Most of the people I meet in the startup world are inspired by the story of Startup Village (SV), India’s largest tech startup incubator which sits down south in the quite city of Cochin in Kerala. My startup MindHelix is the first company to be incubated at SV and interestingly almost all the startups at SV are…
Startup Village – India’s silicon valley
Most of the people I meet in the startup world are inspired by the story of Startup Village (SV), India’s largest tech startup incubator which sits down south in the quite city of Cochin in Kerala. My startup MindHelix is the first company to be incubated at SV and interestingly almost all the startups at SV are building products aimed at the global market, not India not Asia. We try to emulate Instagram, Facebook and Uber, not an Infosys or a TCS, this I suppose is the direct result of having an ecosystem which is not linked to the mainland Indian startup scene, we are free and we are wild!
We started MindHelix in 2011 ( the pre-SV era) as an App shop building “Apps for India” and built popular Apps like TukTuk Meter which is an App that tells consumers the fare incurred after a Rickshaw ride in any Indian city. We then built Sentinel which was a personal security App (much before the Delhi incident).
Sentinel presented us with a unique opportunity of bringing in technology into enterprise “employee security” which was still largely untouched and we managed to run pilots in more than three large enterprise in India and the US. Nirvana happened in December 2012 when we got selected into the third batch of Alchemist Accelerator for enterprise product startups in the valley. We learnt the trade and the thought processes that drive the most aggressive startups we have always admired of. We realized that Sentinel for enterprise had very long sales cycles and that the core model of B-B-C meant that we needed a strong consumer value proposition before we could attempt to scale the business.
Come 2013, and we had started investing into smart-home and home security technologies and built some early prototypes of “out of the box” smart-home devices because we believed that the traditional players were doing it wrong with too complicated and hard to setup multi device, multi technology products. Right then startups like Canary and Piper came up and raised thousands of dollars on Kickstarter and Indiegogo.
Rico and consumer traction
We built Rico and put it up on Kickstarter with a target of $100,000 and ended up raising $119,000 in a month with over 750 backers supporting us including backers like Pranav Mistry. We also have over 16,000 subscriptions on our website pre order page.
Design and Vision – Key drivers
We have always believed in good design and have always benchmarked each nook and corner of our product, each button that goes into the UI of our App to that of the best ones out there. This obsession began as plain comparison, we would ask ourselves “what if Apple built this button? How would they build it? “. We have clear, quantifiable plans on how our product is going to interact with the consumer and where we want to take them to. Smart-home is a very exciting space to be in now since there is a lot of noise being made and things to be proven and times like these are the best for disruption to happen.
IoT and India
IoT and India have never been friends, so from day one our job was to build the necessary muscle power to be able to build and ship great quality products. One of our mentors built a huge hardware company in the US and had a multi-billion dollar exit, all of his hardware experience and manufacturing network are open to us and this is one reason why our product strategy counts very aggressive and rapid scaling. One of our incredible mentors is an ex-Apple design team member and will help us with our product designs. Another mentor headed multiple large internet businesses in India.
IoT and Investors
Neighbors but not great friends, so we have been talking to only a select few who we think would be open to help us build this company. Letsventure has massive inroads into this kind of a community of investors who in the startup world would be referred to as “he gets it” type. We are building the most aggressive “Apple for smart-home” out of India and I want your help doing this, that is “if you get it”!