How did Lightstorm survive and thrive in pandemic

A startup journey is never easy and comes with its own trials and tribulations, especially when the company is born during a global pandemic, hailed as one of the worst crisis of this century.

As the world turned upside down and lockdowns and social distancing norms disrupted the traditional way of doing business, Lightstorm was in the midst of setting up operations. Lightstorm not only got the required licenses to operate during the pandemic but also set up a 12,000+ km `utility-grade’ fibre network connecting more than 45 data centers and more than 200 PoPs across five key economic hub cities of the country. The company grew from just a handful of us founders to a hundred employees during the pandemic. Even as the pandemic raged on, we continued expanding our network and acquiring and serving our customers.

All this was possible because of deep conviction in what we set out to achieve. Our North Star was to build world-class cloud network infrastructure designed especially for digital enterprises that empowers them to provide a best-in-class digital service experience to their customers.

The Indian businesses were yearning for a programmable and scalable network providing 100% uptime and latency of less than one millisecond. For this reason, we decided to focus on cloud and fibre. Cloud-native ensures elasticity, agility and flexible infrastructure. On the other hand, fibre-based networks provide unparalleled reliability. Apart from the infrastructure, there was a strong need for neutral and open access to the internet and Lightstorm addresses this requirement by being India’s first carrier-neutral platform.

In retrospect, the pandemic created a perfect opportunity for us as it accelerated the digital transformation of businesses. As the world moved online, the digital experience became a crucial differentiator.

When the going gets tough…

The world changed completely, and the usual way of hiring, meeting clients, closing deals, and even setting up networks went for a toss. Our engineers used to go for network installation dressed in Hazmat suits, much like COVID warriors. All our equipment went through quarantine norms and other mandated processes at each data center.

However, all this was planned meticulously beforehand, as we were aware that the imminent lockdown might impact our timelines. We hired engineering and install teams well in advance and lined up our regional teams with the required Government permissions to ensure that they were able to move around freely during the pandemic. Further, we applied for government permissions much ahead of time.

All our partners supported us during these incredibly challenging circumstances. They put their best foot forward and wanted to be part of our journey; the sheer energy we were exuding was infectious. They wanted to be a part of something unique and disruptive we were creating. All of this was easier said than done as we needed to continuously plan to find out the best possible way to accomplish our targets in the new way of working. One can say that the last two years have reinvented the way business is done for everyone.

The second wave of the pandemic in April-May in North India was particularly brutal. Rolling out the network took a backseat. As an organization, Lightstorm rose to the occasion and helped our people deal with life-threatening issues like procuring oxygen and hospital beds.

As this year comes to an end, we at Lightstorm are excited about the next phase of our journey. We are born out of this pandemic. The pandemic has made us more determined, stronger and more resilient to any challenge that comes our way.

The coming year 2022 will bring its own opportunities and challenges, but once you learn to dance in a pandemic, you are ready to face any new spanner life throws at you.

rajiv

Author

Rajiv Nayyar

Chief Operating Officer