How Autobot India introduced the 1st ever specialized certifications in EV tech learning

Jeenal Jain Jeenal Jain
Oct 1, 2021 13 min read
How Autobot India introduced the 1st ever specialized certifications in EV tech learning

Company Profile is an initiative by StartupTalky to publish verified information on different startups and organizations. The content in this post has been approved by Autobot India.

Autobot India has been established with a vision to create a holistic platform that supports the EV industry. The platform has been built to provide superior technology-driven learning outcomes and constant enhancement of the learning experience through R&D. It has built 5 plus learning and development products and over 10 domain specialized programs in EV technology. The team has done this over a period through extensive research, testing, validation, and refinement.

Autobot also has the first-mover advantage as far as the Indian market is concerned. It is the first in India to introduce specialized certifications in EV technology learning. StartupTalky interviewed Ashwini Tiwari (Co-founder & CEO, Autobot India) to get insights on the startup story and the roadmap of the organization.

Autobot India - Company Highlights

Startup Name Autobot India
Founder Ashwini Tiwari
Headquarters Pune
Founded June 2017
Industry Electric Vehicle (EV)
Website autobotindia.com

Autobot - About and Vision
Autobot - Industry Details
Autobot - Founders and Team
Autobot - Idea & Inspiration
Autobot - Name, Tagline & Logo
Autobot - Product and USP
Autobot - Business Model & Revenue Model
Autobot - Startup Launch Strategies
Autobot - Challenges Faced
Autobot - Funding
Autobot - Future Plans
Autobot's Founder Advice
Autobot - FAQs

Autobot - About and Vision

Autobot India has been established with a vision to create a holistic platform that supports the EV industry. It envisions becoming a single solution platform for the global market offering turnkey solutions for testing, learning and development, manpower, and technology support. Autobot aims to benefit OEMs, institutions, and all other stakeholders. The company is constantly innovating and enhancing the technologies available.

The core vision of the company is to solve a fundamental problem and contribute to the betterment of society, the people, and the country. Autobot aims to bring in change by its innovative model of learning and development. The biggest challenge with the current model of engineering education is that there is too much focus on aspirations, but very little on execution. This company is building a structured thought process focused on the industry exposure of learners that will offer clarity and awareness to enable smoother execution. "EVs are the future of mobility, and Autobot's goal is to make India an EV nation"

In the short term, Autobot India is developing a holistic learning and development platform for Indian EV market stakeholders such as OEMs, startups, and individual aspirants. The platform will be a point of convergence for the entire industry to join hands and enhance its technology and manpower capabilities and for the individual to enhance their employability.


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Autobot - Industry Details

The Indian automotive sector is a mega-market with multiple streams. The overall market generates nearly 7 crore direct and indirect jobs. While EVs are currently a small chunk of the market, they will become a dominant sector in the next few years. The team at Autobot foresee almost 30% of the automotive market directly turning into an EV-oriented sector in the years ahead. That will be a 2.15 crore plus workforce and thatโ€™s what they are aiming to capture in the long run. Initially, Autobot's target is to acquire about 5% of this segment which will be a huge market of over 1 million people to train.

The EV industry is set to grow big, and Tesla has spearheaded the global evolution of the sector. EVs are the most fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly vehicle technology. Earlier, conventional car companies had considered EVs to be inefficient, but Tesla has proved that with the innovation they can be as efficient and effective as Internal Combustion Engine vehicles or even better. With the rise in global per capita incomes and awareness about environmental pollution, car buyers globally are looking at options that are greener and safer. This lifestyle enhancement and safety aspiration are going to be fulfilled by the EVs. The Government of India plans to take the current 1% market share of EV to 10% of all vehicle registrations by 2025 and turn 30% of on-road vehicles to electric by 2030. This is in line with Indiaโ€™s commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. If we look at the existing number of vehicles on the road and the projections, this 10% market size in itself will be about 1 crore EVs on roads by 2025 and thatโ€™s a massive market to capture.

Autobot - Founders and Team

Autobot was founded by Ashwini Tiwari and his brother

Autobot India Co-founder
Ashwini Tiwari - Autobot India Co-founder

About Ashwini Tiwari

Ashwini comes from a marketing & finance background with extensive experience of working with MNCs such as Alibaba as well as a few leading startups. His forte is marketing collaboration, networking, and business development. He has closely worked in the product development segment as well. His experience also includes working with motorsports events for 3 years, where Ashwini was handling pan India's responsibility of technical education and training that turned his entire perspective towards the Automotive and EV industry specifically.

Autobot India Team

The duo spent two years on planning, modeling, product development, and other aspects before they decided to enter the market. Subsequently, they hired a couple of team members who had assisted them in the planning and development of the content. Today, Autobot India has a strong team of 15, working in areas such as operations, community development, R&D, and technology. It also has a team of nearly 50 plus experts and instructors for its education business and another 20 advisors from the industry. Right from the outset, the founders have strategically brought in industry experts and professionals to offer industry-oriented and practical exposure rather than academia-focused exposure. and not hired professors from institutions. They are aiming to double the core team of 30 soon and in the next three years, the plan is to add another 100 members to the team.

Work culture @ Autobot India

Throughout Ashwini's career journey, as he worked with companies ranging from large MNCs to interesting startups and in profiles ranging from entry-level jobs to leadership roles, he had always wanted to launch an entrepreneurial venture. When he founded Autobot, he was clear in his mind that he will have a company culture that is vibrant and result-oriented but like a family.

"We share each otherโ€™s achievements and failures, successes, and struggles together. We have been a people-centric organization" Ashwini added.

Earlier the company did annual appraisals as per the industry practice, but now it is doing half-yearly appraisals. The idea is to reward the performers and encourage others to work better. Ashwini's wish is to fast-track the careers of the employees and to empower the doers with greater remuneration and job profile-related opportunities. Despite Saturdays being official workdays, they donโ€™t work beyond essential tasks on the day and spend time networking, informally engaging in discussions, and even in group outings wherever possible. While hiring talent, his biggest criteria are to choose people who have passion for the job and enjoy doing their work. The best thing for any organization is to see its employees take pride in the work that they do for the company even after they move on to other jobs. This is the mindset that is cultivated at Autobot.


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Autobot - Idea & Inspiration

This has been a long process that is now coming to fruition. The founders first started connecting the dots in the year 2015 and charted the course for building a value-driven model. The next 3-4 years were spent on understanding the complex nature of the challenge and how to solve the problems through technology. In between, they dealt with the demonetization and the pandemic outbreak, but their idea was clear that they'd use innovation and technology to address the challenges.

They steadily grew during the lockdown and focused on fine-tuning the solutions even during the lockdown. Ashwini had extensive experience working in the conventional automobile sector and he knew that a huge knowledge and awareness gap existed as far as EVs were concerned. It was only in 2018 or so that the EV discussions in India really gathered momentum.

The founders decided to create a technology-driven experiential platform that will spread awareness and empower the automobile sector with the information that is needed. The Autobot India platform will serve as a gateway for people entering the industry and offer them the right thought structure and technology competence to manage the challenges. After a lot of thought, they founded the company in June 2017. Since then, until now, Autobot India has been developing, researching, and fine-tuning the Autobot India platform.

The story behind the naming of the brand is an interesting one. The founders had been doing a lot of brainstorming to decide on a name that would define the purpose of the company.

Ashwini is a big Transformersโ€™ movie franchise fan, and one night, while he was taking a walk on the Lajpat Nagar road in Delhi, the idea struck him. Since their business is a merger of automobile expertise with cutting-edge automation technology, that is, robotics, the term โ€˜Autobotโ€™ clearly defines it as it means autonomous & robot.

The future is going to belong to electric and autonomous vehicles and there couldnโ€™t have been a better title for the business. As for the logo, it has a very special story behind it which will be revealed at the right time. As of now, the team is keeping the grand secret under wraps. It will be something with the colors of the Indian national flag, that is, orange, green and white, which in short conveys that this is a made in India product.

Autobot India Logo

Autobot - Product and USP

At present, Autobot India is a Platform as a service (Paas) company with a blended platform offering services and innovative solutions built with the aim of technology experience in training and development. The team might build physical products in the years to come as thatโ€™s a part of the plan, but presently they are only into offering consulting, learning & development solutions.

Autobot has built 5 plus learning and development products and over 10 domain specialized programs in EV technology. The team has done this over a period through extensive research, testing, validation, and refinement. They have built an excellent learning product that will serve as the โ€˜go-toโ€™ platform for everyone aiming to join the EV sector. Autobot's products are equally beneficial for a fresher, as they will be for someone with several decades of industry experience. It is providing specific and innovative technology and learning experience to people through its blended model.

The whole program has been developed as per the founders' own unique methodology known as PLA (Practical Learning Approach). There is industry-centric exposure, and they also do validation from the government sector as well as the industry experts. The Autobot platform has been built to provide superior technology-driven learning outcomes and constant enhancement of the learning experience through R&D. They have met EV experts & MSME leaders and even Niti Aayog as well as other government officials, investors and everyone has praised their ideas and the feasibility of the same.

USPs are methodology and expertise, consistent technology-driven learning with innovation. The team has constantly endeavored to set itself apart from a conventional learning platform. It is their innovation-based learning that is the biggest differentiator. The approach is going to revolutionize all aspects of automobile training and the higher education ecosystem in India. Autobot is using a lot of technology and honing them to achieve the goal of the technology learning experience. Not only that, but they are also keeping the mass benefit in view. The learners will get technology specialized premium learning experience at affordable rates. This is going to be one of its core USPs.

Autobot also has the first-mover advantage as far as the Indian market is concerned. It is the first in India to introduce specialized certifications in EV technology learning. It has been providing offline learning options since its early days but, it was in 2020 that the company launched its virtual learning platform. This has completed the framework and it now has a blended online and offline model which is scalable and sustainable.

"We donโ€™t want to be a learning institution but rather use tech innovation-based learning. All our efforts and plans are aimed at it. This is the very base model that we are launching now. This will revolutionize learning in higher education in India as an automobile learning and development platform. We are working on a lot of technologies that will be adopted to achieve the goal of the tech learning experience at Autobot India. It will be an affordable learning model that will deliver premium learning for all. This is what Autobot Academy will be." says Ashwini Tiwari, Co-founder, Autobot India.

Autobot - Business Model & Revenue Model

Autobot currently has a subscription-based model of revenue generation. However, the platform is multi-faceted, and in the times to come, it will be generating revenues through certification courses and EV lab solutions. Until now, the organization has been in a validation phase with no emphasis on driving revenues beyond the limited range necessary for validation.

Autobot - Startup Launch Strategies

Customer acquisition wasnโ€™t the bigger challenge for the team in this early stage as EV is the current global trending and booming industry. Being the first mover and India's only EV tech specialized platform, people started interacting with the launch of Autobot's programs early on.

Ashwini had a database of over 100 institutions with which he was directly in contact. He reached out to them, and they trusted them and agreed to participate in the program. Ashwini is a digital marketer, so he also leveraged the digital marketing channels to acquire customers.

Further, the team had deliberately kept their customer numbers low since they were in the testing phase. Autobot only needed the right number of clients to test and validate the technology built by the team. The company also has a referral system with more than 3000 network members who helped it receive a lot of incoming queries. Today, 15%-20% of its registrations come from referrals, up to 30% from the traffic they receive on the website, and the remaining through its digital marketing initiatives as well as word of mouth. Autobot has an excellent customer retention rate.

In one of the big moves, Autobot India tied up with MG Motors to provide a specialized training program in AI and EV which is aimed at providing skilled manpower for the automobile industry.


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Autobot - Challenges Faced

The founders havenโ€™t faced any challenges typical of conventional industries since they are building an entirely new and expansive ecosystem. However, they had some initial struggles with platform building, maintaining the startup during the pandemic, and retaining the talent that they have.

Autobot is a bootstrapped company, so the founders had to face funding challenges too. However, they believed in the idea and have managed to steadily generate enough revenue to fund its operations, paying the salaries and building more capacity. Today, Autobot has facilities in Bangalore, Delhi, and Pune, and all operations are being self-sustained through internal revenue generation.

Autobot - Funding

Until now, Autobot has been a bootstrapped company with the founders providing the initial capital. Currently, the operations are self-sustained.


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Autobot - Future Plans

As of now, Autobot is a PaaS operating in Indian markets, however, going forward, the team aims to introduce physical products and in two years from now, they aim to enter the international markets.

Autobot's Founder Advice

Ashwini Tiwari says -

I wanted to be an entrepreneur from a young age and always experimented with something new. My first official startup venture was in 2013, Autobot is my second venture. But in my journey as an entrepreneur, these are the learnings i would like to share -

  1. Have a clear plan of action - Don't start anything on a whim. Have a thorough understanding of the business and what you have to offer
  2. Understand the market - Do proper research and study of the industry, competitors, market potential, what you have to offer, etc.
  3. Planning operation & Finance - Understand where you stand, how you will arrange the finances and operations. If something happens, would you have the capacity to sustain, ask this question, Also spend sparingly, till your business is not sustainable, don't make heavy investments.
  4. Network Building - Build connections, keep networking with the right people, sharing value, and taking inputs from them.

To my 15-year self, I would say, โ€œDream Bigโ€ don't shy away from dreaming big. My parting remark to everyone aspiring to become successful is if you dream big you will naturally work towards it.


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Autobot - FAQs

What is Autobot India?

Autobot India is developing a holistic learning and development platform for Indian EV market stakeholders such as OEMs, startups, and individual aspirants. Autobot has built 5 plus learning and development products and over 10 domain specialized programs in EV technology.

Who is the CEO of Autobot?

Ashwini Tiwari is the Co-founder & CEO of Autobot India.

Is Autobot an Indian Company?

Yes. Autobot is an Indian company headquartered in Pune.

Is Autobot funded?

No. Autobot has been a bootstrapped company with the founders providing the initial capital.

What is the business model of Autobot?

Autobot India is a Platform as a service (Paas) company. It currently has a subscription-based model of revenue generation. However, the platform is multi-faceted, and in the times to come, it will be generating revenues through certification courses and EV lab solutions.

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