Teramatrix Gives Make In India A Futuristic IoT Platform
We meet Ankit Taparia, cofounder of Teramatrix, at a speed dating event to meet budding tech companies organized by Microsoft. While the tech giant is pushing the IoT startups for strategic purposes, the slightly media shy cofounder is incredibly eloquent in his techspeak.
In media circles, Teramatrix is best known for being picked up by Hero MotoCorp to monitor some of their production lines. Ankit signals at signing with an investor who is a working partner (Hero, Tata, or who, we can only speculate) by March this year. The startup leverages IoT, cloud computing and their platform, xFusion, which is getting noticed by telecom, media, automotive and manufacturing industrialists who'd like to improve their factory efficiency rates.
Here's more from Ankit:
Why did you decide to start Teramatrix?
We thought up Teramatrix in June of 2013. By we, I mean the other cofounders Utkarsh Jain, Prateek Jain, Abhishek Jain as well. The lot of us met through a mutual friend in early 2012.
[Ankit and the other cofounders are thoroughbred futurists with a streak of geek running through their veins. Soon after meeting Ankit and the other guys were on to their first venture working around telecom, defence and security sensor networks in India.]
During our chats we all saw the need for an internet of things (IoT) software platform which would bind together network, devices, sensors, and enterprise applications by aggregating their data, across vast geographies on one common platform.
[Think of it as a seven rings, one ring to rule them all kind of concept.]
IoT platforms that connected all these components across various industries were gaining momentum. But there was no strong player doing this in India. So we put our hands up and heads together to form Teramatrix.
What’s special about Teramatrix?
Teramatrix has been a bootstrapped yet profitable since the beginning. It’s our fourth year in operations and we are still gaining momentum.
The Teramatrix mantra is, “Pilots, and Not Presentations”. It’s our winning edge. We show potential clients how our IoT platform will help them using a pilot and a minimum viable product (MVP) we prepare in under three weeks, which is very fast by industry standards.
How did you manage to fund this idea?
We bootstrapped our way through. We have built our product on customer success and revenue generated through that. Our early customers like Tata Communications have been instrumental in helping us reach the stage we are at.
We have also been a beneficiary of government funding programmes for startups. We were one of the first software product companies to receive collateral free venture debt of rupees 2 crore from Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI).
What are your monetization paths?
We incur a license fee and a recurring revenue model for the use of our IoT platform.
Going forward we are strongly focused on achieving the majority of our revenue from recurring license fees based on number of users, devices, and analytics on offer. This will help us lower the entry pricing and result in faster sales conversion.
Tell us how the business has grown so far – how many customers, number of product offerings, profit percentages etc.
Since our beginning in 2013, we have grown to do a revenue of 1.1 million dollars in the last financial year (FY 16) and have a strong team of over 75 present across our offices in Gurgaon, Mumbai and Jaipur. We have served over 15 enterprise customers across India, West Africa and South East Asia.
Some of our marquee customers include Tata Communication, Volvo Eicher Commercial Vehicle, Hero MotoCorp, Broadcast Audio Research Council (BARC), MTS India and Bhutan Telecom.
We have been profitable since our inception and have been running with an operating margin of 40% on our product and solution sales.
What is the market size and opportunity?
Here are some leading industry figures of the global and India specific enterprise IoT market:
McKinsey estimates that IoT has a potential economic impact of 2.7 to 6.2 trillion dollars until 2025, of which approximately 30% is expected to come from factories and vehicles. This is the segment where Teramatrix has a stronghold.
In addition, Gartner says IT spending in India will reach 72.4 billion dollars in 2017.
Any challenges faced setting up? Anything unique to your situation?
The complex and lengthy nature of the sales cycle is the biggest challenge. With a consumer startup, one gets instant feedback from the target audience and hence product and market placement could be improved accordingly in near real time fashion. That doesn’t hold true in case of the enterprise market where the feedback cycle is longer.
Another challenge faced is around the trust issue with your initial few customers. For any enterprise it is important that the software product they are introducing within their organization has a future road map and assurance of delivery. So for the initial years we were always pitted with questions around our longevity in the market and our capability to deliver on scale.
Share with us some best and worst memories while running the business
We have definitely been on a roller coaster ride and we have probably seen more lows than highs.
But one thing we are most proud of is the solidarity of our core team. Come what may, everyone has stood rock solid believing in the work we are doing to contribute our bit in this era of digital transformation.
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