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Business News/ Technology / News/  8 startups that are using emerging technologies to make life easier for others in real world

8 startups that are using emerging technologies to make life easier for others in real world

Digital Dossier has identified startups that are using advanced technologies including AI and machine learning to provide a gamut of solutions in diverse areas

Facilio Founders (L-R) - Yogendra Babu, Prabhu Ramachandran, Krishnamoorthy Rangasamy, Rajavel SubramanianPremium
Facilio Founders (L-R) - Yogendra Babu, Prabhu Ramachandran, Krishnamoorthy Rangasamy, Rajavel Subramanian

Facilio: Using IoT and AI to manage building operations

Headquartered in Atlanta and with operations in the UAE and India, Facilio provides firms with operations and maintenance (O&M) solutions. Founded by Prabhu Ramachandran, Yogendra Babu, Krishnamoorthi Rangasamy and Rajavel Subramanian, the firm uses Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) to consolidate data from existing systems on the cloud.

The startup offers applications and modules for property owners to manage and control portfolio-wide O&M activities in real time; organize maintenance, compliance and vendor workflows; improve asset life cycle and sustainability performance; and engage with tenants.

Founded in May 2017, Facilio is currently used by leading enterprises to optimize more than 30 million sq. ft of space globally.

How they are using technology to solve problems

“We use IoT to connect existing building automation systems with everyday facility workflows thereby empowering the field management workforce with actionable data and insights, in real time," says Ramachandran, chief executive officer of Facilio.

Additionally, the startup provides prescriptive AI-driven insights to every building stakeholder (including property operators and technicians) to proactively manage asset performance, and applies machine learning to predictively analyse performance of high-value assets and fine-tune energy performance.

The company’s offerings target large commercial building portfolios (like business centres, tech parks, entertainment complexes, enterprise campuses and malls) across different geographies.

With a strong base of active enterprise accounts and an increasing partner pool, Facilio plans to expand its base to the US, Europe and Asia-Pacific markets in the next 6-12 months, and build partnerships with channel partners like facility service providers, portfolio management and building management firms.

Civilcops: Building tech products for smart cities

CivilCops is a social intelligence organization, building civic-tech products for smart cities. Co-founded by Ashish Sharma, it aims to be India’s primary platform for governments to seamlessly connect with citizens and improve their efficiency by enabling citizen participation in public service delivery and execution. The startup was set up in April 2017 by Sharma and co-founder Vaibhav Gogia, who saw a gap in the public service delivery and citizen feedback loop.

Ashish Sharma, Founder and CEO, CivilCops, a civic tech startup
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Ashish Sharma, Founder and CEO, CivilCops, a civic tech startup

How they are using technology to solve problems

CivilCops uses data and artificial intelligence (AI) to make grievance reporting and resolution faster and more efficient. “CivilCops takes away the pain and hassle of reaching out to government authorities. Our technology allows citizens to reach their government representatives at a click of a button. The team devised AI chatbots and voice interfaces which can be integrated with major platforms like Google Assistant, Facebook Messenger, Twitter or Amazon Alexa, so that it is easier for the citizens to talk to their own governments," says CEO Sharma.

The startup also has a city management dashboard that consolidates public data, streamlines requests and workflows with automation, and leverages data to get actionable insights. Machine learning algorithms figure out the nature of the complaints, and the department that caters to this problem and sends it to the most optimal employee based on a number of parameters.

CivilCops is currently working with the governments of Haryana and Jharkhand. It plans to expand its presence to Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan.

The startup has been working on a solution to improve the functioning of transport departments by using data and AI to upgrade their existing communication channel systems.

CivilCops also aims to launch a product centred on women’s safety in the next two months. Finally, the firm wants to make its services available in regional languages.

Oxfordcaps: Providing technology-enabled student living

This students residence provider aims to create a technology-enabled and community-driven living experience for Generation Z (born between 1995 and 2015) students in India and Singapore.

Founded by INSEAD graduate Annu Talreja, who is the chief executive, and Indian Institute of Management Calcutta alumni Priyanka Gera, who is the chief operating officer, Oxfordcaps has expanded from 200 beds to more than 15,000 beds across 12 cities in under 11 months since its launch in India.

Priyanka Gera(COO) and Annu Talreja(CEO), Co- Founders of Oxfordcaps.
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Priyanka Gera(COO) and Annu Talreja(CEO), Co- Founders of Oxfordcaps.

How they are using technology to solve problems

At Oxfordcaps, technology is the key differentiator. It is extensively used in enabling search and booking without site visits via virtual tours, hassle-free lease signing and payments, and machine learning-powered roommate matching.

The startup also uses its in-house technology-driven tools to streamline operations. Technology plays a major role in all aspects of property, vendor and inventory management.

The use of advanced artificial intelligence models generates more than 10 million hours of engagement programmes per year. This enables inter-residence communication with peers through social media groups for interaction, engagement and information exchange, career development and cultural exchange, among others.

Oxfordcaps also has an integrated communication hub to monitor energy consumption, pre-empt appliance outage, and optimize air quality and security.

The startups’ future plans include expanding to Indonesia and Malaysia.

“Our model of providing standardized student housing experience is highly scalable, and given our experience and brand presence in India and Singapore, we have become a natural choice for leading universities across the Asia Pacific region. This expansion will take us to 20,000 beds across 15+ cities, making Oxfordcaps the largest student housing manager in Asia," claims Gera. Automating customer experience with AI

Founded by IITian couple Manish and Rashi Gupta, is an artificial intelligence (AI)-driven platform that simplifies workflows by automating manual tasks. “Brands spend around 10% of their top line on customer experience. Yet, customers are sick of pressing 2 for reservations and 3 for service. At the same time, service reps are sick of answering the same questions over and over," says Rashi Gupta, chief data scientist. The startup provides solutions for education, travel, e-commerce and banking verticals.

Manish Gupta, Co-founder, Rezo.AI
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Manish Gupta, Co-founder, Rezo.AI

How they are using technology to solve problems takes into consideration historical conversations of brands with their customers. Feeding this textual conversation into its AI engine, the startup uses the machine learning algorithms it has developed over the past two years and helps automate the entire customer journey.

Automating the conversations helps brands understand the intent, issues, concerns and queries raised by their customers, and quickly respond to them.

Besides machine learning, uses natural language processing, predictive analytics, feedback mechanisms and algorithms to automate workflows.

For instance, enterprises in the travel space may get queries on cancellation, rescheduling, booking, luggage and more.

Quick responses to straightforward queries helps the brand create a “meaningful contact" with its customers, explains Rashi Gupta.

The startup also helps these brands in solving queries faster along with identification of root cause of the issues and a reduction in the overall interactions.

It also uses AI for WhatsApp automation. Leveraging the benefits of WhatsApp,’s conversational AI engine is helping brands build relationships with customers without the need for human intervention.

The app, which started out as a simple instant messaging app, has changed with time and has imbibed all the essential features.

It is especially useful for improving customer service by giving them a personalized, frictionless, on-demand and data-driven experience, helping them to make a better decisions.

ZunRoof: Solar rooftops via image processing, VR

Rooftop solar startup ZunRoof calls itself a home-tech firm that uses image processing, virtual reality (VR), Internet of Things (IoT) and data analytics to generate solar power from rooftops, and provide control of every appliance in the house.

Pranesh Chaudhary, Co-founder & CEO, ZunRoof
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Pranesh Chaudhary, Co-founder & CEO, ZunRoof

How they are using technology to solve problems

The firm was founded in June 2016 by Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur alumni Pranesh Chaudhary and Sushant Sachan. “Driven by image processing, virtual reality, AI, 3D layouts and data analytics, the ZunRoof app offers homeowners a free platform to upload images of their rooftop, to design an optimal solar rooftop system. Once the images have been uploaded, the app helps in recommending optimal system size, positioning and inclination of solar panels, based on your electricity requirements," explains Chaudhary.

Chaudhary claims ZunRoof helps its customers save up to 100% on their electricity bills and also make monthly income by selling excess electricity produced back to the main grid.

A unique feature of the ZunRoof app is the remote monitoring system. This is an IoT device installed near the distribution box of the household, which enables the customers to measure the net energy production from the solar panels. This means customers can monitor production patterns of their rooftop panels and other sustainability-related parameters. Further, the analysis reports also help the customers to keep a track on the maintenance visit for ensuring consistent performance.

Currently, the startup is present in more than 50 cities in 10 states. It aims to expand its presence to 12 states over the next 12 months.

ZunRoof also plans to launch an IoT-based range of smart energy devices, which will enable consumers to remotely monitor and control the functionality of almost all their household appliances. Till date, the company has assessed more than 150,000 homes and designed more than 10,000 homes.

MyGate: Smarter security for safe community living

Founded in 2016, by Vijay Arisetty, Abhishek Kumar and Shreyans Daga, MyGate provides an automated solution to help about 500,000 homes in over 2,500 gated communities to manage their deliveries, daily staff, visitors and society payments. Recently, it launched a feature to enable a secure delivery experience. This enables users to approve the entry of delivery executives without any interaction with the main gate and strengthens the security protocol at MyGate communities. For this first-of-its-kind feature, MyGate Express, it has partnered with brands such as Swiggy, Zomato, Dunzo and Grofers.

(From L), Abhishek Kumar (COO), Vijay Arisetty (CEO), Shreyans Daga (CTO) founders of MyGate
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(From L), Abhishek Kumar (COO), Vijay Arisetty (CEO), Shreyans Daga (CTO) founders of MyGate

How they are using technology to solve problems

MyGate is a 24x7 system designed to let the right people in through a colony’s gates. It uses technology to save time and effort for multiple stakeholders on a daily basis, such as residents in a gated community, security personnel and any kind of visitor, from guests to delivery boys.

“Three years in, we are processing over 50,000 requests per minute and facilitate over 1 million check-ins every day. Engineering and technology are at the core of everything we have built. Our product tech stack spans multiple technologies deployed via APIs (application programming interface) that are highly decoupled, cloud-native micro-services with robust cache and queuing interconnects," says Daga, chief technology officer.

The team has also developed an AI-powered “address matching" engine that can resolve unstructured addresses. So despite getting a complex address such as “L 144 6 Main, Sohan Paradise, F 305, Opp Ambika Apartments", the system can identify the correct address.

One of the company’s primary goals is to empower the security guards at the gate. Currently about 50,000 security guards in India use the MyGate app.

“We are building a true event-based system using leading-edge batch and real-time pipelines which enable rapid scaling. This events layer will be topped by data processing frameworks to feed our AI/ML (artificial intelligence/machine learning) stack for natural language processing and computer vision, which will be used to enable fast and secure self-check-ins everywhere," adds Daga.

Happay: Hi -tech enterprise expense management system

Happay is a fast-growing fintech startup founded by Anshul Rai, who is its CEO, and Varun Rathi, its chief operating officer. “Our cloud-based platform leverages modern technologies such as AI, machine learning and mobility to help businesses automate their expense claims and reimbursement processes, boost time and cost savings, achieve policy compliance and control and get rich insights into business spending," says Rai. The enterprise edition manages expenses and reimbursements from the cloud. “Our centralized controls help enterprise CXOs have a single point of visibility into organisation-wide expenditure from any device at any time," he says.

Anshul Rai, CEO and Co-Founder, Happay
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Anshul Rai, CEO and Co-Founder, Happay

How they are using technology to solve problems

Partnerships played a key role in the company’s growth journey, says Rai. “We partnered with Uber to help Happay users auto-expense the rides they take on Uber."

The startup has also partnered with HDFC Bank to launch a prepaid card-linked travel and expense management solution for companies. This helps them track business travel expenditure, pre-authorize employee trip itineraries, approve travel expense claims, implement travel policies and view travel spend analytics in a single place from the cloud.

Currently, Happay has 5,000-plus customers, and the company plans to double this number by the end of this year with new solutions, new technologies and more strategic partnerships.

“Our aim is to hit $1 billion mark in transaction volumes by the end of June 2019," says Rai.

Shoes on Loose: Amalgamating experiential travel with WhatsApp automation

Shoes on Loose is an experiential travel startup delivering end-to-end solutions. “Our uniqueness of providing the right experience with technology makes one’s destination travel hassle free and highly satisfying," says Mohit Poddar, chief executive officer and co-founder.

Mohit Poddar, CEO & Co-Founder, Shoes on Loose
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Mohit Poddar, CEO & Co-Founder, Shoes on Loose

How they are using technology to solve problems

To make travel hassle-free, the startup has an “Integrated WhatsApp". This is a panel where the contact details of customers are accessed directly after they have made the query. This becomes convenient for the customer as well as for the salesperson as they can directly interact with each other.

The startup has also introduced the client dashboard which will give clients a personalized experience by mining the history of the customer and then providing information with respect to their preferences in terms of location and other needs.

“We are also working on our client app after which we will be able to connect with the vendors and the operation teams at any time. Also, we have integrated our lead management, sales management, supply management system through our own proprietary software," adds Poddar.

Shoes on Loose is widely known for providing tour packages to international destinations like Bali, Maldives and Singapore, and domestic destinations like Ladakh, Kerala, Rajasthan.

Since the last three years, the company is witnessing 100% year-on-year growth. With technological developments such as a new post-sale app, WhatsApp automation, advanced referral programmes and analytics, it is targeting a 200% growth in revenue this fiscal year.

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Published: 11 Jul 2019, 08:40 PM IST
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