founder

ENACT Systems Co-founder Deep Chakraborty Is Simplifying Solar

Introduction

Solar power is becoming increasingly affordable. As more consumers try to make environmentally conscious decisions, installing solar panels at a residence or business seems like an excellent way to make a difference. However, consumers might have difficulty navigating the marketplace and end up spending more than necessary as a result.

ENACT Systems’ platform uses data and software to simplify solar power for both parties of the transaction. The Engage product helps consumers stay informed about solar power purchases from the beginning, and the Envision product allows installers to propose projects and manage their offerings in detail. We reached out to CEO and co-founder Deep Chakraborty to learn more about the inspiration behind the company and how the co-founders came together.

Note: This interview was conducted over phone and email. It has been lightly edited for clarity and length.

Yasmin Sharbaf

In your own words, how would you describe ENACT Systems?

Deep Chakraborty

ENACT’s cloud software platform is transforming how distributed energy resources are deployed and managed, with users in more than 20 countries. ENACT Envision is used by installers and developers to remotely design complete solar and storage solutions, sell, and manage execution. ENACT Engage is used by end customers and fleet owners to track financial savings and energy usage, expanding into an energy ​​management platform. ENACT offers an Uber-like marketplace powered by a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform for both the installers and the end customers.

Yasmin Sharbaf

What inspired you to take the leap and start this company?

Deep Chakraborty

While distributed solar is a more than $15 billion category, more than 60% of the total price of a typical US solar project is non-hardware costs made up of sales and marketing, installation labor, permitting, and related services costs. This is unheard of in a billion-dollar consumer category, and we decided to build a platform to address this challenge — a massive opportunity now globally as well.

Yasmin Sharbaf

Who is on your team and how did you come together?

Deep Chakraborty

My co-founder, Manasij Kar, brings more than 20 years of experience with several years of leadership in the solar industry leading Q Cells in India. We both went to college more than 20 years ago at IIT Kharagpur in India and kept in touch as I led the growth of another German Solar company in the US and witnessed firsthand the soft costs in the solar industry. 

Yasmin Sharbaf

How is ENACT Systems transforming the solar energy industry?

Deep Chakraborty

ENACT’s platform has two sides, addressing two key customer segments: end customers (Engage) and developers and installers (Envision). Envision is focused on automating project design and deployment, while Engage is focused on improving customer engagement as well as procurement and energy and asset management. 

ENACT has proven more than $3.5 million in cumulative revenue on the platform since launch in 2016, now processing more than $1.5 billion of projects annually with more than 1,000 users. ENACT offers a SaaS subscription pricing model for both of its products, along with platform transaction fees for various data and origination services through the integrated marketplace for different stakeholders in the ecosystem.

Yasmin Sharbaf

What does the competitive landscape look like, and how do you differentiate?

Deep Chakraborty

There are several software companies focusing on installer use, e.g. Aurora Solar, Sighten, Solargraf (acquired by Enphase), and Folsom Labs (acquired by Aurora now). Yet none of them solve the soft cost problem impactfully, as there is no customer interface. Also, several original equipment manufacturers offer free apps for consumers that are weak in functionality and value.

Yasmin Sharbaf

How do you intend to use the money you raise this round to scale the business?

Deep Chakraborty

We will use more than 50% of the funds raised in expanding the sales and marketing team and the remaining 50% across product development team hires as well as customer success team expansion efforts, plus some working capital reserve.

Yasmin Sharbaf

What do you want potential investors to know about you and/or your company?

Deep Chakraborty

Our platform has generated more than $3.5 million in cumulative revenue since launch in 2016, with an annual spend (budget) of less than $1 million per year in a bootstrapped fashion. We have more than 100 enterprise clients with less than 20 full-time employees and have a massive growth potential, expanding the adoption of a platform that took us around five years to develop carefully. We are also active in several large solar markets besides the USA, i.e. India, South Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia.

Yasmin Sharbaf

As you think about the business 5-10 years down the road, what do you see exit opportunities looking like? Have you set any future goals for the company?

Deep Chakraborty

Our industry is witnessing a massive expansion driven by three factors: (a) push to decarbonize our planet, (b) rapid adoption of electric vehicles (EVs), with the US targeting 50% mandatory EV Sales (80% of EV buyers buy solar), and (c) rapid decline of solar costs, which makes solar-powered electricity less than one-fifth the price of grid power in more than 10 US States. The distributed solar industry is expected to grow from $15 billion to $50 billion per year by 2025 in the US alone, driving a huge increase in the need for platforms like ENACT for both consumers and installers. 

Corporations from multiple industries are now pivoting to address this opportunity – technology firms, oil and gas companies, automotive companies, and traditional energy utilities all are launching distributed energy solutions. As we expand our business and have no plans to exit (we are in growth mode now), we may be acquired by any such players 5-10 years down the road.

Yasmin Sharbaf

As a minority and underrepresented founder, what difficulties have you encountered working on your company? What advice would you give to minority founders?

Deep Chakraborty

I have never faced any major difficulties, especially as, living in California, the startup ecosystem is abundant with talented professionals who represent minorities. My advice to minority founders is to focus on the business and not worry about your racial background – talent always rises up to the top, and nothing can stop you!

We look forward to seeing where Deep and his team take the company. ENACT Systems is currently raising on StartEngine.

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About: Yasmin Sharbaf

Yasmin is passionate about the intersection of business, art, and science. Prior to KingsCrowd, Yasmin worked on a cryptocurrency investing research project for Wellesley College Investment Office where she assessed the risks and rewards for university endowment investment into cryptocurrency. She has also previously worked in a neuroscience lab studying language and memory of songbirds. Yasmin’s dream is to make investing and financial education accessible to everyone. In her free time, Yasmin enjoys going on adventures, learning new languages, and exploring different cultures. Yasmin studied Neuroscience and Studio Art at Wellesley College.

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