Arijit Bose
Arijit Bose


Powering India’s critical infrastructure.

“Start-ups were not yet ‘fashionable’ when I started Captiva Energy Solutions in 2010,” muses Arijit Bose. “Especially when founded by someone who’s just finished college.”



All the more remarkable then, that Arijit was encouraged to start what he terms his ‘personal entrepreneurial venture’ with the full support of Perkins Engines. “I’d just finished my degree in commerce at St Xavier’s College in Kolkata. On graduation in 2007, I had joined the family business –a small sized local firm, trading in generators and related equipment – I dived straight into exploring business opportunities around contracting and manufacturing.”

“It was just at the time when Perkins was keen to expand its footprint in India. They wanted a new GOEM (generator OEM). So, in 2010, we reached an agreement to collaborate with Perkins as our sole engine supplier for a new range of generator sets – and we’ve stayed loyal to them ever since.”

If the concept of a start-up was novel, so too was Captiva’s approach to the market. “We were by far the smallest company in the large generator business,” he explains. “How would we compete against these larger, stronger, more established companies? Most of them had been in business for more than 50 years.”

Delivering what the customer needs

Arijit turned to the now-familiar tool in the entrepreneurial toolbox: disruption. “Once we started to look more closely at the market, it became evident that their ‘success’ in the market hinged on standardising every supposed solution. Customers were given the solution that the manufacturer wanted to give them.

“And they weren’t powered by Perkins.”

Working closely with Perkins from the very beginning, Captiva was handed a unique opportunity to align themselves and their offerings with Perkins’ vast technical expertise and industry knowledge – and the power of the brand.

So did the brand association help to legitimise a new company? “Yes,” says Arijit, “but more than that, it helped to legitimise our disruptive offering.

“Our disruptive principle was simple: offer and deliver what the customer needed, not what we thought they needed. That was the game-changer. Companies now had somewhere to go for their prime, standby and critical applications – a company that would listen to their needs and provide a bespoke solution, not an off-the-shelf offering.

“And our quality of service – engineering, support, customer – was seen as a perfect match for the perceived quality of the Perkins brand.”

Expanding the business

The company’s come a long way since those early days in 2010. Back then, it comprised two people and one office in Kolkata. Two years later, 2012 turnover saw phenomenal growth and by 2013, Captiva had four offices across India, blossoming into a full scale national business.

Today, Captiva provides direct employment for 200 people and employs another 150 indirectly, from 13 sites throughout the country.

What Arijit regards as his defining moment came in 2019, when global energy giant Generac acquired a majority stake in Captiva.

“That was an achievement,” he says with a grin, “something that had been an objective from the very beginning, to make Captiva eternal.

“It probably also represents the biggest risk I’ve taken as an entrepreneur. There’s a lot of uncertainty involved when you pass on majority ownership, that too, to a MNC Conglomerate. But four-and-a-half years in, I’m very happy that I went ahead with it. It’s worked out for everyone.”

By everyone, Arijit’s referring not just to himself and Generac, but his team, too. “We have a fantastic team at Captiva, who have all bought into the entrepreneurial ethos we have here in the company. To get the best from people, they should feel that they’re truly a part of the business for which they work – that Captiva is as much a part of them, as they are part of it.

“I’m very lucky to have a lot of good people around me,” he enthuses. “You can’t always be sure that you’re going to get success all the time. Besides working hard, it’s important to be humble, too. But working with good people gives you the perseverance to seek success.

“I’ve enjoyed the words of several mentors over the years, people who’ve been able to show me the future in a different way. I hope one day – along with time on the beach – I’ll be able to be a mentor myself.”

Evolving power needs

Until then, there’s a business to be run. Arijit reveals that even in Captiva’s relatively short life to date, the market’s changed. “When we began trading, we were supplying customers who bought generators because they needed them. India’s power scenario was not what it is today.

“Today, even in the B towns and cities, power outages occur for less than 100 hours a year. When there are no power cuts, who would buy our product?”

But Arijit says they haven’t stopped buying generators. They’ve just got more demanding. “When you’re spending considerable sums on equipment that you’ll never use, the attention to detail and the expectation of quality and service become far more important.

“That’s ensured we’ve become much more than a transactional trading company. Even more so than a decade ago, we have to create a relationship with the customer at every point at which we interact, to give them the confidence and reassurance that they’re in the very best hands with their investment.”

Reliable power for data centres

While Captiva continues to nurture those relationships with the conventional generator set customers – construction, hotels, factories, healthcare, retail – the big area of growth, Arijit reveals, is data centres. “Data has become so important in everyday life that these data centres are of similar importance – at a critical infrastructure level – to healthcare. It’s a very challenging environment to work in, but we’re getting good results – evidenced by the fact that HP is one of our key partners.”

Despite grid power improving every year, Arijit is excited about what the future holds. “It’s not going to make our industry redundant, far from it. More challenging, yes – and we’ll be pushed harder to improve our products, our solutions.

“But this is an industry that will grow at a higher rate than other sectors, thanks to the requirements of ‘new’ customers like data centres, 5G telecoms and so on.

Focused on delivering India’s power needs

“Captiva has been, particularly a domestic producer, leveraging on Perkins’ manufacturing facilities in India, at Aurangabad and Hosur, since 2015. We have been India-focused, with both in our supply chain and our customer base being primarily indigenous.”

That innate knowledge of the Indian market is likely to prove valuable when tough emission standards come into force later this year. “Government is taking an active role in ensuring India has a good energy transition,” observes Arijit. “Clean power is their goal.”

Currently, India has had three generator set emission regimes enforced, according to fuel type. These will be replaced with a single regime – Central Pollution Control Board IV+ (CPCB-IV+) – to cover all available fuels, as well as those on the horizon such as hydrogen.

“These are tough new standards, some of the highest in the world,” remarks Arijit. “India’s really taking the lead, and of course we want to step up to the challenge.”

The scale of the challenge doesn’t faze Arijit. “This is another opportunity to showcase our ability to work with new tech, to demonstrate our skills and expertise. We’re nimble and resilience is in our DNA, besides we have Perkins, by our side, like always.”

Captiva and Perkins

Arijit explains how ‘everything we know’ at Captiva – product, service, the value proposition – comes from Perkins’ exemplary training. All this makes the difference, he says.

“With that kind of support from Perkins, we’re always on an upward curve for quality and maintaining, improving our team’s skills.

“Working with a global company like Perkins means we get access to world-leading technology. But crucially they also understand the market here in India, which means together we can develop strategies and tactics that can deliver success for us, together.

“For Perkins, that success translates into continually increasing sales growth in India’s EP market,” says Arijit.

“And for Captiva, it’s giving me the chance to write a new history – as seen by me."


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Arijit Bose
Arijit Bose
Arijit Bose


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