Trio at 'emotix' to Host Emotionally Intelligent Offerings in Next Five Years
MIKO is ready to hit the market in 1Q2017. The launch will be made exclusively in India first and will be available for the global markets later
Today we bring to you, the story of 'emotix' is a consumer electronics company standing on tall verticals of Robotics, Internet of things and Artificial Intelligence. Emotix is the brand name owned by RN Chidakashi Technologies Pvt. Ltd.
BWDisrupt interacts with Sneh R. Vaswani, the Co-Founder and CEO of 'emotix' to know more about his entrepreneurial journey till now and plans to scale up in future.
Sneh is an alumnus of Indian Institute of Technology Bombay where he did his B.Tech and M.Tech from Metallurgical Engineering and Material Science Department. All through his student years, he has had the opportunity to lead multiple strong interdisciplinary teams that have represented and embossed the name of his Alma mater and India on several national and international robotic competitions with winning performances.
As the Co-Founder and CEO of emotix; India’s first companion robotics start-up, Sneh is currently leading a global team of engineers, artists and mathematicians focussed on consumer devices that emotionally and adaptively bond with the user’s personality and solve their grave problems. Before emotix, he was responsible for end to end realisation of a silicon based device for single stranded DNA manipulation and analysis at Siemens; a breakthrough concept in Next Generation DNA Sequencing.
How did you decide to venture into entrepreneurship? Any motivation or incident which changed his mind to become an entrepreneur?
After passing out of IIT-B and a stint in the corporate world, Sneh and his colleagues (the cofounders and Sneh) wanted to solve solid consumer problems with their experience in technology. What captured their attention were the emotional needs of the Indian consumer. Over time the trio identified and validated 30+ emotional needs in the everyday life of Indian consumers. An important one was a genuine unmet social need of today’s Indian parents and children. This prompted the team to start its own company, emotix.
A little background would be appropriate before the product is described. The team’s in-depth research revealed to them that today’s children interface with technology begins from a very young age, so much so that a large portion of their time is spent in front of screens. Their research indicated to them that while 82% of Indian children in the middle class urban homes are well-versed with smart phone use, 92% of parents polled were concerned about a possible smart phone addiction among their kids and its possible adverse impact on their kids’ future. Yet 80% refrained from snatching the phones away from their children.
The research highlighted the fact that today’s parents need a positive and trusted gateway of technology because they realize children have to learn to co-exist with technology to remain competitive. Miko is India’s first companion robot with the capability of engaging, educating, and entertaining a child the Indian way. It must be stated here that the team has been guided in the development of this product by extensive research throughout the country, particularly to identify the unmet needs of parents, of children, their unspelt expectations, which translated into all of its features that Miko has in it. This ultimately helps a child to play, learn, and grow.
Since Miko is conversational and can understand, adapt to and respond to a child’s needs, Miko can convey this knowledge to a child in the best way possible. Equipped with a moral centre and informed by ancient Indian cultural values, Miko guides a child to make better choices — not to litter, for example or not to tell lies. MIKO allows the parents to control the relationship they share with the child. Currently Miko can interact in English. But very soon it will be able to interact in many different languages.
Another interesting yet very important feature of Miko is that it learns more and more about the interacting child’s likes, dislikes and preferences as both interact with each other on various topics. It is just like a relationship between two friends where each learns about the other as days pass by. Another equally important feature of Miko is its versatility. Right from telling a child bedtime stories to helping with studies.
What was the team size when you started your venture? What is the total number of employees at present?
Initial size of the team was the three co-founders working from Sneh’s home. However, over the past two years it has grown into a global team of 20+ seasoned engineers, mathematicians, artists and neuropsychologists across India, Korea and Russia.
What was the idea behind establishing a company in this sector?
Once equipped with a deep understanding of artificial intelligence and robotics, and having gained experience in the top technology companies of the world, the team wanted to use its understanding of these fields to solve a real societal challenge. The findings of extensive market research pointed to the direction of the need to bring robotics into Indian homes, and most importantly to Indian families. This brought about the birth of Miko, India’s first companion robot.
How has been the journey so far?
It has been a roller coaster ride offering new learning each passing day. But it must be noted that the founders’ obsession to understand the consumer has got them here.
What are your future plans?
The co-founding Trio plans to place a host of emotionally intelligent offerings in every Indian household in the coming 5 years.
How do you feel when you see yourself as a person who turned into a job creator from a job seeker?
Sneh chuckles and says, it has been just a beginning and his vision is huge! The goal is to create an organization that continues to attract global talent to their country.
MIKO is ready to hit the market in 1Q2017. The launch will be made exclusively in India first and will be available for the global markets later. Having such a vision statement, MIKO is conveniently priced Rs. 19,000. It will be available across a host of online and offline channels including general and modern trade stores. The team has started the journey from inception to a stage when they have in hand a cute little product of their own - Miko.
Sneh refuses to spell out the potential size of the market at this stage. But he is confident that in the coming years, every urban Indian household will soon possess a robot of its own. All he says that sky is the limit to determine the total size of the market!
And with regards to funding, Sneh is quick to point out that it may not be prudent to divulge the investment numbers at this stage as theirs is a small start up and any further clarity would certainly help their competitors more than the readers! But he does repeat that this product concept has evoked extremely positive response from various strata of society in the US and also in India. He elaborates that their investors include well known angels, thought leaders in Corporates and University academicians who back highly differentiated projects that encompass the latest in technology and social thinking.
As regards emotix’s future plan, Sneh points out that their company aims at introducing brand extensions relevant to unmet needs of Indians.
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