How to Succeed with an IOT Startup?
The Internet of Things (IoT) was hailed as the one that was going to herald the 4th Industrial Revolution. QE2 and QE3 (We are not referring to Queen Elizabeth’s Cruise Ships) initiatives of the US Federal Reserve has been unleashing one bubble after the other. From Green Energy initiatives to historical highs of the NASDAQ to Unicorns & Decacorns in Silicon Valley and IOT. All these owe in some form to the US Federal Reserve’s desire to nip any recession.
IOT was one such sector which received the investment and the hype. 50.1 Billion Connected or IOT devices – Projected for 2020. We are already in 2020 and nowhere close to the above number. That begs 2 questions – Where is all the hype around IOT and How to Succeed with an IOT Startup?
The Role of COVID
As wise and grounded entrepreneurs will acknowledge, beyond user love and great products, there is many a time the role of a “Wave” that plays out in economics. Adam Smith called it The Hidden Hand. At Maharajas of Scale, we call it The Wave (Bill Gross calls it Timing in this fascinating TED Talk).
Like Demonetization and the 2008 recession, all startups benefit from some sort of a Wave. COVID is perhaps acting as one such Wave to IOT. Gotama Gowda’s story tells us how he is answering this question – How to Succeed with an IOT Startup? We don’t want to steal his thunder…Read on and Listen On
Journalism to Entrepreneurship
Gotama is a very unlikely entrepreneur. This stemmed from his father’s unlikely career of a farmer turned award winning film maker. Gotama’s father’s career inspired him to tread a different path in Journalism. However, as entrepreneurship struck Gotama, journalism turned out to be a short lived pursuit.
Gotama started a Quick Service Restaurants and a bakery. Gotama called off the Quick Service Restaurant launch a week prior to opening. However, the bakery’s succeeded and with it he saw a world of possibilities.
The World of IOT beckoned with possibilities Listen to him talk about How he launched and scaled an enterprise IOT with almost no sales or entrepreneur background?
Here are some excerpts from the Episode
See IoT was hot and continues to be just didn’t see that, that I think it didn’t have that moment that ecommerce had or it didn’t, it hasn’t yet had that moment that we are now seeing edtech have, right. Everything is about timing. And I think we’re hitting that timing right now. COVID is going to really take us there
You Can’t Scale Hardware
You go around you talk to a lot of people, you speak to VCs, and the first thing they tell you is hardware is not scalable, right? They will not at the end, they’re not willing to write a cheque.
As a result, what we did differently, very, very differently was we didn’t even look at the VC ecosystem to begin with. For instance, when we started off we were product and client centricGotama Gowda 06:53
Fathers careers inspire Children
My father was a farmer and so he was someone who migrated from a village near Hassan to Bangalore. I looked at him and I thought, like, I mean, he was my first inspiration right? Like for most kids, your your dads, our fathers are your first inspiration.Gotama Gowda 11:07
Decision to Shut Down a week prior to opening
I hired a consultant, who was at that point of time, the Pan India chief for F&B for Barista Lavazza, I somehow got connected to him, got him on board as a consultant, got him to help me make the recipes at that point. But just before I opened, and when I say that, I mean like a week before opening night, I had to sort of take the decision and shut it down. And that was my first ever failure ever.Gotama Gowda 13:38
Once I went all the way up to his place that’s outside of Bangalore, took an appointment, waited for like a month to take that appointment, went and met him and showed him the first prototype that I got made.
And he just told me that it’s going to be a showpiece, you’re building something that people wouldn’t want right up to the CTO of, of one of India’s largest telecom companies because of my background, and also he didn’t think smart locks made sense and enterprises said that I shouldn’t be hereGotama Gowda 34:57
How IOT Devices were HandMade?
However, I think two days or one day before, the second PO expired is when we went and sort of gave them those 500 locks. And to make that happen. We sat down and hand soldered all those 500 ourselves like we started like that two days and two nights straight. We hand soldered it. Of course, there was a lot of other background work that had already been done like we had our moulds in place.Gotama Gowda 37:54
In fact, in November, we will be completing five years of officially starting Open APP, although we spent one year in sort of deliberating and building the basic product from here, as I’ve kept saying, and I will continue to say that IoT is the future, we think that we’ve just really begun.Gotama Gowda 1:07:03
Here’s what the Word Cloud for this Episode looks like
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