In the recent episode of Shark Tank India, an attempt was made to revolutionize the Indian automotive industry by Harshal Mahadev Nakshane from Yavatmal, Maharashtra.
He presented his project, AI Car, the country's first artificially intelligent, hydrogen-based vehicle. Despite the innovative concept and a detailed demonstration that showcased the prototype's impressive capabilities, the Sharks decided against investing in the venture.
Nakshane, who dedicated 18 months and Rs 60 lakhs to develop the prototype, sought an investment of Rs 2 crore for a 4% equity stake in his startup. The car, boasting a 5-minute refueling time and a range of over 1,000 kilometers, was put to the test in a drive around Mumbai's Film City.
The vehicle's autonomous navigation was on full display, though it encountered difficulties with a steep climb, revealing potential practical challenges.
The Sharks, including Anupam Mittal, Namita Thapar, and Vineeta Singh, were initially impressed but expressed significant concerns. The sharks highlighted the ambitious nature of Nakshane's project, especially considering the current lack of infrastructure, market readiness, and refuelling stations for hydrogen-powered vehicles in India.
The judges' advice to Nakshane was candid and practical. Anupam Mittal remarked, "Tumhara jazba toh samajh mein aata hai, lekin practicality ki bhi zarurat hoti hai," Which in English reads "I understand your passion, but practicality is also necessary."
Deepinder Goyal of Zomato and other Sharks suggested that Nakshane might be better off applying his talents and finding a job in an established automotive company.
The sharks believed that his innovative skills could significantly contribute to advancing technology in a more structured environment.
"Billions of dollars ki zarurat padegi, jo tum soch rahe ho, uske liye Rs 2 crore kafi nahi hain," Goyal explained, indicating that "billions of dollars would be needed, and the Rs 2 crore you're asking for is not enough for what you're thinking."
Despite the rejection, the Sharks commended Nakshane for his intelligence, dedication, and the vision that brought him from a small town to the national stage of Shark Tank India. They emphasized the importance of a realistic approach to innovation, especially in industries facing significant challenges like automotive technology.
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