Success Stories from Lab32
Entrepreneurs are born when they identify ground-breaking solutions to pioneer new products and services. Given the pace at which Indian startups are disrupting the innovation space, it is unsurprising that Lab32, T-Hub’s flagship program, is teeming with startups that are tackling new-age technologies head-on.
StaTwig: Pivoting to disrupt
Take the case of StaTwig, a blockchain startup that uses IoT to record the journey of products from manufacturer to the end user. Earlier, the Hyderabad-based startup was focused on using blockchain technology to build transparency in the food industry by helping customers understand the ‘farm-to-table’ concept. Towards this end, StaTwig tracked the movement of fish and other food products to unearth their source of origin. In some instances, like tomatoes, it determined whether they were organic as the labels claimed.
Then the pivot happened early in 2019 when StaTwig was presented with the opportunity to partner with UNICEF in the vaccine space. The co-founders were swift to acknowledge the long-term benefits of tying up with the world’s largest procurer and distributor of vaccines. “We pivoted because food is too fragmented an industry and does not have a standardised supply chain to track products,” says Sid Chakravarthy, 31, co-founder of StaTwig. “Also, one of the biggest problems in food is that products like tomatoes, get mixed up and don’t carry serial numbers for unique identification and tracking.”
Sid and his co-founder sensed an opportunity in switching to vaccines as each vaccine has a serial number that can easily track the manufacturer—the product’s source of origin. The duo realised there existed a dire need to introduce a level of transparency in the vaccine ecosystem. They hoped to address this problem by deploying blockchain technology. “Things may go wrong somewhere in the journey—the product could get damaged, spoilt, stolen or replaced by fake products,” explains Sid. “StaTwig uses blockchain to build end-to-end visibility. If anything goes wrong in the supply chain, the data gets uploaded to the blockchain. It enables the key stakeholders to review the situation and take corrective action as required.”
TV2Z: Disrupting the media landscape
For someone who believes in the dictum that startups must stay away from their comfort zone and try something new, Phani Kanth Vooka, 32, did exactly that. He walked the talk when he co-founded TV2Z with his business partner who is based in the Netherlands.
The co-founders’ vision is to build a platform like Shopify, where every company can start its own customised OTT (Over-the-Top) VOD (Video-on-Demand) platform—instantly. TV2Z offers every business the tools to launch and grow its own multi-screen OTT VOD solution across multiple platforms like web, mobile and set-top boxes.
The startup partners with broadcasters, content creators and enterprises to make it easy for them to build a simple and clean VOD streaming service to reach a wider audience. The absence of a steep learning curve or any coding knowledge and development skills makes TV2Z’s OTT platform an attractive proposition to the company’s partners. “Unlike our competitors, our differentiating factor is that we provide end-to-end solutions on a revenue-sharing model,” says Phani Kanth. Interestingly, though TV2Z is disrupting a cut-throat industry, the co-founders have been slower to adopt a structured digital marketing strategy. According to Phani Kanth, since the startup operates in a B2B space, the initial approach that worked for the founders was to directly seek out prospective clients and convert the leads into sales. “We spent very little time on digital marketing as the company didn’t see any direct value in investing in a planned digital marketing strategy. It scaled the business primarily through word-of-mouth referrals and networking. Eventually, the company plans to venture into social media. He adds that the company will focus more on a digital marketing plan once it becomes the ‘Shopify’ for the web.
Tericsoft: Creating a social impact
Tericsoft Technology Solutions, founded in 2018, is another Lab32 startup. It has leveraged disruptive technologies to provide innovative solutions in waste management, aviation, healthcare and real estate, among others. The startup uses AI (Artificial Intelligence) and computer vision to solve a variety of real-world problems. Further, it has built a software-hardware platform to enable any company to build AI-led solutions. “In layman terms, our methodologies mimic the way the eyes and brain work,” says Abdul Rahman Janoo, 27, the startup’s co-founder.
Furthermore, following in the footsteps of startups that work with a conscience, Tericsoft, too, aims to leave a positive impact on society. The company has partnered with Hyderabad-based Waste Ventures to detect child labour violations and resolve issues related to waste segregation and labour safety. The company has installed camera solutions that are fitted on trucks and an alert is sent to the management if a child is discovered picking up waste. From the same video feed, the startup ensures that the labour is suitably protected from waste hazards, and the workers are wearing gloves, helmets and shoes.
Another area that gives Abdul satisfaction as an entrepreneur is in creating jobs. He aspires to stabilise the company and generate 50-100 jobs in the next couple of years. “We have to think in this direction if we want our business to create a global impact and set high international standards,” he says. “I get satisfaction when I see my team—helping them support their families is a motivation that drives me to keep doing better work. It is what motivates me to run in the race.”
Augmented Byte: Transforming learning through technology
Radha Krishna, 23, founder, Augmented Byte, believes that the simplest ideas can solve real-time problems using cutting-edge technologies. Founded in 2017, the Hyderabad-based startup leverages AR (Augmented Reality) to find multiple usages to improve the common man’s life. Radha Krishna and his team have been busy building an AI-powered bot on their app. It serves as a navigation tool to help users to navigate indoors in places such as hospitals and malls.
Currently focused on the health sector, the bot aims to guide users to navigate their way inside hospitals. According to Radha Krishna, during the pilot phase, a staff member of a hospital likened the app to ‘Google Maps.’ It, perhaps, best describes the startup’s larger objective of using AR to come up with imaginative solutions to day-to-day problems. “We are trying to make everyone know how AR works with the help of games,” says Radha Krishna. He adds that the company’s first AR game will soon be launched on Google Playstore.
Next, in the company’s pipeline are applications for the tourism industry and malls using AI and speech synthesis to provide a “never-before-seen experience” in these two sectors.
Though buoyed by the optimistic outlook for the AR market in India, Radha Krishna believes there is scope for improving the country’s startup ecosystem.
“Tech and DeepTech startups don’t necessarily get the right valuation for their companies in the Indian startup ecosystem,” he says. “In other ecosystems, people invest in convertible notes and calculate the equity based on the valuation of the product once it is available in the market. It is less of a hassle for both the founder and the investor. We wish to see this soon in the Indian startup ecosystem.”
Regardless of their individual journeys, these Lab32 entrepreneurs are passionate about what they are doing and are ready to navigate through the challenges to get where they want to be. More importantly, their zeal and talent are what brings them together to Lab32.
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