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Ex-Huawei India CTO Sethuraman to head Silicon Valley start-up Deeya Energy

KOLKATA: Ex-Huawei India CTO and executive director A Sethuraman will head the Indian arm of Deeya Energy, a Silicon Valley-based start-up that develops low-cost energy storage systems for telecom tower companies. 

Sethuraman, who quit Huawei India last month, assumed the reins as 
managing director of Deeya Energy India on Monday. He will report to J Kelly Truman, global president & chief executive of the Fremont-based parent company. 

Sethuraman is the second top executive from the Indian telecom space to join Deeya Energy in recent times. Earlier this year, ex-Alcatel Lucent 
South Asia head Ravi Sharma joined the US firm as director. Prior to his four-year stint with Huawei India, Sethuraman was also chief marketing officer & corporate straetgy head at Alcatel-Lucent India. 

Deeya Energy Inc is backed by five US 
venture capital firms -- NEA, Technology Partners, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, BlueRun Ventures and Element Partners -- and operates a plant in Gurgaon. It has 120 employees in India. 

Besides maximising sales of Deeya's energy storage solutions, Sethuraman's major mandate will be expanding the company's global footprint in key emerging markets across
Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia and Middle East, in his additional capacity as global vice president (commercial operations). 

"A key target will be selling energy storage solutions to mobile operators and tower firms in emerging markets facing a grid power deficit," said Sethuraman, claiming tower firms round the world were were increasingly averse to splurging huge sums on an expensive and environmentally un-friendly fuel like diesel. 

Sethuraman declined to discuss specific deals, but said Deeya Energy is in talks with several leading tower firms and mobile operators to offer its energy storage systems, especially in rural pockets under-served by grid power. 

"We believe there is huge potential for cost-efficient, 
green energy storage systems in a market like India, especially since telcos are compelled to buy 7 billion litres of expensive diesel to run tower networks in regions facing a short supply of grid power," said Sethuraman. 

At present, the Indian tower industry comprises some 4,00,000 towers and spends nearly Rs 9000 crore a year on diesel.