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HOW CAN I REDUCE THE COST & TIME OF WHAT I’M DOING? HOW CAN I DO A BETTER QUALITY JOB TODAY THAN I DID YESTERDAY? THESE ARE THE QUESTIONS THAT WILL BRING IN INNOVATION. NR NARAYANA MURTHY


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CONSTANT REINVENTION IS A FUNDAMENTAL REQUIREMENT IN ANY ENTREPRENEURIAL ENDEAVOUR. KIRAN MAZUMDAR SHAW

KARNATAKA STATE’S LEGISLATIVE BUILDING, THE VIDHANA SOUDHA


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CONNECTING INNOVATORS Innovationsoftheworld.com is a dynamic platform that connects the ecosystems of the world’s most innovative cities and their chief players. In a Media Tech innovation of our own, we bring stories of innovation also in print, in a first-of-itskind Augmented Reality embedded city-specific ‘Innovate’ book series. In our journey to connect innovators and innovation enablers across the world, Bengaluru is an important pin on the map. With its vibrant mix of enablers like funds, mentors, co-working spaces, specialised talent pool, incubators and world-class institutions, the city beckons budding entrepreneurs and has proven to be the perfect destination for innovation. In this full-fledged edition of Innovate Bengaluru, with 100+ stories, we feature inventors and innovators whose drive and commitment is going to make not only this city, but the world a better place. The book is sector agnostic, covering innovations enabled by AI/ML/Deep Science in areas such as Agri & Food Tech, BioTech, CleanTech,

Communication, EduTech, FinTech, Healthtech, Manufacturing, Retail, Space, Social Impact, Smart Solutions, and more. In a significant value addition, it includes insights shared by innovation enablers, investors, industry experts and policy makers who constitute the robust framework in this city. Over the past decade, Raintree Media has been working with our partner Global Village World on the BEST OF series of business atlases, to showcase the premier Indian businesses to the world. The Innovate series and Innovations Of The World are an exciting extension of our publishing partnership. You can follow our quest for stories of innovation, innovators and innovation enablers from India on www.innovationsoftheworld.com/india/

Sandhya Mendonca Founder, MD & Chief Editor Raintree Media & Innovate India

The Innovate publishing series is a very special in-depth study and showcase of all the people, companies, products, and services within Bengaluru’s innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem. Embedded in its pages you will find augmented reality videos using the GLOBAL VILLAGE app. Online, the full e-book will be viewed in the millions through the GlobalVillage.world online library. This publication is not just aimed at experts, it is also aimed at business people outside of the technology sector, business leaders and decision-makers who can effect change in their industries. This publication is for people who want to learn about the ecosystem and play an active role in its growth and development.

Sven Boermeester International Group Publisher Global Village World

DO YOU BELONG IN INDIA’S INNOVATION MAP? YOU COULD ALSO NOMINATE A DESERVING COMPANY ACROSS INNOVATION CATEGORIES REACH OUT TO US AT MAIL@RAINTREEMEDIA.COM

 Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy launched a special edition of Innovate Bengaluru AR embedded book at the inaugural session of the state government’s flagship event Bengaluru Tech Summit 2018.


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THE TEAM Carel Van Green Global Village CEO

Aditya Mendonca Interviews & Outreach

Sandhya Mendonca Founder, MD & Chief Editor Raintree Media & Innovate India

Sven Boermeester International Group Publisher Global Village World

Subhalakshmi Roy Interviews & Outreach

See the Pages of Innovate Bengaluru come alive through embedded Augmented Reality Videos - Like Harry Potter’s Newspaper! The Global Village Augmented Reality App combines the credibility of print media with the ability to add additional digital content, like video to the stories. To experience the future of print, open your phone camera app ( also works with Pinterest, Shazam, Snapchat or any other QR code reader) and scan the QR code on this page. A notification will ask if you want to open the link. Select yes and install the AR App.

Open the Global Village AR App and point your camera at any image that has a play button. Press Play and be amazed.

Susan Heiman Design

Make sure you hold the phone about 30cm away from the image and that the whole image is visible in the viewfinder. PS: QR Codes work natively on most newer phone cameras - if it doesn’t work on yours you would need a QR Code reader app or just search the Appstore for “Global Village AR” to install the app.

Gershwin Fritz Web development partner


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CONTENTS 06

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All about Bengaluru’s Innovation Ecosystem

Accelerators, Incubators, Investors & Mentors

Innovations of Bengaluru

• Introduction • Thought Leaders

• Aerospace, Avionics & Electronics • Agritech

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Innovations of Bengaluru

Innovations of Bengaluru

Innovations of Bengaluru

• Architecture & Smart Design • Connected Communities & Spaces

• Creative Retail • Creative Communication: AR, VR & Media

• IT Solutions • Smart Solutions, Logistics & Mobility


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Innovations of Bengaluru

Innovations of Bengaluru

Innovations of Bengaluru

• Health Tech: Superdrugs & Next Gen Diagnostics

• Healthcare • Smart Production: Biomanufacturing & Clean Tech • FinTech & Security

• EduTech • FoodTech

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International Group Publisher Sven Boermeester Innovate India Publisher & Chief Editor Sandhya Mendonca Interviews & Outreach Subhalakshmi Roy Aditya Mendonca Editorial Consultants Saswati Chakravarty, Capt. Seshadri Sreenivasan, Nandini Nag, Sufia Tippu and Vinaya Hegde Photography Joe Louis Danto Photo editor Jagdish Babu Design Susan Heiman, iMedi8 Creative Web Gabby Correia, Gershwin Fritz and Red Wall Marketing Innovate Bengaluru vol 1 is published by Global Village World & Raintree Media Pvt Ltd CIN No.U51396KA2004PTC033191 ©2019: Raintree Media Pvt Ltd ISBN 978-81-930248-5-0

Innovations of Bengaluru • Social Impact • Partners in Progress

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this publication. Neither Raintree Media nor Global Village World or Innovate India assume responsibility for inadvertent errors or omissions.All brands, products and trademarks are the property of their respective owners. All opinions in this book belong to the persons cited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication shall be reproduced, copied or stored in whole or part in any form in any retrieval system. Contact: mail@raintreemedia.com www.raintreemedia.com | www.innovationsoftheworld.com www.linkedin.com/company/raintree-media www.facebook.com/raintreemedia www.facebook.com/innovationsoftheworld/ www.twitter.com/raintree_media https://twitter.com/InnovationsThe www.instagram.com/raintreemedia www.instagram.com/the_innovation_whisperer/


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ALL ABOUT BENGALURU’S INNOVATION ECOSYSTEM

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THIS IS THE WAY BENGALURU DANCES! STEM DANCE KAMPNI’S DANCERS COMBINE CONTEMPORARY AND CLASSICAL KATHAK DANCE FORMS WITH YOGA ON UNICYCLES. CHOREOGRAPHY - MADHU NATARAJ , DANCERS - ADRIKA SUBHASH, YONITA JAIN, RESHMA NAIR, ROOPA K, RHUTHALI KARLEKAR & DEEKSHA, PHOTO - RAMYA NAGARAJ 7


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INNOVATION IS IN BENGALURU’S DNA Bengaluru (earlier known as Bangalore) is one of India’s most vibrant cities, throbbing with innovative ideas. The capital of the south Indian state of Karnataka is also the technology capital of India, with private enterprise boosted by a slew of government incentives. Bengaluru is the fourth largest technology cluster in the world after Silicon Valley, Boston and London. Colliers Research picked Bengaluru as the first of the top three cities in Asia for tech enterprises, ahead of Singapore and Shenzhen, based on socio-economic, property and human factors.

world to work and live in for young innovators. Bengaluru leads the country in technology jobs, with 22% of job postings in this sector originating from here, according to job portal Indeed. Eighty percent of global IT companies have based their India operations and R&D centers here, and it has the highest number of R&D centers in India.

This megacity has a diverse population of over 10 million, and while it is the third wealthiest Indian city with a total wealth of $320 billion, it is powered not just by the 7,500 millionaires (and counting) and 10 billionaires (in the areas of software, ecommerce, education, real estate and garments), but by its large, educated middle class workforce.

Eric Savage, Co-founder & CEO,Unitus Capital says, “There is a lot more innovation happening here than anywhere else in the world. Both in New York and Hong Kong where I worked before moving here, most of the people I knew were bankers or lawyers. In Bengaluru, every person I know is an entrepreneur. It’s in the DNA of the city, which makes it quite an exciting place to be in”.

Says Mohandas Pai, Founder and Chairman of Aarin Capital, “Bengaluru’s 3.5 million workforce (comprising 35% of its population), is mostly highly educated, highly skilled and works in the public and private sectors, financial services and consulting, and a large number,1.6 million, work in Technology and KPO. The 25,000 IT companies and 7,500 startups here have attracted about $40-45 billion venture capital over the last 10 years, and tot up exports of $45 billion.”

Revathy Ashok, Co-founder, Strategy Garage and member of the Indian Angel Network, says, “The ecosystem in Bengaluru is really vibrant. It has built up over time and you can palpably feel the excitement of entrepreneurship. Startups choose to be here because of the benefits of peer learning and the support services available.”

SmallBusinessPrices.co.uk ranks Bengaluru as the second best city in the

“The startup ecosystem in Bengaluru is the most mature in the country, with

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 The presence of reputed academic institutions in technology and higher learning powers the city’s growth.

a large pool of trained manpower who are potential entrepreneurs, academic institutions of higher learning in both technology and management, angel and institutional investors, large technology companies that are partners and customers, and incubators and accelerators,” says CS Murali, Chairman of the Entrepreneurship Cell of the Society for Innovation & Development.

 Bengaluru provides world class infrastructure for businesses and is the base for 80 percent of global tech companies in India.

Thriving consumer demand has made Bengaluru India’s richest city in per capita terms, with GDP of around $20 billion, and the state of Karnataka’s GDP is about $190 billion. It has been absorbing the highest quantum of Grade-A office space in India, about 12-13 million square feet a year, for the last 12 years. It also has the second largest residential market in India. Innovation has been fuelled by tech companies and the roughly 450,000 MNCs who work on products and in deep engineering. Entrepreneurship has been fuelled by people who left the big companies to start their own. “Bengaluru is a fertile place where people can imbibe and use technology”, says Pai. Taking into cognisance these happy convergences, the Karnataka government was the first in India to set up a dedicated Startup Cell with a mandate to promote Bengaluru and Karnataka as the ultimate startup destination in the world.

 The startup ecosystem in Bengaluru is the most mature in the country. Photo: Dept of IT, BT and S&T, Government of Karnataka

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Regular and continuous interaction becomes vital to stay engaged and to voice our opinion on various elements that directly or indirectly impact the business environment. Vikram Kirloskar, the Vice-Chairman of Toyota Kirloskar Motor and Chairman and Managing Director, Kirloskar Systems, is a catalyst in the development of a stronger automotive base in India.

INDUSTRIAL IoT POWERS INNOVATIVE MANUFACTURING With a new generation of tech startups on the rise in Bengaluru, innovation in manufacturing is powered by Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT), says Vikram Kirloskar, Vice-Chairman, Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) and a key spokesperson for the industry. TKM is a joint venture set up in 1997 between Toyota Motor Corporation, Japan and Kirloskar Systems, that makes a wide range of popular cars.

future of mobility in the nation. With the changing dynamics of the auto industry, such an exchange of ideas and communication becomes crucial towards expanding bilateral trade and technical cooperation across the globe. The supply chain base is growing stronger with many unit startups creating increasing job opportunities and contributing to achieve cost effectiveness in support of sustainable manufacturing operations. Entrepreneurs have been able to effectively leverage Bengaluru’s startup ecosystem to their advantage and also gain from the pool of engineering talent. More innovations are streaming to foster the manufacturing sector such as Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT) to better manage shop floor performance and data management.

The drive towards manufacturing startups is highly critical towards achieving the vision of ‘Make in India’, says Kirloskar in an interview with Sandhya Mendonca. “With the automotive industry being a key contributor to the socio-economic development of the country, it is important to have an integrated environment, to work closely with concerned stakeholders and to actively participate in the formulation of rules, regulations and policies related to the industry.

Innovations locally are enabled by factors such as higher literacy rates, exposure to technology across borders, booming information technology (large scale knowledge base), strong government support which enhances the entrepreneurial spirit leading to sustainable and scalable startups.

Providing access to government bodies about real trends and developments in the automotive industry leads to effective national reforms and enables companies to pursue technological issues like Telematics, Alternative Mobility, harmonisation of safety and emission standards, which decide the

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tremendous innovations have been taking shape in the manufacturing portfolio. There are multifold startups which are accelerating manufacturing in the areas of solar and bio energy, environment-friendly packaging units, cost effective logistics solutions, robust monitoring software – leveraging IoT & other tech solutions, enhanced infra connectivity with first and last mile solutions, and similar developments that address various challenges with the evolving changes of the consumers and market.

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 Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT) enables better management of floor performance and data.

entrepreneurs in Tier II cities is essential. Mentoring aspiring entrepreneurs in these regions to create sustainable, scalable, and replicable business models becomes more relevant. These cities have more resilient entrepreneurs solving new problems to build more impactful enterprises. Accelerator training programs would aid to enhance exposure and build entrepreneurs in smaller towns and semi-urban India, targeting self-driven entrepreneurs and focus on value-creation for budding entrepreneurs. The incubators can also mentor established entrepreneurs to think big and expand their business horizon.

TKM’s plant facility in Bidadi has embedded innovations through practices as shop floor kaizen (continuous improvements), specialised training to workforce on safety dojo (training centre), schemes that engage the workforce to come up with innovative and new ideas to adopt in manufacturing processes and workplace - such suggestions lead to better yield in terms of optimum output and to achieve cost effectiveness, energy conservation methodologies, manufacturing design development with local engineering and many more benefits.

The economic success story of the region has been scripted by good infrastructure connectivity and industrial clusters and estates being set up. A strong network of industries would be conducive for setting up a business park for startups and a single window clearance mechanism will boost efficiency, timeliness and cost-effectiveness.”

A lot more work needs to be done to extend the growing entrepreneurship movement in India, and focusing incubation support to first-time

www.toyotabharat.com

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INNOVATION EVANGELIST “In the paradigm shift that AI/ML has brought in its wake, every aspect of our life will change in the next 20 - 30 years. For India to lead, we need to create new models and new businesses.” Kris Gopalakrishnan, Co-founder - Infosys & Chairman, Axilor Ventures He’s devoting all his efforts and a considerable sum of money into putting India in the lead of changes driven by technology by focusing on the entire value chain - tertiary education, research, innovation and entrepreneurship. He wears multiple hats – he’s the industry’s innovation evangelist, an investor, a mentor and one of the biggest individual philanthropic funders of scientific research in the country – his family’s Pratiksha Trust has given over Rs. 300 crore to various research activities. He’s also helped tribals grow and sell award winning coffee and conceptualized an app that tells the story of Indian IT. Kris Gopalakrishnan tells Sandhya Mendonca why he’s doing what he’s doing. “Research and innovation are very important for the growth of a company, an industry and a nation. India spends just 0.6 to 0.7 % of GDP on research. If we want to develop as an economy, leveraging knowledge and IP, we must do basic research and application research here in India. POSITIVE CONTRIBUTION I firmly believe that world-class research can be done in India and I am hoping that we will be able to demonstrate that. A larger number of people working on a problem will result in a quicker solution and India participating in research lowers the cost, because we are a lower cost economy.

 The Itihasa App chronicles the spectacular rise of Indian IT, with first person accounts by the people who made it happen.

I support research on two aspects of the brain: new models of computing that are inspired by the brain, and the ageing of the brain with age-related disorders like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, dementia. I wanted to address an issue that is global, that is very large, and leverages on our understanding of the brain. India has about 4 million people who have Alzheimer’s and it’s estimated there will be 10 million in the next 20 years. This poses a huge social cost, not just to the nation and to the health care system, but also to the family. We are using two different models for research. In the area of brain and computing, we are seeding the groups in India with leaders in research outside

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 Kris Gopalakrishnan influences the ecosystem through the work with industry body CII and has been running the CII Innovation Summit for 15 years. India. We have six Chairs, three at IISc, three at IIT-Madras, and about 45-50 people are working in this area in these institutions. On the clinical side, we are going the traditional route by setting up a Centre for Brain Research. POWERING STARTUPS A nation needs to spend money on research and must also encourage entrepreneurship, to take these research ideas to market through business formation. I work with the ecosystem to create incubators, accelerators, and work with the industry body CII and the government to look at the right set of regulations. I fund startups through the 9 funds in which I am an investor and through Axilor, we fund 65 companies and I mentor a few startups. In 2018, for the first time, the amount raised by startups through private funding exceeded the amount raised by business though IPO. This shows the potential for startups and that India is switching to an innovation-led economy. We have to do the right things; just like the US did - by creating an economy driven by innovation and entrepreneurship, it became the largest economic power in the world. India has the potential to be that and the beauty of this is that you don’t need to do much. Working in the IT industry, I have learnt that you need to have a light set of regulations, not heavy. In about 30 years, we have created a world class industry in India employing 4 million people with a revenue of $170 billion. If you look at the top ten IT services companies in the world, you will find 4 or 5 from India. We have created tremendous amount of wealth (and I am a beneficiary of that). The IT industry is by and large well governed and has provided good leadership. We can do it, again and again. We need to take entrepreneurship to Tier 3 & 4 cities and to rural areas. There are huge opportunities for entrepreneurship in farming; the Naandi Foundation which has helped 10,000

Funding startups is an effective chanel to guide innovative startups.

tribals in Araku valley grow organic coffee uses the farmer producer organization (FPO) model of Amul. This can be replicated.

new model will be to manage health in such a way way that you don’t fall sick, and going to a hospital will be an exception.

We are at a very interesting stage in the area of innovation at this point, and every industry will change. I can’t think of a sector which is not going to be disrupted. We need to probably redesign our cities to reduce pollution; people will live and work in the same place, so transportation itself will change. Health care as we know it will change. The

The technology of AI & ML is as fundamental as the digital computer was 50 years back and will disrupt everything. Hopefully, we get to help some Indian companies benefit from this. You need to believe that you can do it –and you will succeed. Be it in research, in agriculture, or in the IT services industry.”

www.axilor.com

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INVESTING IN INDIA-CENTRIC OPPORTUNITIES

What guides us in investment is how we see it making an impact on business; that is, disrupting the traditional business models, coming out with new models, and making a lot of money. Mohandas Pai, Founder and Chairman, Aarin Capital

There is no question that Mohandas Pai holds strong opinions on an impressive variety of subjects. He walks the talk too, playing key roles in financial governance, democratic processes, civic issues, education, philanthropy and important in the context of this article, as an angel investor and a mentor.

It’s not the numbers that make Aarin Capital stand out as a venture fund. While it invests in technology-intensive businesses in life-sciences, healthcare, education and others, it is clearly focused on potentially large India-centric or India-first market opportunities.

Becoming an innovation enabler, investor, and a mentor was a very natural thing to do, says Pai in this interview with Sandhya Mendonca. After leaving Infosys, the blue chip IT company where he was the CFO and a Board member, handling two technology businesses - the BPO and the banking business, he wanted to do something very different. That’s when he started Aarin Capital with entrepreneur Dr. Ranjan Pai (the two are not related).

To this end, Pai is working on building innovation networks between cities across the world. “We work to get companies to remain in India and not get domiciled outside. We are working with some governments outside to create various devices to create co-operation and to make sure that there is a connection between Bengaluru and London, Paris, Berlin, Dubai, Singapore, Shanghai and Tokyo because now this innovation network has to spread to cities.”

They set up 10 funds, which have grown to 266 stock investments in startups. They have a total investment of US $ 450 million, with 35 fund managers who all work independently. The Pais are GPs (General Partners) and LPs (Limited Partners) in all these funds. Apart from this, Mohandas Pai’s family has investments in 32 funds. While he meets 2500 companies each year, he also works on the startup policies with the Governments of Karnataka, Rajasthan, Goa and the Government of India.

The applications of IT at every step, like edu-tech, med-tech, and life sciences have taken off because IT has become horizontal, says Pai. He predicts that robotics and electric vehicles will become more visible.

www.aarincapital.com

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INTERDISCIPLINARY CUSPS LEAD TO INNOVATION “True tech innovation in India is happening in life sciences, nano science, chemistry, mechanical engineering and the like.” Prof. Vijay Chandru Bengaluru has emerged as an important life sciences hub in recent years, with 60 percent of life sciences companies in India being based here. The momentum to this growth derives from interdisciplinary work by computer scientists and biologists. To find out more, we spoke to one of the earliest academics in India to move from an impressive career in academics to highly successful deep science entrepreneurship. Prof Vijay Chandru is an engineer-scientist, an academic-entrepreneur. And he’s built a unique computer and worked on genomics. Chandru is a strong advocate of interdisciplinarity and is against silos. “If you look at creativity and innovation from a technology or science point of view, it is at these interfaces and the interdisciplinary cusps that you can actually see some very creative things happen.” With a PhD in the mathematics of decision sciences / operations research from MIT, Chandru taught and conducted research in the computational mathematics of optimization, geometry, logic and biology at Purdue University before moving back to India to join the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) where he began his entrepreneurial journey. “I wanted to engage more with society and use technology to make an impact”, Chandru says in an interview with Sandhya Mendonca. “The vision that drove me to entrepreneurship was to create successful, world class, technology innovation companies out of India”. co-founded PicoPeta Simputers which commercialised the Simputer to create the Amida Simputer, a people’s computer based on the principle of “radical simplicity for universal access”.

This journey began when he and three colleagues (Swami Manohar, Vinay Vishwanathan and Ramesh Hariharan) in the computer science department at IISc began to work at the interface of computation and biology in the late 90s. Strand Genomics Pvt Ltd was launched as India’s first example of sanctioned academic entrepreneurship in late 2000. This was the genesis of faculty entrepreneurship for the Society for Innovation and Development (SID), the commercialisation arm of the IISc. Chandru led the company as Executive Chairman (CMD) from inception. Now known as Strand Life Sciences, it is a global personalized medicine company using clinical genomics for oncology and inherited disorders.

As one of the inventors of the Simputer, Chandru was a co-recipient of the very first Dewang Mehta Award, India’s highest award for innovation in information technology. While considered a marvel of indigenous technology, the Simputer didn’t become a runaway commercial success. Later renamed as Geo Amida, it’s one of the primary devices in the national e-governance projects including as a micro ATM for the unique ID project, Aadhaar. Chandru, who is a mentor and investor in several startups, predicts that healthcare will grow, as will Health IT and Cool Tech with voice driven interfaces.

Almost in parallel, he joined hands with the same kindred spirits to create the Simputer (Simple Inexpensive Multilingual People’s Computer). He also

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ACCELERATORS, INCUBATORS, INVESTORS, MENTORS

A COP WHO IS ALSO A PROFESSIONAL ARTIST/PHOTOGRAPHER, SHIVA IS “FASCINATED WITH THE IDEA OF MASQUERADE AND THE ROLES PEOPLE PLAY IN PUBLIC AND PRIVATE.” 17


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K-TECH CRADLE FOR CO-CREATION & CO-INNOVATION Bengaluru has 7,504 startups with an average valuation of $3.4 million and attracts more than 6,000 investors.

Humanoid robots that help school kids learn better. Nano tech that helps treat waste water. An app that makes highway travel fun and safe. Wearables that help improve the health of chronic patients. Paddy analysers, chat applications, augmented reality, portable water filters, a hybrid skateboard and motorcycle, a logo for the city, an artificial cornea, stem cell culture combined with 3D bioprinted skin cells, a smart cradle, a device to monitor sewage water, and last mile connectivity to solve traffic problem through e-mobility.

proactive in the country, the Karnataka Department of Information Technology, Biotechnology, and Science and Technology (IT, BT and S&T), offers a host of incentives that amplify Bengaluru’s position as a tech innovator, and encourages entrepreneurs across the state. The programmes are growing steadily in scale and number, and the government creates and funds several programmes to develop skills and talent to foster innovation in the state. It works with multiple stakeholders in enabling innovation hubs and centres of excellence in industries identified as growth areas such as Electronics, AgriTech, AI/Machine Learning, Biotech, Aerospace & Defence, AVGC and Cyber Security. It envisages K-tech Innovation Hubs to be the “cradle for co-creation and co-innovation for human good.”

The common factor amongst these is that they are innovations spurred by an ecosystem of co-creation and co-innovation provided by 58 institutional partners in Karnataka’s K-tech innovation ecosystem. Internally, linkages are nurtured with incubation centres, technology business incubators and technology-specific centres of excellence. Externally, the ecosystem is linked to all major global innovation hubs through global innovation alliances.

In 2015, the state introduced the Karnataka Startup Policy (2015-2020) to bolster the robust startup ecosystem of Bengaluru through strategic investment and policy interventions, and to similarly develop other cities in the State. The policy envisages support to 20,000 technology startups, 6,000 product startups, and 25 innovative technology solutions. ELEVATE- a seed funding program called Idea2poc, again the first of its kind in India, assists early stage startups and turns their ideas into proof of concept. The Karnataka Innovation Policy (i4 Policy) fosters innovation across IT, ITeS and other knowledge based sectors. It provides a concessional tariff for power, stamp duty exemption and other reimbursements, especially for companies in Tier-II cities.

Bengaluru is already at the heart of innovative and emerging technologies that have made it India’s IT and Biotech capital. Industries here are working on developing and using the latest technologies such as nano-tech, robotics, and high-end electronics which will enable Karnataka to take the lead in electronics. The state government envisions Karnataka as an innovation and technology capital of the world, and has taken up the role of an active catalyst in building a robust ecosystem of academia, experts and entrepreneurs, working to retain its lead as India’s startup capital. The first state in India to roll out a multisector Startup Policy and an Innovation Policy, Karnataka has also formulated several sector-specific policies to promote startups. Acknowledged as the most

The government’s intent is for tech and tech innovation to spread beyond Bengaluru, and it has set up several centres and incubators in various cities

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BENGALURU TECH SUMMIT A celebration of success of all contributors to Bengaluru’s ecosystem, the Bengaluru Tech Summit brings together technocrats, thought leaders, innovators, investors and policy makers across sectors, enabling disruptive interdisciplinary dialogue and collaborations. The theme for the 21st edition that was held in November 2018 was ‘Innovation & Impact’ and it focused primarily on Blockchain, AI, ML & Robotics, Intelligent Apps and Analytics, Immersive Experience (AR/VR), IoT, Telecom, Cyber Security, BioPharma, BioAgri, BioEnergy & BioFuels, BioServices, BioInformatics, Investment & Finance, among other sectors.

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ELEVATE Started in 2017, ELEVATE has served as a instrument to realise the dreams of numerous startups by giving grants of up to Rs 50 lakh that help them in testing their ideas and developing products. ELEVATE also provides access to mentors, networking opportunities and incubation facilities to startups across the state. It focuses on sectors such as AVGC, Tourism, Agriculture, Kannada and Culture. This year, the department is giving funds of about Rs 60 crore to 77 startups out of the 246 that pitched at ELEVATE 2018. The selected startups work in varied sectors including IT-ITeS, Agritech, ESDM, Medical Devices, Biotech and Cleantech. In the past year, funds of Rs 43 crore were given to 177 startups. Validating the government’s efforts is the fact that most of these startups have not only marked success, but have also secured external investments of about Rs 32 crore.

across the state, with mandates that include skill development, mentoring, R&D and commercialisation of technologies with marketready products.

prototyping facilities and business setup support; another K-tech Innovation Hub also in association with IKP is in Jalahalli, Bengaluru, Mangaluru and Mysuru.

K-TECH INNOVATION HUBS A very interesting project that’s underway is the establishment of K-tech Innovation Hubs. The department has plans to establish these in several cities to encourage innovation, stimulate entrepreneurship, provide reskilling, create technology based startups, provide employment and fuel economic growth.

In an effort to create the next electronics hotspot beyond Bengaluru and to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in north Karnataka, a K-tech Innovation Hub in Hubballi has been set up in association with IESA and Deshpande Foundation. This is an Electronic System Design & Manufacturing cluster at the Sandbox Startup. A Very Large Scale Integration Incubation Centre has been established at the KLE Technological University, Hubballi, in association with IESA.

It has appointed IKP Knowledge Park, a science park and technology business incubator, to set up five innovation hubs in the state. Up and running is a K-tech Innovation Hub in Belagavi which provides space and infrastructure, instrumentation,

Apart from setting up new hubs, centres established earlier have also been brought under the umbrella of K-tech Innovation Hubs. These include the New

“Karnataka was the first state to have a startup policy in the country. Bengaluru has been an IT capital, an electronic city and a silicon city, and it is now the startup capital of India, with over 6000 startups located here. This shows that a good ecosystem has been developed, and it was adjudged the 4th largest startup ecosystem in the world. Our policy encourages investment in startups and the numbers are really encouraging. Nearly USD 32 billion investment has come into Bengaluru and Karnataka.” Deputy Chief Minister Dr. G Parameshwara, who holds the portfolio of IT, BT, Science & Technology, among others.

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Age Incubation Network (NAIN), and incubators such as the GOK NASSCOM 10000 Startups Warehouse, the GOK Incubator for Tech Startups (GIFTS), the GOK-Mobile 10X Startup Hub, COE in IOT and the Bangalore Bioinnovation Centre. The state government has partnered with the central government and private organisations in setting up these incubators that focus on different sectors. NAIN K-tech Innovation Hub includes 33 colleges that act as incubation centres to encourage


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innovation and entrepreneurship in the districts of Bagalkot, Belagavi, Vijayapura, Chikkaballapur, Dakshina Kannada, Davanagere, Dharwad, Kalaburagi, Hassan, Mandya, Mysuru, Ramanagara, Shivamogga, Tumakuru and Udupi. Mentors from The Indus Entrepreneurs, NASSCOM, IKP, Deshpande Foundation and other ecosystem partners would guide these teams. NAIN has already begun to demonstrate success, and in the three batches that have been selected, a total of 283 projects have been completed with 18 groups forming companies and 2 groups winning patents. Chetana is a programme to technologically empower girls from government schools who top the secondary school examinations, and aims to educate, empower, mentor and support them via workshops and industry interactions, over two years. The K-tech Centres of Excellence set up with industry support in different sectors are another mechanism that drives innovation. GoK Nasscom MeITY IoT CoE is the largest deep tech innovation ecosystem in India and provides incubation, funding, acceleration, industry connect and mentoring to IoT startups, helping them build market ready products. The Centre of Excellence in Aerospace and Defence in collaboration with Dassault Systèmes and VTU, Bengaluru, generates specialised engineers; the Centre of Excellence in Machine Learning & Robotics set up in association with IIIT-B carries out high quality research. The Centre of Excellence in AVGC in association with the ABAI is aimed at IP creation and innovation. The Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security that is being established in Bengaluru will address skill gaps, build awareness, facilitate innovation and conduct training programmes, and the Semiconductor Fabless Centre of Excellence, to be set up in association with India Electronics and Semiconductor Association, will encourage products such as rural broadband connectivity, microcontrollers for IoT applications, energy meters and electric vehicles.

Gaurav Gupta, Principal Secretary, Ministry of IT, BT and S&T, Government of Karnataka, points out, “We have ensured that startups get the right infrastructure, at the lowest cost. The state government plans to further strengthen its links with the technology industry, by setting up newer incubation centres and promoting startups.”

Placing Karnataka among the top 3 destinations for Data Science & Artificial Intelligence in the world, India’s first Centre of Excellence for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence has been established. This centre is in association with NASSCOM, with whom the government had earlier set up the 10000 Startup Warehouse programme in Bengaluru and funded close to 180 startups.

Industries Minister KJ George gets a close look at 3D Bioprinting at the Next Big Innovation Labs, Bangalore Bioinnovation Centre.

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An Advanced Electronics Test Facility is coming up at Mysuru - Hebbal Industrial Area, under the electronic manufacturing clusters scheme of the Government of India. This ESDM Cluster will enable electronics industries such as medical devices, IT hardware products & sub-assemblies/components, power and energy products, automotive industries and aerospace, to move up the product value chain.

ECOSYSTEM COLLABORATE TO CO - CREATE CO - INNOVATE CO - INVENT

Bidar GNDE College

Kalaburagi IKP

BOOSTING AGRI & BIO INNOVATIONS The Biotechnology Skill Enhancement Programme (BiSEP) has been established to develop talent in Tier-II and TierIII cities, in collaboration with the Life Science Sector Skill Development Council and CSIR-Indian Institute for Chemical Technology. It enables 18 host institutions in eight districts to focus on collaborations to align skill sets of students to industry requirements.

PDA College

Vijayapura College of Agriculture B.L.D.E.A's V.P College

Yadgir

Bagalkot

Belgaum

Raichur

UHS BE College

IKP KLE Dr. M.S University KLS Gogte Institute of Technology

Dharwad

Koppal

University of Agricultural Sciences SDMCE

Gadag

Hubli

VDRIT, Haliyal

Uttara Kannada

IESA & KLE Deshpande Foundation KIMS

Ballari Rbyme College Bitm College

Haveri

The most exciting development spans the gamut of life sciences, biotech and agriculture. The state government, through the departments of Agriculture and IT, BT and S&T, is funding three new initiatives of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms (C-CAMP). The K-tech Agri-Innovation Centre at C-CAMP will promote deep-science, technology driven entrepreneurship in the agri-sector, the K-tech Technology Business Incubator will enable C-CAMP to scale up its efforts in promoting innovation and entrepreneurship in partnership with the University of Agricultural Sciences, Bengaluru, and in the first of its kind by a State Government, K-SAP Bio 50 will select 50 high-performing bio startups in the state and handhold them for three years to boost their chances of success and expand their network globally.

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Davanagere BIET College

Shivamogga

IKP, Jalahalli

Chitradurga

IKP Sir M.V. Government College JNNCE College SIMS

M.S Ramaiah University Peenya IISc Campus

Manipal Manipal University

Udupi

Chikkaballapur

Chikkamagaluru

SJCIT, BB Road

Tumakuru

N.M.A.M Institute of Technology

Mangaluru

Yeshwanthpur Yes thpur

Cpmd. CenSe COE Cyber Security Malleshwaram am

SIT Campus

Dakshina Kannada

SDM Institute, Ujire Vcet College, Puttur IKP P A College MITE College Sahyadri College St Joseph College

COE AVGC, ABAI Mahad ahadevapura ahad

COE Aerospace & Defence VTU Regional O ce Nagarbhavi

Diamond District, Domlur

Bengaluru Rural

Nasscom IAMAI COE Data Science and AI, Nasscom

BENGALURU

Hassan GFGCH Malnad College

Mandya

Government College

Kodagu

Agri Innovation, C-CAMP Bellary y Road C-CAMP & UAS - GKVK

Bengaluru Helix Park Elecctronics City

Ramanagara

Bengaluru Bioinnovation Centre Machine Intelligence & Robotics, IIITB

Ghousia College of Engineering

Mysuru IKP CSIR - CFTRI

NIE

SBRR College Vidya Vikas Institute SJCE College

Chamarajanagar

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CENTRES ACROSS

KARNATAKA www.k-tech.org

INNOVATION HUBS

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CENTRES OF EXCELLENCE

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TECHNOLOGY BUSINESS INCUBATORS

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CONTINUOUS LEARNING CULTURE ADVANCES GLOBAL RETAIL Target focuses on a 70-20-10 learning philosophy. Mathematical as it sounds, the approach to learning is in fact quite deliberate and structured. In the heart of America’s Midwest, three identical tee-shirts sit folded neatly on a shelf at a Target store. In a few hours, one will be placed in a guest’s shopping cart. Another will head to a backroom packaging and shipping station. And a third will be carried to the front of the store for a guest who bought it online and will stop at the store to pick it up. 13,000 miles away in Bengaluru, a team works on the data and analytics that can help predict and plan the store’s inventory well in advance, so that Target can fulfil orders through multiple shopping options. Innovating for a business so far removed from the Indian retail landscape is a daunting task. For the 3,000 and more cross-functional team members at Target in India working to bring joy to Target’s guests, the task is easier because of the strong culture of continuous learning. Strategically planned learning initiatives are fundamental to innovation at Target in India. They bring people across businesses together, provide insights about stores, products and guests, encourage people to embrace new perspectives and create opportunities for growth. The organization focuses on a 70-20-10 learning philosophy. Mathematical as it sounds, the approach to learning is in fact quite deliberate and structured. It focuses on nurturing a team member’s professional and personal skills to maximize the potential of both, the individual and the organization. 70 percent of the learning is onthe-job; 20 percent is from the key relationships one builds with mentors, leaders and peers; and 10 percent is a carefully planned series of formal learning programs and modules. Here’s a closer look at some of the leading India HQ initiatives across all three segments. DEMO DAY: WHERE THERE’S AN IDEA, THERE’S A WAY As an extension of the company’s Minneapolis headquarters, Target in India shares many

Wonder Women: The first graduating batch of Ignite comes together for a picture with Tammy Redpath, President, Target in India. similarities with its HQ, including learning initiatives like Demo Day. The event started as a science fair style gathering for Target’s product teams (often cross-functional) to showcase their work to business leaders in India and those travelling from HQ. Today, the India chapter of Demo Day demonstrates the purpose and key result areas of products from previous quarters. Curiosity is key; team members are encouraged to upskill on-the-job, apply their knowledge to solve real-time business problems and build a minimum viable product (MVP) of the product or solution. Demo Day is where different MVPs are demonstrated to peers and, more importantly, to leaders. Late last year, the teams had an opportunity to meet with Brian Cornell, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, and Mike McNamara, Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer at

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Target Corp. The team walked the leaders through their ideas. They received instant feedback on their product roadmap and found the right leads to take their ideas to the next level. This matters for several reasons. First off, the interaction – often one-on-one – with the highest level of the leadership team proves invaluable. Second, over 268 participating booths and 150 ideas later, Demo Day is now open to non-product teams to demonstrate the power of their ideas too, creating more opportunities for cross-functional experts to come together to enhance the guest experience. And of course, it’s a day meant for team members to share their passion for the work they do. TEAM MEMBER INCUBATOR: INTRAPRENEURS FTW Target in India believes an intrapreneur is much


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take on leadership roles. The nine-month program builds on four key themes: personal branding, mindset change, building effective networks and learning to negotiate.

Pitching a product: At Demo Day, there’s no limit to the scale or creativity of ideas and thought. Here, a Team Member demos their innovation and how it has helped create new business opportunities for Target.

Based on the women team members’ career aspirations and developmental needs, each of them is aligned to a senior leader at Target, who plays the role of their mentor. Apart from this, the participants continue their learning journey through smaller wisdom circles that come together once a month to share their learnings as well as stories. Since its inception two years ago, 89 women team members have spent over 3,200 hours each on transforming themselves into remarkable professionals. Around 21 percent of them have been promoted or found their calling in new business teams, and 67 percent are handling larger projects and teams or leading enterprise initiatives. Ignite has led to a 92 percent increase in the retention of the participating women team members.

more than just the dictionary definition of an employee with attributes of an entrepreneur. Here, an intrapreneur is any team member who is fearless and persistent about finding new ways to make a difference through their work. The Target Team Member Incubator taps into the vast potential of its intrapreneurs to build inhouse capabilities and drive the business forward. It’s rooted in the Target Accelerator Program, an initiative that works closely with India’s startup ecosystem to find and nourish unique startups that can impact retail. Mentorship plays a key role in the entire process, giving participating team members plenty of room for one-on-one leader interactions. This is the first year of the program and of more than 50 submissions so far, only six will start their

Intrapreneurship creates a culture rich in problem solving and creative thinking. It leverages the talent pool available in-house to meet strategic goals, while providing team members with an opportunity to fulfill their potential – and be an entrepreneur within the security of their workplace.

Poonam Chadha, who develops materials that support merchandise placement decisions back in Minneapolis, embodies confidence and optimism as she talks about her Ignite experience. “I think we set our own internal glass ceilings before we venture out to challenge actual existing ones externally,” she says, adding that the program’s been all about “helping us become more confident and comfortable with ourselves as individuals, and learning not to undermine ourselves or our value before we can approach someone else and show them what we’re worth.”

IGNITE: GO GET ‘EM, GIRL! Diversity & Inclusion has always been a priority for Target and the company offers focused, formal learning programs for women team members. Ignite is a home-grown initiative at Target in India, designed to empower women with the skills to

Learning at Target comes down to this: the joy of discovering new capabilities in oneself; the joy of breaking new ground and the joy of coming together to enhance the everyday lives of everyone its team members connect with, through what they do.

eight-week journey of building an MVP that will be presented to the leadership team.

www.target.com

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SIDING WITH SCIENCE

Photo: UAV Lab, Aerospace, IISc

Located within the century-old, sylvan campus of the Indian Institute of Science, and instituted in 1997, SID’s journey of transforming original scientific knowledge into real world solutions began when IISc faculty decided to commercialize their research through startups. Playing a crucial role in enabling innovators explore deep science and technology is the Society for Innovation and Development. SID is an interesting and successful example of academic collaboration with industry, enabling businesses to leverage the extraordinary repository of knowledge and infrastructure at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), India’s leading institution of advanced education and research in science and engineering.

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 SID has incubated over 20 startups on campus, based on parameters such as the qualities of the entrepreneurial team, uniqueness and benefits of the proposed solution technology & IP.

It focuses on three primary areas: • Incubation of deep science and technology based startups that are commercially viable and also have societal impact • Working with large enterprises in collaborative research • Working with small and medium sized enterprises to help them deploy appropriate technology “SID considers startup proposals from any entrepreneur (prior association with IISc is not a requirement) so long as the idea is based on deep science and technology”, says Prof. B Gurumoorthy, Chief Executive, SID. The biggest advantage for chosen entrepreneurs is that, apart from business and technical mentorship, they have access to specialised equipment and other resources at IISc departments. A Section 8 company holds equity stake in incubated startups and it’s expected that financial returns from successful exits would enable SID to further scale incubation. Healthcare, Biotech, Cleantech, Spacetech, domain specific AI and Machine Learning are cited as areas of huge growth, and says CS Murali, Chairman of the Entrepreneurship Cell, SID,

 “Faculty at the Indian Institute of Science are encouraged to actively promote or assist startups”, says Prof. B.Gurumoorthy, Chief Executive, SID, and a professor at the Indian Institute of Science. “Today, the market opportunities are in India and other developing countries. In healthcare for instance, India needs affordable solutions that can be used in semi urban and rural areas with harsh environments. Indian startups are closer to the market which is an important factor for entrepreneurs to understand needs and build appropriate solutions, as compared to multinationals”.

 “SID plays a vital role as it plugs the gap in the ecosystem for startups that build brick and mortar products and need large amount of early stage capital, apart from requiring long gestation periods”, says CS Murali. An alumnus of IISc, Murali brings rich industry experience to his current position as Chairman of the Entrepreneurship. A good example of research that has led to solving current problems is PathShodh, a startup incubated at IISc which makes affordable products that help manage diabetes and kidney related diseases. Other incubated companies that have the potential for huge growth are Astrome (internet from space), Bellatrix (satellite launch and propulsion), Mimyk (training and simulation for surgeons) and Mynvax (novel vaccines), says Murali.

sid.iisc.ac.in

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CAMP FOR INNOVATION “C-CAMP attempts to help build new invention based innovations in life sciences, healthcare, agri and nutrition, which will potentially have a positive impact across the world.” Dr. Taslimarif Saiyed, CEO & Director Lauded as one of the most outstanding facilities of its kind in India, the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms (C-CAMP) in Bengaluru plays a pivotal role in empowering entrepreneurs in deep science innovation through research, development, training and incubation. An initiative of the Dept of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, C-CAMP has, since its establishment in 2009, set the benchmark as an enabler of cutting edge life science research and innovation. “We are working on disruptive innovations”, Dr. Taslimarif Saiyed, CEO & Director, tells Sandhya Mendonca. India hasn’t had risky innovations outside the service sector and C-CAMP’s obvious mandate is to fill this gap. He points out that its incubatees are “all life science technology, deep innovations, pharmaceutical, healthtech devices, diagnostics, clean tech, stem cell-based work - the diversity is immense.” It is directly connected with 500 startups and funds/mentors 110, and hearteningly, around 15 products among these have already found a market. It has a three tier incubation model comprising academic entrepreneurs, young startups and companies in residence or experienced startups, who also mentor the early stage startups. Incubatees get access to seed funding and mentorship, and equally importantly, they get access to knowledge as C-CAMP is part of the triumvirate that make up the Bangalore Life Sciences Cluster along with the National Centre for Biological Sciences and the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine.  C-CAMP has partnered with the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council for three funding endeavours: Biotechnology Ignition Grant, Sustainable Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development Fund the Social Innovation Immersion Program, and also partners with Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.

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 The facilities at C-CAMP enable cutting-edge research, speeding up the journey from being an early stage scientific discovery to a valid proof-ofconcept. These include its rockstar incubatees Sea6 Energy, Bugworks Research and COEO Labs.

At its state-of-the-art bio-incubator with a fully equipped ‘plug-and-play’ lab space, there is a buzz of focused energy which is both a sum and effect of its position at the cusp of academia and industry. The energy has increased since August 2018, when C-CAMP launched three new initiatives with the support of the Karnataka government: the Karnataka Startup Advancement Program (K-SAP) BIO 50, the Centre of Excellence in Agri-Innovation, and the Technology Business Incubator. The state agriculture and IT departments have synergised their resources to boost agritech innovation. Dr. Saiyed, who regards the state’s ITBT department as the most progressive in the country, says that the initiatives are a natural extension of C-CAMP’s work; KSAP BIO 50 will help 50 startups go globally competitive in three years. This programme will address a key concern which is that “A large number of startups that get grants show a sharp downhill curve and die after a year or so. We want to make them grow beyond the entrepreneurial, startup stage into successful private enterprises with sound, go-to-market strategies”. The benefits accruing from C-CAMP’s location within the campus of the University of Agricultural Sciences in Bengaluru will be amplified through the bio-incubation facility, extending its scope to include more innovative life science, biotech & agri-based startups. Coming soon is a call for a grand challenge by the Centre of Excellence in Agri-Innovation to identify sticky issues in the sector; winners of the challenge will get immersive training and mentorship. “This is an opportunity to take startups from Karnataka to the global stage”, says Dr. Saiyed.

www.ccamp.res.in

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VITALISING LIFE SCIENCES “In just two and half years of BBC’s existence, it has begun to show great results. We are launching 10 innovative products- a huge milestone for India, which has been known more for contract research and services.” Dr. Jitendra Kumar, Managing Director, Bangalore Bioinnovation Centre Situated in the Bangalore Helix Biotechnology Park, a developing biocluster at Electronic City, Bangalore Bioinnovation Centre’s (BBC) state-ofthe-art incubation facilities are a crucial addition to the growing innovation culture of the city. It is part of an ambitious plan to nurture a biotech ecosystem and was created by the Karnataka Biotechnology and Information Technology Services (KBITS), now called Karnataka Innovation and Technology Society (KITS), under the aegis of

the Karnataka state government’s Department of IT, BT and S&T. It also receives liberal funds from the Government of India’s Department of Biotechnology. Alongside academic institutions such as the Institute of Bioinformatics and Applied Biotechnology (IBAB), the Centre for Human Genetics (CHG), and a space dedicated to large biotech companies, BBC plays a key role in nurturing startups in life sciences such as Healthcare (MedTech/ Pharma/

Operational from 2016, BBC’s facilities are in great demand, with a long waiting list of entrepreneurs. The common equipment facility located here is rated one of the best in India.

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The centre currently has a 60,000 sq ft built-up area which includes modular laboratories with state-of-the-art equipment. Another floor and more buildings in its 10 acre campus are in the works.

Dr. Jitendra Kumar, Managing Director, says in this interview with Subhalakshmi Roy, “BBC has been envisioned to be a state-of-the-art bioincubation centre in the country. We aspire to global standards and our role is multifarious.” This includes providing them with the right infrastructure, common equipment facility, mentorship, branding, networking and funding support.

innovations”, says Dr. Kumar. A good business model, social impact and the team are other factors that are assessed. Four companies have graduated from BBC, and the centre is currently incubating 32 companies. While all hold promise, he singles out 10 who have already come up with product prototypes: Indoor Biotech, Next Big Innovations Lab, VNIR, Aindra, Terra Blue, Aprus, Pandorum, Yostra, Atrimed and String Bio.

The Central Instrumentation Facility in its 10 acre campus is a national facility which is used by companies from across India, apart from many academic institutions. “I firmly believe that the common equipment facility is a catalysing factor for the creation of a vibrant ecosystem”, says Dr. Kumar.

With its startups on an upward growth spiral, attracting investments and hiring people, BBC is creating more space for them. It is also ramping up the lab facilities to help them build prototypes for pilot scale manufacturing of clinical grade materials and clinical testing.

Establishing an intellectual property regime by helping startups create the right kind of IP framework, helping scientists file the right IPs, and commercialising IPs and patents of public research labs by nurturing startups who could work on these technologies are part of BBC’s plan. Apart from conducting specialised scientific training programmes, BBC holds workshops and training programmes in business development, IPR, Companies Act and Biodiversity Law, and takes incubatees to international conferences.

BBC collaborates with other life sciences incubators such as C-CAMP. “Startups benefit from the co-incubation model, and are free to leverage the best of the complementary ecosystems - C-CAMP in North Bengaluru and BBC in South Bengaluru”, adds Dr. Kumar. BBC is the nodal centre for the Karnataka Startup Advancement Program (K-SAP) BIO 50, an initiative being implemented by C-CAMP with the support of KITS. It is also an implementation partner for Idea2POC, a state government initiative for seed or ignition funding. It also plans to fund startups in lieu of small equity seed funds received from BIRAC.

A high-level committee evaluates the applications from incubatees. “Selection is the key to our success; we do not incubate the contract research services or run-of-the-mill innovations; they have to be technology based and novel

www.bioinnovationcentre.com

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INCUBATING SOCIAL INNOVATION IIIT-B Innovation Centre nurtures social innovators and aspiring entrepreneurs to become responsible citizens of the future. The International Institute of Information Technology- Bangalore (IIIT-B) which was established in 1999 has played a crucial role in the growth of Bengaluru’s IT story. It created a talent pool for companies to dip into, and in the process opened up opportunities for deserving youth. Today, it has one of the most composite innovation centres that offer young minds the opportunity to engage with the world around them in socially productive ways.

The IIIT-B Innovation Centre, set up in 2009 by Prof S. Rajagopalan, is a startup hub for ICT4D (Information and Communications Technologies for Development) research, innovation and entrepreneurship, housed within the IIIT-B campus in Bengaluru’s Electronic City. Its focus is on nurturing social innovators and aspiring entrepreneurs and helping them to be successful, and in creating innovative, socially relevant and impactful solutions and ventures.

IIIT-B was jointly created by the Karnataka Government and the IT Industry to contribute to the growing IT ecosystem by focusing on education and research, entrepreneurship and innovation. Headed by the visionary academician, Prof. S Sadagopan, it has engaged with all stakeholders, including the startup community, since its inception. It has a high profile governing body drawn from prominent companies and industry bodies.

“We had identified start-up innovation as our focus, when we started IIIT-B. When IIIT-B Innovation Center was started, we also started giving funds to the startups, in addition to facilities such as space, IT support, connecting them with funding agencies, regulators and legal support”, says Sadagopan.” The heads of incubation at the Institute of Science and the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore serve on the board of IITB’s Innovation Centre. As one of the startup incubation centres approved by governments of India and Karnataka, the Innovation Centre initially received and invested (pre-seed/seed) TIDE (Technology Incubation & Development of Entrepreneurs) grants from the Government of India in startups with potential. Incorporated as a not-for-profit company, its primary objectives were to support and incubate external ventures, promote commercialisation of intellectual property, and encourage industry to set up R&D centres to facilitate a symbiotic working relationship between professionals and amateurs.

 The Centre offers young startups with mentorship, space, funding, legal support, infrastructure and regulators to enable them in their journey of creating innovative, socially-relevant and impactful solutions and ventures.

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By 2014, its operations had been streamlined, and nurtured over 20 startups. The same year, the centre launched a civic-tech focused initiative named IMACX (IOT to Mobility Apps for Community Excellence). “Our 15+ years of experience in the field of innovation propelled our decision to turn the spotlight on socially-relevant start-ups. The fact that we had a fully visually impaired full-time student who graduated in 2017 and started pursuing startup opportunities vindicated our focus,” says Sadagopan.


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Born out of the Government of Karnataka’s Vision 2020 Initiative, IMACX was envisioned as an initiative that nurtures startups that address the needs of citizens and governments through technology. The focal areas of attention are the individual (social inclusion, accessibility and assistive solutions for the disabled); community (public safety and law and order) and nature (prevention, preparedness, response and recovery during natural disasters). The IMACX Accelerator was launched in 2015 to help civic-tech startups that focus on healthcare, education, transportation, energy, governance and culture. Being a zero-fee, zero-equity, cohortbased, 100-day early-stage accelerator programme, it focused on startups that used cutting-edge technologies and business models. It has helped more than 30+ startups till date, including Fields of View, nSmiles, Videoken, Morning Cart, Ziroh Labs, GreendZine and Healthelife. IMACX has also started collaborative social innovations from 2017 to help generate solutions which would benefit from the research activities within IIIT-B. IMACX Studios was rolled out as a plug-n-play facility to offer each startup independent office space for a small team. The IMACX TIRAC Fund, a product-focused, seedstage fund, was established in late 2018 to enable the creation of sustainable, scalable and impactful solutions. The institute and its Innovation Centre receive multiple research and innovation grants from governments, corporates (including CSR) and university research grants, which are channelized into future innovation projects.

For 2019, IMACX’s focus is set on ‘Cognitive Computing + Platform Economics’ - machine learning, natural language processing, speech and image recognition and human-computer interaction.

Prof. S Sadagopan, Chairman & FounderDirector, IIIT-B Innovation Centre and Director, IIIT-B has wide research interests that include Operations Research, Multicriteria optimization Decision Theory, Simulation, Enterprise Computing, Programming Languages, Databases, Multimedia and e-Governance. An author, a columnist and a speaker, he is a Fellow of IEE (UK) and Computer Society of India. He has won several awards including the Fulbright Fellowship. He consults widely across different industry segments including auto, manufacturing, banking, IT and social sector. Asked for his view on the industry sectors that are poised to do well, Prof. Sadagopan says, “There is no ‘right prediction’, but what I find fascinating is the fact that finally, Indians are solving India’s problems. Our generation went to USA & Europe to solve their problems through their universities and corporations; the next generation created companies that created jobs to serve companies that solved the problems of the world, including India. It is only the current generation that is getting bold to solve India’s problems – TravelKhana or PayTM, IDFreshFood, are my pet examples. Deep tech startups, next generation unicorns and global MNCs are to be expected from India and in all sectors, none excluded.”

www.iiitb.ac.in

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AN ECOSYSTEM FOR DISABILITY “I am passionate about technology and in awe of the human spirit. The best part of technology is that it doesn’t differentiate between the abled and the disabled.” Prateek Madhav, CEO, Assistive Technology Accelerator

In a country where 8 crore people live with some form of disability (World Bank 2018 report), there’s a worrying absence of a dedicated effort to ensure a life of dignity for them. This is precisely the gap that is being filled by Assistive Technology Accelerator (ATA), India’s first accelerator focused on nurturing startups that are working to develop technology solutions that will enable persons with disability. ATA was set up in November 2018 by the Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled, an awardwinning NGO working to enable persons with disabilities, and a board of advisors that includes industry veterans and Samarthanam’s founder, Mahantesh GK. The Social Welfare Ministry of the Government of Karnataka has pledged a support of Rs 11 crore to the organisation.

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According to official data, the number of disabled people in the state stands at over 1.3 million, with mobility, visual and auditory challenges being predominant, and close to 100,000 with multiple disabilities. Led by the CEO Prateek Madhav, who has nearly two decades of prior experience in global technology organisations, ATA is building an ecosystem around disability by combining business and technology to back startups working in this space. “The assistive technology startup ecosystem in India is fragmented with multiple stakeholders working in silos. In the absence of interest of funds and accelerators in the sector, raising resources has been a challenge. Sometimes there’s enough money to pilot ideas but not enough for subsequent deployment.


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of them contributing members of society,” says Madhav.

 Eye-D leverages AI to improve the quality of life for the visually impaired by making them independent and self sufficient for their daily needs. Even developing ideas or technologies has suffered on account of a paucity of expert advice. This is where ATA can make a difference,” says Madhav. ATA has identified two main focus areas, startups and people with disabilities. The idea is to do positive match-making between needs and solutions so as to make an impact. What is critical to achieving this goal is to bring all stakeholders under one umbrella. The accelerator is creating a comprehensive support system that can vet ideas, identify startups (including NGOs), provide expertise, financial support, and create a buy-in from the government. “Our mission is to leverage assistive technology to create positive impact in the lives of persons with disability, and make all

For this, it has a three-pronged approach: Help existing assistive technology startups to scale up, incubate early stage ideas, and enable collaborations between startups to service the larger picture. The process is also quite rigorous and detailed. Batches of eight to ten startups are shortlisted and evaluated by a competent jury and the final selections are made on the strength of the solution on offer, the scalability of the idea, the business model and the founding team. During the five-month accelerator programme, the selected startups will gain access to disability community experts, will be able to leverage the ATA ecosystem for funding, and would also gain access to product distribution channels. They are helped with nuances of growth and investment strategy, product design and management, developing milestone-based operating plans, hiring team members, and interactions with industry. On completion, they are offered an opportunity to present a demo before industry leaders, investors, government officials and experts.

 Announcing the state government’s support to the country’s first disability-focused tech accelerator, Social Welfare Minister Priyank Kharge said that it would create much-needed social impact. ATA is already mentoring three startups, chosen from among 60+ of their kind. All three have very promising technology solutions for persons with disability, and one of them is the Bengaluru-based Eye-D which works on building AI based assistive technology solutions enabling visually impaired on mobility and independent living.

www.atalabs.org

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INVESTMENTS SHOULDN’T BE DUMB & BORING My investment is never about giving ‘dumb’ money. I am a reasonably active investor – I work with entrepreneurs, make connections, and help them through their strategy, governance and compliance issues. Revathy Ashok, angel investor and co-founder of Strategy Garage

With an increasing number of startups looking to scale up, we spoke to angel investor and advisor Revathy Ashok about what investors look for. Ashok is one of the early members of the Indian Angel Network and cofounder of Strategy Garage, a boutique advisory for startups & SMEs, and says that investors’ decisions hinge on the entrepreneur. She brings 30 years of corporate experience to the table; her last high powered job was as MD of Tishman Speyer in India, where she was one of 100 partners of one of the largest professional real estate firms in the US. Her investments are sector agnostic, and what excites her are technologyenabled solutions for real problems. She invests in companies that are asset-light, that can establish a product market fit and can command a large enough market. “My investment will be successful if the company gets subsequent rounds of funding.” She says the excitement in being a startup investor lies not in the size of the cheque, but in the opportunity of working alongside entrepreneurs. Her investment portfolio of 20 companies includes a waste management firm called Saahas Zero Waste, and Ashok says, “I believed in the entrepreneur who put in over 13 years of work long before it was fashionable to look at waste management as a business. Then we helped her transform it into one”. She is a lead investor in another company, Pikkol which has automated the business of moving and packing. She points out with pride that the company has expanded its services from a pure B2C play to B2B, with 35 marquee customers in a short span of time. She is also very fond of a crowd financing film studio Wishberry. From being an active investor to becoming a strategic advisor happened fairly naturally, and Ashok and Sekhar Doraswamy, started Strategy Garage as a strategic advisory for startups and SMEs. “We advise companies that we might not have necessarily invested in. We help sharpen their strategy, put systems and processes in place for stronger execution capabilities and better governance. A number of failures in the recent past have happened not because the idea or the market was bad. In quite a few instances, the failure was because of poor governance.” With the entrepreneurship ecosystem maturing, Strategy Garage is also working with funds that have invested in startups. While it helps investors get good returns for their portfolio, its chief objective is to help startups link their finances and strategy, and enable them to raise the next round of capital.

www.linkedin.com/company/strategy-garage/

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REDEFINING STARTUPS “You don’t have to become the next unicorn, you don’t even have to become a national player, you can just create an impact.” Bala Girisaballa, President, Techstars India driven by a different metric like impact on society or could be driven by the entrepreneurs’ wish for financial independence. By applying the wider definition, the number of startups would increase by about 20 to 30 thousand. A broader canvas is also important for the evolution of the second generation of the ecosystem to Tier II and III cities. The first generation of ecosystem evolution is primarily what we see in cities like Bengaluru. Tech startups are scaling up, going global, making oodles of money and give rich dividends to investors as well as the founders. And while that’s a good game, not everybody can be in on it. The success rate is not going to be very high and by nature, it’s a risky game. The conventional model is also limited to a certain type of construct and is not applicable to smaller cities. The definition of growth, prosperity and development for a billion people has to be very different, and needs to evolve from where we are right now. The meaning of a ‘startup’ when applied to Tier II to IV towns could change with its objective being to provide financial independence.

“A startup is a vehicle and an entrepreneur’s motivation is very important to structure it and shape it”, says Bala Girisaballa, questioning the conventional definition of a startup. He has a 360 degree perception of the system; having worked with Oracle in the US where he built a CRM product line, he founded two startups in India, and has worked with Yahoo and Microsoft in the Indian innovation ecosystems before taking up the role of President, Techstars India.

India’s problems are different from those in Silicon Valley or Israel or Singapore. Their template is different because their population is much smaller. India needs employment for a billion people. It produces three million graduates every year. There are not going to be industries or companies creating tens of thousands of jobs. We have to create opportunities where people find livelihoods for themselves and could create livelihoods for people around them. Micro entrepreneurship and sustainable business are the nuances to be embraced.”

In an interview with Sandhya Mendonca, Girisaballa says, “It’s perfectly legitimate for founders to have different motivations and they need not be tied to the model of scale and quick increase in valuation. We need to broaden the understanding of the term. Why can’t a sustainable company be a startup? It need not be driven by a lot of capital or by scalability, it might be

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FRONTIER TECH FUNDING With a surge in demand for emerging technologies such as AI, IoT and Big Data, funds backed by technology industry veterans are making a vital contribution. Exfinity Venture Partners, a Bengaluru-based early-stage frontier technology company, has a strong focus on technology-driven product companies incubated in India, a model which can be scaled across the globe. One of the few companies to focus on and invest in B2B startups, it backs enterprise technology companies in India and the India-US business corridor, and drives innovation and business transformation across industries. Exfinity was founded in 2013 by IT industry veterans with a strong operating background and impeccable credentials: Shailesh Ghorpade, Mohandas Pai, Balakrishnan V, Girish Paranjpe, Rajiv Kuchhal, Deepak Ghaisas, Chinnu Senthilkumar and Sushil Mantri, all of whom previously held leadership roles in some of India’s leading organisations including Infosys, Wipro, I Flex and Onmobile. Managing Partner & Chief Investment Officer Shailesh Ghorpade, says, “We understand that ‘new-age’ technology is driving workplace innovation. Accordingly, areas of interest for Exfinity are diverse, and in the field of deep-tech, include IoT, analytics, AI, cloud-computing, and software-defined hardware, amongst many others. Entrepreneurs with proven domain-knowledge, who possess specialised market know-how have received backing from Exfinity.” Exceptional tech companies with a robust technology moat are what the fund looks out for before supporting them in various areas. Take the case of the fund’s very first investment; the Silicon Valley-based startup, ‘Virtual Power Systems’. Conceptualised in 2012, Virtual developed virtualisation software with the potential to reduce power costs of data centres. Exfinity has been a strategic mentor and investor to Virtual by supporting them extensively, in addition to helping craft their go-tomarket strategy. Absentiavr, CloudSEK, Moengage, Locus and IQLECT are a few of the technology product companies, which the firm has funded and mentored.

 “Exfinity is a true-blue B2B focused fund which invests in pioneering founders who have a solid technology moat,” says Shailesh Ghorpade, Managing Partner & Chief Investment Officer, Exfinity Venture Partners.

Though the firm invests typically $1-2 million in pre-Series A rounds, with their newer funds, it has entered into funding the follow-on rounds too. Apart from the necessary capital funding to bolster their growth, it also partners with entrepreneurs in executive hiring, market references, arranging mentors and provides them with strategic inputs on strategy and execution. “The ability of the founding team to tell a story is what we see”, says Ghorpade. The credentials and passion of the innovative entrepreneurs and their unique ability to see the big picture are the aspects Exfinity considers crucial. They also review the uniqueness of the entrepreneurs’

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proposition, market opportunity, competitive space and the technology differentiation to figure out the company’s value proposition and its opportunity sizing.

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resource management are just some of the spaces set to experience a disproportionate revolution that is already in the making. “The quality of Indian entrepreneurs is as good as in any other geography, they have the ability to hustle and build a product on frugal resources. Our innovators are top notch, and about 30% of US startups in Silicon Valley have an Indian founder. The area that we can improve on is the market facing side, by building a formidable sales and marketing competence”, says Ghorpade.

Apart from funding the right startups, its founders also work closely with both state and central governments, through policy recommendations and other initiatives, to help smoothen their working relationship with India’s startup ecosystem. Speaking of the startup ecosystem, starting from its first fund, Exfinity has invested in a diverse set of technology companies. Fitternity, a wellness services discovery and booking platform, Uniken, a digital connectivity and access platform and Mad Street Den, an artificial intelligence and computer vision company are just a few of the startups Exfinity has invested in. It’s also interesting to consider how the firm chooses the startups it supports. Exciting utilisation of new digital technologies to develop better products and newer solutions is what Exfinity looks for in their picks. Ghorpade backs this up, stating that they look at how technology is used by the companies to address cases in a transformational way.

 With cloud computing evolving, digital technologies are set to gain focus and lead significant innovation in various Indian cities. Bengaluru has been an integral part of this sweeping change, with many enterprises based here that are actively engaged in innovation.

In the coming times, high-end product and technology will not just be used on its own, but will be a rising disruptor in traditional industries, changing them for the better. Agriculture, manufacturing, transportation and natural

www.exfinityventures.com

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INTELLIGENT INVESTING “We are early stage investors focusing on disruptive ventures, solving real-world problems through applied AI.” Manish Singhal, Founding Partner, pi Ventures

At a time when global interest in automation and robotics gains pace and technology giants like Google and Amazon are launching a slew of futuristic initiatives, an exciting, early-stage venture fund is set to invest exclusively in startups focused on AI, ML and IoT.

from anywhere in the world. With over 70 patents registered for this product alone, it turned out to be a huge success, with units still being sold, 14 years down the line. During his time there, he built the company’s R&D and product team in India, leading it to get successfully acquired by Echostar Inc, for $380 million.

Founded in 2016 by entrepreneurs Manish Singhal and Umakant Soni, pi Ventures’ focus on backing ventures that solve problems in healthcare, logistics, retail, FinTech and enterprise sectors is bang on time, discovers Sandhya Mendonca. As India rapidly becomes an integral part of the digital revolution, the much-needed shift from service-led to productbased economy can gain momentum with adequate support to product-led startups.

Active in the Indian startup ecosystem for quite some years, he co-founded LetsVenture.com, which quickly went on to become the leading marketplace for early stage investors and startups in India. Soon, Singhal went on to mentor startups, even investing in some of them. During this time, he noticed that the early-stage investment scene wasn’t a mature one in India and came to the realisation that one can either be an entrepreneur or an investor. With his experience, Singhal chose to create a fund to help deep tech startups and so, pi Ventures came into being; “Pi represents the mathematical basis of the technology that is the focus of the startups we invest in.”

Where venture funds usually choose to diversify their portfolios with a mix of consumer, internet and software investments, this company differs in its approach, making it one of the few early-stage funds investing in the steadily emerging segment of deep-technology enterprises.

Accordingly, the applied AI-focussed fund plans to invest in 18-20 startups in the health-tech, logistics, retail, fintech and enterprise sectors over the next three-four years, with a significant percentage of its funds allocated for possible follow-on rounds. In 2018, the fund announced the final close of its first fund at Rs. 225 crore, exceeding its initial target of Rs. 195 crore by 17%.

Singhal’s journey from technologist to entrepreneur is an interesting one. Graduating from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur in 1992, for the next 18 years, he was constantly working on some form of technology and developing products. Right from coding to debugging and even helping get the product to market, Singhal has always had a taste for entrepreneurship. In 2005, he was part of a Silicon Valley startup, Sling Media Inc, where he was Country Head for India. During his time there, he worked on a product called SlingBox that would let people watch their favourite home channels

The fund is always on the lookout for entrepreneurs who are passionate about leveraging applied AI to differentiate their technological products. It prefers companies that are utilising various types of data to make better and improved decisions about machine and self-learning. Another important

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 India’s AI ecosystem is at an interesting intersection of data, talent and market need, and considering the upward trend in high-potential B2B companies, pi Ventures is backing local startups creating global solutions.

criterion is whether the entrepreneurs the firm seeks to support are considering taking their product to a global stage, even if incubated in India. Singhal points out that since he and his co-founder Soni were originally entrepreneurs, they have a good understanding of product technology. “We’re in a position to comprehensively grasp what the companies we choose to work with, are going through.”

health professionals, and lacks advanced medical technology. This makes pi Ventures positive about investing in startups that leverage innovative technologies for healthcare.

Among the innovative enterprises the fund has backed so far, are three healthcare startups, SigTuple, Niramai and Ten3T, along with Zenatix, which lies in the arena of energy-efficiency. Innovation is not just sought by the firm among entrepreneurs; it takes place within the company too. Launched recently, chAI is a unique communitybuilding effort in the field of AI. As a move to bring together entrepreneurs involved in this technology, it has provided a boost to technology ecosystem in IT capital Bengaluru. And the focus on India’s IT capital is simply because, “some things happen naturally. Bengaluru has been a hub for innovation in India, and here people are constantly pushing boundaries. There is a constant stream of innovation here. In fact, more than 60% of the innovative entrepreneurs we meet, are based out of Bengaluru”, says Singhal. Going forward, the company’s outlook is bullish on healthcare; with a population of one billion people, India has a shortage of highly-skilled

www.piventures.in

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MENTORING INVOLVES LEADING BY EXAMPLE “To add value to your work, you have to be extraordinary in what you do, and innovation is the key. I drive individuals who I mentor to come up with innovative solutions.” Geetha Panda As more women reach out for leadership positions within the proliferating innovative companies, mentorship plays a crucial role in nurturing their talent. We spoke to Geetha Panda who contributes as a mentor in her dual roles as the Global Director, Service Desk & Large Platform Security Capability, DXC Technology and Regional Co-Chair of industry body CIIIWN. With 5 process patents to her credit in niche fields such as predicting customer satisfaction, Panda tells Subhalakshmi Roy, “I put my customers and employees in the forefront when I think of innovating new stuff, and all my patents focused on them. My team has also got an equal number of patents because I make it a point to drive innovation as a part of the agenda every year”. Panda’s motivation has been to build a new industry from the ground-up; she “always wanted to be the first one to do something.” After pioneering India’s nascent BPO sector in the early 2000s, and contributing to its growth from $7.2 million in 2004-5 to $150.2 billion in 2017, she’s worked in diverse sectors such as shipping and biotechnology. In each of these industries, she found herself to be either the only woman or amongst the very few women in the leadership team. A natural progression was to accept an invitation from the Indian Women Network, a wing of the Confederation of Indian Industry. Working in several roles, she was chairperson of IWN Karnataka last year and this year, she’s taken on more responsibilities as Regional Co-Chair. IWN’s focus areas include health and wellbeing, policy and advocacy, learning and development, and training in self defence, awareness about prevention of sexual harassment at work (POSH); personality development and skill building are some of the organisation’s activities. It has extended its focus to mentorship, and runs customised programmes for both women professionals and entrepreneurs. She hopes that organisations like IWN will scale up and act as enablers for individuals aspiring to become entrepreneurs. A social impact project that she has recently started is a new, personal initiative to mentor female juvenile criminals. “The rate of juvenile crime has increased 3 times in the last decade, and this is only the rate of recorded crime”, she says. This worrisome trend has led her to put together a team to understand the nature of such crimes and their triggers. The larger vision is to enable reforms by working with organisations engaged in juvenile rehabilitation and to ensure that available government funds are effectively used to build employable skills. “I believe that we can reform, transform and pre-empt crime,” she says resolutely.

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IMITATION IS NOT INNOVATION

Sunil Padmanabh predicts growth in industries like healthcare, logistics, media & entertainment.

How can startups scale up? What are the key drivers of innovation? On the flipside, what are the pitfalls? For answers to these questions, we spoke to an expert in the vibrant ecosystem. Sunil Padmanabh works with startups in Bengaluru and Indian cities at various stages of growth, from founders in university-affiliated incubators to early stage to scaleups and beyond. With his experience in enterprise applications consulting, digital transformation/cloud adoption strategies and innovation thought leadership, he helps startups to join a thriving global community with next-generation growth and business development, and drives cloud-based innovation. Talking about the innovation ecosystem in the city, Padmanabh says that the surge spans across industry sectors. The emergence of the digital economy, the urgency for organisations to adopt technology trends for differentiation/ competitive positioning, driving down costs and providing better customer experience are some of the factors. For many NRIs who wanted to come back to India and turn entrepreneurs, the pleasant weather and cosmopolitan culture made Bengaluru an obvious choice. He also credits several initiatives taken by the Karnataka state government to aggressively support the incubation of startups through infrastructure support and allocating funds. Things can always be better, and key areas that startups need help with are: a. Quality of mentorship available to startups in the form of domain expertise b. Deeper focus on technology innovation c. Better clarity on regulatory issues/labour laws d. Corporates need to build a startup culture within the organisation and embrace startups as partners by simplifying the rules of engagement with startups. Bidding Indian entrepreneurs to change their approach,Padmanabh points out there are several examples of Indian entrepreneurs who believe that imitation is innovation. They tend to copy successful business models / solutions from advanced economies and tailor them to suit the local market in order to get quick money. “This is not a sustainable model and many startups have failed by being mere copycats”. He adds that quite a few Indian startups don’t see the larger picture and focus on solving the present day’s problem, and are hence unable to scale effectively. Consequently, many of them don’t appeal to enterprise customers since the startups don’t factor their customer’s ecosystem while they are selling their solutions. Indian startups are also sluggish in adopting latest technologies in their solutions. They have to be savvier in experimenting with newer technology trends, he advises.

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INNOVATIONS OF BENGALURU AEROSPACE, AVIONICS & ELECTRONICS AGRITECH

ARTIST ROMICON REVOLA OBSERVES THE CONTAGION OF ‘SELFITIS’ THAT AFFECTS PEOPLE. HER CREATION, THE #WHORU? APP, ALONG WITH AN IMMERSIVE WALK-THROUGH INSTALLATION, ENGAGES WITH THE IDEA OF PERSONAL IDENTITY IN THE DIGITAL AGE. 43


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MAKING ACCESS TO SPACE AFFORDABLE “I believe that Space is a great enabler that transforms our lives back on Earth. In a few years, we will see planets being colonised and asteroids being mined. Space travel will become as common and as affordable as air travel.” Rohan M Ganapathy, Director & CEO, Bellatrix Aerospace

When humans make Space their habitat in the not-so-distant future, a Bengaluru company would have been part of conquering the final frontier. A new Space company incubated at Indian Institute of Science, Bellatrix Aerospace is developing advanced in-Space propulsion systems that can bring down the cost of access to Space, and aims to be the first private company to launch a rocket from Indian soil.

systems. The major disadvantage with chemical propulsion is that they require a large mass of propellant.” Electric propulsion is an emerging technology that is quickly replacing chemical propulsion technology. Using an electric propulsion system, a satellite can carry 3 times more payload compared to a satellite that uses chemical propulsion. This results in reduced mission costs and increased Return on Investment (RoI) per satellite. Bellatrix aims to be a global leader in the field of propulsion by offering advanced technology at competitive prices.

Bellatrix Aerospace is led by a team of engineers with Rohan M Ganapathy (CEO), Yashas Karanam (COO) and Narendra Narayanan (MD) for whom creating technologies through internal R&D is an exciting challenge. This is due to the fact that propulsion technology is a restricted technology; technical information is not easily available and is constricted by export control/tech transfer into India.

“Our proprietary electric thrusters can also accommodate water as propellant. This is a scalable technology and offers a high thrust-to-power ratio compared to competitors in this segment. Bellatrix is working towards becoming a provider of combined solutions for all propulsion requirements and is currently developing different varieties of chemical and electric propulsion systems for satellites ranging from nano satellites to heavy satellites.”

Talking about the unique features of Bellatrix’s work, Ganapathy explains, “Just as cars need engines to move, satellites need propulsion systems for orbit raising and station keeping (maintaining proper orientation) applications. Most of the current satellites today use chemical propulsion

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Given the high cost of sending satellites to Space, the proposition of reducing the satellite mass even by a small amount is very attractive. Traditional satellites employ chemical propulsion systems which considerably reduce the on-board space available for payload. This makes the satellites very inefficient and expensive to launch. Electric propulsion systems negate this as they require much less fuel in comparison with traditional systems. This results in a dramatic downsizing of the propulsion system allowing for a satellite to carry much greater payload and enhance the orbital endurance. This allows for greater profitability and a competitive advantage among satellite operators adopting electric propulsion systems.

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Bengaluru is also the hub for Space companies in India. With ISRO, HAL and BEL headquartered in Bengaluru, a complete ecosystem for aerospace manufacturing has come up in the city. The Public Private Partnership model is the key to building a better world with affordable access to Space based services.

Bellatrix is aiming to also diversify into ground to Space propulsion (rocket propulsion) after getting a good foothold in the in-Space propulsion area. It is working on newer ways of making access to Space more affordable through ‘Chetak’, a reusable micro launch vehicle that can carry a 200 kg payload to Low Earth Orbit. When this happens, Bellatrix would be the first private company to launch a rocket from Indian soil. The highs for Bellatrix have been getting a developmental contract from ISRO, receiving the TDB National Award 2017 from the President of India for development of technology with potential for commercialisation. Ganapathy was also featured on Forbes India and Forbes Asia’s ‘30 under 30’ list for the year 2018.

 Bellatrix team receiving Technology Development Board National Award – 2017 from President of India.

www.bellatrixaerospace.com

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AN ELECTRONIC PASSION “Radel has and will continue to usher in a modern era in the field of Indian electronics, be it through one-of-akind musical instruments, or avant garde defence equipment. Innovation is our lifeblood.” G Raj Narayan, Founder & Managing Director

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited’s design department where he learnt about high tech integrated circuits. It was while working on an aircraft simulator project, where he used electronics to create ambient noise, that the idea of creating sounds by using electronics, was born.

and was, in Narayan’s words, “a quantum jump.” Microprocessors were also used in the electronic lehra machine, Sunadamala. Capable of playing 200 ragas in 20 different taals, it helps tabla players practice on their own. It was launched by the musical great, Pandit Ravi Shankar in 1993.

“Initially, my need to invent purely stemmed from the need to practice,” Narayan recalls, explaining, “Musicians face a lot of limitations due to the erratic availability of accompanists. I wanted to ‘engineer’ a sustainable solution.” The electronic Shruti Box launched at the Karnataka Gana Kala Parishat in Bengaluru in 1971, was the first of its kind and paved the way for an unprecedented era of electronic musical instruments under the banner of Radel Electronics Pvt Ltd.

After the introduction of the original electric veena in 1971, and the subsequent launch in 2002 of the electronic Veena, that has adjustable frets and built-in amplifiers to enhance the sound, Radel’s DigiVeena synthesiser is the first Indian electronic musical instrument to have been patented in 2002, and is the first synthesiser in Indian music that can be used to generate sounds of instruments like the Tanjore veena, mandolin, saxophone and flute.

The dual passions are perfectly natural for G Raj Narayan, Founder & Managing Director of the Radel Group. As a young lad, he trained in Carnatic music, all the while dreaming of designing aircraft. He grew up to become an expert flautist and an electrical engineer, “constantly motivated by my father’s zeal for radical problem-solving and resourcefulness.”

The electronic Tanpura, introduced in 1979, disrupted the performing music field and Raj Narayan credits the popularity of the instrument to the distinguished vocalists, Dr. Balamurali Krishna, who was the first musician to use the electronic tanpura in a live concert, and Prof. TR Subramaniam, who used it while performing in the US. “These revolutionary, radical musicians realised that we needed to accept technology,” he says.

Radel’s list of prestigious customers include almost all the legends of Indian music: Pandit Jasraj, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, Pandit Ravi Shankar, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Dr. L Subramaniam and Shubha Mudgal, amongst others. With such great testimonials and a track record of reliability, Radel soon scaled up from manufacturing less than half a dozen instruments initially to producing 3000 instruments a month.

After acquiring a Master’s degree in electronics from IIT-Madras, he joined the public sector

The electronic tabla, Taalmala, launched in 1987, was the first to use software and microprocessors

Aerospace engineering and music are contrasting verticals in which Bengaluru based Radel has proven its might. Radel Advanced Technology (P) Ltd manufactures hi-tech indigenous electronics for the Indian aerospace and defence sector and has etched a niche in the aerospace sector with its inhouse design and manufacture of cutting-edge equipment and systems design. Radel Electronics (P) Ltd makes electronic Indian instruments and has pioneered path-breaking inventions like the electronic Shruti Box, the Talometer, the electronic Tanpura, the electronic tabla, the electronic Veena and the DigiVeena synthesiser, amongst others.

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Taalmala Digi-108 digital tabla

Sunadavinodini Electronic Veena

Fuel Flow test Unit for Su-30 Aircraft

saw a synergy in the company’s work in microprocessors, signal conditioning and detection techniques in digital instruments with future indigenous design for aerospace and defence equipment. Soon, Radel Advanced Technology (P) Ltd introduced its first product, the fully solidstate distributor, which fires the rockets carried by the Jaguar fighter of the Indian Air Force. Despite the obvious hurdles that came in making headway in a historically public sectordominated industry, Radel successfully executed

the design and manufacture of 20 separate indigenisation projects for the IAF and the army, and their products fly on the Jaguar, MiG-29, Dhruv Helicopter and AN 32 aircraft. Radel remains one of the few domestic players certified by CEMILAC (Centre for Military Airworthiness Certification). Raj Narayan says that his “biggest concern was the lack of capable engineers produced by the outdated education system in the country,” and it spurred his next big initiative. Fuelled by his love for teaching, the veteran technocrat established

Anti-Collision light for AN-32 aircraft

Drona, a school of engineering practice, which seeks to make budding professionals industry-ready through short ‘Campus-2Career Apprenternship’ (apprentice-intern) programmes, especially for the sunrise industries of aerospace, defence and electronics. As a visionary who has veritably transformed the arena of Indian electronics over 40 years, he has been bestowed with multiple honours such as, the Government of India Special Recognition Award for R&D 2009 (MSME), the Karnataka Kalashree Award of Govt. of Karnataka 2001, the Rajyotsava Award of Govt. of Karnataka 1996, and the Surmani Award of Sur Singar Samsad, Mumbai 1987, to name a few.

www.radel.in

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POWERING A BLUE ECONOMY

Sea6 Energy is unique in the way it has put together a multidisciplinary group of people to innovate novel and sustainable solutions to some of the biggest issues the world is facing today. The company’s strength stems from its young and dynamic team as well as the ability to leverage the innovation ecosystem of Bengaluru. Shrikumar Suryanarayan, MD

Breaking free of constraints of land and fresh water, Sea6 Energy is using engineering and biotech to create a paradigm change in an ocean-based ‘blue’ economy. Its proprietary products hold the potential to generate solar energy, desalinate water, provide habitation, and grow crops in the wild blue yonder, finds out Sandhya Mendonca.

faculty and biotechnology veteran Shrikumar Suryanarayan (Shri) saw potential in the team to use biotech to solve India’s energy needs. Despite the success of several research groups in the production of biofuel from biomass, Sea6 realized that the challenge in biofuels was that of scalability as the availability of large amounts of cost effective terrestrial biomass not competing with food, was limited. This is when it turned to the ocean. A eureka moment happened over a cup of coffee, when the team considered the possibility of using tropical red seaplants as a biomass source. It realised that these plants could be cultivated in a scalable manner in the ocean and could become the starting material for not only biofuel but many other biological products. Deciding to form a company, the team moved to the bio-cluster at C-CAMP in Bengaluru, where it got access to the talent at NCBS and UAS.

As oceans comprise 71 percent of the earth’s surface, the scope for growth is colossal, and the team is quite naturally excited by the ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunity that is unravelling for it as it explores the vast coastline of India. Sea6 Energy’s story is peppered with serendipitous discoveries; its founders came together at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras, when Sri Sailaja Nori, Sowmya Balendiran and Nelson Vadassery, became the first Indian team to win a silver medal in MIT’s iGEM competition in 2009. Visiting

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 Dweep is an artificial floating island system, designed to survive in the harshest of ocean conditions, and can harness the potential of the oceans for food, energy and freshwater.

After getting into contract farming with the fishing community along the coast of Tamil Nadu in south India, to source the seaplant raw material, the company filed several patents for products from seaplants including biofuels and biostimulants. The biostimulants have since been launched as a product in India and are now in the process of being marketed internationally.

 SeaCombine is a seaweed harvester that helps industrial scale production.

Sea6 also created novel ocean structures to help carry out large scale offshore farming of tropical seaplants. It has developed Dweep, an artificial floating island system, designed to survive in the harshest of ocean conditions. Combining several Dweeps could create artificial land of several hectares in the ocean and they could be used for a wide range of applications like solar power generation, which can provide the needed power for sustainable offshore farming, deep sea aquaculture, provide power and water by desalination for offshore processing stations. Such floating islands could also be used for developing offshore houses and hotels.

Sea6’s other invention, currently being used in Bali, Indonesia, is the Sea Combine, a seaweed harvester that helps in the large scale offshore industrial farming of the seaplants to produce large amounts of the biomass needed for manufacture of various products. Its product range includes plant biostimulants and immunostimulants for use in agriculture, animal feed, organic food pigments, bioplastics and biofuels. It consciously works on reducing the over-usage of chemical agri-inputs. Its products like AgroGain (bio-stimulant) and TomaTough (crop antiviral), are organic, natural and high quality agri-inputs that help plants to inherently produce hormones that enhance quality and yield. Its agri-input products are used by 1 million farmers in India and will be soon available globally.

Shri illustrates the possibilities with an example: a small island, much sought after as a tourist destination like Maldives currently flies or ships in every resource, including diesel to generate power and fresh water, to cater to the plane loads of vacationers. The use of ‘dweeps’ producing offshore floating solar power and water would change the very nature of the island economy, while solving the problem of pollution.

Sea6 has received many awards like Emerging Company of the Year, Top Upcoming Life-Sciences Startups in India and recognitions as the Finalist in the Best Biological Product category at Agrow Awards.

www.sea6energy.com

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DATA DRIVEN FARMING “We enable agri-businesses make informed data-driven decisions.” Krishna Kumar, Founder & CEO, Cropin

 CropIn is set to expand the reach of the SmartFarm technology platform to more than 10 million acres benefitting 7 million farmers. Krishna Kumar, Founder & CEO of CropIn, is an AgTech pioneer with a strong technical background. This tech wizard had an epiphany when he saw the plight of farmers in India. This led him to pause his remarkable corporate career at GE and embark on an entrepreneurial journey in the AgTech sector. “We identified that agri-businesses had minimal and outdated technological or digital interventions and were not able to make informed data-driven decisions,” he says.

An agri-tech pioneer is bringing about a positive change in the farming sector on a global scale by harnessing cutting-edge technologies such as big data, Artificial Intelligence, geo-tagging and satellite monitoring. Bengaluru-based CropIn Technology Solutions helps farmers at every stage, from getting weather and pest advisory to scheduling the right package of practices and adoption of inputs, ensuring adherence to compliances and certifications, giving yield predictability and providing access to markets for fair value of the produce.

In 2010, he started Cropin with Kunal Prasad and Chittaranjan Jena. The company’s data driven products are region and crop agnostic, available in local languages and can be used offline when connectivity is limited. Its product suite connects all the stakeholders of the agriculture ecosystem with a portfolio comprising:

The firm’s ambit spans 30 countries in Asia, Latin America, North America, Europe, Middle East and Africa. It has digitised information for five million acres of farmlands, enriching the lives of over two million farmers working on 265 crops and 3,500 crop varieties.

1. SmartFarm: An award winning, robust and flexible farm management solution that empowers data-driven decision-making, and provides complete visibility of resources, processes and performance on the field 2. SmartRisk: A predictive and prescriptive solution that leverages agri-alternate data for effective risk monitoring, credit risk assessment and forecasting intelligence 3. mWarehouse: A comprehensive pack house solution for processing and export companies 4. SmartSales: A CRM and input channel management solution to forecast and improve sales 5. AcreSquare: A farmer application that enables two-way communication between farming companies and farmers

In India, the company’s mission runs parallel to the government’s vision of doubling the farmer’s income by 2022 and has partnered in pilot studies with the World Bank to bring about a significant change in farming practices in Madhya Pradesh and Bihar, and successfully helped them adapt to climatic changes and unpredictability. Nearer home, in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture, Government of Karnataka, CropIn has helped farmers across 30 districts of Karnataka in digitizing their farms, with plans to scale up this project to assist 4.15 lakh farmers and cover a farm area of over 3.4 lakh acres in the years to come.

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 The firm’s SaaS-based services are helping farmers analyse and interpret data to derive real-time actionable insights on standing crops and projects. With the effective implementation of these products, CropIn has been able to revolutionize farming by incorporating technology into daily field operations. Globally, the company has been successful in enabling businesses to utilize technology to effectively drive their initiatives around digitization, predictability, compliance, sustainability and traceability.

AWARDS INCLUDE: • SmartRisk was the winner of HDFC Bank Digital Innovation Summit 2018 • SmartFarm was awarded the ‘Best Innovation in Digital Farming Technology’ by Agrow Awards 2018, London • SmartFarm was named as the ‘Application Specialist’ at the Dell SME Channels Conclave and Awards 2018 • CropIn was named as the ‘Artificial Intelligence Champions in Agriculture’ by AI Connect 2018 • Received the ‘Judge’s Award for Creativity’ at the India-UK Tech Rocketship Awards • Honoured as the ‘Emerging Social Enterprise 2018’ by Institute For Competitiveness, an initiative by Prof. Michael Porter of Harvard Business School

“With consumers keen to know the origin of their food and how it was produced and processed, there was a need for transparency along the end-toend agribusiness supply chain,” explains Kumar. CropIn’s diverse set of clientele features some of the world’s biggest brands in various sectors including farming companies, FPOs, commodity traders and F&V exporters, agri-input companies, CSR arms of corporates, governments, NGOs and development agencies. The company has raised investments amounting to a total of USD 12 million till date. The current institutional investment partners are Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Strategic Investment Fund (London & Seattle), Chiratae Ventures (formerly IDG Partners), BEENEXT, Ankur Capital, and BSP Fund LLC.

www.cropin.com

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INNOVATIONS OF BENGALURU HEALTHTECH: SUPERDRUGS & NEXT GEN DIAGNOSTICS

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SCENES FROM THE VAIDYA’S OATH, A PLAY ABOUT ANTIMICROBIAL RESISTANCE (AMR) THAT WAS SUPPORTED BY A WELLCOME TRUST UK INTERNATIONAL ENGAGEMENT AWARD. IT IS ONE OF THREE PLAYS THAT PLAYWRIGHT GAUTAM RAJA WROTE FOR THEATRESCIENCE UK AND JAGRITI, IN CLOSE PARTNERSHIP WITH THE NATIONAL CENTRE FOR BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES (NCBS).

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MELDING AYURVEDA WITH MODERN MEDICINE Dr Muhammed Majeed has unlocked the mystery of herbs and offered it to the world. A research scientist and a passionate entrepreneur, Dr Majeed’s vision has taken social and commercial expressions in the field of health sciences, through the Bengaluru-based company Sami Labs and the US based Sabinsa Corporation, with subsidiaries across the globe. Delving deep into the science of herbs and using cutting-edge technology to convert them into modern drug form, Sami Labs holds 200 US and international patents, with 100 more in the pipeline. Founded by Dr Muhammed Majeed in 1991, an internationally acclaimed scientist and entrepreneur in the area of Alternative Medicine, Sami Labs is a research-oriented multinational health science company and a leading producer of nutraceuticals, cosmeceuticals, standardised herbal extracts, fine chemicals, specialty chemicals and probiotics. Dr Majeed emigrated to the US from India in 1975, with $8 in his pocket, a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy, and a head filled with dreams. While working for Pharma giants such as Pfizer and Carter Wallace, he acquired an MS in Industrial Pharmacy form Long Island University and a Ph D. from St. John’s University in the same field. “I wanted to start a generic company, but the US generic pharmaceutical industry was going through a turbulent time. So I turned my attention to natural products; I was always aware that Ayurveda had the answers to the ailments plaguing us,” Dr Majeed says. Using his knowledge of Industrial Pharmacy to convert herbs into modern drug form, he began by first standardising natural products with the clinical documentation required for the US market. “Though it did not actually come under the stringent regulations stipulated by the US for FDA approval, we believed maintaining comprehensive documentation helps us in the long run,” Dr Majeed says. But the transformation from a research-oriented health sciences company to a leading producer of nutraceuticals, cosmeceuticals, standardised herbal extracts and probiotics wasn’t an easy one. While he was sufficiently armed to innovate and create a genre of ‘alternative medicine’, the concept had not yet caught on in the US then. He set up the Sabinsa Corporation in New Jersey in 1988 to provide alternative and complementary natural products, using innovative approaches to human nutrition and well-being. In 1994-95, he introduced a program in the US, named Sabinsa on Wheels (SOW), inviting a minimum of 25 companies in each centre to a detailed scientific presentation of the products.

 Sami has seven state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities across the globe, equipped with a continuous extraction plant with 30-40 tones extraction capacity of herbal raw material per day. The closed solvent recovery system ensures that the environmental pollution due to the release of solvent vapors is diminished. It is the first company which installed a Supercritical Fluid Extraction facility in collaboration with IIT Bombay with Indian technology. In this technology, only liquid carbon dioxide is used in its supercritical stage as an extraction solvent.

Dr Majeed travelled along the American landscape, propagating his products, trying to convince Americans. They eventually started to accept them, thanks to his doctorate from one of America’s leading institutions. Since then, the company has expanded its operations in the US, and branched out to

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Australia, China, Europe, Indonesia, India, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, South Africa, South Korea, UAE and Vietnam. In 1991, Dr Majeed set up Sami Labs in Bengaluru, India, which does ground-breaking work in unlocking the mystery of herbs, extracting their goodness, and gifting it to the world — in short, marrying ancient Ayurveda and modern medicine. The success of Sabinsa-Sami Labs is due to its emphasis on Intellectual Property (IP) ownership. “I learnt the hard way that IP ownership and protection of any innovative product is key to a company’s success. If you are manufacturing in India and marketing abroad, you need to protect your innovation with an international patent. Otherwise, price competition will come from every corner of the world and you would have lost your edge. Moreover, if I don’t own the IP, there is no revenue coming in, which translates to lack of funds for research. I firmly believe that to stay ahead of the curve you have to own the IP first and then step into the market,” says Dr Majeed.

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the governments of India and USA, as well as by institutions in both countries. He was honoured with awards by the President of India during the years 1995, 1997 and 2008 for his pioneering and innovative research and creating export markets for products invented by him and manufactured in India. In 2002, Sami Labs was conferred the prestigious DSIR (Department of Scientific & Industrial Research) award, and in 2018, he was awarded the Shield of Honour by the Government of India. Dr.Majeed received the Ellis Island Medal of Honour from the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations (NECO) authorised by the US Congress in 2004 and the Daniel B. Stateman Award for Distinguished Alumni from Long Island University. More recently, he was chosen as the 2018 NutraChampion in the NutraIngredients Awards in association with VitaFoods Europe. The NutraChampion awards honour the biggest champions of the nutraceuticals sector.

To obtain quality raw material, Sami Labs started contract cultivation of medicinal plants since 2001. This enables the company to monitor and make improvements in the medicinal herb crop right from processing of seeds to harvesting. “It is a win-win situation for the company as well as farmers”, says Dr Majeed. New product introductions have always been on the priority list of Sami-Sabinsa Group, and Shaheen Majeed, President, Sabinsa Worldwide and Dr Majeed’s son, is spearheading expansion and R&D. The roadmap has new product introductions and higher emphasis on research. Sami Direct, its direct selling subsidiary, which was one of the first to introduce nutraceutical and cosmeceutical products with patented formulations, will also be in expansion mode, aiming at 50 retail brand stores in the Gulf region. Sami Labs will open a new active nutraceutical ingredient (ANI) facility in Hassan district of Karnataka this year.

 Shaheen Majeed, President, Sabinsa Worldwide, was just 17 when he began working in the warehouse of the company. Over the past 25 years, he has been involved in nearly everything that Sami-Sabinsa Group of Companies does, and has held a variety of positions representing the company’s substantial portfolio of proprietary nutritional and cosmeceutical ingredients. He oversees Sabinsa’s contract farming program to ensure best agricultural practices and fair pay for farmers, is deeply involved in the cGMP and regulatory compliance at their factories and offices throughout the world, and oversees GRAS status applications. He also oversees an extensive marketing programme, Latin America Business Development, and guides many clinical studies through the publishing process. He credits his father for showing him that “with determination and hard work, nothing is impossible.”

 Johara is a range of lush cosmetics developed by Sami Labs and is made of botanical extracts.

AWARDS: For his pioneering work in health sciences, Dr Majeed and his company have been feted by

 Sami Labs research facility has over 120 scientists involved in specialised work in areas of phytochemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry, tissue culture, and plant biotechnology.

www.samilabs.com

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SUPERBUGS, BEGONE! “The introduction of the next generation of antibiotics such as GYROX will hopefully give mankind the next 100 years of good health.” V. Balasubramanian, President – Research & Development & Executive Director, Bugworks Research In the forefront of a global antibiotic revolution is an innovative deep science startup that’s developing a new class of antibiotics for targeting deadly Gram-negative bacterial infections. Thanks to this company’s revolutionary work, the world can look forward to a renewed push to develop stronger antibiotics to improve human health. Bengaluru-based Bugworks Research India Private Limited is marching towards anticipated success, and its goal is a breakthrough in innovating a new line of antibiotics for combating Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR).

 Dr. V Balasubramanian with the Bugworks core team: Dr Shahul Hameed, VP - Discovery, Dr. Anand Anandkumar, CEO & MD, and Dr. Santanu Dutta, Chief Scientific Officer & Executive Director

Points out V. Balasubramanian, President – Research & Development & Executive Director, “Antibiotics discovered in the first half of 20th century gave us many decades of improved human health, and they have made modern clinical practice possible. The world’s population has trebled since their introduction with the average life expectancy nearly doubling and infant mortality more than halving during this period.” The last novel antibiotic to treat Gram negative infections was discovered more than 55 years ago. Since then, there has been a manifold rise in drugresistant bacterial pathogens while the antibiotic pipeline lacks new mechanisms against them. The numbers reveal the magnitude of the problem: Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 1 in 25 patients worldwide will acquire an infection as a result of their hospital stay; 10 million deaths will occur worldwide if antibiotic resistance is left unchecked, costing the world $100 trillion by 2050. The mortality numbers in India are staggering, with nearly 250,000 dying per year owing to drug-resistant infections, of which one fourth are neonates. Here’s where Bugworks hopes to ride into the rescue by engineering a new class of antibiotics targeting Gram negative bacteria, it aims to be the premier innovator of safe, effective and robust antibiotics. Its antibiotics are designed to be significantly immune to bacterial resistance and

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work on all known forms of drug resistant bacteria. Bugworks’ novel bacterial topoisomerase inhibitors (GYROX) are a new class of antibacterial agents that promise to be very effective against a broad spectrum of drug-resistant bacterial pathogens. A bacterial cell is like a fortress and getting the antibiotic inside the cell has always been a challenge. Bugworks has risen to it by developing the platform, “ELUDE™” by which the inhibitors are able to go into bacterial cell via ‘stealth-mode’ and perform their task of killing the bacterial cell. The GYROX class emerging from the ELUDE™ platform is well differentiated from the competition and has the potential to treat and cure bio-threat, community, and hospital infections identified as critical and high priority pathogens by the WHO in 2017. GYROX will target AMR that is plaguing both developed and developing countries. The firm’s overarching goal is to go after superbugs with its new line of antibiotics. Bugworks was formed in 2014 and incubated within the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms, (C-CAMP), a premier facility that supports deep science startups. Anand Anandkumar, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) & Managing Director (MD), formerly the founder of Cellworks, a computational modelling firm in the biotechnology industry and Santanu Datta, Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) & Executive Director (ED), ex-AstraZeneca and Cellworks, teamed up with V Balasubramanian, President (R&D) & ED, who was also with AstraZeneca’s R&D centre in Bengaluru, to focus on anti-infection drug discovery. This led to the birth of Bugworks.

To fund its efforts, the company has raised more than $9 million in Series A funding, with participation from University of Tokyo Edge Capital (UTEC), Japan, Acquipharma Holdings, South Africa & 3ONE4 Capital, India. It has been strongly backed by CARB-X, a premier public-private partnership organization “pushing” anti-bacterial drug discovery research to combat AMR. The company’s early backers included globally reputed angels like Dr. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, chairperson and managing director, Biocon. CB Insights picked Bugworks as one of the top 36 innovators across the world for 2019, and India’s Economic Times awarded it the ET Top Innovator Award 2017.

The internal model followed by Bugworks is modular and collaborative with more than 20 global, world-class partners which lends great collateral integrity to the entire process of innovation. With such a novel operating ecosystem, the company can join hands with other experienced partners to take the product to market.

www.bugworksresearch.com

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ALLERGY MONITOR “Improving patient care through research, education and by developing cutting-edge technologies that serve our clients and customers worldwide, is what our company primarily focuses on.” Indoor Biotechnologies founders Dr. Sivasankar Baalasubramanian, Dr. James Hindley & Dr. Martin Chapman

These distinguished credentials aside, what makes Indoor Biotech different from its peers? The answer is, its solid focus on the identification and monitoring of allergens. This is important because allergens are the main cause of breathing diseases such as asthma. In India, asthma disproportionately affects children in urban areas and also those from lower socio-economic groups, with substandard living conditions. Furthermore, a general dearth of allergen-monitoring tools has led to the absence of regulatory guidelines on monitoring and controlling the usage of allergens present in packaged food products’ ingredients. Reducing allergy triggers is the first step in controlling the spread of asthma and other related conditions. The company develops products and services pertaining to allergies, asthma, indoor air quality, environmental sciences, and various kinds of allergens, for both consumer and academic requirements. Soon, Indoor will have a complete technology suite comprising a portfolio of antibodies that can detect allergens in a variety of biological entities and specimens including cats, dogs, mold, food, house dust mites, cockroaches and other allergens. The only provider of allergen-monitoring tools in India and South East Asia, Indoor Biotechnologies is a global leader in environmental allergendetection systems. Its services are sorely needed, with the number of allergy sufferers crossing 350 million in India alone. Due to rapid urbanization and the pollution that comes with it, India has been recording an increasing number of patients with allergic reactions, who suffer from asthma. Incubated in 2015, Indoor Biotechnologies India uses cutting edge technologies to develop allergen monitoring for dust, air, food, diagnostic and clinical preparations. It designs the monitoring tools to be used at one go, which results in an economically viable process, enabling it to target a wider customer base. It was the first company to occupy space at the Bangalore Bioinnovation Centre, a leading bio-cluster with state-of-the-art incubation infrastructure. Indoor Biotechnologies was founded by Dr. Sivasankar Baalasubramanian (India), Dr. James Hindley (UK) & Dr. Martin Chapman (USA). Dr. Balasubramanian and Dr. Hindley both have Ph.Ds in Immunology, from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi, and the School of Medicine, Cardiff University in the UK, respectively. Dr. Chapman is a former Professor of Medicine and Microbiology at the University of Virginia and a Fellow of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.

 The bioplex reader is used for developing assays on the luminex xMAP technology. The technology allows multiple ELISAs to be integrated into one assay.

www.inbio.com

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TRANSFORMING MEDICAL INDUSTRY WITH 3D

Incubated at Bangalore Bioinnovation Centre, Next Big Innovation Labs has a team of cross-functional founders: Alok Medikepura Anil, Ratandeep Singh Bansal, Piyush Padmanabhan and Pooja Venkatesh, who joined hands to leverage 3D Bioprinting technology for advancing the field. Can you imagine zero wait times for an organ transplant? This may soon be possible, thanks to the work being done by the pioneering biotech company, Next Big Innovation Labs (NBIL). It is making exceptional use of disruptive 3D Bioprinting technology to revolutionise pharmaceutical, clinical and cosmetic Research and Development (R&D).

testing along with the creation of customised treatments and therapies. Integrating 3D Bioprinting technology into different industries helps in eliminating the need for animal or human testing, a concern that many companies are still grappling with today.

NBIL’s proprietary printer, Trivima, is set to transform many traditional areas of medical research and practice, like bone regeneration, wound healing and new material development. It all boils down to NBIL’s vision which, according to Alok Medikepura Anil, NBIL’s Cofounder & Director, is “to empower the global medical community by creating transplantable organs in the laboratory”.

NBIL aims at creating a paradigm shift in the traditional R&D domain by partnering with inventive companies to develop Biotechnology and Bio-automation hardware. “NBIL, with its 3D Bioprinting platform, expertise, collaborations, and products, will enable the industry to leapfrog ahead”, says Anil. One of its long-term goals is to continually create ground-breaking products for the medical R&D community in India and abroad. It opened its second business office in Germany in August 2018.

NBIL’s proprietary 3D Bioprinting technology has opened up remarkable possibilities for numerous interdisciplinary applications. It also allows for quicker and more efficient drug

“Our lab works at the intersection of engineering and biotechnology”, says Anil. This is evident, with NBIL having partnered with professionals in the field of medical surgery,

to develop novel applications for supporting Maxillofacial surgeons in their work. NBIL’s use of 3D Bioprinting technology has helped medical professionals plan highly complex surgeries far more accurately than before. The company is geared-up to continue innovating in 2019, with its soon-to-belaunched product, Innoskin, a 3D Bio-oriented skin tissue which can be used in place of actual human tissue in testing activities by FMCG and pharmaceutical companies. Developed in-house, NBIL claims that Innoskin will provide a viable and ethical option for the R&D needs of various companies. Some awards and achievements of NBIL include getting recognised under the Startup India Scheme in 2016, winning the India Innovation Growth Program 2.0 in 2017, being judged the top startup at BioAsia 2018 and getting selected for Merck Pharmaceutical’s Accelerator Program at Darmstadt, Germany in 2018.

www.nextbiglab.com

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MOBILE DIAGNOSTICS “The healthcare industry and society around us are moving towards a digital world, and so it just makes sense for innovators like us to bring the digital transformation into diagnostics as well.” Sidhant Jena and Michal Depa, Co-founders, Jana Care

 Working with a partner, Jana Care screened 50,000 people for diabetes (HbA1c tests) at the Kumbh Mela 2019 in Prayagraj. The event is one of the largest religious pilgrimages in the world and millions of practicing Hindus congregate for a dip at the confluence of 3 sacred rivers.

A mobile connected device offers quick and easy tests for diabetes, congestive heart failure and chronic kidney disease. The story began when Sidhant Jena, an MBA student at Harvard Business School met Michal Depa and AJ Kumar, both graduate scholars from MIT, at an MIT Volunteer Research Group which was working on a challenge posed by Dr Devi Shetty, a reputed Indian cardiac surgeon and a pioneer in using tech for accessing healthcare. Dr. Shetty had asked if students could build a smartphone app that could be used by health workers in remote corners of India to screen for oral cancer and cardiovascular diseases. This was in 2009, when Android (a mobile operating system developed by Google) had just been launched. Their prototype Aina, became one of the largest chronic disease screening programmes in the world and eventually led to the trio setting up Jana Care, a medical R&D company to make mobile diagnostic devices for screening, monitoring and managing chronic medical

conditions. Founded in 2009, the company consists of an interdisciplinary team of engineers, designers, medical professionals and behavioral scientists. Incubated at the Bangalore Bioinnovation Centre, this cutting-edge company is working towards “bringing digital transformation into diagnostics,” says Jena. “While a traditional diagnostic laboratory could take up to 48 hours to provide test results, the Aina device can email and SMS the test report to patients immediately after running the test.” Aina’s growing menu of tests includes HbA1c, NT-proBNP, blood glucose, lipid profile and haemoglobin. The entire process takes less than 5 minutes and unfolds as follows: a paper-based test strip collects blood from the patient and is fed into the device, which further reads the signals and connects to your smartphone to merge into a seamless diagnostic platform. Finally, biomarker data from the Aina is used to deliver personalized care plans to patients through a digital coaching programme called Habits.

What causes this handy device to stand out is its affordability and efficiency, making it a potential game changer in the field of diagnostics and disease management, both globally as well as in the country. The Aina station comes with integrated patient registration and check-in, connected cloud-based EMR (Electronic Medical Records) and a doctor app for a comprehensive healthcare experience. Moreover, the costs of the expensive equipment and capital-intensive manufacturing associated with laboratories are reduced drastically, paving the way towards sustainable, small-scale diagnosis facilities. The integrated Habits app is a valuable component of the Aina device, helping patients reach their diet and exercise goals through personalized daily checklists including tips, tasks, lessons and quizzes. In a testament to its acclaim, Jana Care has raised around US$10 million in venture capital funding and grants since its inception. It is all set to launch serum creatinine testing later this year.

www.janacare.com

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HUMAN TISSUES IN A LAB “We are continuously evolving, learning from the changes in the field itself over a decade. Emerging technologies such as stem cells, gene editing, ‘smart- materials’ have given us better ability to control cell fate and function, to make building blocks of life.” Arun Chandru and Tuhin Bhowmick, Co-Founders, Pandorum Technologies

Addressing the severe nationwide concern of cornea blindness, a Bengalurubased startup is developing bio-engineered human cornea and 3D printed human tissues that can be significant contributors in the fields of regenerative therapy and drug development.

Pandorum’s technology enables cornea treatment without the need for specialized surgeons. “One cornea treats one person. With our approach, one cornea material would be able to treats 5-7 people. Hence, better utilization of human tissues expanding to larger number of people,” says Bhowmick.

Founded in 2011, by the Indian Institute of Science Ph.D graduates Arun Chandru and Tuhin Bhowmick, Pandorum Technologies designs and manufactures 3D functional human tissues for medical research and therapeutics. “Our idea was to make a second skin, a material that can mimic the properties of skin for efficient healing of wounds. As the idea took shape, we finally landed up with a material that can be used as a platform technology for bio-ink with which we started manufacturing different kinds of tissues in a laboratory,” says Bhowmick.

The company has no close competitors in the country. Pandorum’s list of awards includes the prestigious Top Innovator award 2017 at the ET Startup awards, and the BioExcellence award by the Government of Karnataka in 2016. Pandorum received the Biotechnology Ignition Grant (BIG) from Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), and has recently raised Rs 23 crores in Series A funding from 021 Capital, IAN Fund, Sunil Munjal and others. It is also backed by Binny Bansal and the Kotak Investment Advisory Group.

Incubated at the Bangalore Bioinnovation Centre, Pandorum’s core focus areas include designing and manufacturing 3D human liver organoids as a platform for pre-clinical drug discovery and development at a reduced cost, time, and risk and developing bioengineered cornea for human implantation. “It is a continuous process of evolution to innovation. We first started with domain patents, generating domain technology, then we started to specialize in these two specific tissues,” adds Bhowmick.

The bioengineered cornea is currently in the trial phase. “Before it goes inside the human body, it has to go through a series of safety and efficacy studies. In the next 3-4 years, liquid cornea should come to reality, to the patients,” says Bhowmick. Pandorum’s ambitions don’t stop with the eye, the company aims to build complex human tissue or organs.

The company uses molecular ‘legos’ to build complex structures with cell assembly, micro-patterning, and 3D printing at its technological core. “The common denominator to our approach towards engineered tissue (liver and cornea) is bio-inspired design. We are inspired by the learnings from nature and try to understand how to build molecular ‘legos’ - building blocks for our lab-grown tissues. Cells, gels and modulator molecules are the components of our formulations,” he explains.

www.pandorumtechnologies.in

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GLOVE THAT DETECTS EPILEPSY “Empathy is one of our core values. We combine this with our focus on innovative technology, enabling us to more effectively understand what our target users, be it doctors, caregivers, patients or general consumers, really want.” Rajlakshmi Borthakur, Founder & CEO, Terra Blue

 TJay is a patent-pending IoT solution for the holistic management of epilepsy.

 Xaant is Terrablue’s patent-pending wearable device that can be worn as a strap or as smart jewellery.

Epilepsy has affected over 50 million people worldwide, and is one of the world’s most common neurological conditions. It could be fatal if detected late and left untreated.

runs in the cloud, syncing with the wearable device to provide real-time alerts before the onset of an epileptic seizure. What’s unique about this solution is its versatility, combined with its primary purpose of predicting the onset of epilepsy. It records information from the body and passes it on to the mobile app. The data, stored on the cloud, can prove immensely valuable for understanding patterns behind seizures, along with helping gauge the severity of an attack to assess if it is life-threatening.

Against this background, a Bengaluru-based startup has come up with an innovative solution for the detection and treatment of epilepsy. Terra Blue is a young, socially responsible organisation focused on leveraging technological innovations to bring positive changes to the lives of people with chronic health disorders. Incubated at the Bangalore Bioinnovation Centre, Terra Blue has worked towards creating a holistic Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem, combining proprietary hardware and software for coming up with innovative solutions to understand and manage chronic and neurological disorders.

The company had its genesis in 2015, when Rajlakshmi Borthakur, mother to a young boy named Tejas, contended with the problem of how she could receive preemptive indication of her son’s epileptic seizures. Starting with a simple attempt to create a prototype for the early detection of epilepsy, through the use of bio-medical sensors and means to alert caregivers of an impending seizure, Terra Blue was born in 2016.

The company’s flagship product is a wearable device called TJay, a patentpending IoT solution for the holistic management of epilepsy. It is a twopart solution, consisting of a glove with embedded biomedical sensors and a Machine Learning (ML) / Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based mobile app that

In the future, the firm intends to get into other areas of healthcare technology as well, such as cardiac care, provision of continued support to caregivers and even implantable devices. The company posits that combining AI with robotics is likely to be a key step in furthering the healthcare revolution.

www.teblux.com

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PROBING MOLECULES

“We are introducing new paradigms in disease diagnostics.” Dr. Govindaraju and Dr. Meher Prakash, co-founders, VNIR Biotechnologies

Pushing the envelope in medical imaging, a Deep Science start up is evolving new paradigms in disease diagnostics, to make a strong, positive impact on global health. While medical professionals are able to look at blood and other biological samples under high-powered microscopes and arrive at the right diagnoses to enable appropriate treatment, ‘molecular probes’ are a niche concept, not too commonly known outside technical circles. Going all the way down to the molecular level for useful imaging, however, has far-reaching implications for medical diagnostics, but is a challenge that present-day technology is still grappling with. Against this background, one company has set out to create a paradigm shift in this area of medical expertise. Viable Near Infra Red (VNIR) Biotechnologies in Bengaluru is one of the few Indian companies engaged in developing molecular probe technology to combat conditions that require a more in-depth diagnosis to be understood and treated better. VNIR was conceived in 2017 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) and incubated at the Bangalore Bioinnovation Centre. It derives its name from what it leverages to innovate and develop all its products - Near Infra Red (NIR) emission, a ground-breaking new technology in molecular probes. The advantage this technology offers is enhanced safety for both its users, as well as when it comes to live cell imaging. The VNIR molecular probes are capable of detecting ranges from reactive oxygen species to identify stress markers and even DNA, proteins like albumin and organelles like mitochondria, among others. “VNIR had always imagined a dual impact - firstly on the research community and secondly in diagnostics”, say co-founders, Dr. Govindaraju and Dr. Meher Prakash. It has evolved a unique line of products designed for live cell imaging and diagnosing diseases in their early stages. “Malaria diagnostics especially via point of care devices has been limited because all the technologies focused on imaging; by calibrating fluorescence readout with infection level, we are developing a new way of doing point of care diagnostics with Malaria. Alzheimer’s has remained an enigma because there are no ways of effectively detecting it. VNIR molecular probes can detect Alzheimer’s plaques with high sensitivity without any confusion with other neurodegenerative diseases.” The company received the ELEVATE100 Grant from the Government of Karnataka in 2017, and has also been awarded the Biotechnology Innovation Grant (BIG) by India’s Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC).

 VNIR makes molecular probes for use by researchers in industry and academia, and for OEMs to evolve diagnostics.

www.vnir.life

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YOSTRA: PUTTING THE RIGHT FOOT FORWARD TO FIGHT DIABETES “Our work has a far-reaching impact in the domain of public health and we are commited to solving important healthcare problems through cutting-edge innovation that is practical and costeffective.” Yostra founders

Yostra Labs Private Limited is a healthcare technology firm that pioneers smart devices for diabetics, aligned to its vision of making healthcare more affordable and sustainable for developing markets, without compromising on effectiveness. The company has been working to leverage technology for enhanced Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy screening and Diabetic Foot Ulcer treatment, the need of the hour in India which accounted for 72 million cases of diabetes in 2017; this number is estimated to almost double by 2025, to 134 million cases. Incubated at the Bangalore Bioinnovation Centre, Yostra was founded in 2014 by an interdisciplinary team of clinicians, designers and engineers including Vinayak Nandalike, Ram Mohan Rao, Dr. Maruthy and Dr. Sanjay Sharma. Yostra’s trademarked portable foot assessment

device,

NEURO

TOUCH,

was

developed to help doctors and foot care experts check for indicators of peripheral neuropathy among diabetes patients. Its ability to assess the

Yostra’s diagnostic device is battery-powered and can be charged via micro-USB. Furthermore, it is Bluetooth-enabled, which helps doctors generate reports in real time. It even comes with a cloud storage application to let users transfer, store and print test results remotely, which makes it portable in the truest sense of the term. Its portability ensures that it can be used anywhere, from homes to hospitals and even in primary health centres or outreach camps. In 2016, the company won the Karnataka IT.Biz Top 25 Innovators Award; it won the Medicall Innovation Award’s Silver Plaque the very next year. In 2018, it was recognised at the prestigious NASSCOM Design4India Summit. With NEURO TOUCH having completed clinical validation, Yostra is now working towards commercialising the product. The success that it has enjoyed so far has motivated it to develop another unique product - Kadam which means ‘step’, an apt name for a therapeutic device for helping reduce the healing time for patients with Diabetic Foot Ulcers.

affected areas of a patient’s feet using multiple diagnostic parameters is of immense value to medical professionals, helping them discover early signs of foot problems caused by diabetes and arrive at a holistic assessment of diabetic neuropathy progression.

 NEURO TOUCH, developed by Yostra, is an affordable and cutting-edge point of care screening device to help in the diagnosis of peripheral neuropathy in patients with diabetes.

www.yostra.com

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PRIVACY SCREENING “The Niramai solution is a simple affordable way of detecting early stage breast cancer in all women. Our vision is to save many lives by enabling early detection of critical diseases in an affordable and non-invasive way.” Dr. Geetha Manjunath, CEO

Breast cancer is the largest form of cancer found in women today, and kills 75,000 women every year in India. Offering radiation-free, noncontact and non-invasive breast cancer screening test, Bengaluru based Niramai is radically impacting healthcare for women with an AI based computer aided diagnostic engine. “The unfortunate part is that 90-95 percent of the deaths could have been prevented through early screening”, says Dr Geetha Manjunath, CEO, Niramai. While early detection is key to improve survival rates and reduce treatment cost, cancer detection tests can’t be used safely for regular screening, and some testing procedures can be extremely uncomfortable and painful. There is also no test that can detect early stage malignancy in women under 45 years of age. Niramai has developed a novel patented technique called Thermalytix™, a fusion of machine learning and advanced thermal imaging, which can detect early stage cancer in women of all age groups. The test can be used in hospitals and diagnostic centres for preventive health checkups; being portable and affordable, it can be used in outreach programmes and corporate camps as well. Since it

requires minimal skills to operate, it can dramatically change the efficiency of screening and save many lives. Co-founded by Dr. Manjunath and Nidhi Mathur in 2016 and functional from January 2017, within an year of the launch of the solution, the company expects its test to be used as a standard preventive screening tool across the country making breast cancer detection accessible to every woman. Niramai’s tests are currently available in 6 hospitals in Bengaluru and one each in Pune, Dehradun, Mysuru, Hyderabad and Mumbai. It’s working with hospitals and diagnostic labs in three Indian states and plans to expand this year to other parts of the country, before foraying internationally. Niramai has won several national and international accolades. It was one of the only four Indian startups invited to participate in the Google Launchpad Accelerator Class 5 in San Francisco. It was also selected by Philips for their first edition of HealthWorks programme in India. The company won the Amazon AI Award in Healthcare category, BNP Paribas award for Best Startup in Preventive Healthcare, and Best Startup in Indian Cancer Congress.

www.niramai.com

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SCREENING CANCER THROUGH AI “Our company aims to take the lab to every woman, not the other way around.” Adarsh Natarajan, Founder, Aindra Systems

A country of more than 1.37 billion people and a technology powerhouse, India still imports close to 70 percent of its medical devices. An Artificial Intelligence powered medical technology company has its eyes set on changing that. Aindra Systems has a goal: to democratise access to quality healthcare using innovative medical technologies by making it accessible and affordable at scale. Incubated at the Bangalore Bioinnovation Centre, a leading bio-cluster with state-of-the-art incubation infrastructure, Aindra’s primary focus is to create novel solutions for combating fatal conditions. It have devised an AI-powered, computational pathology platform which can be deployed in point-of-care settings, using evidence-based testing. CervAstra, women can head over to their local clinics or primary healthcare centres and get screened for cervical cancer with a standard PAP smear sample.

Adarsh Natarajan, an IIM Bangalore graduate, founded Aindra in late 2012 with a vision to use deep technology to solve healthcare problems, which the company has been working towards since inception.

Since the entire screening and reporting occurs at the point-of-care centre, this affordable and accessible technology has wide-ranging applications especially for rural areas and developing countries like India, where instances of cervical cancer are higher in villages. Aindra has been the recipient of many Indian and international awards and sponsorships, including the RICH Cancer Innovation Award from the Government of Telangana, the IGNITE programme at Cambridge University, UK and Slush 2018 in Helsinki, Finland. Aindra was also recognised at the Bengaluru Tech Summit in 2018.

What makes Aindra stand out among its peers is the focus on women’s health in India. Cervical cancer is the second most common type of cancer in India, resulting in more than 74,000 deaths in a year. CervAstra, its intelligent screening system developed to detect cervical cancer, will allow women to get screened at their local clinic and walk right out with their report in hand. “The colossal mortality rate of cervical cancer, a condition that can be avoided if diagnosed early on, is what led us to develop CervAstra,” says Natarajan.

Aindra’s larger vision is to transform healthcare accessibility by leveraging the power of computational pathology. It soon plans to extend their AI platform to help with the treatment of oral cancer, prostate cancer, blood cancer, and even malaria.

A high number of fatalities can be avoided simply by putting smarter cancer detection technology at point-of-care centres. With the deployment of

www.aindra.in

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ANCIENT MEDICINE, MODERN TOOLS “Our mission is to be a premiere research organisation in the field of phyto-pharmaceuticals and develop new products for human healthcare.” Dr. Latha Damle, Founder & VP - R&D, Atrimed Biotech

Working in the field of drug development and human health by corroborating ancient medical concepts through modern methods, this pioneer in phytotechnology has a comprehensive new approach to finding novel plant-based therapeutics. Atrimed Biotech was started in July 2016 by Dr. Latha Damle and her partners, with a vision to perform cutting edge combinatorial research in the fields of phytochemistry, bioinformatics and human immunology for therapeutic applications. The company has been incubated at the Bangalore Bioinnovation Centre since early 2017. Atrimed takes advantage of ancient wisdom such as Ayurveda, validating it through modern techniques. “Our products are all based on traditional knowledge adapted for the present, using cutting-edge technology”, says Dr. Damle. The company focuses on high quality Research and Development (R&D) and conducts pioneering work in the fields of phytochemistry and biotechnology. It partners with pharmaceutical companies to conduct research on ancient medical and healthcare concepts using modern day techniques and methodologies, seeking to

 Atrimed will soon have market-ready products for the treatment of psoriasis and acne, using plant-based remedies in the emerging field of phytotechnology. validate them for developing new and effective pharmaceutical products for therapeutic use and treatments. Its research into plant-based therapeutics is geared towards developing products for different kinds of inflammation-driven skin diseases including acne and psoriasis - a chronic skin condition that affects around 100 million people worldwide. Expensive to treat, with each patient spending thousands of dollars on average, psoriasis has a high prevalence and in less developed countries, can also lead to social discrimination and in turn, financial losses for those afflicted by it. Atrimed’s work on developing low-cost, safe and topical medication for this condition can prove a boon to psoriasis patients. Its innovative research model uses ‘insilico’ platform in conjunction with other

biotechnological methods and tools, that helps test and validate different plant-based drug-like molecules. The platform is just as viable for research into therapeutics for other diseases and conditions including but not limited to hypertension, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis. The company has ongoing, comprehensive studies on diseases involving cancer immune checkpoints and antimicrobial resistance targets, among other aspects. Atrimed has received funds from the Government of India and has also bagged research grants from the Government of Karnataka. In 2017, the company was awarded through ‘Elevate 100’ and received funding from Karnataka Biotechnology and Information Technology Services (KBITS) and the very next year, received the Biotechnology Ignition Grant (BIG) from India’s Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC).

www.atrimedbiotech.com

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HELPING PEOPLE BREATHE “COEO Labs is one of the few companies which makes new products from scratch. Our products are patented in multiple countries.” Nitesh Kumar Jangir, Co-Founder

Ventilator associated pneumonia is one of the most common and the most critical hospital-acquired infections with extremely high mortality rates (42%). Close to 50 million patients across the world enter intensive care units (ICUs) annually, and 19 million patients get on long-term ventilation (over 48 hours), while 31% of them develop VAP during their stay in the ICU. Not only does it lead to 2.5 million deaths annually, it puts stress on ICUs and also increases the cost of treatment. COEO Labs, a Bengaluru based medical device company co-founded by Nitesh Kumar Jangir and Nachiket Deval, develops products for clinical needs in the field of emergency and critical care, and has an innovative solution to this serious problem. VAPCare is the world’s only intelligent secretions and oral hygiene management device that can prevent ventilator associated pneumonia. VAPCare is a patented AI based comprehensive and intelligent secretion management and oral hygiene system for ventilated patients in the ICU. This system

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 VAPCare takes care of both secretions as well as oral hygiene management, and can be put on patients without disconnecting them from the ventilator.

eliminates the need for constant human interaction between caregiver and patient to prevent the chances of cross infection. COEO Labs has also developed another innovative device, Saans (which means breath in Hindi) to help babies with Respiratory Distress Syndrome (RDS). Each year more than 400,000 babies with RDS are born in India, the majority in non-tertiary care settings.

incubated at C-Camp. Its products have won several awards; VAPCare has won the goAustria Award, MassChallenge Boston and Top 16 healthcare technology global by the American College of Cardiology, among others while Saans has won the 3M CII Innovators Award, Millennium Alliance: FICCI USAID TBD, Tata Social Enterprise Challenge among others. Jangir was the only healthcare entrepreneur to be featured in the Forbes India 30 Under 30 list, 2019.

 Saans is the only CPAP machine which can work without electricity and pressurized gas.

Saans has the potential to save thousands of babies; about a third of the babies with RDS, die each year during transport to a care unit. Currently in use are bulky Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines that require electricity and skilled manpower to operate. Saans is a lightweight, portable, neonatal CPAP, and can be powered in multiple ways - through batteries, compressed gases, an ambulance’s DC electrical supply, as well as manually by anyone with minimum skills. Saans was launched in late 2018. With grants from the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India and the Millenium Alliance, COEO Labs has received funds from InnAccel Technologies and was

www.coeo.in

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EYEING A CURE

Eyestem aims to be the leading company in the space for allogeneic cell therapy for incurable diseases of the eye. We aim to disrupt the cell therapy ecosystem by creating products that are accessible and affordable for patients worldwide. Dr. Jogin Desai, Founder & Chief Executive Officer

Biotech company Eyestem is working in the area of cell and gene therapy to cure two hitherto incurable diseases of the eye, macular degeneration which is the leading cause of blindness for people above 50, and retinitis pigmentosa, a key genetic cause of blindness in kids. Says Founder & Chief Executive Officer Dr. Jogin Desai, “Cell and gene therapies are aiming at curing incurable diseases worldwide and Eyestem is leading the

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charge for two incurable diseases of the eye in India. We are one of a handful of

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The company has received positive efficacy data for EyecyteRPE - its lead product to treat dry, age related macular degeneration. The study was done by Dr. Trevor McGill at the Oregon Health and Science University in the RCS rat model. Buoyed by this data, Eyestem is now moving forward to do animal toxicology studies and manufacturing.

companies worldwide who have this kind of capability.� The company was founded in late 2015 by people with a unique combination of business management, medical and cell therapy skills. While Jogin Desai is a doctor, he is also a veteran at nurturing businesses. The team includes Dr.

It has also filed a unique patent for a unified protocol which can create photoreceptors and retinal pigment epithelium from a common methodology. This unique approach will save the company significant costs down the line as it gets into manufacturing, and helps its vision for affordable, accessible therapy. It aims to start human clinical trials for this product in 2020.

Mahendra Rao, member of the board and Chairman of Scientific Board, who is internationally renowned for his research in stem cells and regenerative medicine, Dr. Dhruv Sareen, Co-founder & Science Officer, the founding director of the Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell (iPSC) Core at the Cedars-Sinai BOG-RMI, and Dr. Rajani Battu, Co-founder & Chief Medical Officer, who is the Chief of Ophthalmology at Aster CMI Hospital.

Eyestem has also collaborated with the National Institute of Immunology, New Delhi and will start animal studies in H1 2019 for its photoreceptor product to treat retinitis pigmentosa.

The company is looking to create allogeneic cell therapy which is accessible and affordable. Currently, cell therapy products are being priced in the West at $250,000 and above which is not affordable for India. Based in Bengaluru

It is expected to greatly benefit patients once in the market. The same therapy could be extended to other sites/organs in the body. Using its science, process and business expertise, it aims to develop scalable cell replacement products to benefit patients worldwide.

at the Centre for Cellular And Molecular Platforms (C-CAMP), Eyestem has collaborations ongoing with University of Portland and the Buck Institute in Novato, CA to carry out animal efficacy studies.

www.eyestem.com

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ACCURATE DIAGNOSTICS HOME DELIVERED Delivering accurate and efficient health diagnostics at home is proving to be a healthy business.

The future of healthcare diagnostics is at home. Grabbing a slice of this market segment estimated to be worth $4 billion, with an anticipated 20 percent CAGR, is 5th Vital, a Bengaluru-based healthcare startup. Its model is to collect diagnostic samples from one’s doorstep and email the report, all in a span of just 24 hours.

Founders Harjot Sidhu, Dr. Waseem Afsar, and Pratap Chandra

phlebotomists from the company collect the samples from the patient’s home as per the WHO protocols. 5th Vital’s fully automated labs process the collected samples, and the report is sent back to the patient online, on the same day in most cases. All the vital steps in the process are strictly monitored by their field force management app. “We are a full stack player taking responsibility of each and every sample we collect from customer. We get repeat tests done in case of reporting errors and refund the money to the customers,” Dr. Waseem adds.

Bengaluru was the starting place for the company whose growth is fuelled by the growth of a time-starved working class. Having expanded its operations to Pune, it has 13,000 customers across the two cities and has performed over 78,000 tests. Convenience, affordability and accessibility are its key offerings, say the founders, Pratap Chandra, Harjot Sidhu, Dr. Waseem Afsar, and Praveen Potluri, who were earlier colleagues at Callhealth, and found that they were bitten by the entrepreneurship bug.

“Our asset-light model is highly scalable and rapidly deployable,” he says. With an annual growth rate of over 1,100 percent, 5th Vital is planning to cross the threshold of 2,000 samples per day in 2019. Customer satisfaction, fast turnaround times and low customer acquisition cost are playing a crucial role in making this happen.

Employed professionals above the age of 30, who don’t have the time to visit a diagnostic lab, are the firm’s key customer group. It also has a registered customer base of more than 100,000, which is growing regularly. “Our customers need not travel to labs for their tests; the lab comes to their home. This model has also enabled our lab to operate 24 X 7,” says Dr. Waseem Afsar in this interview with Aditya Mendonca. The company’s offerings are diverse, including health checks, health camps, on-site body fluid collection services, vaccination for adults, and medical examinations report (MER) as needed by pre-employment health checks and insurance companies. A patient can book an appointment in multiple ways, including the company’s website, WhatsApp or the firm’s call centre. Expert

www.5thvital.com

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BREATHING MADE EASIER Working on new products in India’s booming preventive healthcare market, Version2 Healthcare India’s vision is to set a global benchmark in the healthcare and wellness industry.

Managing Director, Girish Ramanathan

Director, Vedanth Girish A young healthcare startup is focused on helping people breathe easily with the world’s first nasal wash, Clear Nasal. This is a rinse that helps clear excess mucus, bacteria, allergens and other irritants from upper respiratory passages and promotes better breathing. This patented product is made by Version2 Healthcare India, a company focused on building technologies in healthcare space, which was founded by the father-son duo of Girish Ramanathan and Vedanth Girish. Between the 26-year-old entrepreneur and the 54-year-old seasoned businessperson, they work to find a balance between the traditional and modern methods of creating an impact.

pollution levels, Vedanth Girish set about finding a way to assuage the problem. His discovery was a nasal wash. “The nose is the most important organ in our body; it works 24/7 even when we rest. On an average, a person breathes 11,000 litres of air per day, and every organ in your body is impacted with every breath. But 1 out of 5 people have breathing difficulties at least once a year”, says Vedanth to Aditya Mendonca. ClearNasal wash is an all natural nosewash, consisting of a ph balanced solution made for adults and children over 10 years old, and can be used by pregnant and nursing mothers and people on other medications. In some cases, daily use has reduced snoring and swelling of nasal

Rewind to 2014 when they were looking to understand the next gen market in the country. They realised that the future lay in preventive healthcare, and that nasal hygiene could emerge as an important market. Alarmed by rising

membranes. The bottle and cap (the cap design is patented by the company) deliver a gentle positive pressure flow to wash away the excess mucus, pollutants and bacteria from the upper respiratory nasal passages.

Their emphasis, says Girish, is on ‘preventive medicine’. “People get medicines when they are ill but our solution is to offer a way that prevents you from falling sick. ClearNasal has been helping people live healthier and breathe better by ensuring their breathing tracts are completely cleared out. It has helped 20,000 people in just 16 months.” The company which currently sells 12 products under the Clear Nasal brand in 22 states, is focused on strengthening its reach in India and aims to enter Maldives, Mauritius, South East Asia, Japan and UAE next year. It has other exciting products in the pipeline in the preventive healthcare space. “The new products we are working on is a pain balm in a powder form and a wound wash that will prevent blood loss while eliminating bacteria”, says Vedanth. “Our mission is just not to sell healthcare or wellness products. The greater mission is to ensure people breathe better, live healthier”, adds Ramanathan.

www.clearnasal.co.in

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DEMOCRATISING DIABETIC CARE Dr. Vinay Kumar, co-founder, PathShodh Healthcare, demonstrates the Multi-Analyte Device: a tablet sized point-of-care product that powers affordable healthcare. Tackling the critical need for early diagnosis and management of diabetes and its complications, a Bengaluru based medical R&D company PathShodh Healthcare is making affordable testing devices that could change the lives of millions of afflicted people. Bio-sensing technologies invented by Dr. Vinay Kumar, (he himself had suffered from diabetes as a child. As an adult, he went on to obtain a Ph.D in Nano Science and Engineering from IISC.) form the core of PathShodh Healthcare. The company was co-founded by Dr. Kumar along with Dr. Navakanta Bhat, Professor in the Centre for Nano Science and Engineering (CENSE) and Gautam Sharma, a semiconductor industry veteran. Incubated at the IISc, the company draws upon

innovative research and development conducted in the campus. The team is driven by a social mission, and Dr. Kumar tells Aditya Mendonca, “We want to make affordable healthcare diagnosis available to all”. The International Diabetes Federation estimates that 425 million people have diabetes in the world, with over 72 million cases of diabetes recorded in 2017 in India alone. The problem lies not only in treatment but also in timely detection and monitoring of diabetics. Diabetics typically check their sugar level with glucometers which are are not completely reliable, and this compels them to undergo pathology tests every 90 days. These tests are both expensive and time-consuming. This is why PathShodh’s handheld tablet sized device,

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the first of its kind, is being greeted with fervent approval. Their innovation has led them to file eight patents in India, the US and the UK. PathShodh’s Multi-Analyte Device can measure eight biometric parameters related to blood, urine and more, using just a drop of blood. It is capable of measuring multiple biomarkers and while specifically targeting diabetes, it helps in early detection of complications such as kidney failure, anaemia and liver -related ailments. This unique device can store thousands of test reports which can be transferred via Bluetooth mobile internet. Thus, it enables better management of chronic diseases by making storage of health statistics and monitoring more


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convenient for patients and helps doctors offer diagnosis more easily. The diagnostic device is currently on trial in remote parts of India, and the company intends to deliver this and its other diagnostic products that check glycemic index, blood glucose, kidney function, anaemia and malnutrition to medical institutions, professionals and channel partners around the world over the coming months. Using deep scientific R&D, the innovative team has been working on ways to transfer their research into products that can be served to larger audiences around the world, especially in rural areas.

 The team at PathShodh Healthcare aims to ‘democratise diagnostics’ by downscaling complicated testing equipment.

 The Multi-Analyte Device is a tablet sized point-of-care product that powers affordable healthcare.

www.pathshodh.com

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LEVERAGING AI TO COMBAT CANCER “We have processed over 2 million images in order to train our deep learning algorithms for ensuring clinical accuracy. We are aiming at processing 500 million images by the end of 2020, to further improve the accuracy of our products.” Sutirth Vaidya, co-founder & Chief Technology Officer, Predible Health

A company focussed on deep-learning is leveraging AI to create clinical applications for the early detection of certain types of cancer. Predible Health, a Bengaluru-based startup has been working hard at finding effective solutions to fight cancer, starting with diagnosis. The company was started in 2016 by Suthirth Vaidya, Abhijith Chunduru and Deepak Mohan, all of whom were students at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras. Not too long after completing their research - which won the Longitudinal Multiple Sclerosis Lesion Segmentation Challenge held at the IEEE-International Symposium on Biomedical Imaging 2015 in New York, USA - their research drew significant media attention, and led them to seriously consider how they could differentiate their value proposition. They soon narrowed down on solving problems in the field of healthcare using AI and began to develop techniques to extend applications of 3D medical imaging to cancer diagnosis, culminating in the team founding the company. The problem Predible Health sets out to address pertains to the detection of cancerous nodules at an early stage, finds out Subhalakshmi Roy. The nodules are small and often get missed in screenings, with a 50%-70% chance of escaping detection altogether. This would have an adverse effect on the treatment of the patient. Even when detected early, not all nodules are malignant, bringing the quality of diagnosis into play. The firm’s proprietary AI solution helps radiologists expose cancerous nodules faster and with heightened accuracy, also reducing the subjectivity involved in this kind of detection. Currently, the firm’s flagship products include Predible Liver and Predible Lung. Predible Liver, a cloud-based solution, offers instant analysis along with 3D visualisation of liver lesions and hepatic structures. This lets surgeons plan for resectioning tumours and liver transplants with enhanced precision. Its presence on the cloud lets any hospital with an internet connection to access the relevant information with ease, contributing to lower morbidity through better-planned diagnosis and surgeries. The company’s other solution, Predible Lung, supports medical professionals to detect lung nodules in CT scan images and speeds up the process of detection and assessment of malignancy. Early and accurate diagnosis through effective screening can, in turn, improve care for the patients being screened.

 The Predible Health team combines Deep Learning and Cloud Computing to enable the future of radiology reporting.

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According to Suthirth Vaidya, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Predible Health, “The clinical validation studies we undertook are yielding positive results, and now, we are moving towards putting our products into practical use.” The company’s offerings have an impact on the healthcare industry by helping enhance access to high quality cancer care which is otherwise a highly specialised field. There aren’t too many centres that cater to cancer care and those that do, often deal with very large volumes and high demand. In order to ensure high quality care, the right kind of software is needed to ensure that very few errors take place at the stage of diagnosis and that the right kind of treatment can be initiated at the right time.

its AI platform for screening cancer and also invest in regulatory approval for the products it has developed so far. To increase its products’ reach, the firm is partnering with leading medical institutions such as Tata Memorial Hospital (Mumbai), Mahajan Imaging (Delhi) and Narayana Health (Bengaluru), for engaging in research on deep learning technologies that can help solve high-impact issues in healthcare, especially in developing countries.

Predible’s products help address these problems, at scale, also helping hospitals run screening programmes in a wider geographical area. The company is piloting one of India’s first lung-cancer screening programmes, targeting people who have been smoking for a long time and asymptomatic patients as well. This is not only more economically viable, but can also have better outcomes for the patients being screened.

Going forward, with its aim to cover end-to-end cancer care through its solutions including diagnosis, treatment and follow-ups for multiple kinds of cancer, the company is looking at expanding to other markets too, such as the US.

Having secured funding from Unitus Seed Fund, the firm now intends to scale

www.prediblehealth.com

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PERFECTING THROUGH SIMULATION “We want to help make the most impact with minimal cost. Endoscopy is a very common procedure and we need well-trained doctors to meet this demand. This is where we can help.” Mimyk’s founders

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Applying haptics, design and virtual reality, Bengaluru-based Mimyk offers immersive medical simulation technologies that allow doctors to practice complicated invasive procedures before treating a patient. Its first product is an endoscopy simulator, the first such medical training simulator in India. Combining hardware and software to build nextgen simulation platforms, Mimyk is incubated at the Society for Innovation and Development (SID) in the Indian Institute of Science in Bengaluru, and its technology is developed through a collaborative research and development activity at the M2D2 Lab and the Visualization and Graphics Lab, both located in the same premier science institute. The timing of these technologies is right as the demand for doctors is India is estimated to increase by over 2 million by 2030. (Indian Journal of Public Health). Mimyk’s strength lies in the engineering expertise of its co-founders - Shanthanu Chakravarthy, Balaji Gopal, Nithin Shivashankar and Raghu Menon. The idea was born out a discussion between professors at IISc and doctors from Asian Institute of Gastroenterology, Hyderabad, after which Chakravarthy started working on the core technology as a part of his PhD. Mimyk was incorporated in 2017, with the founders bringing their strengths in design and visualisation. Doctors mostly train on plastic human dummies, animals, or while treating real patients, and it might take a new doctor a year and a half of observation

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before participating in a procedure. Says Menon in an interview with Subhalakshmi Roy, “We are trying to speed up the process. By practicing on the simulator, doctors will improve hand-eye coordination and the other necessary skills which will get them ready for the actual procedure.” Haptics, design and virtual reality are the three essential components of Mimyk. Haptics, meaning ‘the sense of touch’, act as the interface between the human and the machine. Immersive virtual reality involves algorithms and software which create the virtual organs, and the design ensures that the end product stays true to real world situations. With such a combination, the simulator is essentially a ‘virtual patient’ for the doctors to train on. It has an orifice and an endoscope to perform the procedure. “The entire procedure can be performed on this virtual patient. This is not just a picture on the screen. The doctor can insert an instrument into the device and receive similar visuals and feel the same forces as when they do the procedure in real life. It is a completely immersive graphic haptic system,” Menon explains. Although the product focuses on endoscopy now, the potential for this technology is immense. “We are already capable of simulating a bronchoscopy, along with the endoscopy of both upper and lower gastrointestinal tracts. We are building prototypes to simulate angioplasties and also for cannulation training in injections and inserting IVs. We plan to work on neurological procedures and laparoscopy as well”, says Chakravarthy.

The long term goal is to enter into the areas of planning and rehearsal, and computer-assisted surgery. The simulator could be customised on the basis on each patient enabling the doctors to rehearse the procedure before actually performing it, which reduces the margin of error. “Patientspecific data can be entered to the simulator and it can create hundreds of situations. Male, female, paediatric, geriatric, patients with specific health issues - all patients can be simulated. This will help the doctors plan the procedure and prepare for any eventuality,” says Menon. The team plans to market their simulator through medical colleges across India, and aim to go live in 2019. Along with their expertise and a disruptive product, they also bring economies to the table; the EndoMimyk simulator costs a fraction of an endoscopy machine.

 EndoMimyk, has been successfully tested at the Asian Institute of Gastroenterology, Hyderabad, one of the largest referral centers in Asia for Therapeutic Endoscopy. The futuristic product combines haptics, virtual reality and simulation to help train doctors better and faster.

www.mimyk.com

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INNOVATIONS OF BENGALURU

HEALTHCARE SMART PRODUCTION: BIOMANUFACTURING & CLEAN TECH FINTECH & SECURITY

BANGALORE LITTLE THEATRE’S ACCLAIMED ADAPTATION OF SIDDHARTHA MUKHERJEE’S PULITZER-PRIZE-WINNING BOOK ‘THE EMPEROR OF ALL MALADIES’, CHALLENGES OUR IDEAS OF THE RIGHT WAYS TO TALK ABOUT SOMETHING AS COMPLEX AS CANCER. 81


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TECH WINS OVER CANCER Known as an aggressive oncologist, Dr. BS AjaiKumar says,

“Oncology requires aggression, there is nothing like passive oncology; there is only one way you to treat cancer — the right way.” Virtual hospitals, cloud-based eICUs, hub-and-spoke model - he leverages every technological aide in a radical treatment for cancer care. Dr. BS AjaiKumar is the Chairman & CEO of HealthCare Global Enterprises Ltd, a leader in cancer care with a network of 18 centres pan-India. This is the doctorpreneur under whom cancer treatment has acquired extra heft, as technology is yoked at every step to achieve positive patient outcomes at a fraction of the cost and effort otherwise required. Every Tuesday morning at half past 8, specialists gather at the HCG Hospital in central Bengaluru at a tumour board, reviewing cases from different parts of India. It is a virtual tumour board, with all HCG centres being beamed to Bengaluru “like a space station” Dr. AjaiKumar tells Sandhya Mendonca. Not just cases from India, but even those from Africa and the Middle-East are discussed and reviewed, and patients from far-flung places get the benefit of a multidisciplinary opinion without having to physically travel to Bengaluru. Concern about the immense cost that families incur in travelling hundreds of miles for treatment drives the tech effort at HCG, and ensures that they get the best treatment in their own locations. There are three aspects to oncology: proper diagnosis, proper treatment and the delivery of treatment. HCG is leveraging technology in all three areas to make treatment more accessible and affordable. This strategy has won acclaim and Harvard Business School has done a study on how HCG has been employing ‘reverse innovation’ to get the same outcomes at a fraction of the traditional cost. The triad of telephysics, teleradiology and digital pathology plays a big role in this effort. AWARDS • Best Marketing Campaign for SelfV Survivor Stories at the Asian Healthcare Leadership Awards 2014 • ‘CEO of the Year’ for Dr. AjaiKumar at the Asian Healthcare Leadership Awards 2014 • Awarded ‘Best Health Care Group of The Year’ by Bangalore Management Association • First Hospital in India to win the Golden Peacock Award – Innovation Management • E&Y ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ award • CII ‘Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year’ award, 2011 • Frost & Sullivan Oncology ‘Leader of the Year’ two times in a row • Awarded ‘The Best Place to Work’ by Hosmac and People Strong • Awarded ‘The Most Innovative Single Specialty Healthcare Entity’ by VCCIRCLE • Limca Awards for forming the largest human ribbon, and for creating the largest to-scale model of the lung

Accuracy is important in cancer treatment. Nearly 40% of the time, there is a ‘geographic miss’, where a part of the tumor escapes radiation, explains Dr. AjaiKumar. Telephysics minimises this possibility. “We do physics planning so that the accuracy is the same as though the patient has come to Bengaluru.” Teleradiology comes into play when PET (positron emission tomography) scans in HCG’s radial centres are automatically read in Bengaluru, with “a very accurate reporting skill”. Digital pathology completes the triad. A pathologist at the Bengaluru centre works in tandem with one in a smaller town. The real-time collaboration benefits the patient. Dr. AjaiKumar sees this all these efforts as the first step towards creating virtual hospitals. “Home is the best place for people to stay. Patients should be in hospital only for acute intervention.” HCG is working on making eICUs (electronic intensive care units) a reality. This enables a patient’s home to be a virtual hospital, with vital signs being monitored every minute. This has huge benefits for patients. Hospital infections can be

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 CyberKnife is the world’s first robotic radiosurgery system that offers a non-invasive alternative to surgery with state-of-the-art, real-time image guidance that precisely targets tumours anywhere in the body with pinpoint accuracy and delivers intense doses of radiation.

HCG harnesses technology to deliver affordable, quality cancer care to the hinterland.

avoided and there is the psychological relief of being treated in the comfort of one’s own home. And, rather than a ‘step down ICU’ which hospitals have for patients who are getting better but still need extra care, HCG is focusing on virtual hospitals. The project is expected to come to fruition by 2021. For those who need to be in hospital, cameras for ICU

beds solve the problem of shortage of intensivists to a large extent. But the emphasis is not solely on technology to the exclusion of everything else. “We train our people to treat the patient as their own family member”, says the doctor. His focus extends to what ails society and he has set up ‘Antardhwani’ (inner voice), a think-tank

HCG HAS MANY FIRSTS TO ITS CREDIT, DISCOVERS SUFIA TIPPU. • Asia’s first bloodless bone marrow transplant. • India’s first Computer Assisted Tumour Navigation Surgery (CATS). • First in India to introduce Flattening Free Filter (FFF) mode technology. • First in Asia to treat patient with 3D radioguided surgery – Surgic Eye. • Introduced biological reconstruction to treat bone cancer in India. • First in India to remove a tumour in the left ventricle of the heart through CyberKnife. • First in India to introduce high precision, Trans-Oral, Laser Surgery (TOLS), endoscopically. • Largest number of breast conservation surgeries in India. • First in India to introduce hyperthermia as a form of treatment. • First hospital in India to introduce TomoTherapy H®. • First in the world to perform the quickest radio surgery to treat Trigeminal Neuralgia (“The Suicide Disease”).

to examine public policy, demand accountability, and create structural change. He scoffs at band-aid solutions like subsidies and loan waivers, ruing that the privileged have a vested interest in keeping the poor poor. One of Antardhwani’s initiatives is to encourage farmers to give up tobacco farming, as the incidence of cancer can be brought down by 3540% in any socio-economic group if only smoking is stopped. In the absence of a ban, Antardhwani is supporting cultivation of alternative cash crops on a 10-acre plot to persuade tobacco farmers to do the same. Once the incidence of cancer is brought down, the focus can be on other exciting things, he says. “My interest is in anti-ageing -how do we create a society with no Alzheimer’s, no cancer, no heart disease. Where people can be active, productive, where age doesn’t matter...”

www.hcgoncology.com

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MAKING LIVER TRANSPLANTATION AFFORDABLE Integrated Liver Care is an award winning programme that offers affordable and world-class care through crowdfunding and sponsorships. The aim, say the founding team of independent doctors is to “ensure that no child who comes to us is turned away for lack of funds”.  The team of ILC doctors - Dr Kaiser Raja, Dr Sonal Asthana, Dr Rajiv Lochan and Dr Mathew Jacob- have their hearts in the right place. largest liver transplant programme in Karnataka and the second largest in Kerala. The one-year survival rate of their patients, post-transplant, is 95 percent. ILC was formed in 2011 by Dr Rajiv Lochan, Dr Mathew Jacob, Dr Kaiser Raja and Dr Sonal Asthana. Experts in their field, they bring together knowledge and unique skill sets gained from leading institutes across the world and have a collective expertise of over 2000 liver transplants and over 4000 major liver and pancreatic surgeries. All four doctors had returned to India from international practices and found that liver transplants in India were beyond the reach of common people. The lack of access to transplantation, especially for children, was a significant issue amongst other challenges. They decided to get together to solve the problem, as In a first of its kind, an independent group of specialist doctors is giving access to affordable treatment and management of liver-related diseases. Apart from the dramatic reduction in cost that they are able to achieve, what makes this practice of doctors interesting is that they use crowdfunding and corporate sponsorships to deliver these services, discovers Aditya Mendonca. The Integrated Liver Care team (ILC) are pioneers in bloodless liver transplant, bloodless dual organ transplant, split and domino liver transplants. They are credited with the first use of the normothermic perfusion device in Asia and the first 3D printed liver model assisted liver donor surgery in India. Having successfully transplanted babies weighing less than 5 kg, the team conducted the first dual organ (liver and kidney) transplant in a baby weighing less than 7 kg in the world. It has conducted more than 400 transplants, making it the

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an initiative that’s apart from their regular jobs. While the cost of a liver transplant typically ranges between Rs 12 and Rs 30 lakh, ILC has radically brought down the cost of transplant and post-care management of a child to just Rs. 2.5 lakh. Dr. Asthana says, “We want to deliver high quality healthcare at scale, and the primary thing that differentiates us is structure. We are liver professionals who are working not just to provide a service, but to impact an ecosystem, starting with the diagnosis of liver disease, especially in children, the pre and post transplantation patient management, and the quality of care that they receive.” ILC is all about teamwork, says Dr. Raja, referring to a quote by American President Truman - ‘It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you don’t care who gets the credit.’ Dr. Raja says, “The collective ownership of ILC makes it bigger than an individual and keeps everyone excited. It also balances opinions for patients and avoids bias. Over the years, this realization has motivated the team to keep its structure intact.” ILC raises funds through crowdfunding, corporate sponsorships from CSR budgets, cross subsidies, matched funding and tie-ups with state governments to create a pool that reduces the burden on the patient. It channelizes governmental funding towards Retrieval Surgery, Organ Banking, and Transport. Having partnered with The Pravin Agarwal Foundation, Milaap, and other likeminded organizations, it has so far performed 55 transplants for needy children and raised Rs 7 crore to support this initiative. The team consults at two main centres - Aster CMI, Bengaluru, and Aster Medcity, Kochi. It also

works through a network of 11 doctors and 45 nurses in other hospitals such as Victoria Hospital, Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health, Bangalore Baptist Hospital, Sparsh Hospital - all in Bengaluru, KLE Hospital in Belagavi and Ramesh Hospitals in Guntur, and is thus able to bring more patients under its fold. “The vision is for everybody, especially children, to have equitable access to care for liver related diseases. This has translated into an integrated and affordable approach to liver care. This model is open source and can also be replicated for other ailments and diseases,” says Dr. Lochan. ILC aims at standardising hospital infrastructural requirements for transplant surgery, medical management of liver diseases, surgical protocols, training of general and transplant surgeons for organ retrieval, organ preservation and transport logistics. ILC builds capacity in the medical space by training medical staff through the centres to which it is affiliated. It conducts a national organ retrieval workshop in association with the Oxford University, and has trained 152 surgeons in 4 years; the webcast of the workshop garnered 7000 views from 8 countries. It collaborates with leading international universities to research problems specific to India. The highest impact can be felt in the highly specialized field of integrated paediatric trans-

plants, which is performed in very few centres. Dr. Raja says, “The Affordable Paediatric Transplant program is one of those over-the-table plans that has benefited many kids who would never have got the much-needed transplants.” Adds Dr Mathew Jacob, “Transplanting children is extremely rewarding as you can see the dramatic improvements in their health, growth, milestones and general health, all in a few months after surgery. The transplanted child can look forward to a lifetime of achievement. We are happy to be able to make a significant difference.” For the team, what also matters is the shared societal benefits reaped once the child is brought back to good health, and hence it wants all stakeholders to join hands to make this happen. To promote early diagnosis and prevention, the team has initiated the ChILD program for effective screening of inborn errors of metabolism, and the heel prick test of newborn to detect genetic disorders. Going forward, ILC hopes to create a centre of excellence, which will work like a laboratory to provide lowcost, accessible, quality healthcare, with the help of state governments. The reason for ILC’s success says Dr. Raja, is because while ‘competition makes you faster, collaboration makes you better’. “We are happy to be known for our good and ethical work. It would not have been impossible to grow and reach where we are, had we worked as individuals.”

www.transplantationliver.com

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PIONEERING SPECIALISED HEALTHCARE

Amongst the top Nephro-Urology-Reproductive Medicine hospitals in South India, and the only one of its kind in the state, NU offers unique expertise and experience in superspecialty healthcare.

In a developing country, facilities and expertise available to treat serious health issues are none too common. A singular exception is NU Hospitals, which was the first to develop a super-specialty hospital for nephrology, urology and fertility care in South India. It effectively paved the way for a series of firsts in affordable, innovative healthcare in the country, powered by the latest technology. The group occupies a crucial place in the field of quality medicine having branched out and subsequently, achieving milestones in a host of sub-specialties including, but not restricted to, paediatric urology, onco-urology, advanced laparoscopic urology, renal transplantation, urogynaecology and andrology. “We are not only one of the leading nephro-urology hospitals in South India but are also the only dedicated nephrourology centre in Karnataka,” says Dr Venkatesh Krishnamoorthy, Chairman & Founder. “As a result, we have gained a unique perspective on nephro-urology medicine and are armed with a wealth of experience, knowledge and expertise in the area,” he adds in an interview with Aditya Mendonca. The journey of this trailblazer began in July 1999 when the first NU Hospital was established

at Padmanabhanagar in Bengaluru. The group has another hospital in Rajajinagar in the city where advanced fertility services were added, and plans to open facilities in Ambur in Tamil Nadu and Shivamogga in Karnataka shortly, taking super-specialty care to residents of Tier II cities. Its super-specialty centre in Malé is the first nephro-urology and fertility unit in the Maldives. Patients from several countries visit its hospitals for super specialised treatment. In the last 8 years, surgeons of NU Hospitals have performed close to 250 kidney transplants, over 22,000 urologic surgeries and 1,58,000 haemodialyses. The number of outpatients treated is nearly 3 lakh and in-patients 30,000. This level of performance can’t be achieved without a great team and the hospital has near-zero attrition in its team of specialists. A consistent team is a key element of the awardwinning functioning of the hospital’s eco-system. Doctors undergo intensive training and practice in their own sub-specialties, thus assuring constantly evolving and high-quality patient care at par with international standards. “We believe that creating a conducive environment for our specialists, with adequate infrastructure and emphasis on academic research, is what bolsters their 20+ years of experience in nephro-

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urology-fertility and propels them to keep pace with advances in the field,” explains Dr Prasanna Venkatesh, Senior Consultant, Paediatric Urology & Managing Director. The hospital is guided by an experienced board which includes M Ramachandra, whose expertise in infrastructure development helps the growth and expansion of this patient-oriented super specialty hospital as it strives to achieve greater heights. The fact that NU Hospitals is India’s first NABH and NABL-accredited hospital group in its specialties is testimony to the brand’s commitment to quality, consistency and ethical practices. Strict adherence to protocol oriented medical care at all levels – with 1400 protocols developed in-house and periodically updated through audits – ensures results that are comparable or even superior to the best globally. Its hospitals also follow EBM


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 Dr. Venkatesh Krishnamoorthy, Sr. Consultant Urologist and Chairman, NU Hospitals; MS, M Ch (Urology), FRCS (Glasgow).

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 Dr. Prasanna Venkatesh, Sr. Consultant Paediatric Urologist & Managing Director, NU Hospitals; MBBS, MS – General Surgery, DNB – General Surgery, Fellowship in Paediatric Urology, DNB – Urology/Genito – Urinary Surgery.

 M Ramachandra, BE, Member of the Board of Directors.

(Evidence-Based Medicine), a cutting-edge method of practice that bases treatment modality on clinical evidence that is already available. The fertility lab has been accredited by Forum for Enhancement of Quality in Healthcare (F.E.Q.H) and Indian Society for Assisted Reproduction (I.S.A.R), a feat very few centres have achieved in the field of Reproductive Medicine. The company uses the latest advances in technology to innovate and develop a multitude of practices and related software. It was the first in the country to install the Bioclad Antimicrobial Operation Theatre modular cladding system which significantly decreases chances of infection, and was the first in Karnataka to operationalise the flexible cystoscope, flexible ureteroscope as well as the Holmium laser for removal of stones. The Pneumatic Chute Hospital Transportation System was another addition in 2006 which speeded up dispatch times of lab reports and samples.

the establishment of our educational wing,” says Dr Venkatesh. NU Hospitals also offer specialised skills training in Urology and Nephrology and is affiliated to the Rajiv Gandhi University, with Bachelor’s degree courses, diplomas, fellowships as well as DNB courses.

In 2011, NU Hospitals was the first in Bengaluru to implement VMWare virtual IT Servers with near 100 percent uptime. Leveraging Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, it also established a private cloud server, seamlessly integrating patient and personnel data across branches. The Qikwell Patient Appointment System, now owned by Practo, was pioneered at NU, before achieving widespread acceptance. The Treatwell Customer Satisfaction Analysis is also a handy addition that has been adopted to improve service levels.

The group’s hospitals are also green and the only hospitals with a dedicated switch in each room that connects to active solar panel lighting. Rainwater harvesting for gardening and greenery is also practiced on the premises. The company’s CSR initiative, the NU Trust, sponsors the school and college education of the children of its housekeeping staff.

In 2018, it became the first in the country to install Masimo, the Patient SafetyNet System which ensures that patients in all care areas are continuously monitored through an advanced non-invasive monitoring system. The group has employed in-house technology to create a Laboratory Information System, which records, manages and stores clinical data, and a Pharmacy-Prescription Module for seamless service. “We have identified a severe lacuna in the training of skilled medical professionals in the country, especially in the nephro-urology domain. This was the driving force behind

The NU Group has been recognised with numerous awards for its radical achievements. It has won the International Specialist Centre of the Year for Nephrology, Urology & Fertility at the World Medical Tourism Congress & Awards in 2017, Best Kidney Treatment Hospital in Karnataka at the National Quality Excellence Awards in 2017, Best Hospital in Renal Sciences Category (Special Jury mention) at the Times of India Healthcare Achievers Awards in 2018, Best Single Specialty Hospital in the Region (South India) and Best HR Practice in Healthcare at The Economic Times Awards in 2018, to name a few.

www.nuhospitals.com

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BLAZING AHEAD WITH SOLAR POWER

“The concept of solar power as a viable resource will become more popular when people understand that this form of energy has zero carbon footprint. With depleting reserves of fossil fuel (coal), we would soon be left with no choice but to use this form of renewable energy.� H Nandi, Managing Director, Aethon Energy

The world’s fourth largest carbon emitter, India, is focussed on reducing its carbon emission intensity - emission per unit of GDP - by 33-35%, and is working towards producing 40 percent of its installed electricity capacity by 2030 from non-fossil fuels. This makes India the fourth most attractive renewable energy market in the world, as per the Renewable Energy Attractiveness Index 2018. It is here that players like Aethon Energy will make a difference, working to solarise India. (Aethon is the Greek word for burning, blazing or shining). Aethon Energy was founded in 2014 by Himadri Nandi, who holds postgraduate degrees in Electronics and Business Administration, and as a former founder and managing director of MRO-TEK Ltd, has been in the field of electronics and renewable energy for over 32 years. The company has been responsible for approximately 250 medium to large solar power plants with capacities ranging from 10KW to 10MW and 15,000 smaller solar power plants ranging from 1KW to 10KW. It has successfully solarised warehouses, cold storage units, educational institutions, hospitals, residences, office spaces and even entire industries, among other institutions. The company has been making efforts to popularise the use of solar photovoltaic cells, batteries and inverters among smaller manufacturing plants

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 The Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru is the first stadium in India to be solar powered with a 400 KW solar power plant that was installed in 2015. The Karnataka State Cricket Association sells the excess power to the Bescom grid. Photo: Andre Peter

Clean and green energy is the mandate for the future.

 Aethon Energy’s new facility is fully powered by solar energy.

that, unable to meet their energy requirements, have been closing down. Nandi encourages such plants to switch to solar power, emphasising that “The Indian Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) offers a subsidy that helps reduce the initial cost of installing the system, and the return on investment can be seen within just three years, with an increase in the plant’s efficiency and productivity.” With a strong R&D team of 300 people-years of experience, Aethon has developed innovative products suiting various solar applications while also focusing on social responsibility. Currently, the team has developed Home Lighting Systems suitable for anganwadis (pre-school for toddlers and very young children) and for low income groups under the Soubhagya Scheme; a Government empowered program with the objective of electrifying 3.21 crore households in India that are still without electricity. The products that are manufactured by Aethon include solar PCUs, solar home lighting systems, solar street lights, energy efficient fans and LED street lights.

to help citizens better understand solar power and its resourcefulness. Major contracts that set the firm apart include solarising government buildings, a wide range of ATMs and the anganwadis for children. The company counts Indian Oil, Tata, Jakson and other giants among its clients.

The company’s signature installation has been the legendary Chinnaswamy Cricket Stadium in Bangalore. It is the first cricket stadium in the world to be powered by solar energy. A 400 KW grid interactive solar power plant has been installed on the roof of the stadium. As per the design, this grid can easily power the entire stadium’s lighting, with the sole exception of the massive, high-intensity floodlights. The firm prides itself on having completed the project in a short span of just 50 days.

While accessing solar power is easy, storing and utilising it efficiently has always been a challenge. Aethon has, therefore, been focused on innovating solutions to these very problems. It is creating a 60,000 square feet infrastructure with a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Bengaluru, India’s IT capital. Reminiscent of scientist Nikola Tesla’s plans to provide unfettered access to energy for all citizens, this firm’s ambitious goal is to ‘commoditise’ solar power and make it freely available off the shelf. This is a gargantuan task, but the company believes it is up to the challenge.

Apart from this, Aethon has installed solar power plants at the Institute of Engineers, Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC), Mahatma Gandhi University, Mother Hospital, Acharya Institute and the Kerala State Finance Corporation. Additionally, the company runs an awareness program

As India looks to meet its energy demand independently - a demand which is expected to reach 15,820 TWh by 2040, renewable energy is set to play a key role in defining the country’s future.

www.aethonenergy.in

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FROM IDEAS TO MARKET “Black Pepper aims to build India’s unicorn that’s fundamentally rooted in hardware and will transform enduser experience.” Hari Krishnan Puravankara, Founder & CEO

If machines are getting smarter, it is because the semiconductors inside them are getting better. These silicon microchips are an integral part of end-use electronics such as mobile devices, telecommunication equipment, medical, automation (IoT), automobiles and others. The semiconductor industry in India is on a high growth trajectory; IBEF estimates that it will grow to $52.58 billion by 2020, while the Indian Electronic System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM) market will grow to US$ 400 billion in the same year. Higher demand brings better competition and pressure to redefine ‘state-of-the-art’ with every product life cycle. Bengaluru based Black Pepper Technologies has been consistently setting new benchmarks in silicon design since Hari Krishnan Puravankara (Founder & CEO) started it in 2010. “Our core strength is silicon design,” says Jei Narayanan, Chief Operating Officer. “As part of the core vision, we have been gradually adding other capabilities such as system and product design, and today, we are an end-to-end concept to product company.”

 Jei Narayanan, COO, Manoj Sundareswaran, EVP-Delivery and Hari Krishnan Puravankara, Founder & CEO The company offers an array of services including physical design, design for test, board design, embedded systems, analog and mixed-signal design, post-silicon validation, yield optimization, and industrial designing. In the automotive industry, the company provides design services by leveraging mobile, big data, IoT, artificial intelligence, and machine learning technologies. For its industrial clients, the company architects, designs, deploys, and maintains automation systems. “We believe that the cornerstone of every product is SeNSe-ICTM Framework, which includes, Sense, Secure, Network and Compute. We want every product to provide ultimate experience to the end-user,” says Salesh Kumar, VP-Strategic Initiatives R&D. Some of its successes include, designing and manufacturing semiconductor chips in a record 8 weeks for a Tier-I client and creating end-to-end silicon design for a biodegradable wireless patch

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for ICU patients which can transmit all the cardiac parameters. The company is however, not resting on its laurels. The competition, both domestic and international is fierce and Black Pepper stays a step ahead by optimising its resources. “The tools, engineering talent and all other things which make up a product design company, are available to everyone. We will be the best because we use our resources optimally,” says Narayanan.

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These ideas are analysed by a team consisting of both in-house and external experts and, if found feasible, the company helps with the design and product implementation. Leveraging the in-house silicon design strength, the company has also started Pepper Labs with a mandate to focus on futuristic, out-of-the-box products. “The idea is to solve the common man’s problems,” says Kumar. It has launched high-end Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), ‘Digital Cockpit with Driver Assistance and Autonomous Driving’, an innovative and first of its kind solution that offers native Android/Linux based IVI, fully integrated 3D supported Digital cluster and multi camera support. Another unique feature is a robust Digital cluster fall back mechanism, in case of an Android/Linux system crash. This product can be a perfect fit for the Indian market where it can be a big value driver for insurance companies and car owners. It is also planning to launch a 360 degree AVM (around view monitoring) that fits across vehicles of all segments.

The Pepper Labs builds frameworks and platforms across the five core segments, such as Automotive, Medical & Wellness, Defence, Industrial Automation and IoT, which demonstrates its capabilities to its customers and to partners who co-create the ecosystem, enabling democratisation of innovation. The company has also developed EYWA, a technology framework which combines network protocols, human capability mapping and physical resource modelling in a single platform. “There are three components of EYWA, Lean Tall Engineering (LTE) where we analyse both technical and behavioural skills of an engineer to create the optimal project team, Design Environment on Demand (DEOD) where we analyse historical data to capture highs and lows of project requirements, and Sure Shot Convergence System (SSCS) which uses network protocols to implement a water-tight workflow which guarantees convergence and product finality,” Manoj Sundareswaran, EVP-Delivery explains.

Black Pepper has global aspirations and like the eponymous spice, wants to be the incentive for international companies to work with India. “We have the right mix of engineering capabilities, tools, infrastructure, and project management programmes to develop products in the least turnaround time, right cost, and with highest predictability. We want to be the gold standard in design globally,” says Narayanan. It has started operations in Singapore and is the first Indian company to be awarded arm Design Partner, and was awarded one of the top 20 Emerging Indian companies in 2018 by the Mayor of London. The company will meet its desired goal of being valued at USD 1Bn by 2021 when it would be listed on the bourses.

Believing that innovation can come from anywhere, Black Pepper Technologies aims to democratise innovation and convert ideas arising out of the unlikeliest of sources into commercial products. It has set up the Pepper Council where would-be innovators can submit product ideas online.

www.blackpeppertech.com

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DESIGNING DEVICES “We are in the process of revolutionizing assisted reproductive technology through our novel design paradigm and automation.” Dr Ramnath Babu TJ & Santosh Bhargave DB, Founders, BendFlex

that can measure forces of the order of a few micro-newtons. A cross-disciplinary laboratory is using the novel paradigm of compliant mechanism to design devices for varied disciplines, from engineering to IVF. Compliant mechanisms design is a platform technology which can be applied to a variety of fields, especially where a single system with a minimal number of components delivers the necessary functionality. And this is the area of specialisation of Bendflex, a Bengaluru-based medical technology startup incubated at the Bangalore Bioinnovation Centre. Its research and development covers domains such as mechanical characterisation and testing of devices, medical devices, force sensors and micro scale mechanisms. Founded in 2015 by the alumni of the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, Dr. Ramnath Babu TJ and Santosh Bhargave DB, BendFlex Research and Development Private Limited is a cross-disciplinary laboratory working on diverse domains. An IP-aggressive company, it

has already filed for three patents with more underway. As Dr. Babu explains, “Through our research we have developed applications using the compliant mechanisms paradigm. This pushed us to explore the idea of taking our inventions to the next logical level and commercialise them.” He mentions three innovations in particular: • Design Innovation Kit, an innovative Lego®like kit for quickly prototyping and validating mechanisms. The company’s compliant mechanism innovator toolkit is aimed at helping students and hobbyists explore the world of mechanisms. It has already helped scores of inventors and engineering students to come up with new designs which, in turn, have fetched them a number of awards. • PECC, a perfusion-enabled cell chamber module comprising a cell chamber and a miniature peristaltic pump for an enhancing outcome of a cell-culture. • MicroN, a portable ultra-sensitive force sensor

In addition, it is focusing on a device to change the in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) process and its practice, having pioneered the concept of using the mechanical properties of individual biological cells in medical diagnostics. Through its patent pending technology, RoboICSI which uses compliant mechanism to improve outcomes in the IVF industry, the company hopes to provide much-needed relief to thousands of infertile couples in the country. A part of the Tech 30 exclusive club, BendFlex’s founders are currently looking at undertaking world-class research to become a part of the unicorn club. It has won the Idea2Poc 2017 grant from the Karnataka Government besides bagging the Tech Rocketship award, 2016, organised by UKTI Department for Trade, United Kingdom. In addition, it was the winner of the Power of Idea 2015, organised by The Economic Times, and the CIIE IIM- A award. It also bagged the Anthah Prerana 2015 by TiE Bangalore and the Amrita TBI 2016 awards.

www.bendflex.in

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INDIAN CHIPS ON THE TABLE

“Mymo Wireless is trying to set an example in the Indian semiconductor industry of cellular wireless communication.” Founders Dr. Sondur Lakshmipathi & Sondur Madhan Babu What drives Mymo is the determination to build an Indian IP. In an interview with Sandhya Mendonca, Sondur Madhan Babu, CEO, who cofounded the company with his father Dr. Sondur Lakshmipathi, says, “One hundred percent of every telecom equipment and cellular silicon chips are imported into India. Realising this, we started building technology from the ground-up.” Mymo has grown from a 4-member team in the incubation space of SID (Society for Innovation and Design in the Indian Institute of Science campus - IISC) to a 70-strong team in a large, independent office.

With the cellular technology market poised for a great growth trajectory over the next decade, Bengaluru based Mymo Wireless is gearing up to build 5G silicon chipsets and 5G base stations (gNodeB) with its own 5G IP, which would also make it India’s first “Made in India” 5G end-to-end solution. Cellular technology has revolutionised connectivity, and Mymo Wireless is meeting the next-gen cellular wireless technology needs with a unique focus on developing indigenous IP (Intellectual Property). This 4G and 5G LTE technology provider has licensed technology to global silicon vendors in the US and India for various market segments, from high speed Cat-4 UE modem to ultra-low power Cat-NB and CAT-M reference modem. It now aspires to make silicon chips and gNodeBs.

Mymo Wireless has made a mark by offering complete solutions on air-interface and protocolstack for LTE User Equipment with customisation support for IoT, M2M and high-speed dongle markets. Its main focus has been to deliver stateof-the-art solutions including the LTE based Narrow Band Internet of Things (NB-IoT) and modems to customers in different segments of LTE telecom industry. Flexibility in adapting the core technology for LTE eNodeB in civil and defence avionics market segments is one of its key strengths. The company’s two key differentiators are its unique development cycle and proprietary receiver algorithms. Its most important development, and one that sets it apart from other vendors in the world, is the novel approach in providing end-toend, over the air, all the 4G, 5G IPs which are very close to actual end product for commercialization. This has attracted attention as the IPs are proven

and are ready for customer-use. “This method of proving IPs is far better than compared to Matlab or C simulation based proving IPs. Any customer who is looking to license IP from us for their target platform is fully assured that our technology would work, because the proof is visible”, says Babu. In an irony of sorts, while the Sondurs chose to work in India out of patriotic fervor, they have just one client (Tata) in this country while 99 percent of their clients are abroad. “That’s because India is a consumer business market. Ten years ago, when Mymo talked about getting into 4G, most people in India were bewildered. In the US, the industry was already gearing up for 4G.” The Sondurs attended several industry conferences like the Mobile World Congress and got a lot of attention and customers because they had the IP. Even recently in India, the company’s IP orders have come from the defense sector, while none are from the commercial market. As part of the planned strategy, having developed and licensed IPs for last 9 years, Mymo is pivoting to making its own chipsets and hopes to become a desi Qualcomm, the American semiconductor & telecom giant. This, however, isn’t proving to be easy with lack of capital being a big hindrance. Currently, the company is focused on cellular IoT technology and has developed an IP for Narrow Band IoT that is low cost, offers long battery life and an increased range of access to cellular towers. “We can build silicon chips if we get investments”, says Babu.

www.mymowireless.com

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PAYMENTS SIMPLIFIED “We power some of the biggest businesses, but what’s more important is that we understand the pain points of smaller businesses and offer a solution that makes sense to them.” Harshil Mathur, CEO & Co-Founder, Razorpay

India’s first converged payments solution company is all set to ride to unicorn glory from Bengaluru. Razorpay, which provides technology-driven solutions to businesses for payment and disbursal, has taken pole position to be market leader in India in the next two years, buoyed by its track of 400 percent growth, a rapid scale for a company founded in 2014. As students in IIT-Roorkee Harshil Mathur (CEO & Co-Founder) and Shashank Kumar (CoFounder), were part of the SDS coding club. When they reconnected after two years, they began work on Razorpay initially as a crowdfunding platform. “It was more of a hobby, and we still had our day jobs”, says Mathur in an interview with Subhalakshmi Roy. When they wanted to accept payments, they realised how difficult it was for a startup to accept payments. Most of the process was built for large enterprises and that sparked the idea for a platform that would help startups. “Banks and large financial institutions didn’t understand startups and viewed them as risks. We thought that a lot of these startups would

grow up to become big companies and wanted to tap into the market early and build a large platform around it. This was the genesis of the idea.” After considerable effort and time in understanding the regulated domain of payments, they launched the company and saw gratifying response to their online invitations to try out the platform. More traction ensued when they moved from his parents’ house to a co-working space in Jaipur and when they got seed fund from Y Combinator and Tiger Global, they had to expand the team quickly and this necessitated their move to Bengaluru, a city which not only has the best tech ecosystem but also the most number of startups who are Razorpay’s targets. “It made sense to stay close to our clients”, says Mathur. The company has done things differently from the start. It gained traction for its core payment gateway which was very different from the competition. Specifically for startups and for mobile payments, it was built for the current generation. Setting out to expand, it eschewed entering every

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vertical, choosing instead to go deeper into the domain with the merchants with whom it was working. “We spent a lot of time talking to our customers, asking them what more they needed and what were their pain points in payments and money. That’s how we keep building”, says Mathur. From these discussions, Razorpay evolved from just being a payment gateway to converged payment solutions in September 2017. Rebranded as Razorpay 2.0, it soon began contributing almost 30 percent of the company’s revenue with value added services that include: • Razorpay Route: Designed to control the flow of money, it provides an efficient endto-end solution for businesses to manage marketplaces, split payments, and facilitate vendor payouts • Razorpay Smart Collect: Built to automate NEFT/RTGS/IMPS collections, it allows businesses to generate virtual account numbers in order to reduce manual intervention, as all collections through bank transfers are reconciled in one place • Razorpay Subscriptions: Developed to benefit


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businesses with recurring billing models, it helps manage scheduled payments, create different pricing plans and track all payment activity from a single subscriptions platform • Razorpay Invoices and Payment Links: Designed as an interactive solution, it efficiently collect payments from customers for merchants who do not have a website or an app.

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20,000 businesses in January 2017 to 2,00,000 businesses in February 2019. Mathur points out “We power the payment acceptance of some of the largest businesses such as Airtel, Goibibio and Yatra, and top unicorns and startups in the country such as Zomato, Swiggy, Oyo and BookMyShow. But more important is the impact we have made on the ground level by enabling young startups to accept digital payments from

the very first day of business. We onboard 200300 startups each day. The scale and the traction is because we have improved the process significantly.” The proverbial cash registers, if they hadn’t been outmoded by the digital players like Razorpay, would be ringing.

It recently rolled out several new offerings: • Razorpay X is an AI driven API banking platform that enables businesses to manage all pay-outs such as salary, vendor payments and receivables on the Razorpay platform, doing away with the need to go to a bank’s portal. An extension of this is the exclusive X Club. Open only to the early-stage startups which are a part of the X platform, it connects them with mentors, coworking spaces, cloud-hosting platforms and other enablers. • Razorpay Capital, the lending platform, is integrated with the existing platform and offers both short-term working capital loans as well as long-term business loans. The loans are collateral free and promise instant settlements, which reduce operational gaps for businesses to 12 hours or less. “We are trying to solve all the challenges that a young startup faces, so that they can just focus on their business,” says Mathur. After a Series B funding, from the same set of investors, it began an aggressive reach to the market, and fast tracked its growth, going from

www.razorpay.com

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PLUGGING PAYMENT LEAKAGE Highlighting his vision for Discover Dollar, Subrahmanya Rao, Founder & CEO, says “Discover Dollar’s aim is to help enterprises realise profits by harnessing power for AI with a data-first approach�.

Following the sea of change being witnessed in the wake of the boom in e-commerce, the dynamics of retail have changed, hitting profit margins. This comes on the back of stiff competition, coupled with price wars. All this, predictably, forces companies to cut costs while seeking to increase margins that have been negotiated with vendors. In this environment, Bengaluru-based Discover Dollar, founded by Subrahmanya Rao, is helping scores of companies in India and abroad, plug revenue leakage following erroneous payments. The losses, running into several billion dollars, can occur due to payments that have been made twice - albeit unwittingly - miscalculations, inadequately supported claims or, for that matter, services which have not been rendered. As a matter of fact, corporations can lose up to $5 for every $1000 while making payments, especially when the new price drops which are communicated over emails, are not updated. This results in the companies paying old prices which may be higher. By analysing unstructured data sources including emails and negotiated deals, Discover Dollar helps such companies in unearthing these overpayments and in plugging revenue leakages, while recovering overpaid amounts to vendors due to various reasons like system, process and human error, in addition to policy changes. It was while working for a US firm that Rao realised huge sums which were negotiated over emails, including scores of discounts, were not reaching the finance departments concerned. Besides, it was virtually impossible for anyone to find the missing money by going through the thousands of emails that were exchanged, which in some cases, exceeded 10,000. The answer to the problem, he realised, could be found by analysing unstructured data like emails, using Natural Language Processing

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 Eye-D leverages AI to improve the quality of life for the visually impaired by making them independent and self sufficient for their daily needs.

 Discover Dollar has good news for companies looking to discover ways to save their dollars.

(NLP) techniques and Artificial Intelligence (AI). The significance of this solution can be realised from the fact that globally, overpayment is a $10 billion market. In one case, a large US retailer found that it was facing an overpayment potential of over $100 million.

analyzes various data sources within the enterprise including structured data like Purchase Orders, Invoices, Vendor Files and even vendor contracts and agreements. In addition, it identifies potential leakages even before the retailer overpays, and notifies the relevant person in the organisation.

Unstructured data, incidentally, can also include annual vendor agreements, buyer files and documents and promotion plans with funding information. The company believes that it is important to be able to search these documents easily and get relevant information which can be of business value to retailers.

Set up in 2014, the company works closely with SAP. It has been recognised for its innovative solution, getting featured among the Top 5 Most Innovative Solutions by SAP, in its flagship event SAPPHIRE 2014 which was held in Orlando, Florida. In addition, the company reached the finals of the NASSCOM 10K Pitch while competing against over 700 applicants across India.

Discover Dollar’s auditors, “can analyze more than 100 overpayment scenarios and help recover them to directly impact bottomline,” Rao explains, adding that “we have more than 200 scenarios where the retailers are losing and our auditors, backed with AI-enabled recovery capability, will be able to identify potential revenue leakages in near real-time.”

Importantly, it also won the Anthah Prerana Award from TiE Bangalore, IIM Bangalore and the Government of Karnataka, besides being featured among the top 20 upcoming retail software companies in India, in CIOReviewIndia’s February 2015 issue. The company’s primary market is in North America and Europe, and it is now focussing on India and South Asia.

Typical areas where retailers lose money include pricing errors, missed cash discounts, leakages in collection of vendor incomes, promotional discounts and miscalculated rebates. The company runs ad-hoc analytics, digging deeper into data and sources of overpayments, to recover them from vendors on behalf of clients. The firm also performs root-cause-analysis to help its clients prevent these issues from recurring in the future.

At present, Rao and his team are working on a new-age Vendor Relationship Management Suite intended to help retailers reduce manual efforts by 90% and increase profitability by up to 12%. The company is funded by Axilor Ventures and has SD Shibulal, co-founder of Infosys and Lalit Ahuja, former CEO of Target, as its mentors.

One of the solutions provided by the company is Discover Dollar Resolve, which can automatically detect and resolve overpayments and leakages. It

www.discoverdollar.com

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FINTECH’S PRODUCTIVE POWER “We wish to develop innovative software products that help result in productive and simpler work processes for businesses to enjoy.” Veekshith Rai & Vivek AG, Founders, Finly.io

Consider this scenario: a 35% boost in productivity, 0% cash leakage and 68% less working capital requirement for businesses. It might seem like fiction at first glance, but a Bengaluru-based FinTech startup is helping businesses achieve such numbers.

Its system is highly flexible and configurable to adapt to the needs of different industries. Finly’s product suite or FinlyFinance is a finance management and governance suite for businesses to automate, gain visibility and control business spends. The cloud-based platform comprises scalable and intelligent expense management and e-procurement system, powerful policy engine which governs all business transactions and integrated payment technology system which allows automated reconciliations. Once a business installs the suite, it captures data pertaining to the vendor, compliance, banking, reimbursements and expenses. The data needs to be entered just once into the software, saving time, money and effort. The software policy engine allows the company to define its restrictions, controls, and compliances with user input. The software platform then makes sure that all the data is captured as per the defined parameters.

Conceptualised as a governance suite for all finance processes, Finly.io’s finance software is redefining the industry with its smart, policy-based engines. Catering to more than 30 different industries, the firm is experienced at building complex yet scalable products. The cloud-based software technology firm that has developed an innovative expense management tool for businesses was started in 2015 by Veekshith Rai who is its Chief Operations Officer and Vivek AG, who serves as Chief Executive Officer. Prior to this, they had started and successfully exited MintCoins, a platform where developers could upload their apps for user testing and feedback. In India, expense management for corporates is approximately a $25-30 billion opportunity that is increasingly moving to the digital platform; this company has been processing daily transactions of over INR 5 lakh that are worth more than Rs. 32 crore.

According to Rai, “One of the major benefits a company can enjoy is access to newer, multi-purpose roles. An employee previously engaged in data entry can, with our software, perform budget monitoring as well. They would be able to report, for instance, on any expense head that exceeds the budget, to their Chief Financial Officer, for better price negotiation and more efficient decision making.”

“We wanted businesses to achieve a proactive spend culture while providing them with actionable tools and strategic insights in the field of expense management’, say the company’s founders.

The software has a SaaS component that provides real-time visibility on payment inflow and outflow, which lets businesses make informed strategic decisions. It is compatible with multiple kinds of payment instruments

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 One of Finly.io’s biggest advantages is seamless, real-time integration with all their accounting systems, eliminating the normally tedious process of manual data entry. in India, including UPI, NEFT, IMPS, RTGS and prepaid or credit cards. Powering this is EbixCash, the firm’s payments partner, which has over 12 years of experience in the payments domain. With its software capable of integrating with third party software such as Tally, Quickbooks, Zoho, SAP, Oracle, Marg, Busy and others, the firm also has an efficient service team, letting companies resolve any issues they may have with a single call, as against time-consuming and expensive on-site visits. Users tend to experience lower downtime and higher efficiency of business operations.

significant role in propelling the company forward. User interest has been on the rise, which bodes well for the future of this company. With a 300% year-on-year growth in revenues, it is growing its client base from micro and small companies to enterprise-level clients. In terms of geographical spread, the company is positioned well, across the cities of New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru. In the coming years, the company will implement a number of ideas to automate and structure data more efficiently, including blockchain tech to make the process of payments even more efficient. It seeks to help companies progress from a system of records to a system of prescriptions, with an AIbased engine to help in decision making, in the works.

Finly.io was incubated at Axilor, a Bengaluru-based seed fund and accelerator that has been one of the key investors powering its growth. The Government of Karnataka’s Elevate 100 brand recognition also played a

www.finly.io

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FLAGGING CYBER THREATS ON TIME “Trust which is the biggest asset of any firm leveraging the internet, is most at risk from actors with malicious intent, and CloudSEK helps reduce digital risk for clients.” Rahu Sasi, Founder & CTO and Sourabh Issar, CEO their concerns. Bengaluru-based CloudSEK, an information security risk management startup, has been offering cyber solutions to such issues. CloudSEK is an AI driven unified risk management enterprise that focuses on intelligent security monitors and systems. It was founded by cyber maverick Rahul Sasi, who was earlier part of the pioneering cybersecurity firm iSight that was acquired by FireEye. He founded CloudSEK in 2015 by combining the emerging areas of AI, machine learning and automation. Sourabh Issar, the company’s current CEO, joined the company in 2018, bringing 18 years of experience with Fortune 500 companies in the USA. More recently, Anand Ramamoorthy, the former MD of Intel / McAfee, who headed the South Asia region for them, has joined the team. CloudSEK’s SaaS-based (software as a service), AIdriven unified risk management platform X-Vigil offers unique digital risk management capabilities With disruptive, new age cybersecurity technology, a Bengaluru-based company helps companies hold off threats to information security. Most businesses ask: Are bad actors spying on our confidential data? Is the brand image at risk from fake sites? How can costly breaches in our infrastructure be prevented? What are hackers discussing about the company? While these and several similar concerns dog most Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs), late, vague, and false positive warnings magnify

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to its clients. The outcome of four years of extensive research and development, X-Vigil has an outside-in discovery and posture assessment tool that enables it to track and assess all the external facing assets of its customers and helps identify insecure infrastructure. It basically helps in the assessment of its client’s security posture in real-time from the perspective of an attacker. It also has an internet monitoring tool to detect cyber threats, data leaks, identity thefts and other similar threats by scouring 1000-plus sources across the surface web and dark web. Powered by CloudSEK’s proprietary AI-based machine learning platform, both the tools provide specific, actionable and timely intelligence and warnings to the clients. This enables clients to intervene and take remedial action, preventing costly breaches and losses.

 2018 was a watershed year for CloudSEK. With high profile breaches happening all over India and South East Asia, the demand for X-Vigil went up rapidly.

The machine learning-based automation of the company’s platform allows it to process bulk data in a quick and cost-efficient manner. Users can pay on the basis of usage, which allows scalability without restrictive lock-ins. Moreover, the system doesn’t require any customer data and takes less than a couple of days to go live. The platform’s algorithms can analyze 9 gigabytes of incremental data in seconds and give users specific, actionable and timely alerts. “Most cybersecurity organizations today are trying to address the issue of delayed warnings with teams of humans, either internal or sourced from service providers. CloudSEK has changed this by aggressively deploying AI and machine learning to completely revolutionize this space,” say Sasi and Issar. The platform’s data collection module enables robots and crawlers to constantly collect data from 1000-plus sources such as the internet, underground/discussion forums, deep web / dark web exfiltrated data, and internet exposed applications among others. Next, machine learning enables the entire process of interpreting, parsing, identifying and classifying this data, noise filtering and indexing. This aids in determining the severity of threat, which is eventually shared with the client.

Within two years of the launch of its flagship AI platform, CloudSEK has over 10 clients across India and South-East Asia, including three of the top five Indian private banks. The company has recently raised US$2.1 million in pre-series A round, led by Exfinity Venture Partners, StartupXseed and IDFC Parampara.

“Trust is the biggest asset of any firm leveraging the internet for any kind of business, financial, commercial, customer support and branding. And trust is today most at risk from actors with malicious intent. This digital risk is what CloudSEK helps reduce for its clients,” the duo adds. The world of fintech, e-commerce, and financial services runs on trust. Be it online money deposits or payment of bills, or usage of app-based cab services or online payment for purchases, trust connects the users to the world of internet technology.

Going forward, the company has three clear focus areas: be the best digital risk management platform in the world, build newer technologies to solve other cybersecurity needs of the client, and expand into more geographies and verticals through channel partnerships with service providers. Building a security analytics hub which can bring together all the inputs, both internal and external, and give a comprehensive view of a company’s security is one of the business problems that CloudSEK is addressing.

www.cloudsek.com

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A QUICK & SURE WAY TO SECURING YOUR INFO Zakeer Hussain and Harshavardhan, co-founders of ZinnoX, are passionate, enthusiastic, in sync and confidently look forward to global domination, no less! A Bengaluru-based Information Security-focused startup, has revolutionised data security practices by ensuring cost-effective and comprehensive coverage. ZinnoX integrates aspects of both automated and manual testing to ensure a more thorough and wider coverage of vulnerability detection, giving the most comprehensive reports available in the market. Its innovative hybrid approach to penetration testing and vulnerability assessment of applications and networks, a unique comprehensive checklist of coverage, and the Cloud-based SaaS portal have taken the on-demand experience for security testing projects to a new level. Officially founded in 2015, the company currently has seven partners, two of whom are GartnerRecognised Leaders in Information/Data/ Cyber Security Services and Products. Having successfully completed -250 plus scans, ZinnoX has over 40 loyal customers spanning 12 countries. ZinnoX’s product Cypna includes 2 versions: Cypna and Cypna Community Edition. Cypna Community edition (previously ZinnoX Reporting Tool or ZRT) is a project management and report automation software which is especially built for security professionals to eliminate unnecessary and timeconsuming involvement in report creations. With Cypna, one can effectively manage each individual security-testing project and generate comprehensive and concise reports with the click of a button, in a matter of minutes. The tool was launched in April 2018 at the Null Meetup in Bengaluru (as ZRT) to wide appreciation from security professionals. “In just a few months, Cypna received interest in investments and beta customers to take it to the next level,” Zakeer Hussain and Harshavardhan, the co-founders, say. Some of Cypna (Community Edition)’s unique features include: • Creation of a comprehensive ‘bugs database’ • D.R.E.A.D calculator (risk-assessing of computer

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 ZinnoX’s affordable and comprehensive InfoSec solutions have led to even individuals and startups getting their applications and networks tested.

security threats) • OWASP mapping - back-up and restore options to ensure no data is lost during use of separate systems during testing, or during system switches • Report generation at the click of a button, and • Complete customisation options to allow creation of customised reports Cypna is an Information Security Testing Workflow management and Report Automation Platform. This product is built for Security Professionals, to help them tackle specific workflow challenges that they face in every Security Testing Project. The key features include Team Collaboration, Task Assignment/Delegation, Project Management and Execution, Automated Report Generation and so many more features and possibilities that they are yet to explore themselves! In their own words, “Cypna has endless potential!” Cypna also includes a customer interface which has taken the test scheduling process to the cloud, ensuring a seamless and on-demand experience to Pen Testing and Vulnerability Assessments. The Cypna portal is one step ahead, giving complete control and power to the customers by helping them schedule tests at their convenience, monitor the progress and download reports. The highly innovative reports

comprise important details such as a complete description of vulnerabilities, name, severity, and type, including screenshots to show the exact location of each vulnerability and how it can be exploited, as well as recommendations to fix the vulnerability detected. The future holds exciting possibilities such as the launch of the feature-packed Cypna, with inputs from its beta customers. The co-founders say, “We’ve developed a very sustainable approach towards entering new geographies. This includes approaching key players in the respective market and offering them complete training and support to help them bring in customers. What’s more, we hold several joint marketing activities together, including joint webinars, to raise awareness and bring about independence when dealing with InfoSec concerns.” ZinnoX has partners in Spain, Africa, Canada, the USA, the UK, Bhutan, and Australia. ZinnoX has completed Pen Test projects for some of the largest entities in Europe and Africa, such as the largest food group, government social media agencies, marketplace aggregators, multinational hotels group and one of the Big 4 audit firms. It is currently discussing partnerships from Middle East, Asia-Pacific, and South American companies and plans to open satellite offices in the USA, the UK, Dubai and Germany.

 The future is Tech, says ZinnoX and promises to help get Bengaluru and India adequately equipped to face the future head-on.

www.zinnox.com

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INNOVATIONS OF BENGALURU EDUTECH FOODTECH

‘THE THRESHOLD’ IS A MUSICAL CONVERSATION BETWEEN PALLAVI AND BINDHUMALINI WHERE THEY LOOK AT GENDER BY CELEBRATING THE STORIES OF WOMEN ACROSS CONTINENTS AND GENERATIONS, FROM THE 4TH CENTURY BC TO THE 20TH CENTURY. THE PERFORMANCE PREMIERED AT THE UNDER THE RAINTREE WOMEN’S CULTURAL FESTIVAL IN 2017. 105


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LEARNINGS FOR LIFE “Education is like an apple tree: you plant a seed and nourish it. While the yield will not be immediate, it is important to keep nurturing it until it grows.” Dr. Joseph VG, Garden City University’s energetic Chancellor

Using interactive tools and Augmented Reality to make learning a dynamic experience, the Garden City University (GCU) offers more than 40 courses across various streams including pure sciences, and updates its syllabus twice a year to match changing industry trends. If he could do so, Dr. Joseph VG would offer free education. Until this Utopian dream becomes a reality, he is focused on the giving the best education he can to the over 40,000 students of the Garden City University. This newly minted University in Bengaluru resembles a mini United Nations, as students drawn from several countries and states mingle with each other. Referencing his own journey, the Chancellor of GCU says, “Education should impart knowledge that should be converted into a skill to make our students employable. The learnings of every student from GCU should sustain them as well as their families. This is a very big responsibility”. Dr Joseph confesses that back in 1992 when he set up the first computer training institute, he viewed it as a livelihood. Over time, though, he’s grown into a committed educationalist, for whom education has become a life’s cause. He started Garden City College in 1993; affiliated to Bangalore University, it offered courses in business management, computer application and hotel management - all disciplines which met the demands of a growing economy. Retaining its focus on equipping students with life skills, the college became an university in 2017 and has swiftly grown to become a premier academic institution. Students and faculty have frequent interactions with industry leaders and other organisations to keep their curriculum relevant. The focus is always on sending out knowledgeable and passionate members of society. The courses offer students the freedom to explore options outside their core field of study, giving them a more balanced education. Students go through mandatory industry training in their

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 GCU’s innovative approach to education involves teaching life-skills, and offers opportunities for students to learn practical skills.

 GCU’s state-of-the-art infrastructure draws students from all over the globe.

Strategy: The University aims to nurture a student’s ambition, and provide the necessary resources and mentoring to bring it to fruition. GCU encourages its students and faculty to innovate; it has a patent attorney to make sure each innovative idea gets registered to their rightful ideator. The college has a robust incubation centre, which helps the students build a prototype, create a business model and prepare a pitch, which they then present to a board of potential investors. 4. The University has set up a Research and Innovation Council (RIC) which aims to enable students to attain the maximum expertise in their chosen field through intensive research. Stressing on research for change, the RIC incorporates tech to bring about possible sustainable solutions to problems such as environmental degradation and endemic diseases, among others. chosen courses, so that by the time they join the workforce, they are equipped with the necessary skills to add value to a team. Dr. Joseph approaches higher education from a global perspective, “so that students can understand different cultures and different socioeconomic and geographic conditions.” GCU is the epitome of a well-rounded global campus; apart from attracting students pan India, the university has students from over 80 countries. The campus encourages students to celebrate their diversity through events where they can showcase their cultures, and also facilitates international faculty and student exchange programmes to universities in Spain and France.

GCU’S INNOVATIVE PRACTICES INCLUDE: 1. Management Trainee Programme: GCU hosts more than a hundred events during the academic year, which are managed by students. From conception to implementation, students of various streams are selected as Management Trainees and focus on their areas of expertise, gaining first-hand knowledge in building a team and running an organisation. 2. CREATE (Culture, Region, Evolution and Tradition in Education): Students and faculty from every department contribute to events. The motive is to gain practical knowledge from each other as well as to encourage the students to rethink their choice of study and future career. 3. ARM (Ambition, Resources and Mentoring)

For over 25 years now, GCU has stayed true to its Founder’s vision of revolutionising education in India, and now it aims to reach a stage where it can make quality education accessible to everyone. GCU will in the not-too distant future move to a 150-acre campus, construction of which is currently underway. The campus will include commercial spaces and technology parks, revenue from which will be channelised to provide free education to deserving and meritorious students. “Everyone deserves a chance to fulfill their dream, regardless of the marks they get,” says Dr. Joseph. The University will select the students on the basis of the following criteria: academic merit, excellence in non academic pursuits such as sports, art, music and dance, and economic disadvantage.

www.gardencity.university

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LESSONS ON CLOUD “When education is properly rolled out in the country, it will be completely equitable and easily accessible to anyone who wants to learn. This will change the outcomes in education for every child and ‘Garibi Hatao’ (abolition of poverty) will automatically come to fruition.” Jyoti Thyagarajan, Founder Trustee, Meghshala

In schools across Karnataka, teachers are using smartphones in classrooms and connecting to a product that’s helping them teach effectively while making learning fun for students. Providing a toolbox on cloud for teachers, Meghshala, a non-profit organisation, is working towards the urgent social cause of equitable education. Jyoti Thyagarajan, Founder Trustee, who is an experienced teacher with Masters’ degrees in physics and education, says that the objective is to help all teachers to upskill. A study of the conditions in Indian government schools persuaded Meghshala to focus on raising basic standards of performance and engagement for every learner, rather than simply raising the level of excellence of a few students. There are over a million government schools in India and it’s certainly not an easy task to provide quality education to every child. Its mission is to create a way to turn teachers into master teachers and shrink the teacher skill deficit, to reach all students who want to learn and design lessons to target learners wherever they are in their learning curve, to infuse lessons with relevant content and make learners into thinkers, not memorisers. “We want to revamp our education system by focusing on teachers to make them better practitioners of their craft”, says Thyagarajan. It provides teachers with support to change how they teach and to make classroom learning successful. Its readymade, state-of-the-art, multimedia lessons work on the five actions

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recommended in a classroom - engage, explore, explain, elaborate and evaluate, in order to make learning possible. Meghshala takes the curriculum and carves it up into subjects; each subject is split into chapters and then divided into lessons. A lesson is taught through a set of slides, that will include all the tools that a good class requires. The end objective is that the teacher is helped to teach students to be analytical, reflective, collaborative and knowledgeable problem-solvers. This lesson is then posted on the app and it helps cue the teacher into conducting a great class. A bigger and more feature-rich version of the app will roll out soon and will work on any device. Teachers who cannot access the internet can visit a block resource centre near their school and download the app and the lessons for free. The content can also be used offline, when teachers are out of internet coverage areas. With a mission to empower 100,000 teachers by 2020, the organisation strives to impact a new generation to be empathetic and active citizens. Primarily funded by grants from the Tata Trust, Meghshala Trust was also supported by TTK Pvt Ltd, Tally and a few private funders, and received awards such as the Gratitude Network Award, NGO Leadership Award in 2018, Top 20 Social Innovations Award from the Ministry of External Affairs, India and Niti Aayog in 2017.

www.meghshala.online

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FRYING UP INNOVATION “I draw from my own experiences when I invent things; after going through back-breaking work while making papads the traditional way at home, I knew we could tap a big market if we could mechanise the process.” TT Jagannathan, Chairman TTK Group

It’s no secret that Indians are fond of fried snacks. With nifty innovations that put a hygienic and handy twist to traditional fries and street food, TTK Foods has a flavourful and firm hold on both market and taste bud. Making traditional snacks like ‘papads’ by hand is laborious and time consuming. A eureka moment happened when TTK Group Chairman TT Jagannathan realised that he could mechanise the process by adding an extruder to the regular Italian pasta machine. This reengineering led to the birth of ready-to-fry ‘Fryums’ and the setting up of a state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in Hosakote, on the outskirts of Bengaluru. Fryums took the market by storm when it was launched in 1985. Since then, it has become a generic name for snacks of its ilk, and competitors in both organised and the larger unorganised sectors have followed with imitations. The market for ready-to-fry snack pellet is a mind boggling Rs. 2000 crore, comprising mostly manufacturers in the unorganised sector with a few in the organised sector. Fryums has set the benchmark and sits pretty at upper end of the price spectrum, supplying to wholesalers who retail it under different labels. While traditional papads don’t lend themselves to many shape variations, Fryums are available in 30 different shapes ranging from 2D (two dimensional) wheels, sticks, stars, checks, ribbed chip to 3D (three dimensional) triangles, hearts, pillows. They are in a blast of flavours - onion, garlic, coriander and mint, and the base goes from good ol’ potato, cereal, rice, pulses, corn to specialty bases such as lentil, hummus and new-age superfood quinoa. Cut to 2012 when Jagannathan’s son Lakshman Thattai launched a hygienic alternative to the panIndian street favourite ‘panipuri’. Typically sold by street hawkers, panipuris used to be manufactured in unhygienic surroundings. TTK’s compressed panipuri pellet just needs to be dropped into hot oil and it becomes a puri, and is known as the Fryum 3D. These perfectly shaped panipuri papads brought in hygiene and convenience. TTK Foods is now the biggest manufacturer of panipuri papads in India, with a one third share of the Rs. 70 crore market.

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Its products are exported to 18 countries, directly and indirectly, and the company is moving from a mostly B2B focus to B2C, to sell its brands directly to customers. With considerable investments in this business by TT Raghunathan, Executive Chairman of TTK Healthcare, (TTK Foods is a strategic business unit of TTK Healthcare), new production lines in the Hosakote factory have been established to churn out 800 tonnes of papads, and a new factory in Jaipur can produce an equal number.

Continual innovation has enabled it to reach out beyond its primary customers of wholesalers and repackagers and develop customised products for companies like PepsiCo in India and other countries. It is the only company in the industry to have an R&D centre, a product team and a pilot plant, which are all located in Bengaluru. And it’s here that all the new flavours and shapes are tested.

 While cuisines vary across regions, Indians are united in their undying love for the popular street food: crisp fried ‘puris’ stuffed with sprouts, chick peas and mashed potatoes. TTK foods brought much needed hygiene to this all time favourite.

 TTK Foods’ state-of-the-art manufacturing plants cater to the snack cravings of people in 18 countries. The ready-to-fry products are made through extrusion / sheeting processes.

www.ttkhealthcare.com/foods

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PASSIONATE CHOCOLATIER “Smoor offers a global standard of fine handcrafted food – imagined and made in India. We are the largest true couverture chocolate chain in India and the number 1 in this format. We are absolutely proud to be Made in Bengaluru to be taken to the rest of India.” Vimal Sharma, Founder & Chief Evangelist

A Bengaluru based indie chocolate brand is up to grab a huge chunk of the tempting market of chocolates for Indians with a global taste. Smoor Chocolates from the house of Bliss has introduced ‘couverture’ handcrafted premium chocolates, offering a distinct option for the quintessential Indian palate. It isn’t quite as simple as merely reducing the milky sweetness of mass produced chocolates (even international brands had tweaked their chocolates to suit traditional Indian palates accustomed to milky sweets). In the intense world of the chocolatier, there are variants, recipes and dynamics at work to create the ultimate chocolate experience as tastes evolve in India. “Smoor offers innovative flavours of chocolates made from the most authentic and high quality ingredients sourced from across the globe for the global Indian with a fine taste in life”, Vimal Sharma, Founder & Chief Evangelist at Bliss Chocolates, tells Aditya Mendonca. They are made from 70% cacao beans that are handpicked from Ghana, Madagascar, Ecuador, and São Tomé & Príncipe. Apart from their exotic origins, the chocolates are offered in over a 100 variants of pralines, dragees, cookies and other assorted delicacies, apart from the signature chocolate bars collection by Smoor’s internationally renowned pastry chefs and chocolatiers. Sharma brings with him a vast and varied global experience in the food business across Australia, Fiji, North America, Asia and Europe. Talking about the brand’s evolution from the time Bliss Chocolates was established in 2009, he says, “We know our product, we make it with passion. In that sense, we felt that we were artists and asked ourselves how we could combine art into chocolate. How does the brand start talking the same way? How could we take that art into our packaging, our lounges and more. We re-branded to Smoor and the journey has evolved from there.” Extending the brand’s innovation from chocolates to a unique mix of retail concepts - signature studios, cafes and kiosks, Smoor has grown from 6 retail outlets to 19 outlets in Bengaluru, and the company is actively expanding to Mumbai and New Delhi. Smoor’s Signature Chocolate Studio and revamped

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 Smoor presents a new world of true couverture chocolates concocted by master chocolatiers from around the world, using authentic ingredients.

 Smoor’s award winning packaging display stunning botanical art that complement the luxurious handcrafted chocolates, baked goods and fine products.

lounges are an exquisite experience with their display of artistry and craftsmanship as enticing as the array of chocolates and desserts. Innovation includes its award winning stunning packaging. Smoor’s agency Anomaly Brands has crafted an artistic expression in sync with the brand’s philosophy of ‘True Chocolate. True Story.’ Eschewing the trite imagery of dripping chocolates, it has delved back in time and chosen colourful and elegant illustrative botanical style. The signature brand language symbolises the core elements of the products as handcrafted with natural and rich ingredients, and makes them cherished gifts for all occasions, from expressions of love to corporate hampers. Technology integration through ERP for inventory management, order processing, logistics has led to improved efficiency and costs, and has been a key factor in the company’s current growth as the largest couverture chocolate brand in India. In turn, this has lead to a double digit pace of growth for the chocolate industry and couverture category. The brand will expand from chocolates to complementary product lines such as baked goods, beverages and ice creams - all handmade with true ingredients. “As we grow, we will add more cafes and gift shops to complement our chocolate business and we want customers to enjoy an indulgent experience with say, an Ecuadorian chocolate ice cream. Nobody knows chocolate the way we do and we are now aggressively looking at disrupting the ice cream market and the beverage market with pre-packaged dark chocolate drinks”, Sharma ends on a sweet note. Awards • People’s Choice Award for ‘Best Cafe’ at EazyDiner Foodie Awards in 2017 • ‘Best Dessert’ at World on a Plate 2017 • Awarded ‘Design Craft’ for its elegant packaging at Kyoorius Design Awards (In Book) 2017

www.smoorchocolates.com

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SPREADING HAPPINESS, SWEETLY “At Anand Sweets, every morsel is imagined and created with a single intent, to deliver true joy.” Arvind Dadu, Director Pivoting from an old school traditional mithai brand to the go-to brand for every celebration, Anand Sweets has used every technological aid to gallop ahead in its category. What is now one of South India’s largest sweets brands started its story with one man’s dream to revolutionise the sweetmeat industry and ‘make luxurious mithais accessible to all’. Anand Dayal Dadu, the founder of his namesake Anand Sweets and Savouries, set off on this inspiring journey with his brother, Vipin back in 1988, with their first humble outlet on Bengaluru’s Commercial Street. Anand Dadu’s eldest son, Arvind joined the company in 2001, effectively launching a new era for Anand Sweets. Under the able management of the family members (Arvind, Sanjay, Rahul, Ankeet, and Ankush), the company has carved a niche for itself in its sweets business and in the quick service restaurant (QSR) space, as well. With a keen eye for changing trends and international exposure, Arvind realised that the brand needed to reposition itself. The IT boom had brought in new demographics to new areas of the city, and while Anand Sweets was a fixture in the older areas, it needed to grab the new clientele who had different tastes. Arvind has led a comprehensive overhaul of the finer aspects of business, such as human resources, finance, marketing, operations, packaging, and store experiences. This large-scale re-thinking has led to a systematic increase in efficiency, and carved a new pathway towards the culinary innovation that the brand has come to be known for. It currently has 11 retail stores across the city with

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4 restaurants that include Cheeni Kum- a snackery, Purani Dilli - a quick service restaurant, Nayi Dilli - a fine dining experience, and an airport exclusive brand, Sakkare by Anand. It has also launched a specialised wedding service, Royal Union. “While being traditionalist at heart, we are also on a quest of constantly innovating and creating new products that are relevant to all ages and geographies. Anand is not a regular mithai shop - it’s a sweet and savoury experience from Bengaluru,” Arvind tells Aditya Mendonca, adding, “we introduce something new to the menu every six months. It keeps innovation alive.” Indeed, the sheer scope of variety in its offerings is remarkable. Whether it is the signature Badamika biscuits and Cashew Meetaaz or the range of Arabic specialities, such as Baklava and Turkish Delight, the brand’s dedication to creativity and originality reflects in its ever-changing shelves and impressive range of 300-plus products. With a 120,000 sq. ft. centralized production unit in Jigani that is able to churn out 30,000 kgs of products every day, the facility boasts of a strict quality control team and R&D facilities. Exceptional consistency of ingredients, freshness of taste and superior packaging are the brand’s strongest pillars. It’s a family business for its long-serving staff too, with generations of the same families following virtually unchanged recipes. This serves to ensure the authenticity of the various delicacies they create from different regions across India. Anand Sweets also has an entire section dedicated to diet and sugar-free sweets, with Kaju Katli and Sohan Papdi being the most popular.

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dining experience. Cheeni Kum, on the other hand, is a snack store that offers a diverse range of roasted, fried, baked and sugary snacks hailing from all over the country. Customers are spoilt for choice with ready-to-mix jhal muri and mukhwaas from Bengal and bakarwadi and farsaan from Maharashtra vying with Gujarati khakra and South Indian murukku and nipattu. Anand Sweets’ wedding service, Royal Union is, in itself, a game changer with bespoke mithai arrangements tailor-made for every occasion that the great Indian wedding calls for. Corporate giants, too, form a large part of the brand’s loyal clientele, with names like Amazon, SAP, and Bosch forming part of their patronage. A huge reason for this is the solid customer satisfaction the brand entails, with the exact same attention to detail whether

it is an order for 10 of a small firm’s top clients or a 5000-employee celebration. Anand Sweets has an e-commerce option as well, with pan-India deliveries and local tie-ups in Bengaluru with Swiggy, Zomato, Uber Eats and Dunzo, assuring under 90-minute deliveries in the city. This chain’s unwavering service and commitment to excellence have won several accolades, including the Times Food Award for the Best Mithai in Bangalore for 7 years in a row. Anand Sweets plans to expand through exclusive counters at the Bengaluru, Chennai, Mumbai and Delhi airports in the near future, and a flagship store in Chennai by 2020. It is also planning to create a footprint in packaged food items, especially namkeen, readyto-eat foods, and extruded snacks.

Harnessing modern technology to the hilt, Anand Sweets relies on multiple tech systems to optimize its sales, with heat mapping being a particularly versatile innovation. By using thermal imaging to analyse shoppers’ engagement with displays, products and in-store signage, it is able to improve and streamline the shopping experience. The ERP systems are employed to integrate reported data into a cloud base that is utilized by management and employees to make decisions more efficiently. The company also applies the highly acclaimed SaaS model to decrease churn and enhance customer success and potential revenue. The result is happiness all around: customers, staff and management.

The company’s foray into the restaurant business has been a success as well, with its Purani Dilli and Nayi Dilli chains bringing two contrasting hues of the culinary world to the plate. Purani Dilli’s quick service restaurants are a delightful addition to the culinary scene of Bengaluru. The interiors replicate the look and feel of Chandni Chowk, while the food like Sooji Ke Gol Gappe or Matar Kulcha captures the ethos and the soul of culinary heaven. The chefs not only source each authentic spice from the local markets of Delhi but also pay careful attention to recreating the exact flavours. So whether you want a quick bite of Aloo Tikki and Chole Bhature or crave for a full fledged North Indian Thali, Purani Dilli is a must visit for every foodie. While Purani Dilli is a celebration of all things street, Nayi Dilli promises a sophisticated fine-

 Consistent quality, classy packaging and upmarket ambience is the reason for Anand Sweets’ success.

www.anandsweets.in

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IDEATING FRESH FOOD Musthafa PC, Co-founder & CEO, iD Fresh Food says his company is driven by “innovation, common sense and conviction.”

With innovative products, technology, packaging, marketing and customer engagement, iD Fresh Food is the poster child of innovation. It’s also a hundred-million-dollar brand. The success of iD Fresh Food is powered by technology. Here’s an example of it. Dealing with highly perishable fresh foods is doubly challenging for iD, as its products are all natural. Musthafa PC, Co-founder & CEO, explains in an interview with Sandhya Mendonca, “While the whole world is busy working on R&D to extend the shelf life of the products with preservatives, we work on technology to ensure a zero inventory model. Our products have a shelf life that’s as short as three days for some products.” The challenge is in managing wastage, and the company uses algorithms to predict demand and ensure that 350 company trucks deliver the right number of products to 20,000 stores across India each day. “We work on a model that is unique in this field. We ensure that by the time my salesman reaches the store, the last pack of batter would be picked up by the customer.” Its story started in 2006, as a little establishment in Bengaluru, making the batter for south India’s favourite breakfast food, idli and dosa (hence the name iD). It is currently present in 17 cities across India and abroad, with a team of more than 1200 employees. The company now manufactures and supplies to over 18,000 retail outlets. It produces and delivers an array of ready-to-cook, fresh Indian home food to its customers every single day and takes pride in its home-made style of preparation in hygienic factories that follow the best-in-class manufacturing processing systems and use state-of-the art equipment. Its range of food products include a whopping 55,000 kgs of idli / dosa batter per day, apart from parotas, chapatis, curd, paneer and more. iD Fresh Foods positions itself as the perfect professional assistant in the kitchen and helps busy people rustle up 100% natural and authentic tasting home- style Indian meals in a jiffy. “We deliberately stayed away from over-engineering because we want people to enjoy the satisfaction of playing a role, even if minimal, in preparing a fresh meal for themselves and their loved ones”, says Musthafa. He asserts that iD uses fresh ingredients and premium quality materials from reputed suppliers. It does not use any preservatives, chemicals, emulsifiers, synthetic stabilizers, artificial colour or flavours. Proof of this will soon be available when the company, in a bold step, will begin 24/7 live webcast of its factories to demonstrate its fresh and natural philosophy. With a clutch of awards to its credit, this food brand is expanding at a rapid rate to meet the demands of its growing customer base. Musthafa credits Bengaluru for playing a role in iD’s success, “I think we made it big because we had the right product, at the right time, in the right market.”

www.idfreshfood.com

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FROZEN IS FRESH “We are educating consumers about the goodness of frozen food, that it’s the right route to reduce food wastage, preserve nutrition and maintain freshness, and is better than what is traditionally believed to be fresh.” Mithun Appaiah, CEO, Innovative Foods Limited – Brand Sumeru

Using the most advanced IQF (Individual Quick Frozen) technology, Sumeru Frozen Foods is intent on proving the ‘goodness of frozen’. Sumeru’s frozen foods go through flash freezing immediately after being sourced, which seals the nutrients and helps better shelf life, without the usage of preservatives.

chicken sausages, cheese-filled sausages, seer fish, high-grade prawns, and a range of vegetarian products. We have launched a complete range of kebabs, nuggets and peri-peri fries, and a Michelin star chef curated ‘heat and eat’ range.” Many small insights have led to great disruptions, says Appaiah, such as Sumeru’s frozen grated coconut does away with the problem of grating coconut.

The IQF technology that Sumeru uses is a step ahead of normal freezing and locks in the freshness, taste, texture, and nutrients of the product. A panel of chefs to regulate the quality of food, a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, and GPS-enabled technology that keep a check on the real-time temperature of the vehicles involved in the supply chain, are all the measures that ensure highest quality standards.

IFL also serves customised products to food service businesses across India and marquee chains such as McDonalds, KFC and the like. It makes 85 products for the domestic market and exports to the USA, Middle east, Australia, Singapore and other countries. It is present across 130 locations in India across retail outlets, right from kirana stores to large department stores and all grocery e-commerce sites.

A major player in the Indian food industry since 1989, Innovative Foods Limited (IFL) has been systematically disrupting the frozen foods space with new product categories. “We have taken the thought leadership stand in the frozen food category in India,” says Mithun Appaiah, CEO, IFL, to Aditya Mendonca. “We are the only brand in this category which has the most innovative range from peas to pork. We have exotic products like back bacon pork, imported from Spain and processed in Sri Lanka, top class

Sumeru is on a spree of continuous innovation, with 75-100 products in its ‘innovation funnel’ at any point of time. Its latest launch is a range of Michelin Star Frozen Gourmet signature meals curated by Alfred Prasad, the youngest Indian chef to get a Michelin star.

www.sumeru.net

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FARM-TO-FORK Co-founders Vivek Gupta and Abhay Hanjura dream of building a transformational food brand that isn’t only loved and consumed globally, but would also change the way meat as a food category is viewed in society. In a highly fragmented market, a Bengaluru company is leveraging technology to put fresh meat on the table, overcoming the challenge of safety risks to which food is highly susceptible. Abhay Hanjura and Vivek Gupta bonded over their love for fish steak and lamb chops. But every time the foodies ordered these from restaurants, poor texture and lack of flavour disappointed their taste buds. As loyal meat lovers, they dug deep into the matter and discovered that the problem lay in the fact that restaurants use frozen meat for most preparations. This realization kick-started the delicious story of Licious in 2015. This is an online meat and fish marketplace that delivers fresh, safe and quality meats in select Indian cities. Based on zero inventory and a farm-to-fork model, the company aims to deal with issues relating to quality and hygiene of daily food items. It was almost as if the poorly fragmented and quality distressed Indian meat market was longing to change the way meat is consumed. Delving deeper into the dynamics of the Indian meat industry, the founderduo figured out that despite 70 percent of Indians being meat eaters and the country being one of the largest meat exporters, this industry is almost entirely unorganized. The small section of organized players mostly deals in frozen meats and is export-oriented. With the meat market estimated to be around US$40 billion, the company appears to be sitting on a mountain of opportunities. So, what is Licious doing differently? For one, it owns the entire back-end supply chain, from procurement to processing and packaging. Its stringent cold chain control helps to scientifically maintain the quality and freshness of each product till it reaches the customer. The company uses technology to manage its supply chain, cold chain and demand forecasting and has gained a significant foothold in the market. Since inception, the company has grown 300 per cent, adapting to daily market dynamics. In fact, its ability to innovate daily and consistently in a market which is not constrained by demand but lacks high-quality supply defines the company. Recognising that consumer value can only be created with a strong network of long-term partners, Licious has been working closely with farmers and fishermen from the beginning. It is working towards creating mainstream livelihood for butchers, farmers, fishermen and affiliated workforce by giving them assured and fair salaries, social security, insurance, performance incentives with growth opportunities.

ď ° Licious is being built as a full-stack meat brand in a market that has a billion-dollar opportunity.

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Currently, over 200 independent farmers and related workforce work closely with the company. Consequently, all its products are procured from company-curated farms and hand-picked boats for seafood.


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a stringent final quality check conducted by hub managers. With a significant head-start and an impressive growth rate, Licious has been successful in securing about US$65 million of funding till date. Mayfield Capital, 3one4 Capital, Sistema Asia Fund, Neoplux Technology Fund, Bertelsmann India, Vertex Ventures Southeast Asia and India are some of the company’s major investors. Within 3 years of formation, the founders own a kitty full of awards and recognitions that includes SuperStartups Asia 2017, 2018 BW Disrupt 40 under 40, Harvard Business School & Harvard Kennedy School - India Disruptive Innovation Conference 2018 and GQ India’s 50 Most Influential Indians.

Its hub-and-spoke model in each location involves a central processing unit and a network of delivery hubs. Stringent guidelines are followed by the central processing unit to ensure the right age, weight, and health of the animal/bird procured as well as the precision in cuts, adhering to its norms of fresh chain management. The products are then

moved on to the production process where a team of expert chefs and skilled butchers take care of the details to ensure neat and clean prime cuts. From here on, the products move to temporary cold storage and then to the delivery hubs spread across the city. Every time an order is placed, the product is dispatched from the closest delivery hub after

Licious currently serves over 300,000 customers with close to 90 percent repeat transactions across Delhi-NCR, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Chandigarh. In the immediate future, it is gearing up for market opening across 11 cities in the next 12-18 months. It also plans to innovate and build value-added offerings with ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat portfolio.

www.licious.in

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INNOVATIONS OF BENGALURU ARCHITECTURE & SMART DESIGN CONNECTED COMMUNITIES & SPACES

PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER VIVEK MATHEW EXPERIENCES THE ESSENCE OF LIFE THROUGH HIS CAMERA LENSES. 121


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DESIGN IN CONTEXT “KAF’s mission is to create architecture that is very responsive and leaves a mark visually or experientially. This approach has been drawing customers from different parts of the world.” Indrajit Kembhavi, Managing Partner, & Nita Kembhavi, Principal Architect, Kembhavi Architecture Foundation The world is a dynamic place, with people and their lifestyles constantly evolving and adapting. Making spaces appropriate and contextual to current needs while building in fluidity to enable change is at the crux of design innovation by the architectural firm Kembhavi Architecture Foundation. “Once the life-cycle of a space has reduced, KAF does not advocate destroying a completely built space to change its use. We keep a space fluid so that it evolves from one use to the other”, Indrajit Kembhavi, Managing Partner, tells Aditya Mendonca. These incorporated changes in use of space needn’t always be complete overhauls from residential to commercial, and are adaptable to changes in the lifestyles of the occupants. “We have to have a space which is evolving, while ensuring that it is contextual in its current time frame”, he says. Founded by Nalini and Sharad Kembhavi in Hubballi, KAF has a strong operations base in Bengaluru. The couple’s sons Indrajit and Partha Kembhavi, and their spouses Nita and Soumya are principal architects in the firm, with distinct strengths. The firm’s design scope is eclectic and ranges from individual houses to large townships and malls, to new age spaces for companies in technology, healthcare and hospitality. “Our palette is extensive. We work on projects for the government too, and we are probably the only firm in the country who have designed a prison, the district prison in Bagalkot, Karnataka”, says Nita Kembhavi. Irrespective of the size of a building, be it a single home or a 100 acre campus, KAF delivers a design in three weeks. While the buzz word in architecture is smart homes, Kembhavi says that “simplicity and effectiveness” is all that it takes, and the firm has long has been incorporating simple management tools at the design stage to enable such smart homes. People tend to use a lot of technology, but technology has to be part of a whole, he says, citing the example of advanced curtain management systems that are light or temperature sensitive. This technology add on would be farcical if the basic design of the window is flawed. The essence of a good building lies in the initial design which would enable good windows to start with. Referring to the to the focus on luxury living, Kembhavi states that “luxury lies not in marble flooring or automation, but in design.” Kembhavi creates a “luxurious aura through design”, and does not confuse between transient style, and ethereal design; thus, it tailors

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 Designing for the evolution of a space is the innovative principle of KAF.

a custom design for the purpose of the project which is blended to incorporate the site and its requirements. An early and significant innovation by KAF has been in the practice of solar passive architecture, which it pioneered in India. Explaining the concept, Kembhavi says that firm does not just perform lipservice to the often-misused concept of making the properties ‘green.’ KAF’s commitment goes beyond superficial inclusions to incorporate all the elements of nature as energy tools to make a building efficient and sustainable in terms of climate, air quality, breathability, ideal utilisation of space, light, and simply the overall aura. This wholesome concept was woven into the genetics as well as circadian aspects of the firm by Nalini Kembhavi, who studied solar passive architecture at IIT – Powai. In its pursuit of implementing best practices, KAF has won several awards, including: • Architect of the year, South India at the Indian Properties Awards 2015 • Outstanding Concrete Structure for townships for designing the Provident Welworth City for Puravankara Ltd, 2015 • Silicon, India Bangalore Real Estate Awards 2016 for ‘Best Design Apartment of the Year – South for Manikchand 117ff Super Luxury Apartment’ • Best Architect for Real Estate Design, 2016, Manikchand-117FF by RRBC Keeping up the disruptive milieu, Kembhavi has also joined the innovation ecosystem as an investor in the architectural start up Snaptrude, which is focused on a BIM (Building Information Modelling) visualisation tool.

 Best Iconic Tower of 2018 winner for Landmark Vertica

www.kembhaviarchitects.com

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COLLABORATING TO CREATE We use both halves of our mind - we are calculative and creative. Our brand principle is to follow a research driven approach to hone in on all that a project requires before getting into the aesthetics of the design, and of course, we are technically sound. Raja Arjun, Founder, OCD

Pioneering the era of turnkey design build solutions, the young and eclectic OCD (Office of Cognitive Design) has challenged the way traditional design firms work. It succeeds by leveraging its international collaborative network to co-create unique spaces and buildings in different sectors - retail, corporate, hospitality, co-working, housing, education and healthcare to clients around the country and the world. With more than 5.3 million square feet of completed iconic projects under their belt for clients like Tata Housing, Fira Barcelona, Seven by Dhoni, Hindustan Unilever, Future Group, Reliance, Aprilia and Piaggio, it is very likely that one would have shopped, dined, lived, studied or worked in a space they have created. “Everything we do is centered around our clients and their end clients; our work is all about the people who would be using the space that we design. Our most important process is centered around design thinking�, Raja Arjun, Founder of OCD tells Aditya Mendonca. From funky restaurants in Mumbai to cool co-working spaces and mass housing in Bengaluru to boutique hotels in Goa, OCD deploys its bespoke design with its own manufacturing and engineering team.

At 30, Raja already has 13 years of experience; he began designing products such as bikes, shoes and furniture while still in school and

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got his first break in designing an apartment at the age of 17. Bolstered by a Master’s degree in Business Strategies at IE Barcelona, after working on a few assignments for international companies, he returned to India. Identifying the need for an integrated design and build company, he set up OCD in Bengaluru as a design firm offering brand strategy, architecture, interior design and turnkey construction under one roof.

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concentration and discussions. It also uses mood lighting to augment experiences and works with lighting manufacturers to create spaces and moods that could be vibrant or romantic or relaxing, as the need might be. Technology is par for the course with 3D renders, VR walk throughs, augmented reality, space automation and management, project management tools and softwares. OCD is unique in the way it uses information gathering, via interviews, quantitative data research to qualitative research, as a critical tool to satisfy the end customers. It is equally innovative in design and build solutions, and has implemented IoT to create smart spaces, ranging from large sustainable factories, schools, high end residences for senior living and others.

“We are different in the process at which we drive an idea. We are different because we are a collaborative firm, and we have global collaborators. We are in tune with the innovations around the world and that is the value we bring to a client. There is no style, use or scale we cannot tackle with this design/thought process”, says Raja. While the team consists of 70 people, the collaborative community it has built gives it access to 120 people around the world.

Collaboration is also inbuilt in the way the firm functions, and unlike traditional architectural firms, it has democratised the business model of architecture, design, interior design and contracting. Each of the 6 partners across 4 countries handles different segments. Raja himself focuses on ensuring that the needs of their clients are comprehended and that there is no information lost from the client’s brief, from the first concept to the approved design.

For example, it collaborates on a project basis with a psychologist in Portugal who supplies research on how people like to work, how to make them more efficient or how they like to dine. The firm uses these insights to fit its clients depending on their requirements. A co-working space, for instance, benefits from insights into ways of providing spaces that enhance attention,

www.ocd.bz www.linkedin.com/company/ocddesign/about

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KNOWING YOUR CUSTOMER HELPS YOU INNOVATE

“I am a very proud Indian; if other countries can do it, why not us?” Jitu Virwani, Embassy Group’s Chairman & Managing Director, talking about building world-class infrastructure. A few years after Texas Instruments set up an R&D centre in Bengaluru in the mid 80s, other global firms began eyeing the city. It was an opportunity that was swiftly recognised and acted upon by the Embassy Group that has since emerged as a market leader in realty, providing corporate offices, industrial parks, warehousing, co-working spaces, apart from housing and hotels. Its customers are multinational and homegrown companies in BFSI, IT, Retail/FMCG, Automobile/Aerospace, Healthcare, Telecom and E-commerce sectors. From dabbling in desktop publishing in its nascence in India to building up a portfolio of real estate assets, billionaire realtor Jitu Virwani’s enterprises have always extended beyond the prevalent norms. A youthful 53 year old, the Chairman and Managing Director of the Embassy Group is disarmingly frank about his motivation in this interview with Sandhya Mendonca; “the drive to make money makes me innovative”, he says. Virwani was amongst the first to spot the demand for large office spaces with back-up power supply. Oracle was the first to sign up in Embassy Point. Embassy then marketed the functional efficiency

of large spaces, offering 25,000 sq ft. From there, it was an audacious jump to building India’s first business park, Embassy GolfLinks, with 4.5 million sq ft located on 65 acres, where the Hilton Hotel came up subsequently. Embassy Commercial today holds one of the single largest private office parks portfolio in India,

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spread out over 40 million sq ft of completed office space and 45 million sq ft in ongoing and future development. In Bengaluru, apart from Embassy GolfLinks, the Group’s business parks include Embassy Manyata, one of the largest business parks in India, with a total developable area of 15+ million sq ft. In


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 With a landbank of 1,000 acres across India, Embassy has developed 45 million sq ft of commercial, residential, retail, hospitality and industrial warehouse spaces.

in 1993 at The Embassy, a residential complex in Bengaluru. With green energy gaining currency, Virwani is ahead of the game having installed a 100 MW solar plant in Bellari. Feeding into the state’s power grid, it reaches Bengaluru where the Embassy business parks tap into this green power. As Virwani sums up, “Innovation is staying ahead of the game.” • Embassy has joint ventures with private equity majors; Embassy Office Parks is a joint venture with Blackstone and Embassy Industrial Parks is a joint venture with Warburg Pincus. • Embassy’s operations span across Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Trivandrum, Pune, Delhi NCR, Serbia in Eastern Europe and Malaysia.

Embassy Tech Village’s building area of 12 million sq ft, occupiers can use fully fitted interim office solutions while their offices are being constructed. “Knowing your customer helps you innovate”, says Virwani. He has an uncanny ability to gauge the needs of customers before they do so themselves. When multinational companies didn’t want to buy offices, he readily agreed to lease them space. Not just that, he offered to maintain the buildings too, scoring another first. As the buildings were yet to be built, he put up incubation facilities for Fortune 500 companies as varied as Microsoft, Goldman Sachs, Fidelity and IBM. “They could start training people in these state of the art incubation centers right away while we were building their offices.” Not just that, Embassy also gave them options on floor space next door at no extra cost. This bold decision like many others was a calculated gamble, and it paid off as most companies are conservative in their growth estimations and grow much faster. Thus IBM, which had thought its growth would require 700,000 sq ft between 2002-2009, ended up leasing 2 million sq ft. This is the same reasoning that led to a partnership in 2017 with American coworking brand, WeWork. The concept led by his son Karan Virwani, is already a huge hit, and Virwani is sure that when the young companies grow bigger, they will move to one of many bigger Embassy office spaces.

The ability to grasp changing mindsets was evident when he began his foray in residential space by building small apartment complexes as Bengalureans preferred such sizes. As tastes began to change, he began adding club houses and swimming pools. Now, in the uber luxury villa development, Embassy Boulevard, he offers membership to the swanky BLVD Club, which is accessible to non-residents as well; a strategic move given the long waiting periods to get into the handful of clubs in the city. The plush, serviced Four Seasons Private Residences at Embassy One, is an adjunct to the Four Seasons hotel that the Group has built. Embassy Edge apartments, India’s first Alexa-enabled homes are starter ‘smart’ homes for millennials.

 Embassy uses technology for maintenance free buildings, with consultants for lighting, façade, and traffic management; underground scanners check vehicles while maintaining smooth movement, epoxy coated basements keep it free of seepage; efficient air conditioning and treated water save costs.

The company’s and the city’s growth have to be simultaneous, he acknowledges and has pledged Rs. 250 crore to build a flyover in front of the Embassy Manyata Business Park and for a metro station at the Embassy TechVillage. The decision was a ‘nobrainer’ he says, as the flyover gives access to over 100,000 +park users. Where Embassy goes, others follow; metro authorities have since got similar sponsorships from several other businesses. Embassy’s innovations, apart from recharging lakes in Embassy Springs, the upcoming 288-acre township, include green initiatives such as using treated water in several properties., Virwani had pioneered the use of recycled water as early as

www.embassyindia.com

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CREATING RELEVANT SPACES The story of Prestige is the stuff of legends and locals never tire of proudly pointing to the local boy, Irfan Razack, whose uncanny ability with numbers with the solidarity of brothers Rezwan and Noaman, has helped helm the rise from a maker of bespoke suits to a company with a net worth of Rs. 4.16 thousand crore.

 With over 150 landmark developments across Bengaluru, Prestige has extended its expertise to major cities across South India, building malls, large townships, tech parks, hotels, luxury villas, and SEZs. “Location, chemistry and trust are the keys to our success” says Irfan Razack, Chairman, Prestige Group. He seems to have the right keys as nothing seems to faze the growth of its flagship real estate business – not the RERA (Real Estate Regulatory Authority) Act, not demonetisation. Sales keep improving and rentals on income keep going up substantially. The group’s diverse portfolio includes retail, leisure, hospitality, property management, amongst others. When the IT boom happened in Bengaluru in the late 90’s, Prestige was amongst the first to cater to IT companies, though says Razack to Sandhya Mendonca, “When we started building office spaces, there was no such thing as the IT boom. It was very different from today when customers are gobbling up hundreds of thousands of square feet. The need then was for

smaller spaces for the smaller businesses and companies. The rent in the late 80’s and early 90’s was a mere 6 or 7 rupees in the CBZ. Today, it is Rs.175 per square foot in a Grade A building. There is a steep change, the capital values and rents have changed, and most importantly, the volumes have changed. Each company comes in with a requirement of at least 40-50 thousand and 100 thousand square feet, sometimes even a million square feet. And we have been able to cash in on this. I feel proud that we have been associated with some of the best companies.” These include Cisco whose largest innovation centre outside the US in Bengaluru occupies 2.8 million sq ft of space in the Prestige Cessna Business Park. Razack estimates that approximately 100 or 150 square feet of workspace is equivalent to one job, and by that

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measure, taking into account the 105 million sq ft of properties that it has built, Prestige has helped create a sizeable number of jobs. Prominent properties that Prestige has built have pedigreed occupants; in Bengaluru, apart from Cisco, HCL, Cargill, Micron Technologies and Sixt are based in Prestige Cessna Business Park, (4mn sqft), JP Morgan, Western Digital, Adobe, Oracle, Amadeus, Juniper, IQVIA, Bosch, Aricent, Mylan, [24]7 at Prestige Tech Park (6mn sq ft), and HUL, Exxon Mobil, Caterpillar, Baxter, VMWare,TCS, GE, Britannia, Rockstar at Prestige Shantiniketan (3.6mn sqft). Constant reinvention and evolution is fuelled by “innovations in the way we manage our company and the way we construct our buildings. We adapt new technologies to get speedier and better


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construction”, says Razack. A recent technology that Prestige uses is aluminium shuttering which eliminates the need for concrete walls and the attendant procedures of block work, plastering and curing. This helps build high rise buildings faster. He’s also acutely aware of the need to use technology to connect with millennial customers who demand instant resolution of issues. And soon, all its new homes will be ‘connected’ homes that the owners can monitor with their smartphones. As construction becomes more reliant on technology, he also wants to ensure that automation does not lead to job losses. “We have to balance both and make sure that innovations and technology go hand in hand with the human side”, he says. Prestige’s USP lies in choosing the type of development that is appropriate to the environment and making it relevant to the target audience. At the heart of this success is amazing goodwill that Razack, a local boy, enjoys in the city, and the popularity has paid off handsomely. From Richie Rich businessmen to the average joe, they view Prestige with rose-tinted glasses. “Trust is the answer to why our sales are more than anybody else’s. Over a period of years, we have built not just buildings but the confidence of our customers. People are putting their life savings and getting themselves into debt to buy a home that will be an asset. We have an edge over other builders as people prefer to buy a Prestige property if there is one available within

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their budget and in the location of their choice”, says Razack. It also helps that the company caters to real estate needs of varied asset classes and to a range of budgets. Apart from Bengaluru, Prestige is now in 5 major cities - Hyderabad, Chennai, Kochi, NCR and Mumbai. It is developing an IT Park in Pune. In the residential space, it realised long ago that the actual demand is in the midmarket. So, while it builds homes and malls for the rich and the famous like the UB City and Kingfisher Towers, it also gets its volume from the mid-segment. Branching from offices to homes and to malls, Prestige has become the largest mall manager, with 9 malls across India under its banner with a GLA (gross leasable area) of 42,09,441 sq ft, and five more under construction that will increase its GLA by 27,17,583 sq ft. “A mall is a social infrastructure. We are looking at being one of the largest and strongest. We want to be one of the best mall managing companies, which understands the retail space and the needs of customers in different parts of the country.” Choosing the right location has ensured footfalls that result in sales that keep retailers happy and the malls successful. Prestige’s Forum brand has a strong presence across most of the southern cities that the company plans to extend. Prestige has also created some of the best hospitality assets like the Sheraton Grand, the Conrad and the Aloft hotel, the Oakwood Residences and the Oakwood Premier. Razack

 Prominent landmarks across Bengaluru, and increasingly so in major cities across India, flaunt the logo of the falcon.

downplays this not insignificant achievement, “Hospitality is a very long play, our foray into hospitality happened because of the demands of a particular property, because an integrated development needed to get the element of hospitality”. He’s chuffed though about the Prestige Golfshire, which has an 18-hole championship golf course in a 275 acre property. “I believe this has contributed to the city’s stature and brand. I am particularly proud because we have created another social infrastructure for the city. It is good to see Japanese, Koreans and our own Bengalureans enjoying this beautiful infrastructure.” He’s currently immersed in the restoration and the beautification of the Ulsoor Lake, a landmark water body in the heart of city. He has all the plans ready to stop sewage inflow, to clean and aerate the water and to make it a vibrant and green public space. This is a part of the company’s CSR effort, and he says, “We are going to make a difference, and others will emulate by restoring other lakes in the city.”

The Prestige Group which has won a plethora of international and national awards, is the only developer from Bengaluru to receive the reputed FIABCI award for its software and residential facilities. At the Asian Brand Conclave in 2018, Prestige Group was awarded the “Admired Brand of Asia” in the Real Estate category while Irfan Razack received the “Lifetime Achievement Award” for outstanding leadership and valuable contribution to the industry. The company’s Investor Relationship (IR) Programme was ranked Second Best in Asia and the Best in India by the Institutional Investor (II) magazine’s 2014 All-Asia Executive Team Rankings. Prestige is the only CRISIL DA1 rated developer in India and was also awarded the financial rating of A+ and A1+ by ICRA. It is also the only Indian developer to win the celebrated FIABCI World Prix d’Excellence Award in 2016 for its luxury residential development, Prestige Silver Oak.

www.prestigeconstructions.com

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RHAPSODY IN BRICK “The goal is to be able to make an impact, to make a difference to the world and feel good about making a positive difference.” Kamal Sagar, Founder and Chairman, Total Environment Building Systems Concrete, cuisine and chords interest him equally. And in all three, there is only one thing he offers and seeks: authenticity. It is the leitmotif that runs through all his business ventures. Kamal Sagar’s success story spins mainly on the finely-crafted homes he builds under the Total Environment (TE) banner. But he is equally well known among the cognoscenti for the Windmills Craftworks (a microbrewery, restaurant and music venue) and the Oota Bangalore restaurant which serves authentic Karnataka cuisine. “Total Environment is more of an architectural design firm that prides itself on design and execution, rather than a run-of-the-mill realty firm. Our design firm, Shibanee & Kamal Architects is at the core of everything we do”, the Founder and Chairman of Total Environment Building Systems says in this interview with Aditya Mendonca. Shibanee & Kamal, started in 1996, currently has 105 designers working for it. “We are very particular that whatever we design has to get built well, that’s why we set up the construction company because we found that no contractor was able to deliver the quality that we aspired to”, explains the man who designed and built the Poonawalla Stud Farms in Pune. (He won the Young Enthused Architect award for this project from the Architecture + Design Spectrum Foundation). Total Environment, which is now 1,000 people strong, was born out of a spat over 4 millimetres. A contractor who was building a house that Sagar had designed, bought 8mm steel bars for window grills though he had specified 12mm. When the contractor refused to stick to the gauge recommended, Sagar walked out of the project and decided that from then on he would be in control of how something he had designed would be built. The name Total Environment “came from the fact that we wanted our buildings to embrace nature, and to blend in with the environment”, reminisces Sagar. It wasn’t easy to translate this into profits and TE was in the red for the first six years of its operation, simply because the standards it set for itself were very high. While there were compulsions to follow the market pricing, the actual costs incurred were way higher. “We used the best in the industry. For instance, our flooring mason had worked in the homes of celebrities like Amitabh Bachchan and Mukesh Ambani. His charges were exorbitantly high, but we used him because one thing we didn’t want to compromise on was quality of construction.” Slowly, as his high-quality handcrafted homes, named after Pink Floyd’s songs, began to gain recognition and appreciation, things began to turn around. “All our innovations have centred on the basics,” explains Sagar. “For example, when you have a home, everyone wishes for garden space. Factoring this into our drawings was not rocket science, just cantilever a slab and provide proper soil, drainage, irrigation system and you get a garden. We have been able to

 Total Environment provides completely furnished homes, with extensive customisation.

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 The brilliant red booklined wall is a perfect backdrop for music performances at the Windmills Craftworks that serves great craft beer and food. do 1000-sq-ft gardens, 1400-sq-ft gardens in apartments on higher floors, with water bodies and decks.” Another pain point that TE addressed was furnishing the homes. “Our factory, called Total Environment Machine Craft, makes doors and windows and furniture, all that is needed for your home. We have just started our kitchen line exclusively adapted to our unique Indian requirements. And we not only provide completely furnished homes, we offer extensive customisation for every customer.” This bricks-and-mortar man’s passion for music resulted in craft beer enthusiast Ajay Nagarajan, joining Total Environment to create an unmatched experience called Windmills Craftworks located in Whitefield, Bengaluru’s IT hub. “There is so much beautiful music all over the world. Most of what we get to listen to is either from the UK or the US, and mostly chart-busters. But the rest of the world is producing great music which most people don’t get to hear. So, the idea was to open a venue where we are able to bring good music from different parts of the world to perform here at The Jazz Theatre, offer the best craft beer, and add a mix of traditional and exotic food from different parts of the world to complete the overall experience,” says Sagar. Another branch of Windmills at the Bengaluru Airport is open 24/7. The chain just kept growing longer, he says: “We

have Total Environment Building Systems, which is the real estate development firm, Machine Craft which is into the production of furniture, windows, doors, Total Environment Hospitality, which is into F&B, restaurants, and Total Environment Music Foundation, which brings down artistes from across the world to perform.” The Oota Bangalore restaurant, which serves authentic Karnataka food, has an interesting history. The company conducted a research study for almost three years, sending a four-member team, two chefs and two food journalists, to every nook and cranny of Karnataka, to collect recipes. However, when the actual cooking began, they were dismayed to find that the dishes lacked that unique, authentic flavour that had made them special in the place of their origin. They soon realised that this was because they were using locally sourced ingredients. Oota Bangalore sources all ingredients from the place of origin of the recipe, “If you order a Dharwad dish, you can be sure that the main ingredients come from there this very morning,” assures Sagar.

Total Environment has won a clutch of awards for its projects discovers Sufia Tippu with Windmills of Your Mind in Bengaluru winning both the Best Residential Architecture – Asia Pacific Region and the Best Residential Development – India at the CNBC Arabia International Property Awards in 2009, the Sustainable Design Award from Society Interiors in 2010, the Best Luxury Residential Project – South at Zee BusinessRics Real Estate Awards in 2011. OTHER AWARDS INCLUDE: • College of Engineering Pune won the Innovation in Structural Engineering award at the Bentley – Be Inspired Awards, 2013. • Orange Blossom Special was awarded Outstanding Concrete Structure by ICI (Pune) – Birla Super in 2011. • Shine On was awarded Runner Up in Style Icon for Excellence in Architecture by Kansai Nerolac in 2007. • Time received the Habitat Award for Apartment Planning from Architecture + Design Spectrum Foundation in 2005. • The Good Earth received the Habitat Award for Apartment Planning from Architecture + Design Spectrum Foundation in 2003, and won the Best Group Housing Project at the JK Cements – Architect of the Year Awards in 2002. • Reach for the Sky and Bougainvillea received the Habitat Award for Apartment Planning from Architecture+Design Spectrum Foundation in 2002. • Webb India Limited received the Institutional Architecture Award from Architecture + Design Spectrum Foundation in 2002.

www.totalenvironment.in

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REDEFINING LUXE LIVING “At Kessaku, our vision was to create a world-class product, the like of which has never been seen before in Bengaluru. With every minute detail having been exclusively crafted by the best in the industry, we have achieved the Art of Perfection.” Gayatri Ruia, Promoter, Phoenix Kessaku, who’s extended the group’s luxury portfolio from retail to residential

The IT capital is the only Indian city to have seen a spike in demand for luxury homes, driven by the city’s thriving startup ecosystem, the presence of excellent education and healthcare facilities and improving physical infrastructure. Bengaluru’s residential market is second only to the Mumbai metropolitan region in terms of supply and absorption of new property. Small wonder then that the Phoenix Group, which has been redefining lifestyles in Indian cities, chose Bengaluru to launch two of its uberluxury projects, Phoenix Kessaku and Phoenix One Bangalore West. Helmed by a Managing Director, Atul Ruia, the Phoenix Group has been a pioneer in transforming mill land into modern, multi-use integrated property, with a presence in 10 major cities in the country. From megaretail malls and entertainment complexes to commercial spaces and hospitality units, the group has a significant footprint in different market segments. The company’s foray into bespoke residential apartments in Bengaluru is redefining luxury living in the city. The name of its premier Bengaluru project, ‘Kessaku’, is a Japanese term for a masterpiece. What strikes the visitor is the sheer expanse of space and the sheer luxury of the interiors. One can’t help but echo Gayatri Ruia, Atul’s wife and promoter, Phoenix Kessaku, when she says, “It has turned out to be an experience that truly wows you, with every minute detail having been exclusively crafted by the best in the industry.” Phoenix Kessaku consists of sumptuous and expansive sky bungalows with all the advantages that come with being in a gated community. The five towers in the complex, Sora, Niwa, Mizu, Faia and Zefa, are inspired by the natural elements, sky, earth, water, fire and wind, with thematic artistic lobbies.

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Expansive, connected and centrally located, Phoenix Kessaku project has redefined the Indian luxury homes market.

The homes are sized from 6,000 to 12,000 sq. ft and come with a wide variety of layout options that can be customised as per individual lifestyles, ranging from duplex sky bungalows to super-lavish 6 bedroom homes. Each home can be modelled according to an array of fit-out styles that are tailor-made to the client’s requirements. Residents will also have three clubhouses to choose from: Midori - The Garden Club, Kaze - The Sky Club and Phoenix Club One, each equipped with state-ofthe-art amenities such as a rooftop jogging circuit, a starlit infinity pool, squash courts, jacuzzis, minitheatres and much more. Elaborating on his vision, Jae Kim, lead designer, says: “Kessaku is very unique because it is luxury from ground up: elegant living inspired by art. The U-shape of configurations in the plan allows stunning views of the city without any overlook among the residents’ own spaces. We have infused green walls and landscapes into the project to stay true to Bengaluru’s moniker, The City of Gardens”. Spaces here are painstakingly detailed to flow seamlessly into each other, drawing on the idea of multiple use, while also creating expansive individualized spaces to retire into. The living room of each residence merges into the dining area and each end of this vast space opens out onto a large deck, ensuring natural light and excellent cross-ventilation. The two consummate master suites are attached to dual vanity suites, the bathrooms are crafted with the finest materials. The children’s bedroom takes on the theme of ‘wanderlust’, while the guest bedroom aims for a casual, understated elegance. The entertainment lounge reaches new dimensions of technological innovation and the library provides the perfect nook for broadening horizons. The landscape at this luxury project is designed to be a tropical oasis that complements the architecture and features a mélange of over 25,000 trees and plants. Bonsai and Zen gardens, poolside cabana lounges and sunset view gazebos emphasize the Japanese inspiration. Kessaku also comes with the world’s finest concierge and butler service, Quintessentially Lifestyle, a Londonbased outfit of global renown.

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 The 30 storey high rise towers of One Bangalore West are a stunning landmark in the city’s landscape.

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Phoenix Kessaku’s path-breaking work in the genre of luxury living has won it a neat clutch of awards, including the Asian CEF Awards: Residential Project of The Year- Towers in 2015, the Asia Pacific Property Award for Residential Property Interior - Show Home as well as for Development Marketing in the same year. In 2017, it won the Estrade Real Estate Awards - Luxury Project of the Year which was followed by the Realty Plus Project of the Year in 2018 , and Paul Writers Hot Brands Top 50 Luxury Project of the Year-ET Now Real Estate Awards in 2019. Phoenix Kessaku is paired with the Phoenix One Bangalore West precinct, another residential venture by the group. Living spaces at Phoenix One Bangalore West have been carefully crafted to combine luxury and comfort in a perfect balance with zero wastage of space. World-renowned names in the field of architecture and design, such as Benoy, RSP and Design Cell, among others, have collaborated to make a seamless living experience. The handover of Phase I (Tower 1 to 5) of the project was completed on time, owing to speedy construction with every apartment being audited for snags by an external professional agency, achieving snag-free certification. With only 20 percent ground of the 17-acre area covered by buildings and the rest left open for landscaping and water bodies, the sense of openness allows residents to reconnect with nature and escape the stresses and strains of everyday life. A designer landscape, complete with botanical and Zen gardens, demonstrates One Bangalore West’s commitment to ‘living green’. The premium residential towers offer spacious, well-ventilated 4-bedroom homes with family and study areas, 3-bedroom homes, 2-bedroom homes

 Strongly abiding by the Phoenix Group’s core philosophy of high design, attention to detail and world-class experience, the luxury residential complexes of One Bangalore West present a new dimension in bespoke living.

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 The ultra luxury high end apartments at Phoenix Kessaku are in a breathtaking setting.

with a family area, select penthouses and exclusive garden flats. Each apartment faces the open green environs of the complex, ensuring privacy for each home in addition to an expansive aerial view of the garden city.

play areas are segregated from social circulation spaces in order to create completely carefree environments for them to unwind in.

Homeowners can enjoy private outdoor decks offering magnificent cityscapes. The energy-efficient and innovative design maximizes the impact of natural light and drives cross ventilation. The dining spaces are tastefully decorated with adjacent decks and spacious kitchens to complement the entire vibe. Well-crafted master suites (with attached decks and walk-in wardrobes), imaginative kids’ bedrooms and inviting guest bedrooms create a wholesome luxury experience, while exquisite master bathrooms and powder rooms enhance the opulence of the apartment.

Phoenix One Bangalore West has won a host of prestigious real estate awards for excellence across various categories, such as the CNBC Awaaz Award for Best Residential Project in Bengaluru city for the year 2015-16, the NDTV Property Award for Luxury Apartment Project of the year in 2016 and the Best Ornamental Landscape, bestowed by the Department of Horticulture, Government of Karnataka, for the years 2017 and 2018. It has also won several Asia Pacific Property Awards over the years for multiple achievements in development marketing, interior design and more.

The 50,000 sq. ft. lavish Phoenix Club One, designed by Callison, offers members a comprehensive, state-of-the-art recreational facility, customised to fulfill every wellness and recreational need. The clubhouse is equipped with an ultramodern gymnasium, Olympic-sized squash and badminton courts, a well-stocked children’s game room, an invigorating spa, a mini-theatre, a library, a compact two-lane Brunswick bowling alley, a temperature-controlled indoor pool, a spacious banquet hall, and a poolside café, amongst multiple other amenities. The double-height sunlit atrium is intelligently crafted to play with natural light and ensure maximum illumination. The break-out activity zones outside are effortlessly integrated into the landscape, offering themed gardens, tennis courts and a multi-level swimming pool, accompanied by private elevated cabanas.

Location is the magic word in real estate and Phoenix Kessaku and One Bangalore West are located in Rajajinagar, close to the upmarket Orion Mall, Sheraton Hotel and the World Trade Centre. The airport is just a 45-minute drive, and commutes are easy, with the nearest metro station a mere 200 metres away, and travel will become easier yet with three major infrastructural plans, the IISc Underpass, Metroline and the Airport Expressway, in the pipeline. Rajajinagar, which has grown into a thriving business district, is a culturally rich neighbourhood with places of worship, recreational and dining options. A cluster of distinguished educational institutions as well as hospitals like Fortis and Columbia Asia are easily accessible. The area is ideal for residents from diverse demographics and backgrounds, be it an IT professional with a family of children or senior citizens looking for a peaceful home.

Dedicated drop-off points for every tower with separate access for vehicles ensure safe pedestrian movement and easy access to the complex. Children’s

www.thephoenixmills.com | ww.kessaku.in | www.onebangalorewest.in

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REAPING TECH REWARDS “Everybody wants to know how, as a woman, I manage in a male-dominated field. I am not trying to manage it, I am trying to disrupt it. I got the idea for REAP while I was on maternity leave. I used the break to create Asia’s first real estate tech accelerator, something the country did not have before but desperately needed.” Nirupa Shankar, Director, Brigade Hospitality & Director Brigade REAP

 Brigade’s hospitality projects include star hotels that are operated by international brands such as Accord, Marriott and IHL. Asia’s and India’s first accelerator for real estate-focused tech startups, Brigade REAP is applying cutting-edge tech in real estate, and the results will benefit the sector as a whole. Launched in 2016, REAP is the brainchild of Nirupa Shankar, Executive Director, Brigade Group. For the Bengaluru-based real estate major Brigade Group, staying ahead of the curve is second nature. Way back in 1986, when it launched Brigade Towers, the 14-storey office complex was the tallest and the first of its kind in Bengaluru’s property development market. Since then, it has completed over 250 buildings amounting to 40 million sq ft in residential, office, retail, and hospitality sectors, in major cities in south India. Ranked among the Top 5 Real Estate accelerators in the world by Archipreneur magazine, Brigade REAP’s vision is to accelerate innovation in the real estate sector and help deliver enhanced efficiency to the industry which would also impact consumers positively. It helps early stage companies which work on the use of cutting-edge technology to develop products or services that could be implemented in the real estate industry across various domains: residential, office, retail or hospitality. The focus sectors are Internet IoT, NanoTech, CleanTech & Renewables, Visual Computing such as Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality, and Logistics.

India and it receives applications from Singapore, Israel and the US. Startups are selected through a rigorous 2-stage selection process by a jury comprising the leadership team at Brigade, tech and business partners of the programme and VCs. The program runs for 18 weeks and works with the startups on 6 key pillars – product, technology, business model, GTM, people and scale. It also has the

Brigade REAP wants to help inventors and innovators create sustainable and scalable businesses from India. Its reach, however, is not limited to Bengaluru or

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 The Brigade Group develops Grade A commercial properties such as The World Trade Centres in Bengaluru and Kochi, software and IT parks, SEZs and stand-alone offices. advantage of strategic partnerships with Microsoft, Intel, Cisco and CBRE that offer the benefit of mentorship and technology support. The solutions developed by the startups could be applicable in either the B2B or the B2C models. The group adopts some of the solutions and introduces them to other industry experts and investors as well. Says Shankar in an interview with Aditya Mendonca, “We give 60 percent of the startups opportunities to work on live projects within Brigade. The rest get opportunities to work with developers or architects or allied services.”

and a portfolio of 12 hotels (of which 6 are under construction), is leading the transformation of this space. She decided that the best way to be a part of the startup wave was to start an accelerator synergistic with Brigade and encourage other founders with their startup ventures. Her vision is to mentor at least 100 proptec companies, and REAP has already mentored 25 in 2.5 years. Nearly half of the startups that have graduated through the program have received funding.

The objective is to use technology to make operations more efficient – by either reducing cost or saving time. One of REAP’s successful startups is an end-to-end project site management technology platform called QwikSpec where the client, the contractor and the management can flag snags before a project is ready for delivery. This has made the quality check process easier while monitoring the project management and job site management.

With Buzzworks, she’s also attempting to redefine co-working spaces by choosing underutilised areas that are small in scale, manageable, flexible and without major fixed costs. The idea is to create “a high energy co-working space cum managed office service where Brigade can offer Space as a Service. Co-working is a complementary service to our existing office portfolio and the trend towards moving towards flexible office spaces is undeniable”, she says. The first co-working centre is coming up at Whitefield soon, with 8 more on the anvil.

Conventional construction systems in the real estate sector have long been awaiting disruption. Shankar, who has a Master of Management in Hospitality from Cornell University and oversees almost 2 million sq ft of retail, 10 million of office

The Brigade Group group has consistently ranked among the 100 Best Places to Work in India for 8 years in a row and was awarded as one of India’s Best companies to work for 2018 by The Economic Times and Great Place to Work. It won

 Founded in 1986 by MR Jaishankar, Chairman & Managing Director, the Brigade brand is synonymous with quality, innovation, trust and customer satisfaction. three awards at the 9th Realty Plus Conclave & Excellence Awards 2017 - MR Jaishankar was awarded the ‘Scroll of Honour’ for his contribution to the real estate sector, Nirupa Shankar won the ‘Woman CXO of the year’ award and World Trade Centre Kochi won the ‘Commercial project of the Year’ award. Nirupa was also awarded the ‘Rising Star Award – South Asia’ by the International Society of Hospitality Consultants (ISHC) at the Hotel Investment Forum India (HIFI) in 2015.

www.brigadegroup.com | www.brigadereap.com

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REDEFINING SPACES FOR MILLENIALS “We are disrupting the real estate market and making it relevant for millennials by building an ecosystem of spaces for living, working and events.” Azaan Feroz Sait, Founder & Chief Happiness Officer, The Hub Bengaluru Co-working and co-living ideologies that enable people to work and live anywhere in the world, are being adopted by pretty much any entrepreneur whose career allows for remote working and who has a passion for adventure, travel, new experiences and friends. The Safina Group, with a bouquet of successful businesses in IT Parks and retail, has plugged into the ecosystem for entrepreneurs with offerings of realestate-as-a-service for co-working, co-living and more. Scalable innovation has been at the core of the group’s vision, founded by Dr. Hajee Sattar Sait in the 1950s. Cut to 2016, when Azaan Feroz Sait, his grandson, a fresh graduate, with honours from the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California and a degree in Business Administration, saw a business opportunity in one of the group’s properties, Safina Hotels, which is located in the heart of the city. “The concept of co-living is that access to space is more important than ownership. Millennials today don’t dream of owning their houses. The concept of home ownership is becoming globally irrelevant to our generation. The goals are to travel to where the opportunities are, to learn and to meet new people - that is the new dream”, says Azaan Sait, Chief Happiness Officer at The Hub. He gradually started transforming the hotel built by his grandfather into a co-living space. The experiment began with one room, and as the demand started surging, all 33 rooms in the hotel were rebranded and launched as ‘The Hub, Bengaluru’ with the aim of building a community of young and open-minded individuals. It has a core team of six people and a support

 With three generations passionately and deeply involved in the family business, the Saits have shown a flair for identifying trends and capitalizing on opportunities. The Hub is one of the latest additions to the array of projects by Safina Ventures.

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team of eight. The Hub offers fully furnished shared and private studios, fully equipped community kitchen and pantry, laundry rooms, media lounge, co-working spaces, and a roof-top garden among other amenities. The convenience of co-living seems to be striking a chord with youngsters who are looking for more than just housing, and Azaan plans to open a second co-living space in another location this year. Safina Ventures, the umbrella company founded by Azaan, has set itself the goal of doing a new project every 18 months. Safina Banquets handles events at the two rooftop spaces of the hotel that were transformed into banquet halls; in just about a year, it has hosted 250 events, both private and corporate. Safina Ventures’ newest project is a startup studio (in the same premises) where it aims to partner with founders of innovative products and services that are built to better the lives of people. Feroz Sait, the founder’s son and Chief Executive of the Group, believes his primary job is to provide backup and support the new ventures of the group, driven by Gen Next. “I see no hesitation in the minds of all the young people I meet. They want to be their own bosses, and capital is not difficult to find. I am happy to see the changes happen.” Reviews which laud Azaan’s efforts as being beneficial to the whole community, are proof that the trust is well-placed. “If we can impact 500 lives in a year, I think we have done our job”, is how he defines success.

The name Safina was derived from the initials of family members by the patriarch, Dr. Hajee Sattar Sait. Safina Holdings was founded six decades ago by Dr. Sait, a pioneer in many sectors. Over the years, he steered the group’s foray into a mind-boggling array of businesses: travel & tourism, automobiles, fuelling stations, motorsports, horse racing, hotels, real estate, financial services, and technology parks. An example of Sait’s ability to back the right horse was his instinctive decision to start a software technology park (STP) in 2006. “I realised that IT was the future. The STP would create employment opportunities for locals and bring in FDI into the city,” he says. “I got into business, of course, to make money, but to also give people what they want”. He derives great satisfaction when people credit him for having given them the first toehold in their rise to success. Safina used to own the country’s largest dealership for the Jawa motorcycle, and it was but natural for it to start retailing the legendary bike when it was relaunched in 2019 after a hiatus of 45 years as Safina Motors.

www.thehubco.live | www.safinabanquets.com

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COMPANY AS A COMMUNITY “We are rapidly expanding and focusing on opening more spaces that inspire people to be creators and foster the spirit of collaboration. Advances in technology, AI, AR and machine learning, along with a growing diversity of expectations across the workforce are at the centre of the shift on how work will change over the next decade.” Karan Virwani, CWeO, WeWork India

Featured as one of the 50 most influential young Indians in 2018 by GQ and in Entrepreneur India’s list of 35 under 35 for 2019, Karan Virwani has changed the way young Indians work. He brought WeWork, the New York based collaborative workspace giant and the 2nd largest startup in the world, to India in 2017 in collaboration with the Embassy Group. It’s currently present in 21 locations across 3 cities (Bengaluru, Mumbai, and NCR region), with 35,000 desks and 25,000 members. Karan Virwani, earned his spurs as an EA to his father, Jitu Virwani, the Chairman and Managing Director of the Embassy Group. As CWeO of WeWork India, his insights into the real estate business and the experience of founding two restaurants (Sanchez & Singkong), and the food delivery app, Entrée, enabled him to expand WeWork’s footprint and bring about massive change in the ecosystem, in just 18 months.

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WeWork has become the trendiest place to work from; seats fill up fast and often have a long wait list. Bright, cheerful, spacious environs with amenities like game room, football turf, wellness room, on-site massages make them hugely popular. But WeWork has something more to offer, and that is its emphasis on collaboration. WeWork members enjoy being part of a community that allows them to co-create by connecting with others in the same space. Through its Member Network App (MENA), they can also connect with the company’s global community of over 400,000 members.

“2018 was an exciting year for WeWork in India, we leased 3 mn sq. ft, and added 18 new locations across NCR, Mumbai and Bengaluru. It was also the year when we launched WeWork Labs in India - a centre for early-stage startups that takes an innovative and personalised approach to helping entrepreneurs succeed, which has incubated 1,000 startups globally”, says Virwani. The growth is spurred by the fact that WeWork’s entry into India was brilliantly timed. The company’s ethos of a thriving global community comprising startups, freelancers and large enterprises, is just what the workforce in India wanted. 65% of Indians are under 35 years who are turned off by the traditional work culture. There is an acceptance of a new way of working, which has spurred the demand for collaborative workspaces in India. WeWork offers space-as-a-service by choosing strategic locations and technology to foster a mix of comfort, community, and productivity.

In the massive urbanisation that the country is experiencing, companies like WeWork are also helping to solve the issue of space by providing collaborative work solutions and equipping people to utilize more in lesser space. Virwani points out with pride, “We are 2.5x more efficient with space than a typical office, freeing up square footage for new businesses and jobs. Today, we are not only building spaces, but enabling entrepreneurial stories in India.” It’s not just small companies that are among the over 2000 companies working out of WeWork India. There are significant names such as Discovery India, Jaguar Land Rover, Knowlarity, Twitter, Practo, and Medtronic, among others. And this is because, says Virwani, “WeWork is a solution that bends and flexes to a company’s needs, regardless of size or infrastructure.” There’s also a huge technology play; WeWork (through its recent acquisition of Euclid, the leading spatial-analytics platform) analyses data on

how people work and sees trends across different markets and cultures. It shares this feedback with its client companies and enables them to engage better with their employees. Technology also equips it to offer full-fledged headquarters and campuses for large enterprises, giving them the data that will help them analyse their spatial requirements. To help entrepreneurs succeed, the company has set up WeWork Labs in several countries including India. WeWork Labs offers tailored programs to early-stage startups from any industry and founders from a diverse array of backgrounds. The no-equity startup programme offers a number of benefits to members in India who include Urbana Superfoods, UpGame, PerkFinance, Sqrrl, Uncube among others. An advisory board consists of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and corporate leaders such as Anand Ahuja (Bhaane & VegNonVeg), Ashish Kashyap (Finzoom), Gautam Mago (A91 Partners), Harsha Kumar (Lightspeed Ventures), and Jitu Virwani (Embassy Group). WeWork has many exciting plans in the pipeline during this year; by the second half, it aims to enter three new cities - Pune, Hyderabad, and Chennai, while doubling the total leased area in the country, and tripling the number of locations in 6 key cities. It also plans to open WeWork Labs in 10 locations across the six cities by the end of the year. “Our vision is to help people work to make a life which they enjoy, not just a living. By creating a human connect and helping people in doing what they love, productivity, innovation and creativity increases”, says Virwani.

www.wework.com

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FINDING HOMES WITH AI HousingMan is going to be a technology platform.� Founder, Bhavadeep (Bobby) Reddy

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sources. It is currently present in 7 cities across India, including Bengaluru, Chennai, Noida, Cochin, Hyderabad, Gurugram and Kolkata. According to CREDAI, real estate is the second largest employer after agriculture and is slated to grow at 30 percent over the next decade. The Indian real estate market is expected to touch $180 billion by 2020. The housing sector alone contributes 5-6 percent to the country’s GDP. It is no surprise then that HousingMan wants to foray in the secondary/ resale market by the end of 2019. By 2020, it plans to expand to the rental market.

For years now, real estate has been a brick and mortar industry. Volumes are measured by physical units and not digital presence. Industry veteran Bhavadeep (Bobby) Reddy, is all set to change that definition with his AI-led, real estate platform HousingMan. As per a report by JLL India, as many as 4.4 lakh housing units were unsold in seven major cities at the end of 2017. In an offline model, challenges that builders face from discovery to sales are multifold. Currently, builders engage with property buyers largely through print ads, cold calls and a disjointed effort to convert sales from weak leads. Though its proprietary software, HousingMan, started in 2015, curates local experts and enables data-driven sales in micro localities. This AI-led property discovery platform uses technology to disrupt the brokerage industry. The firm’s cofounder, Reddy, says that based on research, Indians prefer to pay for products rather than services. Owing to this, an added layer of curation and data science empowers targeted sales. The company has a success rate of 4%, which is to say, it converts 4 sales out of every 100 enquiries, as opposed to an industry average of 1-1.5%. The technology platform works by aggregating

local experts in a micro locality and empowering them with data. Potential buyers register on the platform and share basic data regarding their property purchase choices. Through its AI feature, the platform gleans property choices for the customer and shares it with the expert. As per Reddy, “We are the matchmakers between brokers and buyers.” This unique offering solves the lead generation model for builders and provides a buyer with personalised choices. Interestingly, when HousingMan started in 2015, it started on a discount and deals model, pivoting in 2017. Reddy, a serial entrepreneur with 20 years’ experience, with his co-founder, Rajendran R (product architect at HousingMan) realised that they could not scale with this model. The conclusion they arrived at was, technology helps scale faster. The analytics garnered through the firm’s platform are able to draw buyer profiles and target product preferences with higher accuracy. This saves builders’ marketing costs. Currently, HousingMan has 120 brokers on its platform just in Bengaluru and aims to scale that number to 500 by the end of 2019. Among its many users, the firm has an exclusive partnership with global real estate firm JLL. In July 2018, it raised seed funding of $1.5 million from undisclosed

While the firm does not compete with the likes of Magicbricks and 99Acres.com, it draws a parallel to US based real estate company, Compass. As Reddy shares, “Our technology is superior and the real estate industry is India is nuanced and riddled by fraud. We have robust fraud control and even transactions that take place offline are geotagged and recorded on the platform.” The company has a lead enrichment engine (ICREM), which has helped it profile customers more effectively. The firm has its own set of challenges, however. Reddy contends that brokers are very smart and have to be constantly engaged. While data is the new oil, the company has to be cognisant of the extent to which it collects buyer data to share with the broker. The firm is emphatic in its claim that it does not, in any way, take away from customer privacy. What does the future hold for this AI-focused firm? With 100 transactions a month, growing at the rate of 10% per month, HousingMan is expected to roll out to 25 cities in 2019. With the platform working on a revenue share model, Reddy takes pride in the company’s digital marketing skills. He says, “Traditional media spends are exhaustive. We have observed that when a large builder places a print ad, digital engagement increases and we cash in on that.” Adds Reddy, “The real estate industry is inundated with vast unsold inventory. We are the bridge between the builder and the buyer. Eventually, HousingMan will not be just a brokerage firm but will become a technology platform. We will be accessible to individuals, MSMEs and large companies.”

www.housingman.com

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INNOVATIONS OF BENGALURU CREATIVE RETAIL CREATIVE COMMUNICATION: AR, VR & MEDIA

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MODELLING INNOVATION “We don’t own innovation; we simply leverage it well. Our ethos is to question everything, and not take anything for granted. That is the way we have grown.” Bhaskar Bhat, Managing Director, Titan

Creating a brand new business model while launching innovative products, Titan has disrupted design, retail and advertising consistently in every lifestyle segment it has entered. Known for being innovative ever since it upturned the timepiece market by introducing the new technology of quartz watches in the 80s, “the way Titan started its business itself was reasonably innovative”, Bhaskar Bhat, Managing Director of Titan Company Limited, tells Sandhya Mendonca. “Our first Managing Director, Xerxes Desai, created a company which has been blessed with innovative thinking. One of the reasons is because this company was incubated in a company which had no manufacturing experience, no marketing experience, no consumer base. It was created out of nothing at the Tata Press Ltd, the printing press where Desai was then the Managing Director. From Day 1, we have had to learn everything about an industry (watches).” Titan was incorporated in 1984 through a joint venture between the Tamil Nadu Industrial

 Its new ‘biophilic’ campus is a stunning example of Titan’s design principles. Strikingly different from its neighbours, visitors could well believe that they are in a rainforest retreat, with artistically placed curving water bodies and naturally cool environs. Photo: Ar. Purnesh Dev Nikhanj, Mindspace Architects, MMoser Associates Development Corporation (TIDCO) and the TATA Group. Though its initial objective was to create a watch for every Indian, it went on to become the fifth largest integrated watch producer worldwide.

jewellery industry to adopt a uniform and structured way of pricing old gold and adopting hallmark gold standards.

Product innovation is at the heart of what it does and led to the creation of the Edge, the world’s slimmest watch. “It is still unbeaten in terms of its slimness and had brought India great glory and fame”, Bhat beams with pride.

Other innovations by Titan in the realm of jewellery include its Chennai-based Innovation Hub getting 22-Carat gold to behave like 18-Carat gold by changing its very nanostructure and underlying architecture. The firm also has a patent for a Diamond Bagging Machine, the first machine of its kind, globally.

Even in jewellery, its big innovation was introducing a first-of-its-kind ‘Karatmeter’ which revolutionised the industry for both, customer and merchant. Devised with pioneering technology, it was among the earliest nondestructive and accurate means to check the purity of gold. Titan’s Karatmeter, through x-ray analysis, determines the elemental composition of all kinds of gold, platinum or silver, in under a minute. This device led the entire Indian

Passion for product innovation drives Titan to constantly build and adapt, pushing toward the next game-changer. Bringing in good design, branding and retailing elements into those sectors are its core competencies. Over the last 30 years, the company has created and worked towards perfecting the art of experiential retail in India. It has entered under-penetrated and unorganised markets and built a strong brand presence across different product categories.

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The company seeks to enter markets that have the 3 ‘U’s - Unorganised, Underserved and Underpenetrated. Bhat says that “it is a very conscious decision to unearth categories which have a significant unorganised play. Titan comes in and assures quality, after-sales service, good buying experience, transparency of pricing and nationally uniform pricing.” The company currently has 1600 stores across India. An example is eyewear, which was an unorganised sector into which Titan brought value to the consumer through greater transparency of price, quality and delivering customer experience. Previously, the optical store was considered a store to go to only when you needed to get your eyes tested. Titan’s business model for ‘democratising eyewear’ was very innovative and successful.

 Kuruvilla Markose, Chief Digital Officer and Sumant Sood, Head, Innovation ‘INNOVATION AS A WAY OF LIFE’ An innovation engine is powering Titan, say Kuruvilla Markose, Chief Digital Officer and Sumant Sood, Head, Innovation, to Subhalakshmi Roy. “Innovation is the outcome of culture and process. We have a strong culture of innovation and now, we have institutionalised the process using the Titan Innovation Engine (TIE),” says Markose.

Other brands launched by Titan, seeking to disrupt the lifestyle sector, include Titan Skinn and Taneira. Titan Skinn marked the company’s debut in the personal lifestyle segment of perfumes. High-quality ingredients are sourced internationally and crafted in India, leveraging French expertise, letting Titan offer exclusive choices to the Indian customer.

TIE has four core steps, jointly called UnTangle, that include challenge identification, crowdsourcing solutions (UnThink), creation of pilot projects to apply selected solutions and track the progress (UnDo) and evaluation of outcomes that are practical and can be taken to fruition (UnLike).

Taneira is the youngest Titan brand to hit the shelves. Indian craftsmanship and different textiles are curated to bring a range of stylish sarees to the modern Indian woman. Titan claims to offer an exceptional retailing experience for its women customers, providing them with the liberty to choose from more than 30,000 distinct sarees made using natural Indian fabrics. Its Style Studio offers products to complete the look by providing readymade blouses, falls and petticoats, along with the saree.

Titan uses these to solve issues across departments, from manufacturing to merchandising and operations, with the Titan Innovation Centre in the Hosur factory, as one of the main hubs. “There is so much noise and chaos in a factory, it becomes impossible to generate ideas. Innovation Centre is a tranquil space where new ideas can grow,” says Sood. Others include TataInnoverse, a web2.0 platform to crowdsource innovative solutions from employees across the Tata Group companies, and the Titan Innovation School of Management (TISM), a customised learning course for shop floor workers. “Innovations in our manufacturing process would come best from the people who are working on the floor. We needed to give them a platform to formalise their ideas,” says Sood. Extending innovation to CSR, Titan has created a social entrepreneurship with The Titan Karigar’s Park bringing together indigenous jewellery craftsmen (karigars) under one roof and providing them with industrial tools for a healthy work environment, healthcare and saving schemes. “Innovation is a continuous process,” says Markose. “We want to focus on entrenching this idea more strongly and strengthening all our teams. The main aim is that innovation functions independently of any individual.”

www.titan.co.in

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A SUBLIME STORY “Passion is the greatest driving force for any activity. It has helped me stay motivated and confident, and given me the ability to execute innovative thinking that has assisted in creating a niche for the Prestige Group in the market today.” Uzma Irfan, Director, Prestige Group & Founder, Sublime

 ‘Art Bengaluru’ has put Bengaluru on the global art map, and this annual art soiree has grown to become a much anticipated event. The Tuscan architecture of UB City lends itself to art displays across a vast expanse.

UB City has become home to three of the most anticipated events in the country today, and apart from ‘Art Bengaluru’, she holds ‘Trousseau Week’ and ‘Berserk’, a residential art conference for children. These have set new benchmarks in terms of event concept and quality of experience, and Irfan hopes to keep building on them to make them more iconic.

India’s first sky gallery is on a bridge that connects two buildings in the landmark luxury mall, the UB City in Bengaluru. The spark of genius that led to its creation came quite naturally to Uzma Irfan, who was primed from childhood to spot the most advantageous location. The Director of the Prestige Group, a leading property developer based in Bengaluru, Irfan founded the Sublime Art Gallery in 2009. “I have always been fascinated by artists and the magic they weave on canvas”, she says. And thus, she put her access to the mall to good use, giving reign to artistic expressions and making it a landmark destination for all things related to luxury, art, culture and lifestyle.

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Launched in March 2010, ‘Art Bengaluru’ aims to bring art to the masses and create a society that is aware of, and takes pride in the art and artists of the country. For 10 days each year, anyone can enter the festival free of cost and view over a hundred artworks by international and national artists. The museum-quality display spans a diverse spectrum of mediums and styles. ‘Trousseau Week’ was conceptualised in 2010 as a one-stop solution for wedding planning, design and consultancy. It provides wedding couture, planners, designers, photographers, banquets, tourism boards and international and national luxury brands. This annual event transforms Bengaluru into a wedding solutions destination during this period and was awarded the ‘Biggest Fashion Event of the Year’ by Deccan Chronicle in 2011 and ‘Lifestyle Event of the Year’ by WOW Awards for the 2013 edition.


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Started in 2013, ‘Berserk’ is an annual 3-day residential art conference for children from chosen city schools. Categorised under four key art verticals - theatre, dance, music and visual art,

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workshops, guest lectures and demonstrations by professionals. Beyond these initiatives, Irfan plays a bigger role as Executive Director, Corporate Communications of the Prestige Group. “Prestige today is not just a real estate brand, but also an institution that is changing the way we live. People live in our homes, work in our offices, visit our malls, hotels and spas, and play in our golf course for recreation…in some way, we have managed to touch everyone’s lives. We have the opportunity to create wealth not just for ourselves, but for our buyers and the nation at large. I’m contributing to the company’s growth by creating a unified brand across our product offerings. As we go forward, the stronger we are associated with excellence, the faster and more seamless will be our growth”, she says.

She has helmed the growth of the ‘Falcon News’, the company’s quarterly newsletter into a recognised magazine with a circulation of over 27,000, targeting customers both in India and abroad. She is also the editor of ‘The Luxury Collection’ a premium luxury lifestyle magazine circulated to HNIs in India and abroad. She handles the Falcon Property Management Services, taking it from a relatively insignificant division within the company to one of its most profitable subsidiaries. Tangentially, this enterprising intrapreneur has extended the Sublime brand to tea, media buying and event management as well. Uzma Irfan was honored with the FICCI-FLO Award for ‘Indomitable Spirit’ in inspiring the modern woman in 2013, as ‘Female Real Estate Professional of The Year’ by Bangalore Real Estate Awards 2014, and ‘Woman Super Achiever in Real Estate’ by ABP News Real Estate Awards 2015.

 ‘Sublime House of Tea’ offers unique flavours and healthy blends to the Indian market while offering exotic flavours with Indian premium tea as base to the growing numbers of expatriates and NRIs in metros. Uzma also received international recognition when she was awarded the ‘Female Real Estate Professional of the Year’ at the 2nd BERG Awards, Singapore in 2015. She was the recipient of the ‘Woman Achiever of the Year’ Award at the Global Real Estate Brand Awards 2016 and more recently, was felicitated with the ‘Woman Entrepreneur of the Year’ award by the Bangalore Management Association (BMA) in 2017.

www.sublimegalleria.com

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CLEAR AS DIAMONDS Hedron uses technology to empower customers make the right choice by enabling 3D design visualisation.

In a market saturated with established players, the young diamond brand, Hedron has an edge with its unique, customised offerings and transparent business model. An early adopter of technology it enables customers shop via 3D visual rendering of jewellery designs. Apart from seeing designs and modifying them to their taste, customers also get to see the real-time costs, as prices vary depending on the choice of diamonds. “Customers are usually not clear about what they want and we enable them to make the right choice by using technology to aid the process�, says Tushar Lalsan, who runs Lapidarius Jewelleries with his sister Layana Lalsan. Hedron is a brand of Lapidarius and specialises in diamonds. The brother-sister duo believe that wearing jewellery is a very personal experience, and hence their customers get to enjoy the heady feeling of wearing a limited edition piece of jewellery. Offering a mix of bespoke and designed creations,

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they are known for ethical sourcing of diamonds and finesse of business interaction. “We maintain a stock of D-E-F colours (colourless diamonds which are the top category) unless the customer wants a particular colour and clarity, and our diamonds are IF-VVS (IF-VVS diamonds are amongst the highest grades of diamonds in terms of clarity)”, says Lalsan in this interview with Aditya Mendonca. For a new brand like Hedron, it’s a tough choice between growing the volume of business and retaining quality, but Lalsan is firm about not diluting the brand; “My entire core idea is to give quality diamonds, and I am still able to capture a good amount of the market”. “The reasons why customers choose us over traditional jewellers are because not only are our prices more attractive, but our transactions are transparent. We tell them the exact cost structure when they ask for a breakup, all the way down to transportation and insurance from the manufacturer. Instead of adding to the cost per carat, we tell them our charges upfront. This has created a great amount of trust and comfort”, he says.

Fascinated with rare things from childhood, Lalsan’s penchant for the unique is obvious in the names of the businesses: Lapidarius (in Latin) means ‘one skilled in working with precious stones’ and Hedron indicates a geometric solid with a specified number of faces or surfaces. Innovating the cuts, Hedron offers a combination of simplicity and boldness in its diamonds. Participating in jewellery exhibitions has paid off as the brand is being recognised and draws increasing traffic to the store. Lalsan is now set to explore the potential on the e-commerce space which is as yet nascent for jewellery, and he feels that being in Bengaluru gives him the perfect launch pad.

Talking about the varying taste in diamonds, Lalsan says Delhi is more about size, whereas Bengaluru and other southern cities are all about quality. “I wanted to focus on quality, and so chose to open our first store in Bengaluru”.

www.hedron.in

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SAASING UP FASHION

“We want to make shopping personal by providing a Mom & Pop store experience, at scale, enabled through one-to-one personalisation and real-time data insights.” Ashish Dar, Founder & CEO, Dressire

Now artificial intelligence acts as a personal shopper, fashion stylist and wardrobe consultant for customers. This SaaS (software as a service) solution created by Bengaluru-based Dressire also helps retailers and designers provide individual experiences for online and walk-in shoppers.

store. It would enable them to provide style advice and help build the complete outfit or offer new outfit suggestions that would pair with items already in the customer’s closets. By personalising the entire inventory for each shopper in real time, it ensures that each customer sees only the kind of clothes they would like.

Dressire was founded by Ashish Dar, a former IBM staffer with 20 years of process transformation, strategy and analytics experience. Its advanced analytics-based solution helps retailers to better understand the products it could show each customer, even without historical purchase data.

“Our Business Intelligence applications provide deep insights about a customer’s persona and preferences. The retailers can leverage this information to do targeted marketing, drive their online to offline strategy and use our data insights to align their inventories to the actual demand”, says Dar to Aditya Mendonca.

The company which was earlier incubated by NASSCOM 10000 Startups and by Accenture’s Open Innovation Center, was also part of the ORACLE Global Startup Program. It has since begun collaborating with Oracle to use its chatbot services to create a stylebot. Dressire has bagged four customers to date in women’s apparel, men’s apparel, lingerie and jewellery segments and aspires to scale up globally.

To this end, Dressire has six modules: Personal Closet, Style Advisor, Outfit Builder and Advisor, Customer Intelligence, Targeted Marketing and Demand Planning Insights. While these modules enable online retailers grab visitors’ attention within seconds of them landing on their site, they also help brick & mortar retailers, who struggle with declining footfalls, provide an engaging and enhanced shopping experience.

Dressire enables retailers to know the items in their inventory that would best fit the style, size and price sensitivities of a customer who walks into their

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Dressire’s focus also extends to an on-demand hyperlocal, hyper-personalisation make-to-order service, Stichnow, that will provide employment to housewives in small towns across India and thus contribute to a circular economy in fashion through its innovative business model.

In a store powered by Dressire, the retailer gets to know and engage better with shoppers. The shoppers know where they can find what they love; they don’t look for clothes, as the clothes find the shoppers. www.dressire.com

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WEAVING SUSTENANCE “One of our company’s chief aims is to address the market linkage issues of rural producers.” Siva Devireddy, Founder, GoCoop Technology, by acting as a bridge between rural artisans in India and ecoconscious urban customers in over 15 countries, has enabled the sustenance of handloom products and made them into valuable brands. Launched in 2014, GoCoop is the first Indian online marketplace to bring together weaver groups, cooperatives, and their ultimate buyers. Certified silk, handloom, and handicraft are just a few of the products this Bengalurubased startup showcases on its platform. Spread across more than 10 Indian states, GoCoop has partnered with over 350 weaver groups and cooperatives to date and its interventions have positively impacted the lives of more than 85,000 weavers. The company was conceptualised by Siva Devireddy, who started his career in Hewlett Packard Startup, a marketplace for the semiconductor industry in the San Francisco Bay area. With a Master’s degree in engineering from Arizona State University, Devireddy left his job at a consulting major to start his own company, as he wanted to use technology to transform the lives of the people at the bottom of the pyramid. One of the biggest problems facing rural producers, he realised, is access to market. Though they were producing and supplying their weaves and artifacts to local markets, these were not able to absorb their entire produce. On the other hand, there was a lot of pent up demand in domestic Indian cities and internationally as well, for quality handlooms, weaves and artifacts. Devireddy says, “One of the major aims of GoCoop is to address the market linkage issues of the rural producers. It was conceived as an online marketplace to connect the weavers’ groups and cooperatives directly with domestic and international customers, thus eliminating the middlemen in the process.” India has a nine million-strong group of weavers and artisans, in addition to a booming domestic market, thanks to a growing middle-class population. Internationally, India is the top supplier of handmade crafts and has more than 600 clusters across its states and cities. Individually, however, these producer communities are unorganised and widely disaggregated. Lack of quality marketing, poor sourcing of products, low supplies and the dearth of strong weaver community groups are some of the key challenges the sector faces. More than two years were needed, simply to make them aware of online commerce’s possibilities. The growth and popularity of Amazon and Flipkart did a lot to help the cause. GoCoop began by conducting small workshops with the cluster-level weavers to educate them about e-commerce in a platform-agnostic manner.

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 An in-house design team curates and designs quarterly collections on various themes which are exclusively available on the portal.

‘One cluster at a time’ was the motto that proved successful and powered the company to venture into the business-to-consumer model in addition to the existing business-to- business model. Currently, the portal has onboarded handloom clusters in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, West Bengal and Bihar, and will soon be reaching out to other parts of the country. It aims to cover over 100 clusters across more than 15 Indian cities by the end of 2019. Various consumer connect initiatives such as offline shows and exhibitions help to increase the customer base and increase the popularity of handlooms. Apart from the obvious benefits of increased transparency and supply chain efficiency, a social change is coming about as well with a substantial positive impact on the livelihoods of craftspersons. Its B2B segment is crafting change as well. National and international buyers including brands, designers, retailers and wholesalers can source handmade fabrics and crafts directly from the rural producers, leading to an interactive and transparent marketplace. The ‘Good Loom’ brand is the firm’s latest brainchild, bringing high quality and vintage handloom style to the eco-conscious consumers by assuring them of a certain quality and aesthetic design standards. GoCoop was among the top 50 companies to be recognised in the India Innovation Program, 2012. It also bagged the First National Award for Handloom Marketing in 2015. The company was the first to be showcased by Google’s Sundar Pichai, in 2017. Siva Reddy is also a part of the Champions of Change program of the Indian Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

 GoCoop has brought handloom closer to the consumer.

www.gocoop.com

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The capital city of Karnataka, Bengaluru’s logo celebrates its laissez-faire ethos. It allows you to ‘be yourself’.

 Rushi Patel and M Venkateswara Rao with Nammur’s unique branded merchandise.

Wondering about the Bengaluru font on this book’s title? We have used Bengaluru’s new logo on the title, an innovation in itself! Bengaluru is the first Indian city to get its own logo, and joins the company of New York, Singapore, Venice, Amsterdam and other cities that have an exclusive logo. The logo is partly in English, and partly in the state language of Kannada, reflecting the city’s cosmopolitan character. The emphasis on ‘Be’ and ‘U’ celebrates that this city allows the freedom to be yourself. Red and white in colour, and in sans serif font, the rolling typography conveys fluidity, boldness and vitality. The font was created by bankers-turned-designers Rushi Patel and M Venkateswara Rao, who are the founders of Nammur, a two-year-old creative design start-up which was formed in 2016.

Their design won a crowdsourced contest by the Department of Tourism and was picked from 1350 entries.

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 Bengaluru’s brand logo was released in 2017 during the Namma Bengaluru Habba by the Tourism Department.

The government’s aim was to boost tourism with a logo that would give the city a fresh identity by incorporating all that Bengaluru stands for: diverse population, customs, nightlife, and to show that it is more than just the Indian Silicon Valley.

‘Nammur’ translates into “our city” in Kannada and the company’s work is focussed on designs which are story based. The logo for Bengaluru is just the start for Patel and Rao, and they aspire to replicate this for many other cities across India. Apart from two retail outlets in Bengaluru, Nammur has an online platform that sells merchandise that range from power banks to keep your mobile phone going through the city’s notorious traffic to keychains, books, mugs, T shirts and more. “Our vision is to portray and display the ‘Incredible India’ (the slogan of India’s tourism campaign) for culture to the world through various designs”, says Rao in this interview with Minnal Paranan.

“There was always an urge to move out from the job (banking) and do something on our own”, says Patel. Not having taken part in a competition before, creating the winning logo was a big leap for the company. It took them a year of hard work to finalise a design that they found attractive and adaptive. And the rest of the state agreed. Elaborating on the logo and its genesis he adds, “If you observe the logo, the letters B, U and E are in a different colour. The red is standing out saying ‘Be you’. Bengaluru is one of the biggest cities which accepts everybody and anybody. They can be themselves in the city and they can prosper. That is the reason the logo is written in that fashion”.

www.nammur.com

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POWERING MR EXPERIENCES “We are the glue layer for the Mixed Reality ecosystem.” Rishi Ranjan, CEO, GridRaster

Move over, AR. It’s time for MR. Mixed Reality blurs the lines between the real and virtual worlds to present a composite that is mind blowing. Making this happen is a company operating out of Bengaluru and California. While AR (Augmented Reality) is the direct or indirect view of the real environment, the elements of which are augmented, MR (Mixed Reality) goes a step further. It is the hybrid reality where the real world and virtual world interact and respond to each other. Clearly, this technology is set to drive the future of the world and , a provider of underlying compute and network stack that powers MR experiences has been riding this wave. Formed in 2015, it is a brainchild of the IIT Kharagpur trio of Rishi Ranjan, Venkat Ramana Dass, and Dijam Panigrahi who bring a combined experience of 40 plus years, with 11 international patents to their credit. The company helps enterprises in aerospace, automotive, industrial design and retail industry in reducing costs, increasing revenues and improving productivity by effective use of VR/MR/AR. The company’s technology enables a 360-degree realistic product visualization along with real-time collaboration allowing remote handling, hyper-scale immersive MR simulation, and real-time remote augmentation enabling effective showcase of product design for productivity as well as marketing purposes. GridRaster’s expertise is in improving performance 10 times over standalone mobile platforms while keeping the quality intact - a major achievement as VR/ AR applications require a substantial amount of processing power to produce high-fidelity graphics. Such a feat can be accomplished by edge computing, a method of cloud computing optimization. AR/VR applications require highend graphics and digital overlays for creating the artificial environment. Smartphones and other mobile devices with limited battery life and processing power, limit user experience. Edge computing offers a seamless solution by allowing distributed computation in the cloud. This is how it works: The rendering of real-time graphics is offloaded from limited power mobile devices to the cloud, distributing and managing load

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 GridRaster’s technology is expected to turn mobile handsets into highend and affordable MR devices.


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Working with names such as Steel Wood Studios and Osterhout Design Group, the company’s technology is expected to turn mobile handsets into high-end virtual reality head-mounted displays (VR HMDs) at an affordable price level, thereby allowing the VR/AR experiences of enterprises and individuals to scale heights. The company recently raised about US$2 million in seed funding from Bengaluru-based Exfinity Venture Partners LLP, US-based investors Lumia Capital, Pipeline Capital, NexStar Partners, Unshackled Ventures and the Explorer Group, besides some strategic angel investors. “We have proven our core technology by working with great partners. Now, with new capital, we will work toward strengthening our development team and maturing the product for specific enterprise and customer use cases as we continue to establish GridRaster as a standard and platform of choice for cloud-powered high-end VR/AR,” said Rishi Ranjan, CEO. Earlier, the startup had raised two rounds of funding - US$1.5 million seed capital in December 2016 and a US$150,000 worth of angel funding in July 2015. Going forward the company proposes to offer its services on SaaS platform to enable more customers to scale up. “At some point, we will enter the media industry also,” says Ranjan.

across servers and that optimizes network bandwidth, leading to reduced latency. The offloading of processing to remote servers and cloud in order to support the collaboration of highly complex 3D models significantly reduces the need of power requirements of mobile devices and further enhances AR/ VR experiences. This intelligent collaborative computing between mobile device and edge-cloud can lead to ultra-low latency and higher resolution visuals, enabling compelling immersive experiences.

With the Indian AR and VR market projected to register a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of around 55 percent till 2021, GridRaster could look forward to a large slice of the pie.

www.gridraster.com

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CREATING A WORLD OF WONDER “Our goal is to continue to make Indian talent capable of executing the world’s most coveted productions, inventing new echelons of entertainment experiences and continuing to be the 1st choice for leading content creators and to earn the awards and accolades, as in the past decade.” Biren Ghose, Country Head - Technicolor India

The world’s most iconic animated characters such as King Julian, Boss Baby, Puss in Boots, Kung Fu Panda from DreamWorks; Mickey Mouse, Balu the Bear, Sher Khan and Mowgli from Walt Disney, and the world’s most spectacular soccer players in EA’s FIFA game, have a strong Bengaluru connection. A substantial portion of the CG animation and VFX for all of the above is the work of Technicolor’s India artists located in its state-of-the art studio in Bengaluru. “Technicolor India is unparalleled in innovation and creativity in the animation and VFX field, our studio is a creative hotspot”, says Biren Ghose, Country Head, who is an exuberant personification

of the company’s passion for creativity and excellence. Ghose, who has emerged as an industry leader in Indian government policy formulation and advancing the cause of digital arts education, points out that the Animation, Visual Effects [VFX] and the sunrise creative industries are

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representative of the ‘new age’ extending the city’s startup and innovation ecosystem. Technicolor has been a “lighthouse”, demonstrating the powerful connect between creativity and technology in the emerging digital media landscape. The company’s success has shifted the centre of gravity for this


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industry, making Bengaluru its new epicentre. It has sought to make the city a global, rather than a local, leader.

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In the CG world, character performance is critical and the fact that Technicolor’s India artists have worked on the world’s most iconic characters is testimony to their artistry. By working collaboratively with the world’s leading creatives, the company pushes the boundaries of innovation. Its team of over 500 core engineers ensures that they stay at the leading edge of their artform by inventing new paradigms. Ghose also wants to ensure that women play a bigger role in the industry; while 50-60% of students who study animation are women, at a studio level, both locally and globally, there are hardly 3-5% women in animation/VFX. Technicolor India has increased the presence of women in its team (comprising 650 women) to more than 11%, a testimony to its ‘pink think’. Above all, Ghose is satisfied that, “In a world that is constantly stretched and stressed by change, we bring happiness, love and laughter.”

Technicolor, a 102 year old Hollywood company, is the world’s most prolific producer of animation for high end episodic TV and live action VFX with brands like MPC, Mr.X & Mill Film. It’s the ‘room next door’ for major animation studios, for whom it co-creates mega projects. Present in Bengaluru, India for the past 10 years, it has become a primary hub for the creation of premium animation for movies, television, and the games industry, with over 3500 highly skilled creative artists and technicians. Led by Indian talent, the studio has won 7 Emmy Awards in Animation in the past 8 years; from 2016-19, the company has been a part of three Oscar winners, two BAFTA winners, and one Emmy winner. Seven of its projects won the Lion at Cannes in 2017-18.

www.technicolor.com

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MAKING CITIZENS MATTER Citizen Matters wants to institute citizen reporting fellowships for better and wider coverage of urban issues relating to turning points in governance, like elections, new laws and policies. It invites partnerships and sponsorships from foundations and corporates that are interested in improved urban governance and citizen engagement.

An urban digital news media is involving citizens as proactive problem solvers instead of mere consumers of journalism and is breaking the information asymmetry between the people and the government. Citizen Matters has an award-winning hybrid model that mixes professional journalism with citizen reporting on critical urban issues, neighbourhood updates and stories of change and key explainers.

From the start, Citizen Matters took an active interest in people who were taking ownership for positive change, trying to make a difference in their communities and in solving problems that plagued the city or their neighborhoods. “We made our platform a space for their voices, sharing their experiences and learnings. This in turn inspired others to get involved or replicate the initiatives in their own neighborhoods” says Meera, citing the example of its intense coverage and citizen journalism that led to local groups taking ownership of the city’s lakes. It also ran an award winning series about a 2300 crore violation-ridden SEZ project in the Bellandur wetlands. Citizens took this matter to court, resulting in The National Green Tribunal cancelling the licence. Several impactful judgements resulted in a changed policy for buffer zones around lakes and water bodies, with nationwide implications.

Citizen Matters was started in 2008 by Meera K and Subramaniam Vincent, who felt the need for a citizen-oriented local news platform. Traditional news media are driven by ever-shifting news cycles, with little or no follow up to stories of issues that affect the daily lives of citizens. The platform has pioneered the approach of taking reporting cues entirely from citizen concerns, and involves them in reporting itself. Being mainly reader funded, its journalism is independent - a rare achievement in current days.

The platform has won several awards for its work. Meera K, co-founder, was elected an Ashoka fellow in 2016. The same year, Uncovering Asia, the investigative journalism conference, selected Associate Editor Shree D N for a fellowship. Citizen Matters was one of three recipients of the #innovationforgood award, instituted by the Centre for Work, Technology and Social Change in collaboration with SASNET at Lund University, Sweden in 2015 and was declared the joint winner of the Manthan Award (South Asia and Asia Pacific), instituted by the Digital Empowerment Foundation, in the e-News & Journalism category in 2014. It also won the Namma Bengaluru Award for 2013 in the Media Organisation category.

Its approach in building open knowledge platforms is a game changer for civic engagement and community revitalisation. Meera, Co-founder & Managing Trustee says, “India’s cities are as big as some countries and its issues are as complex - that’s the lens through which Citizen Matters functions as an open platform for in-depth knowledge and understanding. Though this is a small community-level low-cost operation, our impact has been far reaching. No comparable platform exists in any other Indian city. ” It has local chapters in Bengaluru and Chennai, and the coverage includes a dozen other cities.

www.citizenmatters.in

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FUELLING INNOVATIVE COMMUNICATION “PRHUB has always punched above its weight and its influence/visibility extends beyond India. We are open to strategic opportunities that bring synergies or allows us to scale exponentially both within India and overseas.” Xavier Prabhu, Founder & Managing Director

It stands to reason that innovations in the city are spinning off in branding & communication and Bengaluru-based PRHUB is pushing the boundaries with its new offering of personal branding and an automated content platform. A branding and communication specialist firm with national presence and extensive experience, PRHUB was founded in early 2002 by Xavier Prabhu. An old client from his last stint at a leading global PR firm signed a retainer, “even before there was actually a firm, solely based on his confidence in me”, recalls Xavier. It’s today among India’s leading independent, full services communications firms, with offices in Bengaluru, Chennai, New Delhi and Mumbai apart from own employees in Hyderabad and Kochi besides associates in 100+ locations across India. It has in-house capabilities in social and digital marketing, content creation (including videos), and influencer engagement besides branding

 PRHUB has grown on the back of hard work and dedication of its employees many of whom have been with the firm for long. Sumathi Chari, Director and Sr. Partner, who has spent almost 15 years of her 17 year career is seen pictured here with Xavier Prabhu and the team in Bengaluru. and marcom support. “We saw communication getting integrated and convergence as a trend earlier than most in our space. We invested in internal creative resources as early as 2008, in social media marketing in 2014 much before it became a fad and so on”, points out Xavier. Currently, it has two innovations in play, which the agency predicts would have deep impact on the PR space and beyond. The first is its investment in building a platform that automates the content coordination process and provides clients online access to content and progress updates. The content platform is expected to roll out later this year. The second innovation is its engine model for personal branding. “We were among the early birds in offering it as a specialized service and took the

process/team approach whereas, most others took the personality driven one,” says Xavier. He is confident that personal branding the way PRHUB has approached it, will revolutionize the way professionals invest and approach their personal brand building, initially in India and later globally. Its accolades include being featured in the list of Top PR firms in India by Reputation Today in 2018. Xavier was recognized as among India’s 100 most influential PR & corporate communication professionals by Reputation Today in 2017 and Sumathi Chari, its Senior Partner was recognized among India’s top ‘40 under 40’ communication professionals by the same magazine in 2016. It has consistently won mentions in many industry reports.

www.prhub.com

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INNOVATIONS OF BENGALURU IT SOLUTIONS SMART SOLUTIONS, LOGISTICS & MOBILITY

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THE IT GUY WHO BECAME A STANDUP ISN’T A JOKE. SANJAY MANAKTALA IS AN IT MANAGER WHO LEFT HIS MIDDLE CLASS PATH TO BECOME A SUCCESSFUL STAND UP COMEDIAN AND DIGITAL FILMMAKER; HIS VIDEOS HAVE BEEN VIEWED OVER 30M TIMES. 165


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HAPPY TRANSFORMERS “Happiest Minds culture is built around innovation in technology and people practices. Our IP led focus helps customers create digital capital and drive digital transformation. Our differentiated people practices have resulted in us being recognized among the great places to work.” Ashok Soota, Executive Chairman

Being a happiness evangelist is not a conventional mandate for a large company. Taking a unique position, India’s first ‘Mindful IT’ company, as it calls itself, is intent on cultivating an innovation ecosystem and being people and culture focused in the process. Founded by IT pioneer Ashok Soota and staffed by an experienced team of industry experts, Happiest Minds believes that it has never been more important to focus on future technologies to differentiate itself and enable its customers to stay ahead of the curve. The company’s buzz words of ‘being mindful, doing mindful’, ‘happiest people, happiest customers’ seems to work: it’s diverse and dynamic groups deliver value across sectors like banking and financial services, healthcare, energy, education, and retail. Highlights include: multi-million dollar saving for a large US home improvement store, 20% improved productivity of field workforce for an energy major,

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serving more than 20 million unique devices per month for the world’s largest sports app, 30% reduction in customer calls to place orders for a leading B2B e-commerce platform, 50% reduction in risk and compliance function costs for a global enterprise, 90% reduction in contract processing time for a worldwide commercial manufacturer, 20% increase in monetization for top three market research company, 50% reduction time in course creation for a large education provider, 5% increase in cross-sell and up-sell opportunities for a top US fashion retailer, over 200 applications covered under role-based provisioning for a leading financial services group, and over four billion seamless transactions for a NASDAQ-listed cloud platform provider.

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insights with cutting-edge data analytics solutions, enables the discovery of innovative solutions to business problems and helps realize digital capital. The company has three business units that offer innovative solutions– Digital Business Services (DBS), Product Engineering Services (PES) and Infrastructure Management and Security Services (IMSS), even as over 90% of its projects are digital. The company has been recognized for its efforts and has bagged several awards, the most recent one being the 2018 Red Herring top 100 global award. Some of the other noteworthy ones are the Frost & Sullivan Digital Transformation Services Provider of the Year 2017 award, the ‘Leader’ in the IAOP Global Outsourcing 100 List-2017, the McAfee Partner Award for excellence in engaging premier customers in commercial segment for large value annuity deals in 2018. While Happiest Minds was ranked # 2 in the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 India in 2015, the company was also recognized in the top 5 best companies to work in India among emerging organizations in IT-BPM by the Great Place to Work Institute in 2015.

The company has been quick to adapt to emerging technologies and leverage them to create value and solutions that bind together people, ideas, information, processes, and systems. Its technological capabilities, industry expertise, partnerships, and focus on innovative solutions and cutting-edge products and services have gained it over 170 customers. With over 2,400 ‘Happiest Minds’ as team members are referred to, the company has established its presence in 16 cities, spanning six countries, with the US being a major market. With the customer at the centre of everything that it does, there are three aspects that the company identifies with and consciously works on – growth, technical prowess, and culture. The focus is on leveraging technologies such as Analytics/ AI, IoT, SDN-NFV, DevOps, Cyber Security, Blockchain, A/VR and Robotics Process Automation. Cutting across these technologies are two dedicated Centers of Excellence (CoEs) on IoT and Analytics/AI. With ‘smart industries, smart living and smart enterprises’ as key focus areas, the IoT CoE is aimed at empowering organizations to connect and scale with efficiency, act on new data and improve their decisionmaking, integrate and transform business processes, manage end-to-end IoT processes, and seamlessly integrate IoT solutions with existing enterprise architecture. The Analytics/AI CoE facilitates and delivers real-time actionable

www.happiestminds.com

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POWER OF NOW “IQLECT has bold plans to disrupt the current scenario through our offerings to democratise the usage of data analytics with AI and make it available for everyone in a simple, affordable and scalable manner.” Sachin Sinha, Founder

In the coming years, real-time analytics will be critical for companies to grow and prosper, and this will need to be offered in a manner that is easy to access and interpret while being affordable at various price points. As business models evolve from their current state to ‘people to people’, ‘machine to machine’ or even hybrid interactions, real-time data analysis will be key for growth. IQLECT is a core tech startup whose vision is to disrupt the existing market by combining data analytics with AI to give companies access to realtime data and information. It offers an ideal solution for data-driven companies looking to enhance their operational efficiency and fine-tune their customer engagement. IQLECT strives to be the Software as a Service (SaaS) solution leader in this big data and business analytics market that is presently worth $40

billion, and estimated to bring in revenue to the tune of $208 billion by 2020. Its primary offering is a cloud-based hardware-software converged eponymous service platform leveraging big data for real time analysis, designed to be sold as a single box unit. The advantage this offers is that companies’ data can instantaneously be analysed in the cloud or even onsite, letting them optimise their business processes. IQLECT was founded in 2015 by Sachin Sinha, an alumnus of IIT Kanpur who was the co-founder of Limeroad, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at Jabong, and a leader at both Amazon and Microsoft. He has also published many papers on databases and Machine Learning. The dynamic team comprises young professionals with prior experience in tech, marketing, product management and similar roles, at large companies such as Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, vmWare, Google and others.

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The company was started to address a simple problem with far-reaching implications. The problem was that most businesses don’t have consolidated data. Instead, it is scattered across silos and a variety of separate tools need to be used to analyse it all in coherence. Designed for IoT, IQLECT solves this with its platform that provides seamless, real-time analysis for all kinds of data sets. Its purpose-built platform uses automatic information extraction and leverages emerging tech such as AI and ML for helping businesses go to market almost immediately, saving more than 50% costs, upfront. IQLECT provides insights for organisations in sectors ranging from consumer internet to e-commerce, from Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI) to Internet of Things (IoT), and from logs and infrastructure to Customer Relationship Management (CRM). It has multiple domain-


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 IQLECT is also making an entrance into the Shopify marketplace, providing online stores with advanced ecommerce analytics. specific apps that can be set up on a personalised basis, with any company using it able to analyse its data in minutes, to the end of achieving a higher conversion rate. To simplify this, the solution lets businesses predict trends and user behaviour with a higher degree of accuracy, based on historical data, which in turn lets them act to reduce service time and improve overall performance. It is interesting to trace the journey of IQLECT, from its inception in July 2015, when Exfinity Venture Partners invested for the first time in an analytics company. With subsequent funding from VentureEast, VCs and angels, the company is definitely on the fast-track to growth. It has partnered with CISCO, Accenture, SAP and Dell, and has 150+ SaaS customers with 2500+ active users for e-commerce and 72K+ active users on BangDB, a NoSQL database for real-time big data analytics. Part of the Cisco Launchpad in the first cohort (September 2016 to January 2017), it was listed among the ‘10 Emerging Analytics Startups in India to Watch Out for in 2018’ in the Analytics India Magazine. It was also listed in Red Herring’s list of ‘2017 Top 100 Asia Winners’. Considering the phenomenal rise in data generation, real-time analytics is one of the best spaces to be in for rapid growth.

www.iqlect.com

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IIOT FITBIT FOR MACHINES “We want to rapidly innovate technology and business models, and be one of the top two in the world in our category.” Derick Jose, Krishnan Raman and Srikanth Muralidhara, co-founders, Flutura Decision Sciences and Analytics

Smart machines with predictive technology are poised to be game changers in industries like heavy machinery and oil & gas by reducing downtime. Often referred to as the poster child of the emerging Indian deep-tech businessto-business sector, Bengaluru-based Flutura Decision Sciences and Analytics is unlocking substantial business value by powering radically new business models. Flutura, founded in 2012 by Krishnan Raman, Derick Jose, and Srikanth Muralidhara, is an AI solutions company that focuses on three major issues in energy and engineering companies: reduction of asset downtime, improvisation of operational efficiency, and increase in asset reliability. Its flagship software platform for Industrial IoT, Cerebra, offers unique diagnostics and prognostics through AI and machine learning, serving the oil & gas, specialty chemicals, and heavy machinery manufacturing industries. “If you look at the world today, there are more machines connected to the network than human beings. What happened in the consumer world 10 years ago has just begun to happen in the world of machines, on a bigger scale. Everything from nuclear reactors, cars to chairs and tables will be connected to the grid. We see this as a sign of massive potential,” says Jose.

for a field technician: what is failing, how long before it fails and the steps to be taken next. By capturing and analysing sensor telemetry, Cerebra collates signals into episodes thus leading to prognosis and intervention. The episode refers to a pattern of data that indicates probable problems alerting the technicians in advance. For mission-critical systems, this technology can significantly reduce downtime.

The Cerebra AI platform has advanced capabilities which integrate physics, heuristics, and machine learning-based models to generate actionable insights across asset and process heavy industries. It basically answers three questions

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Additionally, the software incorporates design parameters and component physics to build ‘digital twins’, which gives insights about the normal as well as the abnormal behaviour of every component. Such a technology aids in designing complicated industrial systems and supports their optimal use. This platform can be customized to customer requirements and its solutions are cloud-agnostic and on-premises-centric. It is designed for engineering operations personnel which in a way, eliminates the need for data scientists. With its advanced predictive capabilities, Cerebra provides significant monetary savings to its users. “Even one percent improvement in efficiency unlocks millions of dollars, and we help make this happen.” says Jose. One of Flutura’s clients, a leading manufacturer of technologically sophisticated systems for the oil & gas industry, was suffering from fall in performance and lower productivity due to a lack of detailed sensor intelligence and equipment diagnostics. With the deployment of Cerebra’s advanced diagnostics and prognostics module, the company achieved 23 percent reduction in non-productive time and 90 percent reduction in latency for detecting performance deviations. In another instance, an Asia-based premier turnkey provider company required an intelligent sense-making system for proactive actions. Flutura deployed the digital twin module in various subsystems resulting in prediction accuracy of about 70 percent. With operations spread across Houston, Tokyo, Palo Alto and Bengaluru and clients such as Stewart, Henkel and AL Mansoori in its kitty, the company has also established partnerships with global giants such as Siemens and Hitachi for market and product access support. This 7-year old startup has raised about US$8.5 million in funding from Hitachi, Hive, Vertex Ventures and Lumis Partners among others. Flutura has become the world’s first IIoT company to create a path-breaking per asset, per app, per month business model. Some of its other awards and recognitions include the Zinnov Award in the Startup Beacon category, TechSparks 2013, and 2018 North American Entrepreneurial Company of the Year Award. Jose says, “We have two aspirations: One, we want to scale insights from customer data as a product as opposed to a service. Two, we want to make sure that our product is the category leader.” With a vision to be the number one industrial IoT platform powering new business models for industrial machinery companies, the company is all set to transform the way industries function, much like a caterpillar’s transformation into a butterfly a.k.a flutura.

 Cerebra is one of the top 3 industrial IoT solutions in the world.

www.flutura.com

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IMPROVING CITIES, SMARTLY “The advantages aren’t enjoyed just by those living in smart cities; through such development, the government will save costs, optimise revenue and ensure an enhanced lifestyle for all.” Mahendra Jain, IAS

 The Church Street in the CBD of Bengaluru is a shining example of aesthetic and utilitarian makeover of roads under the TenderSURE project. Photo: Venkataramanan Associates. Picture a connected, digitally integrated ‘smart home’, but on a much larger scale. This is the vision for 100 cities in India launched in 2015 by the Smart Cities Mission of the Government of India’s Ministry of Urban Development. Karnataka has been at the forefront of the Indian ‘Smart City’ urban renewal programme which aims at city-wide development by applying or retrofitting intelligent solutions to existing urban infrastructure. This means that technology, information and data will be leveraged to improve

infrastructure and connected services. Karnataka’s Smart Cities will provide citizens with both immediate and gradual benefits, ranging from better traffic conditions to reduction in crime, more efficient emergency services, ease of access to realtime information about a variety of services and more. Seven cities in the state have been selected under the government’s urban renewal programme to develop 100 cities across the nation between 2015 and 2020, with a view to making them citizen-

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 The Smart City projects in Karnataka have gained momentum, according to Urban Development Minister UT Khader. friendly and sustainable. The chosen cities in Karnataka are Tumakuru, Belagavi, Hubbali-Dharwad, Mangaluru, Shivamogga, Davanagere and Bengaluru. The Smart City projects in Karnataka are under the purview of the Urban Development department of the state government, currently headed by Minister UT Khader.

Many of the Smart City projects will be implemented with convergence of plans and resources of other civic bodies and agencies. For instance, improving mobility of citizens needs infrastructure like footpaths, bicycle lanes, skywalks and more investment in public transport. This would encourage people to opt for non-motorised transport for short distances and the use of the metro or buses for longer commutes.

There are broadly two approaches being taken for their development, namely, Area Based Development and the Pan City initiatives. Mahendra Jain, Additional Chief Secretary to the Government’s Urban Development Department tells Sandhya Mendonca, “Area Based Development focuses primarily on the development of physical infrastructure in the cities, with varying approaches for each city. The strategic components of area-based development in the Smart Cities Mission are retrofitting, redevelopment and greenfield development. The pan city initiatives help the entire population of the city, by simplifying processes to make life easier for citizens by streamlining their normal, dayto-day interactions with the city. These include issues such as getting utility connections, building plan approvals, payment of property taxes and the like.”

Bengaluru being the tech capital of the country, it was the logical choice for the government to seek solutions from the private sector. Challenges were floated for proposals from startups and entrepreneurs, and the government looks forward to working in collaboration with tech-driven ventures to come up with effective solutions. While it’s taken time to set up special purpose vehicles and the attendant processes, the systems have been established and the pace of work is slated to improve significantly, says Jain. He estimates that Bengaluru should fully be transformed into a Smart City within the next two to three years - fastpaced development, indeed. Smartening up Bengaluru would mean that: • All the roads in the CBZ will soon be part of the TenderSURE (Specifications for Urban Road Extension) process with uniform carriageways, good footpaths, and bicycle lanes where possible. Utility lines will be moved to the edges, preventing roads being dug up for repairs. • Improving its heritage markets to give a better experience to regular shoppers and tourists. The facelift will be matched with seamless, inter-modal commuting for enhanced access to the market areas. • With the setting up of closed-door transfer stations for waste segregation, the city will soon look cleaner. Composting of green waste and waste-toenergy plants are other ways by which waste management will become more efficient.

The plan is for all Smart Cities to have dedicated Command and Control Centres to leverage technology, with a view to improving the lives of citizens in these cities. Safety, smart parking, street lights, garbage disposal are some of the major activities that such Centres would monitor. BENGALURU - MOST LIVABLE CITY? The capital city of Bengaluru is a late entrant to the Smart City list, getting there in June 2017 to the relief of the citizens. The focus areas of Area Based Development are: making the city pedestrian-friendly, improving mobility, setting up efficient waste management systems, bringing all roads in the CBZ under TenderSURE, and giving a facelift to its heritage markets.

www.bbmp.gov.in/smart-city

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FROM EDGE CITY TO SMART CITY “Smart city project is a unique opportunity to provide world-class urban services by using state-of-the-art technology for improving the quality of life of its people.” Dr Shalini Rajneesh, IAS

One of the projects that has gained traction under the Smart City programme in Karnataka is the Tumakuru Smart City. Situated about 73 km northwest of Bengaluru, Tumakuru or the coconut city is one of the industrial towns of Karnataka. Its location is critical as it has the potential to decongest Bengaluru. Urban Development Minister UT Khader envisions that the city would become a satellite town of Bengaluru. Tumakuru is a KIND city, a Knowledge and Industrial Nexus Destination. It acts as Bengaluru’s gateway to North Karnataka and sits on the Chennai-Mumbai industrial corridor, a fact that has led to its proposed development as Asia’s biggest industrial hub, which would include a Japanese Industrial Township, according to Deputy Chief Minister Dr. G Parameshwara, who is also the minister in charge of the district. It boasts of India’s first mega food park and has 24 large scale industries, besides being a hub of educational institutions. As per the 2011 India census, the municipal town has a population of 3.06 lakhs, with a male-tofemale ratio of 13:12, and an average literacy rate of 75 percent. The town has an area of about 48.21

square kilometres with about 840 kilometres of road length. It falls under the Cauvery basin, and its drinking water needs are fulfilled by Hemavathy, one of the principal tributaries of the Cauvery. It has a considerable amount of natural resources. Tumakuru was an easy choice for being developed as a Smart City and was chosen under this programme in 2016, in the second round of the government’s challenge, along with 39 other cities across India. Tumakuru Smart City Limited (TSCL) in Karnataka, was incorporated in 2017, under the Companies Act, 2013. The specific projects under the Smart City Proposal include providing the citizens of Tumakuru with enhanced safety and security, smart transit, and green infrastructure. Summing up the Smart City management’s take on building the future, Dr. Shalini Rajneesh, Chairperson, Tumakuru Smart City, and Principal Secretary to the Government’s Planning Programme Monitoring and Statistics Department, says the aim is to “transform Tumakuru from just an edge-city of Bengaluru to the most preferred destination within the region, with a strong focus on economic development

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 The Tumakuru Smart City initiative has been discussed in Making of a Smart City, which is coauthored by Dr. Shalini Rajneesh, Chairperson, Tumakuru Smart City, & Principal Secretary, Planning Programme Monitoring and Statistics Department, GoK and provision of enhanced connectivity, high quality of life, ecological integration and inclusive development.” With a total area based development cost of Rs. 896.98 crore and a total pan city solutions cost to Rs. 282.40 crore, the total funding of Rs. 1179.38 crore is split equally between the Government of India and the Government of Karnataka. Apart from this, the plan also includes PPP projects worth Rs. 246 crore and convergence projects worth Rs. 938.69 crore, which are implemented by other line departments. Thus, a total of Rs. 2,364.07 crore is being spent to make Tumakuru a Smart City. “While facilities such as public metro trains would benefit the people of Tumakuru, helitaxis


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 In the next few years, the state government plans to spend approximately Rs.2364.07 crore to make Tumakuru a modern city with smart applications. will connect it to Bengaluru. This would make the satellite city an attractive hub, while easing the pressure of population density in the capital,” says BT Rangaswamy, Managing Director. With increased development comes an increased demand of human resources - projects worth 1,722 acre are being developed which need 3.19 lakh human resources till 2025. The Tumakuru Smart City in collaboration with Tumakuru University is developing a ‘Skill City’ within the university premises to provide skill-based training to the youth to make them employable. A project ‘Skill on Wheels’ has been envisaged to take the training to the youth in the slums and other remote areas of the city. An array of initiatives for the would-be smart city is in the pipeline. All government schools will be transformed into high-tech smart schools with state-of-the-art tools to improve the quality of education. A digital library with a treasure of about 0.5 million journals will be made accessible to the entire country. In the pipeline is also a hightech seminar hall, which will digitally connect Tumakuru University with other universities to facilitate knowledge exchange. The hall will also have a Business Incubation Centre to facilitate budding entrepreneurs in their ventures. On the health awareness and assurance front, health related data of every citizen of Tumakuru will be recorded in a digital nerve centre which

will be further connected to hospitals, to handle medical emergencies. A Hi-Tech Trauma Centre is being established to provide the much needed medical facilities to the accident victims in the ‘Golden Hour’. Also on the anvil is a Hi-Tech Ayush Centre, which will be a PPP project. Other PPP projects include smart parks with open gyms, food and beverage-vending kiosks, and compost bins, and a smart lounge, with an e-library, ATM machine, café and other facilities. Also underway is the 17,762 sq mt multimodal transit hub with intracity and intercity bus terminals, multi-level car parking and commercial/retail space, with a total project cost of Rs. 100 crore. To ensure energy conservation, all conventional lights are being converted to LED at a cost of Rs. 58 crore. Drones will be used to map the infrastructure details to facilitate regular monitoring of various civic issues, for instance, the drainage systems. Smart payment cards for cashless operations and technology of integrated command and control for road safety will be introduced. Greener environment through instant gardens, sanitation, and crime control is high on the agenda. Plastic, that poses a major threat to the environment worldwide, comprises about 8-10 percent of the total municipal solid waste in Tumakuru. The city has come up with a solution to recycle discarded plastic into pavement tiles. “We are also installing machines which accept

plastic bottles,” says T Bhoobalan, Commissioner, Tumakuru City Corporation. To improve connectivity, major roads of the city are being converted to Smart Roads, based on the TenderSURE model of Bengaluru. The Ring Road (10.5 km) is being redeveloped and rejuvenated as a 4 lane highway with service roads to ease the traffic by diverting vehicles outside the city. The main component of the Tumakuru Smart City proposal is lake rejuvenation. The biggest lake Amanikere, which is around 500 acre, is being developed as a Tourism, Cultural, Entertainment and Wellness Centre at a cost of Rs. 76 crore. A host of amenities, including a solar-powered rail car, are being provided. As a permanent solution for drinking water for the city, it is planned to fill the lake with water from Hemavathy at a cost of Rs. 50 crore. Apart from this, 20 lakes are being developed at a cost of Rs. 35 crore to make the city green and water abundant. Other infrastructural changes include building advanced electrical metering infrastructure in association with BESCOM (Rs. 17.5 crore), Smart Vending Zones to rehabilitate street vendors (Rs. 8 crore) and revamp of the Mahatma Gandhi stadium into a hi-tech stadium (Rs. 50 crore). Tumakuru hopes to be a sought after city in the coming days, paving the way for better living and sustenance.

www.smartcitytumakuru.in

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A SMART E-CITY Electronics City has been a trailblazer from its inception and its unique model of self-governance and collaboration is being emulated by other industrial townships to create Smart Townships.

Born in the epicentre of the desi Silicon Plateau, Electronics City, India’s first industrial township with independent governing authority, is well on its way to becoming a Smart City. With over 902 acres, Electronics City is amongst the largest industrial parks of Bengaluru, and hosts the campuses of leading tech companies, along with a large number of small and medium sized ones.

ELCITA uses a multi-pronged approach to administer the needs of its citizens that comprise 158 companies and impacts the lives of close to 2 lakh people. It is governed by a committee elected from member companies’ senior management and the state government’s nominees. Expert-led subcommittees guide and support activities such as estate management, sustainability, beautification, governance, smart city, town planning, culture and communication.

Established as an electronic industrial complex in 1978 by the Karnataka State Electronics Development Corporation Limited (KEONICS), it was for several years, managed by the Electronic City Industries Association (ELCIA). Over time, ELCIA has evolved as a unique organisation and has established three crucial entities that have distinct yet complementary roles in the development of the area: ELCITA, ELCIA Cluster and ELCIA Trust.

ELCIA Cluster was the first MSME Electronics Cluster in the state and was built with financial support from central and state governments. It focuses on skill development support for MSMEs and gives industries an opportunity to innovate new products at its common facility centre with state-of-the-art infrastructure. It provides mentorship, job fairs, trade fairs, volunteer and awareness programmes for women and CEO Forums. The ELCIA Trust, started 16 years ago, supports 4500 children in 20 government schools around the region.

A watershed moment for ELCIA came in 2013, when the Karnataka Government declared it an Industrial Township Area. The Electronics City Industrial Township Authority (ELCITA) was formed under the Karnataka Municipal Act, and it now carries out all the functions of an urban administrative division.

ELCIA is committed to policy advocacy and government interactions and an example of its collaborative approach is the improvement of Hosur Road, the sole

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With vertical gardens, minimal air conditioning, and paperless office functioning, the solar-powered ELCIA office is a benchmark for sustainability. ď ą Smart features at Electronics City include monitoring parking, street lights, solid waste, E-toilets, and air quality, GPS tracking of public utility vehicles and real-time information repository through the ELCitizen app.

road that connects it to the rest of Bengaluru; it has worked with the government for construction of an elevated road and Metro. ELCIA also facilitates training and skilling of personnel at various levels as required by member companies. It could soon become a training partner with the state government as a TPA representing 21 companies in an apprenticeship scheme.

providing last mile employee transit from Metro stations, elevated walkways and shuttle services, 3D mapping of the township for planning, building approvals, tax collections; driving investments in manufacturing, co-creation of electronics products using the ELCIA Cluster; supporting companies with skilled manpower, development of a Biotechnology Park, a model Smart City and promotion of art and culture.

ELCIA and ELCITA collaborate to bring in world-class infrastructure and business support to the community to ensure members thrive in their respective fields. ELCITA aims at comprehensive development of the ecosystem by creating institutional, physical, social, and economic infrastructure. It collects property taxes, issues building licences and delivers all municipal services along with security and traffic management. It is responsible for construction of roads, drains, housekeeping, street lights, water distribution and waste management. It has set up a 300 KLD sewage treatment plant and along with rain water harvesting, through regular maintenance of water network, it has reduced leakage to less than 5%. e-Governance and e-Procurement ensure transparency and speedy approvals.

The coalition of ELCIA, ELCITA and ELCIA Cluster is a singular example of what can be achieved with innovative ideas and a collaborative approach, with the active participation of companies and ELCitizens who take pride in projects, promote innovative ideas and implement them. This unique model has earned Electronics City national and international appreciation. ď ą Tree-lined avenues and well maintained roads and pavements have transformed Electronics City.

One of its functions is also ensuring security via a 4-layered protocol of CISF, state police, security personnel of companies and ELCITA personnel. It manages traffic in the area with the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), Bangalore Metro and the Bengaluru Traffic Police. It is working with the Indian Institute of Science to create a scientific, tech-enabled traffic management strategy. The Smart City pilot was started in 2016 to provide better governance and services to companies, and leading to improvement in the quality of life of ELCitizens. Its partners in this program include IISc, Wipro, Mindtree, PAQS, Bydesign, Tejas Network, Intel, Bosch and Siemens. Together, ELCIA & ELCITA plan to meet future challenges through initiatives such as improved connectivity to the East Phase and to neighbouring villages, www.elcia.in www.elcita.in

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AUTOMATED RELOCATION “Innovation is at the core of what we are doing and we have only just scratched the surface.” Pikkol’s core team: Suraj Valimbe, Siby Mathew, Deepu Chandran and Jayaram Kasi Visweswaran

With people constantly on the move chasing their dreams and careers, technology is on hand to remove the chaos and stress that goes with it. Data science and automation do away with ambiguous pricing and lack of transparency that are typical among traditional packers and movers. Deepu Chandran, Founder and CEO of Bengaluru based Pikkol talks about how his company provides seamless and transparent services.

Funded by the Indian Angel Network, Pikkol’s strength lies in the unique combination of cutting edge tech and quality on-ground service. “Customer experience has to be looked at as an end to end proposition. What we do is we bring these multiple services together by using technology as a thread and use analytics and data science in the backend to ensure that these are delivered as per the SLAs that are set,” says Chandran.

“Pikkol was born in 2015 out of a premise that we can deliver better onground services by developing strict SLAs (Service Level Agreements) along with building technology that will provide seamless information to the customers,” says Chandran, in an interview with Subhalakshmi Roy. No stranger to using tech and innovation to solve common pain points (his previous venture was an innovation consulting firm), Chandran was joined by Suraj Valimbe (VP - Operations), Jayaram Kasi Visweswaran (VP - Product & Data Sciences) and Siby Mathew (VP - Technology).

When customers book a move through the website or the app, they choose their requirements and upload images and videos of the items that need to be shifted. The back-end algorithm analyses these and accordingly plans the logistics and calculates the exact price, eliminating the need of sending a person to assess the move. Information is shared with the customer and the partners, thereby bringing all the stakeholders together in a transparent, unified communication platform.

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Pikkol’s mission is to make every move in India a hassle-free experience.

For their first client, the co-founders doubled up as movers; today, Pikkol has over 1000 professional movers and 300 plus trucks. The movers are trained to safely handle items during loading, unloading and transportation, and learn the best practices followed in packing, unpacking, handling, transportation, safety, etiquette and operating technology. It also provides on-demand storage and warehousing for its customers across locations. Over 8000 individuals have used Pikkol to relocate within India and abroad and the company moves goods worth Rs. 40 crore in a month. Apart from Bengaluru, it operates in Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai and Pune, and has facilitated moves all the way to the UK, Ecuador and Ivory Coast. Introducing tech in a sector which was considered a more on-ground human activity has disrupted the industry; more of their competitors including the traditional packers and movers are jumping on the bandwagon. But Chandran and his team remain unfazed. “For the tech to be effective, you need existing consumer data. We already have a head start. But it is good to see the sector embracing technology,” says Visweswaran. Exciting tech developments are taking place within Pikkol too. Apart from improving their existing algorithms, the team is working on building a knowledge graph engineered specifically to predict possible hurdles during a relocation, such as traffic rules, parking norms, fees, and offer preemptive solutions. “Every city has different rules and it becomes difficult to scale up if information such as this stays only in human brains,” says Mathew. “The knowledge graph will allow our stakeholders to predict the best possible route and to avoid last minute hassles and stress.” “Tech has given the power of choosing when to move and what to move, back to our customers,” says Chandran. “We let the customers select according to their preferences and also give them other options which our algorithm feels would be more ideal given the data. And then it depends on the choice that they make.” The company has started a B2B vertical as well with customised solutions such as Bareshell for retail establishments, and plans to launch a specific product for corporates to manage both employee relocations and office relocations. It has assisted in relocation of 35 corporates till date and plans to expand its portfolio to at least 250 over the next 2 years.

www.pikkol.com

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AI FOR LOGISTICS

“The idea behind employing AI is to empower its users. Locus’ solutions use historical data and continuously adapt and improve to help the top executives of logistics in their decision-making process.� Nishith Rastogi, Chief Executive Officer What started off as an application to ensure rider safety by making cabs stay on course soon amplified into a decision-making platform for business supply chain using deep learning and AI. Until very recently, consumer-driven ventures were leading the innovation ecosystem in Bengaluru. Locus is one of the few B2B startups in the city focussing on product innovation with technology that is gradually changing the entrepreneurial landscape. It employs proprietary algorithms and deep technology to provide route optimization, actionable insights, warehouse management, 3D packaging and sizing of packages on a global technology platform. Human decisions are automated to deliver efficiency and operational transparency to the company using it. Thanks to this, an e-commerce company employed a supply chain platform which resulted in its being able to save 60 percent of the conventional sorting time, 25 percent reduction in operational costs and 75 percent reduction in dispatch planning time.

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 Locus employs the latest technology in product innovation to disrupt the supply chain process in an interesting manner. They have processed volumes of more than 1 million orders in a single day, 200,000 orders an hour. They have expanded to more than 75 cities worldwide and have been utilised in over 100 million order deliveries.

Nishith Rastogi and Geet Garg (who later became CEO & CTO of Locus) had in 2014, developed RideSafe, a real-time route deviation detection application, designed specifically in the interest of women’s safety. This technology isn’t limited only to certain applications, though. It was gradually adopted by food technology companies to track their delivery fleets and discern possible deviations, efficiently. The companies wanted to know the exact location of and ideal routes for their trucks, and Locus provided them with the features they were looking for. The company has come up with several innovative products such as Dispatcher, MotionTrack, and IntelliSort, all of which serve to assist in managing on-ground resources and also help increase the

The 3D Packing feature helps to maintain packing arrays such as First In, First Out by appropriate cargo loading, which results in vehicle optimisation. Its proprietary geocoder double-checks the geocode addresses, an important feature to have for accurate tracking of companies’ fleets. The analytics and insights platform developed enables its customers to build an omnichannel platform with a detailed comparison of warehouses, workforce, and vehicles. This is made possible by automating job allocation requests amongst the available service executives while maintaining their skill, rating and location preferences. Its automated decision-making system also provides predictive alerts on idle time, vehicle breakdown and traffic delays. All this serves to enhance the efficiency of business supply chain processes and in turn, improves customers’ experience.

supply chain efficiency of businesses. Locus Dispatcher, for example, helps to cut down costs and reduces manual dependency by optimising routes. It does this by factoring in constraints such as volume and time, which get analysed to come up with optimal routing solutions.

Thanks to its multipurpose technology, Locus has gained many clients over time, including those from the retail, 3PL, e-commerce, Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) and home services sectors. Blue Dart, Urban Ladder, Licious, Rollick,

Lenskart, and Big Basket are just a few of the mix of medium to large enterprises which count on it as their supply chain technology partner. Locus has been funded by Pi Ventures, Exfinity Venture Partners, among others. In 2017, it won the ‘Aegis Graham Bell Award for Data Science and was an ‘India Emerging Twenty’ Finalist. It received the ‘NASSCOM AI Game Changer Award’ in 2018, for developing an innovative AI application, and has also been featured among the 42 most innovative startups in India by Inc42. Rastogi says, “We aim to automate and optimize businesses’ logistics operations with scalable and reliable technology solutions, to help boost business efficiency and align ourselves with our customers’ goals. Our main principle is that our clients’ success drives our own”. With a ‘glocal’ focus on diverse geographies, the firm is set to expand to South East Asia including Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, and to the West, in North America. Following this, the company plans to move towards partnering with medium to large enterprises in South America and Europe.

www.locus.sh

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WASTE AS A RESOURCE “Individuals have to take responsibility for their waste. When you say ‘my waste’, that’s the starting point.” Wilma Rodrigues, Founder & CEO, Saahas Zero Waste

Leveraging nature, people and technology to holistically manage waste, Saahas Zero Waste uses waste as a resource and provides a solution to a primary problem of the rapidly growing megalopolis of Bengaluru, which currently generates almost 5000 tons of waste a day. Founded in Bengaluru in 2001 as a not-for-profit, Saahas initially focussed on advocacy and awareness campaigns to promote recycling, segregation and proper waste management, but quickly realised the need to scale up and develop a business model. “We needed to work with all the bulk waste generators to help them in the second line of processing, to understand what to do with the segregated waste”,” Wilma Rodrigues, the Founder and CEO, tells Subhalakshmi Roy. Saahas Zero Waste was incorporated in 2013 and offers comprehensive waste management solutions such as waste audits and consultancy, awareness training, and onsite and offsite waste management. Headquartered in Bengaluru, the company has grown and operates in Gurugram, Surat, Chennai, Hubballi and Ballari, and handles 35 tons of waste daily. “Forty percent of Bangalore’s waste comes from the large tech parks, large apartment complexes and the other bulk generators, and there are specific regulations which require them to manage their own waste. As bulk generators, they have greater responsibilities. We help them to convert their waste into something productive. Our approach has always been decentralised to the point that every tech park, every apartment complex becomes self sufficient in its waste management systems,” says Rodrigues. Saahas operates through these programmes: • Zero Waste Programme: Creating on-site solutions for bulk waste generators such as tech parks and residential complexes to ensure proper waste segregation at source. It audits the waste generated in a particular area and recommends infrastructural and operational solutions, designs the waste flow process, manages unique waste streams including expired foods, construction and demolition, hazardous waste, and operates decentralised, onsite, end-to-end model waste management units. • Kasa Rasa Model: Offsite waste management where waste is collected at the nearest hub and segregated and treated accordingly. This model aims for a solution for smaller generators such as independent homes, smaller apartments and offices. Saahas operates three Kasa Rasas or waste collection centres across the city. • Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Programme: Saahas partners with packaging companies such as Tetra Pak and PET to develop and implement a reverse logistics mechanism that facilitates in bringing back bulk volumes of waste into the recycling chain.

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 Some of the products made from recycled waste include poly AI roofing sheets and chipboards made out of Tetra Paks, t-shirts and backpacks made out of recycled PET bottles, stationery and gifting items.

The segregated dry waste is handed over to manufacturers who convert these into usable products. Some grades of lower plastic get downcycled and turned into fuel for cement kilns. Other dry waste is used to create stationery, roofing sheets, chip boards, and even t-shirts and backpacks. “Our uniqueness is that we close the loop between waste and a resource. We create value for waste by bringing it back into the economy as functional, usable products,” Rodrigues says, pointing to a cupboard in her office made out of recycled Tetra Pak cartons. The products are available for sale in the Sahaas website. Saahas is making a substantial impact both on the environment and on society. Apart from reducing pollution generated from unhealthy waste management and garbage disposal practices by ensuring that minimal waste enters landfills, the company also provides employment to more than 250 people from across economic backgrounds. “The overall impact is that we help create a better society, a more inclusive community and at the same time, have a positive impact on the environment,”says Rodrigues. Saahas plans to spread their network, especially the Kasa Rasa collection centres and their awareness efforts across the country. They aim to reach a capacity to manage 100 tonnes of waste per day in the next three years.

 The Saahas Zero Waste team believes that when waste is managed at source, it becomes a resource.

www.saahaszerowaste.com

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SOLVING THE AIR POLLUTION “Urbanisation is directly correlated to pollution; carefully calibrated development through the use of hyperlocal environmental data analytics coupled with intelligent air quality solutions is the way ahead.” A Vaidyanathan, Co-Founder & CEO, PAQS Personal Air Quality Systems (PAQS), a Bengalurubased startup, provides intelligent air quality solutions to tackle the global concern of air pollution, the smart way. With nine out of ten people breathing polluted air every day, air pollution is considered by WHO as the greatest environmental risk to health in 2019. Urbanisation, manifold increase in vehicular traffic and industrialisation have led to rapid rise in pollution levels, and India loses about 2.5 million people annually to air pollution. The associated annual health cost is upwards of Rs. 1.5 lakh crore each year. A Vaidyanathan, Co-Founder & CEO, was spurred to work on its products after a friend’s asthmatic daughter didn’t survive a seizure on a cold winter night after forgetting to carry an inhaler. As data pertaining to air quality and pollution was non-existent, Vaidyanathan, a technocrat, decided to work on a “tech-based endto-end solution which can capture data and send it to the cloud, map pollution exposure and user’s medication, and do the analytics before issuing an advisory.” PAQS offers an array of bio-medical solutions and diagnostic devices that capture real time environment data to provide analytics and advisory around the inhaled air. It has solutions in three verticals: outdoor, indoor, and personal, which are an amalgamation of hardware, software, and analytical capabilities. These solutions have been deployed across the country to benefit various smart city projects. The solutions for the personalized category include Smart inhalers, Personal environment monitors (wearable devices), smartphone applications, and remote patient monitoring that analyse the inhaled air quality, predict the environment and issue alerts with advisories on the users’ smartphones. Community level real time and dynamic pollution mapping solutions offered by PAQS use secured data gathered through its products to generate data about the pollution level of any locality. The

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data analytics and predictive advisories can be leveraged to design energy efficient buildings and effective traffic signal corridors, thereby creating public awareness about the level of pollution. Yet again, there was a dearth of data, this time of the outdoor environment, and the team created an architecture that’s capable of crowdsourcing data to enable rich information on hyper-local air quality. “Through curation of data, we can simultaneously create solutions for smart buildings and smart cities,” Vaidyanathan elaborates. PAQS’ secured collaborative platform provides application program interfaces to receive and send data from all air monitoring devices to produce alerts, advocacies and health reports. This enables a development environment for business users and developers to create applications and IoT solutions on the company’s cloud based data centre. Armed with a distinct competitive edge, PAQS offers the best air quality mapping solutions. The challenge is to generate accurate data out of a lowcost product. Data generated by a sensor in lab conditions is always accurate and reliable. But in the field, the influence of uncontrollable external factors can result in erratic output. To override this, PAQS has created ‘context aware calibration model’ (patent pending) in which the solution architecture takes field data and other incidental information to cross-verify, co-relate, compute, and model output. It is this innovative use of backend engine to leverage multiple technologies like IoT, location intelligence, ML and sensors to generate high accuracy data that makes PAQS unique in the world. The company’s solutions have already been deployed in more than 11 Indian cities. Last year, it commenced export of its products to Singapore and San Jose. Its list of awards includes Top Tech 25 Startups, Urban Challenge Award, IoT Startup Award, and Enterprising Startup Award among others. Clients of PAQS include industry leaders like CISCO, Honeywell, Elcita, Sterlite, and PWC. Vaidyanathan wants more funding for highend technological products like PAQS to take the company global. He says, “To create products, intellectual property, and technological leadership, we require risk capital, and encouragement, in the form of recognition, grants, and awards”.

www.paqs.biz

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IOT POWERS MICRO MOBILITY Yulu has used IoT to create a network of shared dockless bicycles and e-scooters that solve the first and last mile connectivity in Indian cities. It aims to transform urban mobility in India by providing a scalable, affordable and clean-energy solution.

Amit Gupta, CEO, Yulu Bikes, is a mechanical engineer and serial entrepreneur. After working with hot startups, he started Analyticsworks, a company that offered a platform for business intelligence focused on media, retail and commerce. Later, fascinated by the exponential growth of mobile phones, he co-founded the mobile marketing and advertising platform provider InMobi, reckoned to be India’s first profitable internet unicorn. Yulu is his newest startup, because he “wanted to solve a social problem that can make a positive impact. Yulu is an attempt to solve traffic congestion and air pollution in big cities of India.” Asked about his journey to serial entrepreneurship, he tells Sandhya Mendonca, “I grew up in a family where practically everyone was involved in business. From childhood, I saw the value that entrepreneurship could bring to solving problems and in creating self-reliance. I also believed that technology plays a big role in bringing higher efficiency and hence bigger impact. Even when I began my career as a technologist, I had a clear aim of starting something on my own. And once you become an entrepreneur, you remain one for life; so becoming a serial entrepreneur was not surprising.”

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apartment complexes, shopping malls, bus stops, colleges and more. With over half a million app installs and a growing ecosystem of users powered largely by word of mouth, Yulu is looking to expand its user base.

Micro mobility is the future for rapidly growing Indian cities that are choking with traffic and pollution, and Bengaluru-based Yulu offers a green solution with its seamless and scalable platform of smart, shared, dockless cycles and electric vehicles. Yulu Bikes was founded in 2017 by serial entrepreneurs Amit Gupta, RK Mishra, Hemant Gupta and Naveen Dachuri. The launch objective was simple: to decongest urban traffic by providing a scalable, affordable, efficient and clean solution for the first mile, last mile and short distance commute. “India now is officially the most polluted country in the world. Our air

quality in 10x worse than the permissible safe limits, so solving this problem is a very critical need of the hour”, says Gupta. The service began with a regular pedal powered bike in 2017 and was augmented with a future-ready electric two-wheeler, the Yulu Miracle, in early 2019. Powered by the IoT, both types of bikes can be rented and returned using an app, and payments can be made through a secure digital wallet. Yulu bikes are currently operational in the cities of Bengaluru, Pune, Bhubaneswar and Mumbai; in high-density areas such as outside metro stations, suburban railway stations, large tech office campuses,

Says Gupta, “We have been able to make a real impact in home-to-work commute in four cities in India during the last 12 months and strongly believe that a short commute mode can be made more efficient, affordable and green for future generations.” Yulu’s mission has been moving people from riding along in personal cars or taxis to much smaller two-wheelers that do not require fossil fuels. This environmental concern apart, the company believes that sustainable mobility within Indian cities, where economic activity is concentrated, is critical to the country’s GDP. If a city’s mobility is not efficient, it will directly impact productivity and consequently, the country’s growth rate. Yulu has been identified as among the best startups in India by Inc42, Young Turks, Financial Express, AirCTO, Karnataka Govt’s Elevate, SmartCEO and Angel List. Yulu was also selected as one of the Top 11 technology startups in India to work for in 2019.

www.yulu.bike

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DOCKLESS MOBILITY

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 Varun Agni, Co-founder & CTO, Vivekananda Hallekere, Co-Founder & CEO, and Anil G, Co-Founder & COO

“Only 18 percent of 1.5 billion Indians have access to personal mobility. At Bounce, we focus on creating solutions for the other 80 percent in the form of affordable and accessible daily commute options.” Vivekananda Hallekere, Co-Founder & CEO Two-wheelers are the easiest way to zip in and around Bengaluru’s congested roads and it’s fitting that India’s first smart urban mobility solution, Bounce (previously Metro Bikes) was born in this city. Bounce was the first in the country to provide a dockless mobility solution with keyless scooters, aimed at making daily commutes stress-free, faster, reliable and convenient. Co-founded by Vivekananda Hallekere, Varun Agni and Anil G, Bounce is the pioneer of keyless technology in India

(Varun and director Nishchay AG own the patent), which has made waves on a global scale. It entered the urban mobility space in early 2016, with first and last mile solutions through bike rentals at the Metro Stations in Bengaluru, and in April 2018, it launched the dockless, keyless scooter service. Making optimum use of modern technology, the keyless bikes are equipped with an indigenously developed smart access system that gives temporary access for users to the company’s fleet of 8000+ vehicles. A customer base of over 2.5

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lakh users, points to the enthusiasm of day-to-day commuters. Bounce doesn’t buy the vehicles but aggregates them and offers a partner programme for people to rent their bikes to the company. Prior to this, the founders had started India’s first luxury bike rental service that made high-end models accessible at affordable prices. Wicked Ride was all about bringing “a hint of material luxury to ordinary lives”, and while the service still continues, the founders realised that the need of the hour lay elsewhere, in the urban mobility sector. “We


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believe that cities need an affordable mobility solution that would save time, reduce congestion and is commuter-friendly”, says Vivekananda.

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 Bounce has 4000 keyless bikes in Bengaluru which are used for 2,50,000 rides a day; the number is increasing each week.

With an investment of over US$30 million, the company saw one of the largest funding rounds for a local startup in 2018. It acquired OFO India’s assets to enter the domain of dockless cycle sharing in November 2018. Bounce has also received multiple grants from Toyota Mobility Foundation and the Karnataka Government to bring about an urban mobility transformation in the state. It is among four companies that have been granted a license to operate in Bengaluru’s public bicycle sharing system. Bounce has partnered with mass rapid transit systems across the country and operates in more than 11 cities, and plans to introduce electric scooters in the near future.

www.bounceshare.com

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H‘APP’Y CONNECT FOR MOMS “Our biggest inspiration has been our users. We receive over 10 emails everyday thanking us for being their buddy and sharing their newborn’s images. This provides us immense satisfaction and boost to our team to do more.” Sivareena Sarika & Shubhadeep Mondal, Founders, PregBuddy A new mom, an expectant one or a woman who’s trying to to conceive can get instant constant care, empathy and support, thanks to an AI-enabled, peer-to-peer platform. When a woman is set to bring a new life into the world, it is important for her to stay informed and healthy through the nine months of excitement and anxiety. The joint family system which acted as a support system to would-be parents has disappeared. “Today, about 75 percent families are nuclear and about 45 percent of couples are struggling to conceive, making the need for a support system more pronounced. That is where PregBuddy has stepped in”, Sivareena Sarika tells Subhalakshmi Roy. Moved by the episode of a cousin’s miscarriage and the trauma that followed, Sivareena decided to connect pregnant women over WhatsApp to help them stay informed, feel reassured, and track emotional and bodily changes. She, with cofounder Subhadeep Mondal, started out by meeting expecting mothers waiting at hospitals and linked them through a WhatsApp group. Soon, the conversations crossed a lakh a month. That is when the co-founders decided to quit their respective jobs and build an application, which is a peer-to-peer instant reassurance platform for pregnant women based on region, language, trimester of pregnancy and past medical conditions.

Photo: Arnab Deb

An AI-enabled care continuum platform, the PregBuddy application connects pregnant women, their doctors and caregivers to track every bit of the information on a weekly basis. Be it tackling food aversions, nausea, morning sickness or the change in the texture of hair and skin, free pregnancy tips and advice at every stage keeps expecting mothers aware and alert. The application recommends the right type of exercises and yoga, diet and nutrition for staying fit. It also offers consultations on topics right from body changes, baby movements, baby

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 From answering queries from pregnant women struck by midnight cravings to offering a pregnancy calculator, PregBuddy offers a comprehensive health monitoring and personalized care platform to millions of women via health experts and doctors right from the pre-conceiving stage up till the early years of motherhood.

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By connecting all stakeholders around the birth of a child, this startup has been addressing a huge gap in the personalized healthcare market while providing empathy to would-be mothers. It has already picked up several awards:

shower ideas, baby names and so on, ensuring a smooth journey towards parenthood. As the founders delved deeper into this space, a gap in constant care between the expecting patient and her gynaecologist struck them. This led to the development of a new product ‘Connected Care’. It is again, an AI-powered patient centric platform that maps every stakeholder at the hospital and ensures quality care for expecting mothers. It engages the patient via sharing of medical records and remote monitoring, enhances the process of care delivery through expert opinions and fast-track collaboration and develops predictive analytics such as patient happiness index and care provider performance index.

PregBuddy has been recognised as the Top #Tech30 startups at TechSparks 2018. It was selected among 14 startups globally in the BlackBox Connect 22 cohort, California. Seed-funded in early 2018, by Rajan Anandan (VP SEA & MD Google India), Indian Angel Network and HNIs, PregBuddy was also among 10 startups in the 1st cohort of Google’s Solve for India programme, 2018. Renowned actor Akshay Kumar and Franchise India awarded PregBuddy as the Startup SuperHero 2018 at IIT, Delhi. It is also among the winners of ET Power of Ideas 2018. PregBuddy was a part of the Indian delegation at Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2017 and was also among top three winners in Venture Engine 2017 at Asian Business Angel Forum, Sri Lanka.

A shining example is of an expecting mother who used PregBuddy for emotional support throughout a 12-hour labour until she delivered the baby. It is the moments such as this that makes it fulfilling for this team of five people. The founders aim to touch 10 million mothers by the year 2020.

www.pregbuddy.com

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INNOVATIONS OF BENGALURU SOCIAL IMPACT PARTNERS IN PROGRESS

ARTIST AND FORMER ELECTRICAL ENGINEER, GIRIJA MURALI FINDS A STRONG RESOLVE IN DEPICTING WOMEN IN POSITIONS OF POWER. HER WOMEN “MOCK OLD MINDSETS OF PATRIARCHY AND ASSUMED GENDER ROLES.” 193


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VC LESSONS FOR SOCIAL CHANGE “Great social entrepreneurship, like any venture, needs simple ideas, should be asset light, engineered for scale and should transition to public ownership.” Prashanth Prakash, VC and social entrepreneur applies key learnings to the social sector. Investors who are putting billions of dollars in Indian startups are also increasingly setting the agenda for social entrepreneurship. Applying lessons from the capital world to the social sector is Prashanth Prakash, who plays a key role in the startup ecosystem as a VC and a Social Evangelist. An early investor in tech startups in the country and currently a founding partner of the Indian arm of US venture capital firm Accel Partners, Prakash moved back to India in the mid-90s (a decision influenced by his educationist wife Amitha,and by his inventor dad PM Prakash). He has achieved many firsts - his first startup was Visual Reality, one of India’s first animation companies. This techie turned entrepreneur next co-founded Netkraft, among the first internet based companies in the country. Venturing into investing, Prakash cofounded Erasmic, one of the first tech-seed funds in the country in 2004, which then morphed to Accel India. (Its storied successes include Flipkart, Freshworks, BookMyShow among several others.)

 Prashanth Prakash with his family of social entrepreneurs: wife Amitha is the founder of Prayag and Airaa Montessori schools, daughter Anvitha is a co-founder of GoNative, a holistic lifestyle brand and son Pranav is a student.

Parallelly, Prakash began a personal journey of giving back to society. “I thought that I could apply my experience in investing and scaling in the social sector”, he tells Sandhya Mendonca. Disruption was happening in startups in all sectors and Prakash felt that “it was time to disrupt social building and social entrepreneurship.” Prakash works in three areas: education, environment and policy and works with an established organisation in each of these areas. Here, he applies a learning from the venture world, which is that success derives from passion and from working with the right team, “great teams help organisations scale.” With the government being the biggest provider of education, influencing a small change in government schools at the pre-teen level would have a great impact, he felt. Having seen that “being asset light made it easier for companies to scale”, it was also smart to leverage the infrastructure already in place. In 2002, he joined hands with

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the Sikshana Foundation, an NGO set up by E.S. Ramamurthy, a former general manager of a public sector company who wanted to use his management expertise to ensure quality education in government schools. As the current Chairperson of Sikshana, Prakash, along with the CEO Prasanna VR, steers the ‘Prerana 2.0’ programme that motivates children to study via individual recognition, peer learning and capsule learning. Starting with 10 schools, Sikshana is now the only NGO that’s present in all 40,000 government primary and high schools in Karnataka, and is also present in other states. “We have built a sustainable and replicable model for the public education system”, says Prakash. “We used corporate support to incubate the idea and get Product/Market Fit, and for scale, we had to collaborate with the government.” With a passion to save the environment, Prakash heads the local chapter of United Way, one of the world’s oldest NGOs. Here, he’s worked with the founder board member Sabu Thomas on a unique social model that brings together corporates, government bodies and local communities. Its ‘Wake The Lake’ campaign has rejuvenated and preserved 22 lakes in Bengaluru. The MoU that enabled this success was the first of its kind in the city. Prakash counts as another success the ‘Born Learning’ programme on which he works

with United Way’s CEO Manish Michael. This programme has introduced Montessori inputs to anganwadis, the government day care centres for children. “While the privileged send their kids to pre-schools, the under-privileged children at anganwadis were deprived of education inputs, and it’s proven that the ages of 2-6 are key for development of learning faculties”, says Prakash. Born Learning covers 100 anganwadis in the city and is reaching out beyond Bengaluru. With the objective of contributing to policy related to technology and science, Prakash is on the board of the independent think tank Takshashila

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Institution. Here again, he applies venture learnings to help build the right narrative for policy making that would encourage businesses in emerging areas.


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STEERING SOCIAL IMPACT “Good cars, quality cars are a result of ‘good people, quality people’ who think in a sustainable manner. Enriching the lives of our communities – including our employees, our supply chain, our customers, and our factory areas – is at the centre of our approach towards creating holistic value and guaranteeing sustainability.” Vikram Kirloskar, Vice Chairman, Toyota Kirloskar Motor

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Two young girls began a hunger strike in Bidadi, a town that has grown into an industrial cluster in Ramanagara district, on the outskirts of Bengaluru. Nothing that their families said nor the delicacies they offered, swayed them. The girls stayed adamant until their parents built toilets for their families’ use. Having experienced the benefits of having clean toilets in their school, the girls were determined on ensuring their homes had similar sanitation. Auto industry honcho Vikram Kirloskar beams with pride when he narrates this true life story. The girls are students of one of the 44 government schools where Toyota Kirloskar Motor has built 71 toilet units and their action was spurred by learning ABCD - no, not the alphabet but ‘A Behavioral Change Demonstration’ promoted by the company. Toyota Kirloskar Motor, established in 1997, is a joint venture of Toyota Motor Corporation, Japan and Kirloskar Systems Ltd, India. Vikram Kirloskar is the Vice Chairman of Toyota Kirloskar Motor which has two manufacturing plants in Bidadi. “Our commitment to CSR has emerged from a persistent desire to grow as responsible citizens, and our drive towards building a sustainable company for the future. This mindset drives us to

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find innovative solutions for the next big challenge, whether that is introducing the electric car in India or ensuring our communities have accessible sanitation units”, he says. The ‘Swachh Bharat Swachh Vidyalaya’ (Clean India Clean School) campaign is one of the many corporate social responsibility initiatives of the company. It is in line with Toyota’s global vision that goes beyond creating better cars to enrich the lives of communities by solving local issues. In India, Toyota’s CSR has touched 1 million lives through its activities in road safety, environment, education, health and hygiene, and skill development. Toyota brings the same rigour used in its manufacturing and business units to its CSR practice, and its plan-do-check-act model brings transparency and accountability, and ensures continuous improvement of the projects. QUALITY EDUCATION Rural government schools are often of poor quality, some dating back to pre-Independence era, with dilapidated structures, few toilets, and no libraries. This reflects in high drop out rates in the Ramanagara district. Toyota uses an integrated approach, working with multiple stakeholders to

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improve outcomes in education for students. Last year alone, it distributed books, bags and stationery to 12,500 children in 172 schools and learning kits to 5600 children in 200 anganwadis (rural childcare centres). BUILDING HEALTHIER COMMUNITIES Significantly, the company has initiated sanitation, water and toilets projects with the active participation from communities. People from the community are involved right from the planning stage and throughout the implementation to ensure that the projects are self-sustainable. This happens only if the communities can take ownership of the assets created and are responsible for the benefits of the programmes. Sanitation and hygiene are key development priorities in India; only 57.8% of households in Karnataka use an improved sanitation facility with just 13.6% of people having latrines appropriate to the geographical area. Apart from building toilets  Students enjoy coming to school as Toyota’s efforts have transformed government schools in into true centres of learning – with modern buildings, learning kits, classrooms, toilets for boys and girls, and a play area.


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in schools in Ramanagara district, the company has also built public sanitation units in different parts of Karnataka: Haliyal, Dandeli and Joida in Uttara Kannada district. It designed the unique ABCD programme to create awareness about good sanitation practices among children, teachers, and the community. Initiated in schools where it had previously built toilets for girls, it was aimed at motivating individual households to build toilets. Children were inspired to spread the message in the community, and this led to 7000 households building toilets and 90 villages being declared open defecation free. Toyota takes healthcare to the people through a mobile medical unit that benefits 1800 people and has donated medical equipment to health centres in Byramangala and Bidadi. It has also set up six safe drinking water purification units that benefit close to 150,000 people. ROAD SAFETY An alarming 17 deaths occur every hour on Indian roads, and causes a loss of 3% of GDP annually, translating to around $58 billion in losses. Road safety is one of Toyota’s global focus areas along

with its focus on building quality cars, and the company focuses on reducing accidents and fatalities through several programmes educating people about road safety and disciplined driving.

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Toyota Safety Education Programme for students from Classes 5 to 9 includes classroom training, behavior change and formation of road safety clubs. It organised a national level competition at


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IIT, Delhi where the best road safety clubs from Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru exhibited their efforts to various stakeholders such as UN, WHO, policy makers, AIIMS and the police. It has also built 7 safety parks to train students and drivers of school buses in road safety protocols. SKILL DEVELOPMENT By 2022, it is estimated that the automotive sector would need 15 million skilled workers, and assessing the need among students and youth for skilling, career guidance, counselling and awareness about job opportunities, the company set up the Toyota Technical Education Programme where it provides free training and education to meritorious, financially disadvantaged students from rural Karnataka to get them ready for the industry. Toyota also partners with Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) throughout India. The Toyota Technical Training Institute is a Centre of Excellence, the first institute of its kind outside of Japan, and is in the factory in Bidadi. It includes a training centre, a sports ground and a dormitory where 64 young people are trained each year and placed within Toyota’s automotive workforce.

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Going beyond technical skills, the institute equips students holistically and develops people rather than just skills. It is globally recognised, and has been certified both in India and in Japan as a leading training institute. It is considered a model institute by the Karnataka government, and Toyota’s efforts have received recognition from the Government of India. Many corporates consider it a model for high-quality training. NURTURING THE ENVIRONMENT Concerned about the dearth of awareness among students and the community on keeping their surroundings clean, Toyota has created GreenMe, a programme to develop eco consciousness among students, teachers and community, focusing

 Toyota continuously works towards driving excellence in each of its activities, incorporating kaizen into every part of its work. on themes such as water, waste, biodiversity, community intervention and climate change. This year, 35 schools were part of this project and saw the awareness level rise from 16% to 66%. Proper waste disposal systems were also established in these schools. Toyota has motivated and involved the community to adopt environmental stewardship by rejuvenating a lake in the vicinity of Bidadi. It also plans to set up a theme-based eco park that will focus on environment conservation.

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS • CSR Excellence Award for Project ABCD by Bureaucracy Today in 2017 • CSR Impact Award for Project ABCD by India CSR Summit in 2017 • Asia Responsible Entrepreneurship Award (AREA) 2017 for Health and Hygiene • Awarded CSR Practice of the Year at the CSR Excellence Awards 2017 • Recognised as one of India’s top 100 companies for sustainability and CSR by Responsible Business Ranking in 2017 • Recognised as one of the top CSR organisations in India by the Economic Times CSR Compendium 2017

www.toyotabharat.com

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A ‘GIVING’ PLATFORM “Today, anybody with a smartphone can receive financial aid within moments. The process of setting up a fundraiser has been reduced to mere moments, and with our team taking care of the verification process, it gives donors a transparent channel to create a meaningful impact they can see.”

Technology has changed everyday life in a myriad ways, and for the act of ‘giving’ for a cause, it has been remarkably disruptive by making the process seamless, transparent and efficient. Milaap, a forum for person-to-person giving, uses technology to provide a quick and clear channel to get financial help for a range of causes. Through this platform, people can mobilise funds from a wider social network, apart from their friends and family. Founded in 2010 as a platform to fund rural projects and micro entrepreneurs, by Sourabh Sharma and Anoj Viswanathan (presently president and co-founder), they were soon joined by Mayukh Choudhury (presently CEO and co-founder).

Anoj Viswanathan, President and Co-founder, Milaap

Together, they have made it synonymous with crowdfunding in India for medical needs, loved ones and charity. Milaap is poised to be the go-to platform for funding cancer treatment, transplants and other critical emergencies. “For a very long time, the only way to reach out and help those in need was through established organizations, where people with shared needs could benefit as a group. Milaap pioneered a way to ‘give’ to individuals who could mobilize support for a personal cause,” says Viswanathan. Till date, the organisation has raised Rs 504.26 crore. Crowdfunding, though nascent, is

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picking up pace in India and can grow 16 times from its current base to exceed Rs 1,600 crore (US$250 million) by 2021, as per a Knowledge @ Wharton report. Among those that Milaap has helped channel funds to is Akbar Ali who needed multiple surgeries after a horrifying accident. With the help of over 2400 generous donors who came forward to help, Ali’s family managed to raise funds for his treatment. Similarly, 6-year-old Bhavya was able to get a bone marrow transplant from his father Vikram, a visually impaired government school teacher. This was possible through a fundraiser on Milaap to which nearly 4000 people from across the world contributed. In situations such as these, transparency brought in through technology helps. When people can keep a real-time track of how things are proceeding, the condition of the patient, the amount that has been raised, it motivates donors in a wholly different way. People from over 130 countries across the globe can make contributions, and the process of fund transfer and utilization is kept crystal clear so that people can see the difference their participation has made. Milaap’s most recent innovation is enabling fundraisers via instant messaging platforms. In 2016, 133.1 million mobile phone users accessed over-the-top messaging apps to communicate in India. This figure is projected to grow to 230.5 million users by 2020. “The idea is to move away from the traditional system of forms, to make it easier for a person who is to share a sensitive story of need. The conversational approach through chatbots on Facebook Messenger and the live chat on WhatsApp enables people to set up fundraisers over a chat. It’s like sharing your story with a friend, by the end of which you would get a link, ready to be shared with anyone through any channel,” adds Vishwanathan. Fundraisers can be set up in 8 Indian languages including Hindi, Bengali, Kannada, Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, Marathi and Urdu.

better the product every single day to meet the needs of a newer set of people to whom it becomes accessible. From enabling people to directly communicate with the person in need to ask for an update, or any clarification, to integrating every mode of payment that makes its way to a person’s smartphone. In the digital era, no innovation stays new or unique for too long. The trick is to see it as a continuous process to reach out to more people and give it to them in the most consumable form, and not just as a product,” concludes Viswanathan.

“We are constantly endeavouring to take digital crowdfunding to the masses, and through constant communication with our community of users, we try to

www.milaap.org

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ISRAEL PARTNERS IN INNOVATIVE PROGRESS “The bigger economic diplomacy is in creating the right ecosystem involving the best minds and the next generation of inventors, startups, heads of companies and VCs...We are able to bring together amazing innovative solutions which will make the lives of our children and grandchildren much much easier.” Dana Kursh, Consul General of Israel to South India

Israel prides itself in being an Innovative Nation, and has long term diplomatic presence in New Delhi and Mumbai. It chose Bengaluru, with its futuristic ethos, as its third destination to reinforce its economic connection with India. With the bilateral initiatives to help the startup ecosystems underway, “Bengaluru is the place to be. It has all the ingredients and it’s just very easy to be a matchmaker here”, says Consul General of Israel to South India, Dana Kursh, in an interview with Sandhya Mendonca. Both India and Israel are keen on finding next-gen solutions in agriculture, water, healthcare, cyber, and AI, among others. The big picture lies in the Triple I - India, Israel, Innovation that form a unique partnership between cutting-edge startup nations that are leading innovation solutions. The historic visits of the Prime Ministers of both countries in 2017, and 2018, led to creation of the $40 million I4F (India-Israel R&D and

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Technological Innovation Fund), and the IndiaIsrael Innovation Bridge. The consulate here focuses on enhancing bilateral trade opportunities by “connecting innovators who are creating a better future for the world”. The state of Karnataka, and its capital Bengaluru, are both important in implementing the strategic partnership, says Kursh. Bengaluru and Tel Aviv share the same triangular connections between business, academia and the government that drive innovation. “If we are able to connect these ecosystems, it is a win-win for both”, says Kursh. While culture and travel have their place, it’s primarily the B2B connections that set the pace. For example, Flipkart, the Bengaluru headquartered internet unicorn has recently invested in Israeli startup Upstream Commerce. As a ‘diplomatic matchmaker’, Kursh hopes to get more connections like these. Some of the


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measures that are helping find partners to help build an innovative ecosystem include: • Signing of an MoU between the Karnataka state ITBT Ministry and Israel, called KIRD (Karnataka Israel R&D Programme) - to help Israeli and Karnataka startups partner with each other • An MOU with Intel India to extend its Maker Lab facilities to Israeli startups which are expected to harness AI, 5G connectivity, and assisted-driving, to solve the issues in healthcare, agriculture, and road safety • An MoU with Nasscom and Accenture, to accelerate innovation by connecting Israeli and Indian startups • The Israel Centre at the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIMB) is training Israeli and Indian startups, and facilitates student exchanges and offers a crash course on how to do business together. Israel also offers incentives to startup partners in both countries. Examples of the results of these incentives include: • An answer to a challenge to solve a real world problem of water usage by an Israeli company called Soapy. It developed a hygiene micro-station powered by smart capsules that dispense accurate doses of soap and water. It worked with a non-profit, Swasti Health Catalyst, to instal the handwashing units in schools in Bengaluru district. • Bengaluru based Medical simulation startup Mimyk was one of the five start-ups that won the Start JLM Jerusalem competition and participated in an innovation ‘boost camp’ for early stage startups.

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 Israeli startup Soapy worked with non-profit, Swasti Health Catalyst, to instal smart handwashing units in schools in Bengaluru district.

 Dr. Shai Moses, Economic Consult, Israeli Consulate, Dana Kursh, Consul General of Israel to South India, Nivruti Rai, Country Head, Intel India & Jitendra Chaddah, Sr Director, Operations and Strategy, Intel India, sign the MoU between Israeli Consulate and Intel India. AGRITECH With food security being a focus area, Israel also shares best practices with local farmers in AgriTech in nearly 30 centres of excellence across India, three of them here in Karnataka. This technology has already begun to improve the yield of mangoes in Kolar, pomegranates in Bagalkot and vegetables in Dharwad. The Karnataka government’s agriculture and horticulture departments are implementing the Israeli drip irrigation model on 40,000 hectares in different parts of the state, and the Honorable Chief Minister, H D Kumaraswamy, in his budget speech in July 2018, has allocated Rs. 300 crore for adopting Israeli technology in agriculture in Karnataka. Kursh paints an engaging picture of Israeli and Indian companies working together “in open spaces, in small apartments, in campuses ... partnering to find the best solutions in agriculture, water, cybersecurity, AI...working together on the next big innovation, to create a wonderful future for both our nations.”

www.embassies.gov.il/bangalore

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LEVERAGING STARTUP SYNERGIES “We want to deepen our network, sharpen the profile, adopt a more long-term view of our activities and maximise the outcomes for our partner organisations, by focusing on some key areas.” Sebastien Hug, Consul General & CEO, swissnex India

Bestmile driverless technology solution

Synple Chem, a Swiss startup in the med-tech industry has developed an automated synthesiser which facilitates faster drug discoveries and speeds up delivery of medicines to patients. Its challenge was procurement of cost-efficient specialty chemicals without compromising on quality, owing to the competitive drug market. It has connected with some of India’s leading players to source the raw materials resulting in a significant cost reduction. In a similar story, Bestmile, a Swiss startup offering driverless technology solutions, showcased its innovative technology in India in the Lift India Conference a few years ago. Shortly after, during the Urban Mobility India Conference, it collaborated with an Indian partner, Hitech Robotics, to combine their respective technical know-how in developing autonomous systems. Swissnex aided both the above-mentioned startups by coaching and connecting with their relevant

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Synple Chem - an automated synthesiser


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Zurich spinoff that builds cloud robotics solutions, in exploring opportunities in Bengaluru is a testimony as to why the city was the destination of choice. Similarly, Swiss deep-tech in the areas of fintech, drones and robotics are sought after by Indian companies who are looking for innovative solutions. A startup with ambitions to test foreign waters requires a lot more than a potential market. Swissnex, as an ecosystem builder, provides the foundation required for Swiss startups to enter and sustain in the Indian markets. The AcademyIndustry Training Program trains researchers interested in starting up entrepreneurial ventures and the annual ScienceComm Conference aims to further boost Indo-Swiss ties through an exchange of ideas and knowledge among researchers and communicators in the field of science communication. Based on an analysis of past activities and future opportunities, the organization has identified renewable energy, deep-tech, life sciences and health-tech as well as science4society as areas where the potential for sustained Indo-Swiss collaboration is the highest.

partners in India. For nearly a decade now, swissnex, an initiative of the Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation, has been enabling Swiss startups in entering the Indian market right from the heart of India’s startup capital, Bengaluru. “Like Bengaluru, Switzerland has a very dense and dynamic innovation ecosystem, with worldclass universities, a high number of startups that are looking to go global and several multinational

corporates,” Sebastien Hug, Consul General & CEO, swissnex India tells Aditya Mendonca. With offices already located in leading innovation hubs world-over, the organisation came to Bengaluru in 2010 attracted by the city’s innovation ecosystem, represented by a rich mix of passionate entrepreneurs, dynamic research institutions, established innovative companies and an enthusiastic multicultural crowd. The deep interest of Rapyuta Robotics-an ETH

It has also partnered with various local venture capitalists to strengthen the Indo-Swiss innovation ecosystem. In the field of academia, it facilitates collaborations between Indian and Swiss universities by offering research workshops, networking opportunities, and mobility programs, amongst others. When institutions from diverse countries function together, the respective work cultures need to be managed, and thus swissnex guides start-ups, universities, and innovative companies. As Hug says, institutions such as swissnex India “are trying to show Swiss startups, universities and innovative companies the opportunities of the Indian market by creating networking platforms and thematic deep dive tours.”

www.swissnexindia.org

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CANADA WELCOMES INDIAN STARTUPS “Our message to Indian startups is: come to Canada to scale-up your global tech startup.” Nicole Girard, Consul General for Canada in Bengaluru

India’s first ethical sourcing platform has been devised by a Canadian company, Plastics for Change. It uses mobile technology to reduce plastic pollution and create resilient livelihoods, and enables global brands and manufacturers to source high quality plastic from responsible supply chains. The company is developing partnerships with plastic aggregation centers across India who would benefit from price stabilization, working capital finance, standard operating procedures. Locally, it has partnered with Hasiru Dala, a Bengaluru-based waste management services company. This, says Nicole Girard, Consul General for Canada in Bengaluru, is just one example of several partnerships between Canadian and local Indian partners in areas such as: • development of SMART solutions for the transportation and transit industry • development of AI-driven traffic video analytics software for automated road safety analysis • commercialization of inexpensive battery-free energy harvesting sensors with AI capabilities

• implementation of customer identity management platforms to integrate social media into client web sites These initiatives are the result of the Canadian International Innovation Program that helps Canadian startups with their tech adaptation/ validation/ co-development in the Indian market. Going Global Innovation is another Canadian funding program that supports R&D collaboration with India. It enables Canadian startups and universities to pursue joint R&D opportunities abroad to support commercialization of Canadian technology. Both programs enable Indian startups to access new technologies and innovation partners to scale up their own businesses. Canada wants Indians to come there to study and work; at the end of 2018, India was Canada’s largest source of international students (around 170,000 in 2018) and also its fastest-growing tourism market (up 15% in 2018). In the state of Karnataka itself, there are over 70 known MoUs across 8 cities with 40 Canadian education institutions. Notable examples in Bengaluru

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include the University of British Columbia with Tech Mahindra (data analytics) and University of Alberta with Infosys (global academic partnerships). Points out Girard, “Canada has emerged as an innovation powerhouse, anchored by world class universities and growing clusters in emerging technologies such as AI, Cybersecurity, Fintech, and Cleantech. Over 500 AI companies, largely startups, are based in Canada to access local talent and global markets. Toronto now has the world’s highest concentration of AI startups, Montreal has the world’s highest concentration of Deep Learning students and researchers. Other cities, such as Vancouver, Edmonton, and Ottawa, are also developing world-class AI clusters of their own.” The Government of Canada plans to expand the Canadian Technology Accelerator program overseas, and it would include a new location in India by 2020, which would support more Canadian and Indian startups engaging in each other’s innovation ecosystems.


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Bengaluru is certainly a key centre for Canada’s bilateral initiatives, and now has the 6th Indian hub established under the successful Canada-India Accelerator Program (CIAP), at an innovation centre to support Canadian tech startups started by the Carleton University (of Ottawa, Canada) and the Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT-B). In 2018, five Bengaluru based startups travelled to Canada as winners of the Zone Startups ‘Next Big Idea’ contest. Their bespoke program comprised softlanding, meeting with sector experts, investor connects, business development opportunities, mentoring & networking. “We hope to see even greater success from Bengaluru startups in 2019”, says Girard. The Consulate is working with a local Indian VC firm to fund Canadian startups to support efforts to address social and environmental challenges in India. Sums up Girard, “Our message to Indian startups has been unwavering: Canada is the ideal location to scale-up a global tech startup for these four compelling reasons: i. Access to global markets – Canada has

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free trade agreements with countries representing over half the world’s GDP. Increasingly, Indian companies are choosing Canada as their preferred location to serve the North American market. ii. Access to talent – Canada has the most educated and ethnically diverse workforce in the world; over 55% of the population having a post-secondary education. Our network of high quality universities and research institutes position Canada to be a leader in the development of exponential technologies, such as AI, Robotics, and Quantum Computing. iii. Access to innovation ecosystems – competitive business fundamentals have attracted a growing number of global tech giants to Canada. In 2018 alone, over 20 AI foreign expansions into Canada were announced, including key investments by GM, Microsoft, Samsung, LG, Intel, Uber, and Facebook. iv. Access to quality of life – Canada is currently viewed as a hotbed for talent and innovation thanks to its open immigration policy and

acceptance of diversity. One in five Canadians is foreign-born and 1.3M Canadians (~ 3% of the population) trace their roots back to India. Simultaneously, the Consulate-General in Bengaluru is working hard to encourage more Canadian companies to look beyond traditional business centres in Mumbai and Delhi to increase their engagement in South India. There are currently 60+ Canadian firms active in Karnataka and Girard wants this number to go up.

www.international.gc.ca/world-monde/india-inde/bengaluru

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ADVANCING QUEENSLAND IN BENGALURU “Bengaluru is now one of the major ecosystems for startups and innovators globally. In our perspective as a government, we want to work with some of the brightest minds of the world, hence Bengaluru.” Kate Jones, Queensland Minister

Platform technologies such as robotics, AI and drones are inspiring new industries in Queensland, which has been voted the ‘Most Innovative state in Australia’ (2017). Not surprisingly, Bengaluru which has one of the world’s most thriving innovation ecosystems, has found a pole position in Queensland’s plans. “Everyone I have met with, right from the Karnataka’s minister for innovations to various research institutions here, is talking about future collaborations by connecting some of the best minds globally”, says Kate Jones, Minister for Innovation and Tourism Industry Development, Minister for the Commonwealth Games, and Ministerial Champion for Education and Training Queensland Government, in an interview with Sandhya Mendonca. Jones, the youngest minister in the Queensland Government, plans to bring innovators from Queensland to Bengaluru and take innovators from India to study, work, and live in Queensland. “As per our A$650 million ‘Advance

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which is working on satellite technology and is hopeful of contributing to find the right balance between the larger population of Queensland living in rural and remote communities and the ones living in the major cities.

Queensland’ initiative, my job is to go out there and find who are the people we are going to work with. Bengaluru being such a dynamic city, there are so many bright, young, and hungry people, our focus will be on how we create opportunities through startups, incubators, and research institutions to have collaborations and exchanges,” she says. Some of the startups incubated in Bengaluru’s innovation centres like the Bangalore Bioinnovation Centre and SID (Society for Innovation & Development), are working on ideas that could lead to prove to be collaborative for the Australian state in sustainable agricultural and farming practices. One such startup is Astrome

The international education and training sector is one of the state’s most valuable industries, and Queensland’s A$ 4 billion education sector, like the rest of Australia, wants more Indian students. India is already the state’s second-largest source market for students, and Jones launched the Study Queensland Global Achievers Program, when she led a trade mission to India. The initiative is aimed at showcasing stories and experiences of highperforming graduates who are currently students at the University of Queensland and the Griffith University. The India-Queensland Innovators’ Experience is an effort to link the talent in India with the wealth of unique research, educational, and business opportunities found in Queensland, launched by the Trade & Investment Queensland (TIQ). TIQ has also launched the first official Queensland-India Trade and Investment Strategy, 2018-2023, to outline the importance of innovation in strengthening the ties of Queensland with India in the near future. India is the fourth-largest trade partner for Queensland and while Queensland represents 60 percent of the trade between the two countries, the size of India’s

economy, robust macroeconomic fundamentals, ample resources and strong domestic demand, works to the advantage of the Australian state. Says Gitesh Agarwal, Queensland Trade and Investment Commissioner – India, “Innovation is transforming Queensland’s industrial mix and emerging capabilities, and together with world class universities, are creating spillover benefits for industries across agriculture, mining, defence, health, biotech and manufacturing.” In Queensland’s quest to become a global leader in the knowledge economy, Agarwal believes it can collaborate with India across sectors of mutual strengths and needs, both “to co-create and amplify.”

www.tiq.qld.gov.au

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The “Innovate Bengaluru� Team would like to give a special thank you to all the participants and the following companies for their support and assistance in making this project a reality.

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Integrated Liver Care Foundation

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Sriram Kumar V 211

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Chetan Anand


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PARTICIPANTS INDEX 5th Vital ............................................................................................................................................... 72

Milaap ................................................................................................................................................ 200

Aethon Energy.................................................................................................................................. 88

Mimyk................................................................................................................................................... 78

Aindra ................................................................................................................................................. 66

Mohandas Pai (Aarin Capital)..................................................................................................... 14

Anand Sweets..................................................................................................................................114

Mymo Wireless................................................................................................................................. 93

Assistive Technology Accelerator ........................................................................................... 32

Nammur............................................................................................................................................. 156

Atrimed ............................................................................................................................................... 67

Next Big Innovation Lab ............................................................................................................. 59

Bala Girisaballa.................................................................................................................................. 35

Niramai................................................................................................................................................. 65

Bangalore Bioinnovation Centre.............................................................................................. 28

NU Hospitals....................................................................................................................................... 86

Bellatrix Aerospace.........................................................................................................................44

OCD .....................................................................................................................................................124

Bendflex .............................................................................................................................................. 92

Pandorum ........................................................................................................................................... 61

Black Pepper Technologies .........................................................................................................90

PAQS....................................................................................................................................................184

Bounce.................................................................................................................................................188

PathShodh...........................................................................................................................................74

Brigade REAP...................................................................................................................................136

Phoenix Group................................................................................................................................132

Bugworks ............................................................................................................................................ 56

Pi Ventures ........................................................................................................................................ 38

C-Camp.................................................................................................................................................. 26

Pikkol...................................................................................................................................................178

Citizen Matters................................................................................................................................162

PR Hub................................................................................................................................................163

ClearNasal .......................................................................................................................................... 73

Prashanth Prakash........................................................................................................................194

CloudSEK........................................................................................................................................... 100

Predible Health................................................................................................................................. 76

Coeo Labs ............................................................................................................................................ 68

Pregbuddy ........................................................................................................................................190

Consulate General of Canada in Bengaluru...................................................................... 206

Prestige Group ................................................................................................................................128

Consulate General of Israel in Bengaluru.......................................................................... 202

Radel.......................................................................................................................................................46

Cropin ...................................................................................................................................................50

Razorpay..............................................................................................................................................94

Dept of IT, BT & ST........................................................................................................................... 18

Revathy Ashok (Strategy Garage).............................................................................................34

Discover Dollar................................................................................................................................. 96

Saahas Zero Waste........................................................................................................................182

Dressire............................................................................................................................................... 152

Safina Group ....................................................................................................................................138

ELCITA................................................................................................................................................176

Sami Labs............................................................................................................................................. 54

Embassy Group................................................................................................................................126

Sea6 Energy........................................................................................................................................48

Exfinity Venture Partners .......................................................................................................... 36

SID...........................................................................................................................................................24

EyeStem................................................................................................................................................70

Smart City Bengaluru..................................................................................................................172

Finly.io................................................................................................................................................... 98

Smart City Tumakuru .................................................................................................................174

Flutura ................................................................................................................................................170

Smoor................................................................................................................................................... 112

Garden City University...............................................................................................................106

Sublime ..............................................................................................................................................148

Geetha Panda.....................................................................................................................................40

Sumeru Foods (Innovative Foods Ltd).................................................................................. 117

GoCoop................................................................................................................................................154

Sunil Padmanabh............................................................................................................................. 41

GridRaster.......................................................................................................................................... 158

swissnex India................................................................................................................................ 204

Happiest Minds...............................................................................................................................166

Target Accelerator .......................................................................................................................... 22

HCG Oncology................................................................................................................................... 82

Technicolor.......................................................................................................................................160

Hedron Diamonds.........................................................................................................................150

Terra Blue ........................................................................................................................................... 62

Housingman.....................................................................................................................................142

Titan.....................................................................................................................................................146

iD Fresh Food................................................................................................................................... 116

Total Environment........................................................................................................................130

IIIT-B.......................................................................................................................................................30

Toyota Kirloskar Motor...............................................................................................................196

Indoor Biotech ................................................................................................................................. 58

Trade & Investment Queensland - India............................................................................. 208

Integrated Liver Care.....................................................................................................................84

TTK Foods..........................................................................................................................................110

IQLECT ...............................................................................................................................................168

Vijay Chandru....................................................................................................................................15

Janacare................................................................................................................................................60

Vikram Kirloskar............................................................................................................................. 10

Kembhavi Architecture Foundation.....................................................................................122

VNIR ..................................................................................................................................................... 63

Kris Gopalakrishnan (Axilor Ventures)................................................................................. 12

WeWork........................................................................................................................................... 140

Licious.................................................................................................................................................. 118

Yostra.....................................................................................................................................................64

Locus ...................................................................................................................................................180

Yulu ....................................................................................................................................................186

Meghshala.........................................................................................................................................108

Zinnox.................................................................................................................................................102

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“Bengaluru already had an innovative culture, and we had the right product, at the right time, in the right market. If I had launched the same idli batter back in my hometown, we wouldn’t have been successful. Bengaluru has played a key role in ID’s growth.”

“We couldn’t find the necessary talent anywhere else, so we chose Bengaluru.” Rishi Ranjan, GridRaster

Musthafa PC, ID Fresh Foods

“There are streets full of startups in Bengaluru and this is the new India that’ll propel us forward in the path of progress.” Nandan Nilekani

“I think a lot of interesting stuff is now starting to happen in Bengaluru. People are now much more willing to do what their heart tells them to do. I think the best innovation and design comes from the heart. I am starting to see a lot of that now here.”

“Absolutely brilliant minds live in Bengaluru. This city’s an important pin in the global innovation map.” Sandhya Mendonca

Kamal Sagar, Total Environment

“When we needed to expand the team quickly, it was difficult to do so in a TierII city (Jaipur). Bengaluru has the best tech ecosystem and most tech companies end up here, sooner or later. Since we were targeting startups, it made sense to stay close to our clients.” Harshil Mathur, Razorpay

“Bengaluru is special for us...as people are willing to do the right thing” Wilma Rodrigues, Saahas Zero Waste


Bengaluru where startups thrive

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Innovate Bengaluru  

Bengaluru (earlier known as Bangalore) is one of India’s most vibrant cities, throbbing with innovative ideas. The capital of the south Indi...

Innovate Bengaluru  

Bengaluru (earlier known as Bangalore) is one of India’s most vibrant cities, throbbing with innovative ideas. The capital of the south Indi...

Profile for svengvp

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