Alumni Profiles: Amrit Acharya and Srinath Ramakkrushnan

Education at IIT Madras

Amrit Acharya and Srinath Ramakkrushnan, both graduates from IIT Madras, embarked on their journey into the world of machines during their tenure at ITC as management trainees after graduating in 2010. Amrit, from the Electrical Engineering department, and Srinath, from Mechanical Engineering, laid the foundation for their future endeavors.

From Corporate to Entrepreneurship

After gaining corporate experience, including a stint at McKinsey for Amrit, the duo, along with two other IITians, Vishal Chaudhary and Rahul Sharma, ventured into entrepreneurship. They founded Zetwerk, a platform that caters to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) specializing in manufacturing capital goods, consumer goods, and precision parts.

Industry-Specific Focus

Zetwerk adopted a strategic shift by catering to the unique requirements of various industries. This industry-specific approach aimed to provide tailored solutions, addressing the distinct challenges faced by different sectors. This strategic move allowed Zetwerk to deepen its expertise and deliver more specialized services.

Asset Light Model and Operational Role

Operating on an asset-light model, Zetwerk partners with multiple manufacturers on the supply side. It plays a crucial role in matchmaking, connecting the right manufacturer to the client, and addressing issues related to pricing, fulfillment, logistics, and shipment. Zetwerk functions as a “managed market,” serving as the primary point of contact for both the customer and the master supplier.

Global Recognition Amidst the Pandemic

While Zetwerk is primarily focused on the Indian market, the company gained significant interest from clients outside India, particularly from the US, amid the pandemic. Zetwerk transacts with thousands of SMEs, offering a range of services, including logistics. The company has recorded substantial revenue growth, with exports accounting for a growing percentage.

Transformation into a Unicorn

Zetwerk’s transformative concept and vision attracted funding from visionary investors. The startup secured significant investments from leading venture capital firms, providing the necessary capital to develop and scale the platform. Zetwerk achieved unicorn status in August 2021 after raising $150 million in a Series E round, reaching a valuation of $1.33 billion.

Navigating Challenges Amidst the Pandemic

Rahul Sharma highlights that the Covid-19 pandemic prompted a significant shift in commercial manufacturing, creating rapid changes. Zetwerk sees the fast-paced shift of supply chains from China to India as a viable opportunity. The startup aligns its goals with the Make in India initiative, contributing to the growth of manufacturing within the country.