The co-founder of Allox Advance Materials and grandson of politico and industrialist T Subbarami Reddy, this startup maven is set to transform the electric vehicle industry. HELLO! looks at his journey to making India self-reliant for the future.
HELLO!: Tell us a bit about your educational background.
T RAJIV REDDY: “I was in Hyderabad till the 12th grade. I then went to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign for my undergrad to pursue a Bachelor’s of Science in Industrial Engineering. I graduated in 2012.”
H!: How did you begin your career? What are the industries you’ve been exposed to while working in India?
TRR: “Straight after college, I worked in Singapore for two years at Sembcorp, an energy and utilities company. After this short stint, I moved back to India and joined our family business, Gayatri Projects, which is a construction company executing highway, irrigation, water supply, mining and turnkey industrial projects across 20 states in India. I helped build the mining and water supply divisions in the company over the past eight years.”
H!: Can you share a bit about the battery and EV manufacturing startup you’ve been involved in more recently?
TRR: “I started working on this new venture, Allox Advance Materials, a few years ago, which is focused on manufacturing battery active materials. To be specific, we are working on manufacturing indigenously developed cathode and anode active materials, carbon-coated lithium iron phosphate (C-LFP) and lithium titanate (LTO). We are in the process of setting up a 1 GWH plant for C-LFP by Q4 2023, to supply to cell manufacturers in India. We will scale up according to the market requirement. Our materials have been validated, and multiple companies are using them to develop their cell chemistry. On the EV side, we have tied up with a UK-based company to jointly manufacture electric light commercial and passenger vehicles in Hyderabad.”
H!: What are the future plans for this company?
TRR: “Today, China controls 90 percent of the world’s supply of any form of battery materials. Due to this, India has no cell manufacturing. I’m proud to say that we are the sole manufacturer of cathode active materials in India, and we aim to become India’s largest producer of battery materials. We want to contribute to the vision of making India self-reliant for the future, where electric vehicles and energy storage systems are set to replace the traditional fossil fuels.”
H!: Where do you see yourself in another five years professionally?
TRR: “I will be focusing on this business, and we also have plans to expand internationally to cater to the global market. I hope to enter the European market over the next five years.”
H!: Who have been the biggest inspirations for you when it comes to work ethic and vision?
TRR: “My grandfather, T Subbarami Reddy, has been my biggest inspiration. Even at the age of 79, he still has the discipline to wake up at 4 am and be as enthusiastic at work as he was when he was in his 20s.”
H!: How do you manage to balance work and family life?
TRR: “I travel a lot for work, but I try to be home for weekends to spend time with my wife Kavya and my two boys, Jai and Neel.”
H!: What are the challenges one faces when entering the startup field in India vis-à-vis abroad?
TRR: “Over the past few years, unlike earlier, the startup field in India has developed immensely. There are multiple tools and services available to new and upcoming entrepreneurs. There are many incubators as well that can help through the journey of building a company. However, the domestic market in India is still very small when compared to the US [United States of America] or Europe, and very few startups that sell to Indian consumers are profitable.”
H!: How supportive has the Telangana government been in your preparations for bringing sustainable power manufacturing to the state?
TRR: “The Telangana government truly stands up for what it projects. It’s been instrumental in facilitating connections to help us through our journey; it played a vital role in validating our technologies.”
This story has been adapted for the website from a story that was originally published in HELLO! India’s August 2022 issue. Get your hands on the latest issue right here!