Fascination of Automotive Races pave way to Empowering Budding Engineers
MyPitCrew, a 2-year old company in Pune, has emerged as the pioneer in the Students Automotive fraternity, and it works as a back-end for students who participate in automotive race events. The company’s founders are propelled by the noble cause of providing a level-playing field for students all over India in these events. Suyash Bhutada, co-founder of the innovative start-up share his journey and their future outlook to our readers.
The company is a joint dream of Suyash Bhutada, Samarth Waghchavare, Tushar Wagh, Lokesh Rane, Aakash Nagwani, and Ashwin Palve. While they were students of the Mechanical Engineering course in the Sinhagad Engineering College, Pune, they developed a fascination for automotive races and were active participants from 2012 to 2014. It was during this period that they became familiar with the ups and downs as well as the pros and cons of making automotive vehicles and the automotive events successful. Meanwhile, Suyash flew to the UK to complete his Masters in Automotive Engineering for 1.5 years. Here, he gathered experience while working on industrial projects such as Jaguar Landrover and Lotus. Back home, he rejoined with his friends, and on April 1, 2016, they commenced their company and christened it as MyPitCrew.
Over the past two years, this company has been engaged in the Service industry and the Trade industry in the Automotive race sector. It can now boast that not a single part sold by it has failed in service. It can provide a guarantee of parts. Its USP is that the company members are in person on-site at automotive events, and they offer last-moment assistance to students to overcome any given hurdle. Not even one customer has passed an unfavorable comment about its work. One is not astonished to hear that it now gets several repeat customers. Suyash says that currently, their differentiator is that they have a better rapport with students as compared with their competitors.
The entire saga began when these friends were traveling from Indore to Pithampur in 2012 for the BAJA SAE India event. Their 25-strong college team offered travel assistance to a team from South India. The engineers soon broke into enthusiastic discussions. Suyash and his friends realized the grim plight of their contemporaries who were struggling with problems such as availability of parts and comfortable accommodation. The hardships faced by the Students Automotive fraternity moved these six friends, and they felt a burning desire to do something for the fraternity. They were unanimous that henceforth students should not be held back due to lack of facilities, the absence of college support, and financial constraints.
Their first step was to purchase parts from vendors and sell them to students. They expanded to student projects and company projects execution. Simultaneously, they were involved in providing T-shirts for students and flex, banners, and tags for organizers. They leveraged this experience for corporate-level merchandising and printing for small companies. This consisted of printing letterheads and visiting cards, merchandising T-shirts, and involving in CSR activities. In course of time, it began importing parts from the US, Germany, China, Taiwan, and other parts of the world.
The company provides consultations pertaining to the design of parts. To help the students financially, it offers a discount on pre-booking of parts. It acts as a POC for all students, which comes in handy in instances such as when students are in need of a middleman to rent a driving suit. It has taken an active role in CSR activities such as making food and water available when automotive events are in remote parts and carrying participants in need of medical help to hospitals.
Because the friends began work as a Service industry, the initial investment was minimal. But, when they established a company, the expenses such as website, VAT, and salaries, etc, propped up. At this juncture, their Hospitality division was a great fiscal support.
During this journey, the company had to face several challenges. Procurement of the best rate of hotels for the students was one of them. It became essential that the students believed in what they had to offer. Moreover, colleges raised concerns about the company’s work stating that because this was a student event, the company is unduly interfering. The company explained that it was not depriving students of their design skills. Students were facing a time crunch for participation in the automotive races. The company was manufacturing parts in lesser time and money for the students. The company does not have its own manufacturing unit. It outsources the manufacturing work to several companies in and around Pune. In the recent past, the company began 3D printing of parts, which is cheap as contrary to public opinion.
Till date, the company has worked for automotive race teams from all over India. About 95% of the students are Mechanical engineers, and the remaining are from the management discipline.
In the future, the company intends to expand its business from the Service and the Trade industries to the Product industry. It also wants to use green energy in its business. It believes in exhorting promising engineers to commence their own business and is ready to lend a helping hand by investing in their business.
Suyash points out that all this success would not have been possible without family support. Their family members gave them a free hand to experiment with a new business. They had a motivation to have their own business in the field they loved, which was a combination of cars, students, and manufacturing.