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The founder and CEO of Pani on evolving your product

The founder and CEO of Pani on evolving your product

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When Devesh Bharadwaj founded Pani in 2017, he envisioned both a hardware and software solution to decarbonizing the world's water supply. Fast forward to 2023, and Pani has just announced a software-only solution to assist clients in the space, rather than the dual-tech approach the company initially thought of. Bharadwaj spoke to Victoria Tech Journal on what he's learned in the past four years to evolve his company in response to customers and the industry, as well as advice for entrepreneurs looking to iterate on their product.  

Pani supports global water treatment plant operators, owners, and service providers with technology to optimize their operations for decarbonization. Its customers have plants in South America, Europe, North America, and the Middle East, including industrial food and beverage companies, as well as heavy industries such as ethanol and chemical businesses.

The company does so through its product offering, Zed: a tiered service that Pani says allows any customer to get started on their decarbonization journey. The software uses AI to provide plant operations with options that allow for cost- and greenhouse-gas-emission savings. 

"With experience engaging with hundreds of treatment facilities in more than 10 countries, we came to realize how the customers like to buy, how the customers like to adopt, how the customers make day-to-day decisions, and where are they in their digital maturity," he said. "That's how we iterated upon Zed, [...] with a lot more understanding of where the different customers and plants are globally."

A key part of this process was deep customer engagement. "You have to really dig and peel the layers, and really understand where the pain is," said Bharadwaj. "What's important for them, what truly causes them challenges, and then make a product that is a priority for them. Because if it's nice to have, and it's not a priority for them, you're not gonna be able to grow fast enough in tough sectors."

Bharadwaj added that this is especially key when it comes to climatetech. "A majority of the sectors right now are ready to look at greenhouse gas reductions, but it's not really financially incentivized," he said. "So you have to understand: what are the things customers are willing to pay for? 'Are willing to buy, willing to prioritize?' And really make your product good for that."

Zed has coined its new layer of technology solutions in the space as Process Operations AI. "It's going to be critical for industrial sectors like water treatment to adopt Zed," said Bhardwaj. "If they're looking to reduce their costs and risk and greenhouse gases at really attractive economics, we do need to do that to reduce our global greenhouse gas emissions. I'm pretty excited that we're have a leadership role in our sector to do that."

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