Smartron is a young and fast paced Indian Startup that has been one of the early movers in the IoT and Smart Devices space. They entered the market with a hybrid tablet and quickly followed it up with a smartphone. They then surprised everyone by acquiring a company that makes smart bikes and added it to their portfolio. 2017 is going to be a defining year for this exciting Hyderabad based startup. We caught up with Mahesh Lingareddy – Founder and Chairman, Smartron to talk about their journey and plans.
How has the Smartron journey so far been?
We started out with a clear vision that we are not going to be a run-of-the-mill startup that is an also-ran. We wanted to be an early mover in the IoT space in India and we were very clear that we would not get tied up to a single device or product. With that in mind as our primary goal, we created tron.x – the platform that is the seamless background that binds all our devices and services together. We then got thinking about the various touch points that will enable users to interact with the platform, hence the evolution of the t.book and the t.phone. These are important products for us, but we look at them more as platform enablers.
You took us all by surprise when you acquired a company that makes smart bikes. What was that about?
Like I said, we are building a bouquet of products and services around the central concept of an IoT enabled smart platform and as a natural progression after a phone and a portable computing device, we thought a smart bike is something that will make a lot of sense as the next touch point. Imagine someone with a wearable health monitor on a bike. Now imagine the bike and the wearable talking to each other and actually managing and reporting daily effort vis-a-vis the number of calories burnt etc. That would be a very useful marriage of two products with a platform. So the smart bike.
Does this mean that there is a wearable device coming next?
Isn’t that the right next step? So yes, we are working on that. But this wearable device should and will be much more than just something that sits on your wrist and counts steps and your heart rate, it will offer much more. Think of it as a smart wearable thst knows you and understands you and hence is very tailored to suit you. Having said that, I am not ruling out the possibility of other products. We live in a world where people want to call out to their phone from wherever they are and the phone will come to them, this is very interesting for us. Our team is looking to solve these kind of creative challenges. 2017 is going to be our year and we are gearing up for that now.
How big is the team now and which are the places that you are doing business?
The team is 200 people strong as of today and we will expand as and when we need to. We are doing business all over the world. Our first two products are doing well all over India and in other places like the middle east too. We also have presence and early stage due diligence happening in many places around Europe and Asia. At this time I would like to say that we are growing at a very healthy pace without going into too many numbers
What is the status of your funding?
Last year we got a funding round of 100 crore rupees and we have been growing at a healthy pace. We are now looking for another round of 200 crore rupees. You see the funding needs are driven more by what our product and service vision need rather than some obscure number that we want to value ourselves at. We have a pipeline of products planned and hence our ops need the funds. We are not trying to sell out here, we are here for the long run and want to be here in the IoT scene as a strong player.
What are your future plans?
Like I said, we are the earliest mover in the IoT space in India. We are going to leverage that advantage and build a full set of products and services that will help us to give a scalable and rounded platform to people that will make life simpler and eaier for them. Smart devices and tron.x will enable personalized automation and solutions. We want to be on the top of the algorithm economy that is coming and we will be there. Our focus is on easy to use, tough to breach and smart solutions for an IoT enabled society. we may make products or acquire products to enable this. I have been personally meeting four startups a week with solutions that are currently at various levels of realization. It will be an exciting ride! Buckle up!
We are looking forward to see this young and energetic startup moving forward in the coming days. It looks like 2017 will be a defining year for them. We wish them well.
I am a Tech Blogger, Disability Activist, Keynote Speaker, Startup Mentor and Digital Branding Consultant. Also a McKinsey Executive Panel Member. Also known as @v_shakthi on twitter. Been around Tech for two decades now.