Most of us have grown up listening to stories where doors would open automatically on saying 'Khulja sim sim' or tales where lights would go on and off on uttering some magic verses or on just a clap of the hands. But all these unbelievable things have now become a reality, and there is not magic in it. IoT and AI has made many things possible and has simplified our lives in many ways. From ensuring that the geyser is on and you get hot water for a bath, to automatically switching on your favorite music when you reach home after a tiring day at office, IoT is making lives comfortable and saving a lots of time by helping you complete many mundane tasks. This is the reason why customers these days prefer IoT enabled appliances.
Delhi based startup IoTfy is helping consumer durable companies meet this growing demand for IoT enabled goods by offering them ready to use IoT designs for various consumer durables, thus making IoT integration simple and fast. We interviewed Arpit Chhabra, Co founder and CEO IoTfy, to get more details about the startup.
- Startup Name-IoTfy
- Founder-Arpit Chhabra, Sushant Taneja, Shashank Saxena, Shivam Dikshit
- Sector-IoT, Consumer Durables
- Parent Organization-IoTfy Solutions Private Limited
IoTfy is a #MakeinIndia IoT & AI cloud suite that is making it simple for consumer durable brands to add IoT capabilities to their device categories. Through its Chip to Cloud IoT ecosystem, IoTfy works with India’s top consumer durable and appliance brands and enables them to create smart appliances that are responsive to Apps and Voice Commands.
Guided by the mission of "RoI with IoT", IoTfy’s product suites are helping brands establish scalable business cases for their respective categories. The brand is working with the vision is to enable Consumer Electronics Brands, Original Design Manufacturers (ODMs) and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), to introduce Smart Home Products in their respective categories. Apart from enabling brands to furnish Smart, WiFi enabled products, across 28 categories including air-conditioners, fans, switches, lights, Chimneys, Inverters, Washing Machines, plugs, and air-purifiers, among the others, IoTfy also integrates the products with Voice Assistants like Google Home and Alexa.
IoTfy offerings primarily comprise of:
- iACE IoT Platform
- iota Device OS
- White labelled Mobile Apps
- Voice integrations
Apart from the above core products, the company also has other product modules for:
- Service Management suite
- AI & ML suite
- Business Analytics suite
- Sales & Dealer suite
- Marketing suite
IoTfy recently launched GoCo (inspired by the caption ' Go Corona') UV disinfectant bags, which disinfect the items put inside it. In the current times this product is truly of great help and customers can buy them directly from the website gocobags.com
"We are working towards creating an ecosystem for IoT in India. One thing for which we take a lot of inspiration from China is the ecosystem that they have developed around IoT products. We have started taking baby steps towards empowering ODMs in India to be a part of the larger IoT ecosystem, so that we together can fulfil local and global demands. We are providing them access to our Chip-to-Cloud IoT ecosystem, so that they can make their appliance categories smart ." IoTfy founder Arpit Chhabra says
IoTfy - USPs
Some of the USPs that makes IoTfy stand apart from its competitors are-
● Providing IoT Cloud cost as a one time SaaS fee based on the average lifespan of the product category.This stands out because brands/OEMs/ODMs traditionally work on a Bill of Material (BOM) cost for each product and with IoT coming into the picture, cloud becomes a variable cost. This is clearly out of their comfort zone, accounting for something variable to come up with their cost build-up.
IoTfy’s strategy of offering a fixed cloud cost makes decision making very simple for the brands and in turn results in quick decision making to adopt IoT in their categories.
● IoTfy decoupled WiFi Hardware from the IoT Cloud Platform, giving brand partners the option to source hardware from vendors of their choice. This also is a game changer because it gives an opportunity to the customers to source hardware as per their requirements and quality specifications.
● IoTfy’s iACE IoT Cloud Platform addresses all possible concerns w.r.t Data Security, Long term sustained usage and Data localization. This makes IoTfy a long term partner for brands/ODMs/OEMs customers alike
● IoTfy is focused on various India specific requirements such as adding vernacular support on Mobile Applications, adding WiFi Direct functionality (using this end consumers can control devices without having need of a WiFi router, which is a must for market like India)
● Focusing on “RoI from IoT” from day 1 by providing 360 degree coverage of business requirements w.r.t after sales service, sales, and marketing through its product suites.
● Engaging with OEMs and ODMs alongside brands has helped IoTfy build an ecosystem of manufacturers to scale IoT products adoption in India.
● Onboarding Electronic Component Distributors (ECDs) as channel partners to upsell IoTfy’s iota - Device Operating System.
"One of the key USPs of IoTfy is that we promise recurring business to our brand partners in the form of post-sale service. In addition to creating IoT capabilities for the brands' various product categories, we offer them white-labelled Apps, that have been designed for the Indian end users. These Apps have a smart built-in feature, that gives the users prompters every time the service of a certain appliance is due and also allows them to book the service with the brand at the click of a button, leading to recurring business for them. Such intelligent features ensure guaranteed RoI and sustainable value to its brand partners." Arpit quotes emphasizing IoTfy's USPs
IoTfy - Founders & Team
IoTfy founders Arpit Chhabra, Sushant Taneja, Shashank Saxena, Shivam Dikshit were Part of the Startup Leadership Program in New Delhi in 2012. Shashank was Shivam's co-founder in an IoT consultancy that they previously co-founded. During 2012-14, Arpit assisted a few brands such as Godfrey Phillips India and Barista, develop IoT solutions to meet some of their business requirements and during the same time frame, Shashank and Shivam had also helped a few of their clients with IoT solutions.
It all started when Arpit and Shashank were sharing notes w.r.t the solutions they had developed in the past and realized both of them faced the same problems while developing custom cloud platform for their IoT solutions, and they realized there is a need of an IoT Cloud Platform that is easy to set up, use-case agnostic, and vertical agnostic. Moved by this common idea, all the four founder started to work on the concept of IoTfy, leading to the launch of the startup in 2017.
Presently, Arpit Chhabra (36) is the CEO of IoTfy. He has been a serial entrepreneur having built four start-ups & successfully exiting two of them. His last exit was an IoT product start-up, Ad-Box.
Arpit has worked with start-ups since the last 14 years with the last 7 years in IoT products. He has worn multiple hats both as the hacker and the hustler.
Arpit graduated from Delhi University (NSIT) with a Bachelor of Engineering degree in 2005
Arpit Chhabra, Co-founder & CEO IoTfy
Sushant Taneja (33) is Vice President, Technology at IoTfy. He heads the cloud and mobile apps technology development. He has an exhaustive hands-on experience of over a decade in IT technologies. He has the technical know-how of things working at scale and was working with Snapdeal before co-founding IoTfy. Previously, Sushant had co-founded Ekayan Software Labs and has been a founding member in StoreMonk.
Shashank Saxena(31) is the Vice President, Embedded Systems at IoTfy. He takes care of all things hardware. Shashank has 10 years of experience in designing and developing hardware products. Prior to IoTfy, Shashank has been running an IoT consulting firm where he catered more than 200 customers. He was awarded two monetary grants from MSME, Govt. of India for two innovative IoT products in 2010 and 2011.
Shivam Dikshit (30) is Vice President, Marketing at IoTfy. He has been previously heading business development and marketing for an IoT consulting firm and was able to establish a diverse customer base ranging from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies. He is a community builder and has been a founding member of PeerHack, Bootstrap Weekend & Hack4India.
Smriti Talwar (36) is the Vice President, Pre-Sales at IoTfy. She has an industry experience of 15 years. Smriti is ex-Maruti Suzuki R&D and founder of two start-ups. She completed her Mechanical Engineering from Indira Gandhi Delhi Technical University for Women in 2005. She was part of the Start-up Leadership Program and also was the PL for the SLP New Delhi chapter. Smriti joined IoTfy later in January 2019.
IoTfy Core Team
"We look for people who are passionate about solving problems with practical aptitude. We believe that skills can be acquired, passion and problem solving attitude is something that we look for while we are hiring. Because of our previous experience in the field of IoT, we have been able to get onboard good technical talent."
Why and How IoTfy was Started
IoTfy was started as a weekend project back in Dec of 2014, where Arpit, Sushant, Shashank and Shivam used to meet and do development hackathons. The idea at that point was to build a Wordpress-like platform for IoT that can be used across the sectors for various IoT use cases. The team realized the need for an IoT platform that is easy to set up, use-case agnostic and vertical agnostic while developing custom IoT solutions for various clients in their previous organisations.
Based on inputs from the market, the team realized that sticking to a vertical will bring focus and long term future. With that understanding, Appliance and Consumer Electronics (ACE) space was chosen owing to its huge volume and IoT use cases.
IoTfy started with Water Purifier as a first appliance and now has moved to supporting 28 appliance categories such as Air Conditioners, Air Coolers, Water Purifiers, Water Heaters, Smart lights, Chimneys, Inverters, Fans, Smart plugs, and washing machines with its offerings.
"Water Purifier has its own reasons to be our first offering for it being a very beautiful use case of IoT specially in the after sales market. Preventive maintenance, eliminating warranty frauds and maximizing after sales revenues we sought using IoT. We worked with the premium water purifier brand of India for this project. The response from the market was overwhelmingly positive." says Arpit about the initial offering of the company
The IoT Industry
The Internet of Things (IoT) in India now is not a thing of the future, it is growing and thriving right in front of our eyes. From Smart appliances to Smart Energy metering, from Industry 4.0 to Smart vehicles, IoT powered products are touching our lives on a daily basis.
As reported, Internet of Things Market (IoT Market) Size was valued at USD 212.1 Billion in 2018 and is expected to witness a growth of 25.68% from 2019-2026 and reach USD 1,319.08 Billion by 2026.
Agin another report published by MarketsandMarkets says that the global IoT in Smart Cities Market size is expected to grow from USD 113.1 billion in 2020 to USD 260.0 billion by 2025, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 18.1% during the forecast period.
"Looking at this growing market alongside Prime Minister Modi’s call to make India “Self Reliant” or “AtmaNirbhar” unearths some very interesting aspects. Particularly because building blocks of any IoT product or solution require seamless amalgamation of hardware, cloud stacks, mobile applications, data analytics, and artificial intelligence (AI), it is a huge opportunity for the Industry to make India “AtmaNirbhar”. Arpit adds
IoTfy - Name & Logo
IoTfy means IoTfying the device categories to make them smart. IoTfy also means IoT for you. Making IoT implementation simple and easy for consumer durable brands. The founder's idea behind the name is to keep it relevant, short, catchy and easy to recall.
IoTfy - Funding
IoTfy is looking forward to raise a Series A funding. The IoTfy team intends to use the funds raised for
Tech team expansion for building new product features and adding support for new categories.
Expanding the client base in India (focus on hiring augmenting Pre-sales, Sales and Marketing teams)
Expansion in geographies outside India
IoTfy - Revenue Model
IoTfy levies a one time SaaS fee for the IoT cloud based on the average lifespan of the product category. IoTfy's clients i.e brands/OEMs/ODMs are comfortable to work on a fixed cost system and the startup's revenue model is designed considering this very comfort level.
IoTfy - Marketing Strategies
Acquiring clients is always challenging, however, the good part for IoTfy was that they were dealing with big brands who mostly had IoT in their roadmap. It was more about educating, consulting the customers and prospects w.r.t business cases and features IoT can open up, and finally helping them with technology implementation. As Arpit says,
"Our problem is half solved if there is a positive intent for IoT adoption, the remaining half is to help them develop trust in the IoT products and solutions that we offer. We counter that through quick Proof Of Concepts (POCs) on their existing appliances. This also helps us reduce our sales lead time and establishes our customer’s trust in our capabilities."
Besides, quality and support has been two main features on which IoTfy banks for attracting and retaining customers.
The other ways of customer acquisition includes holding Product Conclaves to educate the industry at large w.r.t IoT. Every 3-5 weeks, IoTfy team picked up a category such as Air Conditioners, Smart fans, water purifiers etc and invited industry colleagues from various departments such as Product Planning, Marketing, R&D, and Product management to talk about nuances of IoT implementation for these categories. This helped the startup in creating a stronger demand in general.
In 2020, IoTfy also conducted various Virtual Round Tables inviting industry experts to talk about IoT at large and what opportunities Covid has brought for Smart products. These conclaves and VRTs were accepted and appreciated across the industry and also brought inbound inquiries.
IoTfy also has a strong network of channel partners who upsell our Device Licences (iota) to various brands and OEMs/ODMs. These licenses include the lifetime cost for the cloud usage and the firmware for the WiFi module.
IoTfy - Challenges
IoTfy founders believe that one of the biggest challenge for the startup was about being an early adopter in the segment, as the startup had to put in lots of efforts on educating the consumer durable brands on the benefits of adopting IoT.
"At that time, there was not enough acceptance of the IoT use cases because almost every brand felt IoT and these use cases are rather early for the market. Good part was they validated our hypothesis of the use cases and their potential impact on their businesses and end users." says Arpit.
As they say “Seeing is Believing”, IoTfy developed its first IoT product for Water Purifier use case and started handing out product samples to major brands for evaluation. During the evaluation, brands were able to get a sense on how IoT water purifiers will work from the end user’s perspective. What will be visible to the end user on the mobile app, how the end user will control the water purifier, how alerts for AI-based service reminders and part replacement alerts will be notified to the end user and CRM systems used by the service team of these brands.
These exercises although were long and time consuming, but they helped the startup understand their potential customers better. The team was able to absorb a lot of information from them with respect to how various stakeholders such as R&D, Product Planning, New Product Development, Service, and Sales work at appliances and consumer durables companies. As the founders says, this experience has helped the IoTfy team a lot now both in terms of developing products and closing deals.
Long Sales Cycles is another challenge for the IoTfy team. Working with appliances and consumer durables on any product is a long cycle as they have to work with various stakeholders. During the initial days, the sales cycles were between 6-8 months typically. Now, as the startup has ready designs for over 28 categories, so they are able to demonstrate IoT capabilities on any appliance in a matter of hours and this has reduced our sales cycle to less than 3 weeks.
IoTfy - Growth & Future Plans
The list of IoTfy's achievements is long indeed. The tech startup supports several multinational brands based in Japan, Korea and Germany, along with home grown Indian brands. It currently works with 2 of top 5 Air Conditioner brands, 3 of top 4 fan brands, 2 of top 5 LED light brands, and 3 of top 5 Water purifier brands in India. Working closely with top brands and OEMs, they been credited to quickly create innovative and meaningful use-cases and facilitate launch of IoT products in as less as two weeks.
IoTfy’s IoT platform currently powers over 450,000 devices and plans to onboard 1 million new devices on its platform within 2020 itself. The number of devices that it supports on its platform has grown by over 600% YoY in the last two Financial years. IoTfy started with a focus on large appliances such as Air Conditioners and currently, it is powering over 200,000 IoT Air Conditioners in the India market, virtually holding over 90% of the market share in the Smart Air Conditioning space in India.
In terms of revenue, the self-funded startup has grown by over 600% YoY in the last two Financial years and closed FY 2019-20 with revenues of around INR 4 crore and has projects over INR 12 crores of revenue for the upcoming FY 2020-21. With respect to the pipeline, IoTfy is currently also in the process of undertaking customer trials with 10 major brands, while products powered by the brand’s proprietary technologies will be launching in the Indian market all through the year. The brand’s strategy of working with ODMs/OEMs has provided rich dividends and 3 categories where it has already started to gain dominance include Lighting, Smart Plugs and Switches and Fans.
"We believe our biggest achievements are closing deals with leading Indian appliance manufacturers alongside marquee Japanese and Korean appliance manufacturers. Not only have we learnt a lot during the process, we also kept improving ourselves at every step. The kind of confidence we got by exceeding their benchmarks is something that we proudly wear as a feather in our hat. We also have managed to reduce the sales cycle from a typical of 6-8 months to 2-3 months." Arpit says commenting on the startup's achievements.
IoTfy - FAQs
What is IoTfy?
IoTfy is a leading IoT solutions provider for smart home automation, smart home lighting.
Who are the founders of IoTfy?
Arpit Chhabra, Sushant Taneja, Shashank Saxena and Shivam Dikshit are the founders of IoTfy.
When was IoTfy Founded?