What have you learnt? Episode 4 with Prashanth Makaram of Crocus Labs

What have you learnt? This is a question we’re putting to company founders from our portfolio. Because if you found a start-up, run a company, make investments or work in management, you are learning something new every single day. You also have to deal with new situations. And continue to develop new skills. To cover the latter aspect, we expanded the HTGF Academy this year to offer a comprehensive programme for company founders. And because we firmly believe in the power of peer-to-peer learning, our newsletter now includes the column: What have you learnt? Once a month, company founders from our portfolio share tips and advice in this column. Prashanth Makaram, Co-Founder and CEO of Crocus Labs, joins us this time round.

Crocus Labs is developing revolutionary ultra-high efficiency smart lighting solutions for indoor farming. The lighting technology pioneers combine proprietary diodes with smart sensors and software to help growers achieve greater profitability.

What was your last major learning that helped your own personal development?

Prashanth: The last major learning has been to stop being afraid of conflict situations but rather to embrace them. In order to have a healthy and functional personal and business relationship, there is a need to argue (fairly) and come up with a solution that both parties can live with. This also means addressing critical topics early on instead of putting them off until later. 

Prashant - CrocusLabs
Prashanth Makaram, Co-Founder and CEO of Crocus Labs

What will you take with you from your start-up journey so far for the rest of your life?

Prashanth : A couple of things. Along your journey there are people (typically ex-founders) who go above and beyond to support you and your company at every stage although they don’t have to. I hope to also help others out for the rest of my life. 
The second thing is to keep persisting when faced with a sea of rejections and when met with challenges that go beyond your expectations. Once you realise that either it doesn’t matter in the long run or that no level of planning can avoid certain outcomes, you just have to make the best of the situation without compromising your mental health or happiness.

When you meet other founders today: What advice would you want to share?

Prashanth: Having the right team including co-founders with complementary skills that you can trust is the most important thing. Everything else can be figured out.  Establishing a start-up is tough, especially if it’s a hardware start-up. You have to be tenacious in pursuing your goal. 

How important is learning for founders in general?

Prashanth: As a startup founder, learning is a critical aspect of your life. As you are constantly learning and adapting your strategy to new information and situations. If you don’t learn, you won’t grow and neither will your company. 

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