RIL, Microsoft Ventures nurture start-ups
Mukesh Ambani-controlled Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) partnered with Microsoft Ventures in September to set up a GenNext Innovation Hub, an incubator for start-ups, in Navi Mumbai. The first batch, comprising 11 start-ups, ended its 19-week workshop last month. Microsoft Ventures helps by conducting workshops, mentor meetings, seminars, and customer, partner and investor meetings. RIL, on its part, has provided the infrastructure and also invites the heads of its departments to hold workshops. Mint profiles four of these 11 firms, speaking to their founders about their company’s vision and their technology solutions
VIRTUAL DRESSING ROOM
COMPANY: Coitor IT Tech (P) Ltd
ENTREPRENEUR: Mahendra Vellingiri and K.R. Sivasubramaniyem
EDUCATION: BE, Anna University, BE, Sri Ramakrishna Engineering College
A few years ago during the Diwali season, Vellingiri decide to help out his father in the saree shop that the family owned. What struck him was the time and effort that went into stacking, folding and placing the garments after they were tried out by customers.
“Customers would try on garments and throw them aside in a few seconds and we would take very long to fold it back to its original form. To add to it, repeated trials would damage the garment and we would have to incur a loss, and sometimes we were even forced to sell the garments at half the price to clear them off,” he said.
This prompted Vellingiri to use augmented reality technology to develop a virtual dressing room solution. A large-sized screen with a camera displays the clothing options that are available in the store. The customer simply has to select the dress or jewel she wants and view herself on the screen.
Coitor IT Tech charges retail stores Rs.15,000 per screen, which includes software and services. Currently, 15 stores in Chennai are using the solution, according to Vellingiri.
His company is looking to partner with e-commerce sites so that customers can use the mobile app or the website to see how the outfit looks on them.
“We have already partnered with retail brand Jealous21. Our solutions have a huge potential for online shoppers as people still find it difficult to understand size, shapes and measurements,” Vellingiri added.
COMPANY: AxleRate Solutions Pte Ltd
ENTREPRENEUR: Varadharajan Kumaravelu
EDUCATION: BSc, BITS Pilani
When Kumaravelu decided to start his own company, he initially thought of launching a Uber-kind of app-based taxi service in India, but the competition made him change his mind.
He altered his business plan and decided to make a device that could be fitted in taxis and provide alerts, besides tracking one’s location with the help of GPS (global positioning system) and sensors. In case of an emergency, a passenger can scream for help, following which the device, which has a camera, takes a picture of the passenger and alerts designated persons with a picture of the situation.
To avoid confusion between boisterous behaviour and a genuine scream for help, the sensor can differentiate between loud music and typical high-pitched talking in cars.
“We only provide the software—the devices are sourced from local manufacturers,” said Kumaravelu.
The company is also working with the Tamil Nadu government to fit auto-rickshaws with a device that can track the vehicles and send alerts. The sensor and software costs about Rs.5,000.
“We have already tied up with Meru Cabs for providing our solution, and are looking to reduce the cost of the solution as we increase the sales,” he added.
Going forward, the company is also looking to tie up with e-commerce firms to allow passengers to make online purchases using screens in the cab and offering customized flash sales.
COMPANY: LogiNext Solutions Pvt. Ltd
ENTREPRENEUR: Manisha Raisinghania and Dhruvil Sanghvi
EDUCATION: BTech, Nirma University and BE, Mumbai University
The founders worked as consultants in the logistics sector with companies like International Business Machines Corp. and Deloitte and Touche Llp. It was there that they realized the potential of growth in logistics.
The boom in e-commerce has lifted the country’s logistics sector. LogiNext offers data collection and analysis services for logistics firms, helping them plan routes more efficiently and save fuel.
The company provides real time and location-based analytics solutions to e-commerce and food delivery firms, among others. Its solutions help logistics services providers improve internal operations, optimize delivery networks and provide customer service.
“As supply chains are complex, companies spend huge amounts on delivering goods to consumers. We help companies know the exact location of their shipments... Using our analytics, companies have been able to reduce their delivery time,” said Sanghvi.
COMPANY: 360 Health Vectors Pvt. Ltd
ENTREPRENEUR: Subhasish Sircar
EDUCATION: MBA, Wharton School of Business
A really close friend of Sircar’s passed away a few weeks after celebrating his 32nd birthday. His friend didn’t suffer from any serious illness, and was regular with his medical check-ups.
“His death was a staggering blow to me and it got me to think of providing medical data that could predict illness in people,” Sircar said.
The company has tied up with hospitals from where it collects data of patients. The software solution compiles clinical data, family history, pathological information and personal health information (lifestyle, food and exercise habits), and predicts the risk of illness the patient may suffer from.
The company recently partnered with Fortis in Mumbai. It has strict privacy contracts and does not share the analytics with anyone except the patient.
The patient gets a health report with full details. The company charges Rs.250 per person for analytics, which excludes the cost of medical check-ups.
However, collated data for a large number of patients is provided to the hospital and other partners to understand location-based problems, insurance needs and other information. In case of partnerships with hospitals, the charge is Rs.2,500 per person per year.
At a future date, the company is looking to launch operations in the US.
CarIQ Technologies Pvt. Ltd: Connects user to the car and Internet, provides remote access to location, besides vehicle data and diagnostics
Insaas Software Pvt. Ltd: Provides online hiring technology solutions
Olidomo Computing Pvt. Ltd: Facilitates downloads of movies and content over Wi-Fi
Mocioun TechLabs Pvt. Ltd: The company’s mobile app allows users to build group activities
Oztern Technology (P) Ltd: Provides adaptive and individual learning solutions
Piron Corp. Inc.: Provides technology solutions in teaching and learning
Light Information Systems Pvt. Ltd: Built a language processing engine providing answers instead of Web links
It is overwhelming to witness interesting companies with innovations and deep intellectual property pursuing their goal of creating global businesses from India. We are happy to have many entrepreneurs in the batch who gave up lucrative jobs in India and overseas to create companies to innovate and build businesses to address global needs,
...these start-ups have been experiencing tremendous growth in terms of clientele and product development. We will continue to work with these start-ups as they evolve into billion dollar companies of future
—Rajinish Menon, director of Microsoft Ventures.