View from India: Startups navigating the new normal
One outcome of the pandemic has seen homegrown startups creating innovative digital solutions and platforms for customers to adapt to the 'new normal'.
E-commerce has had a big push during the lockdown. Riding high on this wave, tech startup Detel launched an electric bike in August. Described as the 'Detel Easy EV', the bike’s unique selling point (USP) is its price tag: Rs 19,999 (c.£210).
Powered by a 250W electric motor and a lithium-ion phosphate battery that can be fully charged in around eight hours, the e-bike has a top speed of 25km/h. Reportedly, riders won’t require a driving license for Detel Easy, as it runs at a lower speed than the officially accepted top-speed range of two wheelers at 60km/hour. Its minimal design, with a basket in the front, is well suited for e-commerce players.
Another result of the pandemic is the range of hygiene and healthcare products. DetelPro, another startup, has conceptualised a low-cost infrared (IR) thermometer. The 'Made in Bharat' product is priced at Rs 999 (c.£5). Equipped with a digital sensor, the thermometer works on the premise of no-touch sensors, while an LCD display enables its usage in low-lit areas. The DetelPro portfolio extends to a preventive range of products, such as PPE (personal protective equipment) kits, masks and gowns.
Detel previously made headlines in 2016 for its range of feature phones, priced as low as Rs 1,000 (c.£5).
Ordinarily, budgeting activities have been manual in nature. Departments have spent several man hours to prepare reports. This made it cumbersome to collect budget details across departments. It may have been an internal activity, but tracking it became more tedious. This has been reason enough for service provider company Planet PCI to tailor a budget expenditure monitoring system (BEMS) solution for the market.
“Some forward thinking has led to a web-based software system for monitoring the budget allocation of resources and expenditure related to various project plans, departments and branches. Besides automated spend tracking, BEMS is designed in a manner such that every operational unit can be taken care for budget and expenditure control,” explained Praveen Tanwar, senior technical consultant, Planet PCI Infotech ltd.
The software is designed to eliminate processing costs and shorten the approval cycle. As a one-time data entry of expenditure, it is a budget expenditure monitoring system. The functionality extends to budget estimation, allocation, expenditure and monitoring. Planet PCI is part of the Prime Group, which caters to a diverse section of high-tech industries.
Meanwhile, BuildSupply aims to build a digital highway for the real estate and construction industry. The company with its twin offerings intends to standardise and optimise work flows. Some brainstorming revealed that SaaS (software as a service) can be used to address demand-supply in real estate projects. This offering is for structural operations at various levels of the real estate operations. SaaS is a single collaborative platform that encompasses purchase orders and indents for projects.
“Different levels of operations come under the umbrella. Like the e-commerce wing, meant for purchase of materials and the finance segment is for transactions based on credits. Clearly there’s a felt need for such customisation,” said Sachin Sharma, CTO, BuildSupply. The SaaS solution also takes care of the distribution network of the supply chain.
Cost Manager, the second product offering, is an end-to-end process management tool. It helps in collaboration between internal staff and external stakeholders, apart from real-time data collection. This data is converted into useful information through dashboards. The dashboard updates on the vendor and tender transactions help in real-time tracking. There’s also option for customers to upload their requirements, for which suppliers will then give a quotation.
Growth drivers for SaaS include the increasing usage of smartphone, tablets and laptops, along with the widespread adoption of public and hybrid cloud.
These were only some of the startups which showcased their offerings at the NASSCOM Product Showcase (Series 4), titled 'Navigating the New Normal'. The event was held online last week.
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