Kuldeep Patel (L) and Chinmaya Behera hit it off the first time they met at Info Edge as colleagues and used to discuss multiple start-up ideas since then. In 2015, Patel left the company to work on his own start-up later, but the duo stayed in touch. In May 2017, they launched Machinup, which offered a maintenance solution to predict the breakdown of big machinery in industrial units.
The founders first approached SMEs, but failed to garner interest from the small businesses, which were quite satisfied with getting the machine repaired by a local technician in two-three days. However, for larger companies whose machines were imported, it took two-three months to get the machines repaired in case of a breakdown. Zuari Cements in Andhra Pradesh found Machinup's proposition interesting and commissioned them to devise a solution for its equipment on a trial basis by September. The start-up however faced a roadblock. The solution included both hardware and software components and finding manufacturers to get the components done for the hardware proved to be a tough task. So the team failed to complete it within the stipulated time-frame. But they weren't ready to give up.
In October, they approached Birla Corporation in Madhya Pradesh. While the company found the idea quite interesting, it had a bigger problem to deal with — rapidly rising energy bills. So they asked the Machinup team to develop an energy optimisation solution, which could optimise the electricity usage of the plant and give them analytics with the help of existing data. The team came up with a software solution, which didn't require any hardware or sensors to be integrated with the control systems of the plants. "We take the existing data available with the plants, which they have been using for monitoring purposes. We find patterns in the data, correlate it with production time or the energy consumption. Using state-of-the-art algorithms we try to reduce both," explains Behera.
By December the start-up had developed the solution, deployed it at the plant and was able to show 4-5% reduction in energy bills. The paid trial worked out for the start-up and that got converted into their first contract, which would be commissioned in April 2018. The team, which is currently carrying out another trial for Jindal Aluminium in Karnataka, has two more customers lined up. Industries such as oil & gas, cement and power are the main targets for Machinup. "Energy plays a major role in these industries. In cement, electricity alone accounts for 30% of the production cost. So even if we can reduce it by 5% it would save a lot for them," notes Behera. While there are IoT-based companies offering energy optimisation solutions, they tend to provide analytics only at a device level and plants are left to derive recommendations from them.
The founders, who initially invested Rs.10 lakh in the start-up, have seen a revenue of Rs.3 lakh till date. The energy optimisation solution charges a 20% cut out of the total savings made by the client. It is billed on a monthly basis. The five-member team hopes to target 10 clients by the end of this year. The start-up is also in talks with a German company for manufacturing the hardware for its predictive solution.