Sollfege – The Boostrapping IoT Startup
We speak to one of the founders of Sollfege, Vickey Koul about what it’s like to startup on a hi-tech idea like IoT for homes, why they are bootstrapping and who their client base is (hint: HNIs).
Sollfege is about converting homes into smart homes by providing one touch and easy control of gadgets used for enhanced comfort, security, convenience and entertainment using computing devices and information technology in a sustainable way along with the entertainment products for luxury.
How did the idea to enter smart homes solutions click?
Idea clicked when Manoj (the other cofounder) and I met very often during my days at Bose. We discussed a lot about home automation and AV entertainment market from his experience of running an experience centre in Kolkata and my experience of handling system integrators across the country.
Sollfege is bootstrapping at present. Why?
Bootstrapping is until we solved scalability issues and realized the real potential. We have been pumping all the profits back into the system to expand as we can feel the real potential in this industry. We are also in touch with certain capital establishments and we have got positive responses until now. We want to close the Series A as soon as possible.
Is it worth an investor’s time and money to invest in this? How big is this market?
The thoughts behind launching Sollfege was to enter the existing 2 billion dollar market for home automation and AV entertainment in India. The smart homes solutions market in India is growing at a rate of 30 percent YOY. At this rate, the market will double in revenue every 3 years. The market is therefore likely to explode over the next few years. Most of this market is operated by disorganised small players or regional players with no national service and sales presence.
Share your growth journey from day 1 till now
With an initial bootstrapped amount of close to USD 100,000, we have been able to reach a figure of 2 million USD bookings and 1.5 Million USD billing by FY16. FY 17 is the first quarter which saw an exciting 100% growth on FY 16 1st quarter. We seem to come in line with every quarter passing by in terms of increased revenue, more sales and support staff and wider presence. We have been able to clock one order worth USD 400,000. However our average ticket size is around USD 10,000.
That’s a steep price. Who is your targeted audience?
Our target audience are customers with a budget of 1 million USD and above for building or buying a home. The predisposition to go in for smart homes increases with increase in the budget for the property.
Mention some of the striking features of Sollfege
We offer an:
Organised set up
Multi location service and sales staff with experience centres
In house programmers and engineers
Solution for every pocket size
Partnerships with world leading brands
In-house consultancy for customers
And how big is the team?
Currently the entire Sollfege team is 50+ with services and experience centres in around 10 locations, mostly in non-metro cities.
There are plenty of home automation services. How you are different from them?
We are much more organised and our goal is to be more and more service oriented with every day passing by. We want to operate on a national level which we are working towards. We work as consultants rather than system integrators which means we identify the exact needs and then create a value engineered proposal for the clients.
Challenges faced being in this business
Since home automation and the entertainment market is a complete technology based product and majorly falls under IoT, we had to raise a team of skillful people, training them in sales, service and support. It’s one of the major challenge that we faced.
Our future plans include having a presence across all the metros and as many as tier 2 cities in India.
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