-20. She plans on using the lessons she learnt during her MBA to grow the business and ensure that it reaches its full potential.
Scaling new heights
Talking about her growth plans, Thanmai says that she wants to expand BVPL’s product portfolio so that it becomes a full scale supplier of aerospace and turbine parts. “We want to become a market leader in manufacturing aerospace and gas turbine precision parts and grow 2x every year. We are also looking for potential joint ventures with Indian and foreign investors,” she explains.
Thanmai is among the 24 entrepreneurs who are participating in GAME’s Xcelerator Bangalore programme that is supporting and helping women-led non-IT businesses in Bengaluru grow by way of investor connect opportunities and mentorship sessions. Explaining what she is expecting from the accelerator programme, Thanmai says, “I want to address BVPL’s requirements in areas of investment, finance, costing and marketing through the programme.”
Xcelerator Bangalore aims at accelerating the growth of women-owned, non-IT businesses in Bengaluru. It provides support to the women entrepreneurs to learn, collaborate and network with various stakeholders through a multitude of workshops, learning and mentoring sessions. This series highlights the work of 24 women entrepreneurs who will be participating in the first cohort of the Xcelerator Bangalore programme.