Illumine-i has recently announced that it has become the world’s largest independent digital design engineering firm in the residential PV solar sector.
The key metrics taken for evaluation were the stature of the clients, the overall capacity to take up projects, and the strength of the team.
“It feels surreal to see our firm sitting right at the top,” said Nithish Sairam, CEO, of Illumine-i. “For a start-up that began its operations from a cramped garage in Chennai not so long ago, this is a phenomenal achievement. I still remember bunking with 5 roommates and using the public park benches to conduct training for my team during the early days.”
Back then, Illumine-i was a firm of 5 employees providing production and performance analysis for EPCs and developers, before evolving into one that could also offer engineering support. What allowed the firm to make this transition was its proactive approach to business. “Even during our very first year, we were as focused on identifying the dire problems clients faced as we were on achieving operational excellence. This conscious practice stood us in good stead as we added engineering services to our repertoire,” said Nithish.
Recounting one of the major challenges the firm faced during this time, Nithish said, “Initially, we did well to leverage the US solar market boom, which was sort of a launchpad for us. But once we hit a certain growth threshold, we had to be very particular about how we went about scaling, like not making the mistake of scaling too quick or too slow. We, therefore, focused on achieving a steady 100% avg. annualized growth rate YoY for the first 5-years, which happens to be a good pace for an early-stage start-up.” He also noted that the current 5-year plan is to “maintain a steady 80% avg. annualized growth rate.”
If there is a playbook that continues to prove effective for the firm, it is its focus on diversification. According to Nithish, the firm follows a “3-fork diversification strategy” that has not just helped it mitigate risks but also identify new markets to disrupt.
Sure enough, Illumine-i has come a long way since its founding. But those at the firm are in no mood to rest on their laurels. Plans are already underway to cement the firm’s reputation as one of the best sustainable engineering firms around. Only recently did the firm open a new office to maximize its service capabilities. The latest workplace, located in Pune, Maharashtra, is Illumine-i’s second office in India and third overall, having already established fully functional office spaces in Austin, Texas and Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
With the addition of the new office, Illumine-i is hoping to bring more stability to its operations. “As a customer-centric firm, we are constantly exploring new ways to serve our clients better. It is something that is in the very DNA of our firm,” said Chitharthan, Customer Experience Manager at Illumine-i. “As our client list grows, we want to make sure the needs of each and every client of ours are met, without compromising on quality and timeliness. To this end, our branch in Pune will be instrumental,” he added.
What began as a promising start-up is now a multinational firm with scope for further expansion. Throwing light on Illumine-i’s future, Nitish noted, “Over the years, we did really well to make significant inroads into the US solar engineering markets. Now, our goal is to go all the way and exploit newer geographies like Canada, Australia, and Europe.”
Illumine-i is a sustainable living firm with expertise in design and engineering, specializing in Power and Construction Engineering services. The company supports the development of renewable power plants (Solar PV), energy-efficient buildings with state-of-the-art construction methodologies, clean transportation, and cutting-edge agriculture and manufacturing technologies. Since its inception, Illumine-i has grown both horizontally and vertically, performing new services and expanding its clientele.