Lessons from a Pioneer in Sustainability – Sanjay Krishnan

This article is a part of Discere’s ‘Insights with Experts’ series, where Discere co-founders interview professionals across various industries. Read more here.

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Sanjay Krishnan is the Co-Founder and CEO at Lithium Urban Technologies, a global superpower in sustainable urban mobility that currently holds the world’s largest commercial EV fleet (outside of China) and operates India’s largest charging infrastructure. Lithium Urban Technologies has helped to abate over 20,000 MT of CO2 and provided valuable solutions to urban mobility for over 5,000 families. Sanjay has won numerous prestigious awards such as the Financial Times Awards (London) Best Global Transformational Business, Aegis-Graham Bell Awards and many more. Sanjay has over 25 years in various leadership and corporate roles, Lithium is currently Sanjay’s third startup after India.com and Comfort India.  


When Sanjay started his journey with Lithium Urban Technologies, he had three key thoughts in mind. He wanted to start something that was viable, pioneering and paved a way for others to pick up from where he left off. This brought together an intersection of how one could use renewable energy to power urban mobility in a region such as India, one that was populous with hydrocarbons. With the inevitable resource depletion on Sanjay’s mind, he acknowledged the fact that a solution would have to come into play, hence he brought together a hypothesis which took the shape of Lithium Urban Technologies. 

While Sanjay has much to celebrate about, he also acknowledges the stages of failure he has experienced in this journey. A thought that we should all be conscious of sooner or later. However, while our failures should be acknowledged, we should not let it get the better of us, in doing so we often come under the conformity of societal expectations. According to Sanjay, we should always keep a sense of belief in our abilities. He referred to life’s journey as that of a sine curve, in the sense that it has its ups and downs. If we maintain trust in our values and uphold a sense of conviction, we will rise back from our failures stronger than before. 

Sanjay’s perception of working with others revolves around ethics and integrity, qualities which should be at the core of an individual. When things don’t go as planned and times are tough, the people which stay ‘longside’ are the types of people Sanjay surrounds himself with. He refers to these individuals as those we can rely on, those which make up valuable components of a team. In addition to integrity, Sanjay talked about the ability to navigate through ambiguity. Especially through entrepreneurship when the road is uncertain, these qualities come in extremely valuable. 

While we learn a lot about people as we get to know them, we can often find out a great deal from initial impressions. Sanjay talked about the key qualities he looks for when carrying out job interviews. 

  1. Problem solving capability and inquisitiveness – When one is asked a question, the ability to give a correct answer is often irrelevant, what provides an insight to the employer is the approach the candidate takes and their thought process. 
  1. A visible eagerness to learn and improve – Reading is an invaluable tool and is something that emulates the fact that the candidate is open to morph their minds and invest in themselves. 

As touched on above, the benefits of reading cannot be understated. Sanjay immerses himself in a variety of books at a time. Some of his personal favourites come from Bill Gates’s published list of books. 

As we finished our interview, we asked Sanjay our classic question and he responded with a very valuable piece of advice. Stating that the youth should always bet on themselves and possess a sense of courage and conviction in whatever we do. We should not be afraid to shine out and resist conforming to expectations.

“Before the world bets on you, you got to bet on yourself”

Sanjay Krishnan

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