Nilay Mehrotra met Raj Garg at a common friend’s birthday party. Their engineering background got them off to a great start and what started as a casual conversation ended up in an intense discussion on start-up ideas. The duo soon launched their first start-up, in home automation, in November 2016. In a span of a few months, they realised that the start-up won’t fly given the numerous players already present in the segment. But that didn’t stop them from pursuing their next idea.
In March 2017, they launched Chariot Tech, a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) start-up which among other things does predictive analytics and offers IoT and software-as-a-service applications. The Delhi-based start-up’s first success was a major project for the Maharashtra government where they provided 45 advanced water meters to villages in Wardha. “We have tied-up with UK’s Axioma Metering to build meters. These water meters combined with our platform help in predicting leakages, thefts and bursts,” says Mehrotra.
While Chariot is focusing on software-based products, supplying the hardware to the companies they deal with, remains a challenge. “We are simultaneously aggregating device manufacturers to solve this issue. We have already partnered with 14 manufacturers and aiming to onboard 45 more,” explains Mehrotra.
Once a client signs up, they are charged a monthly fee based on the number of devices installed. For smaller companies using SaaS, the monthly cost may vary from 40-60 per device. But for bigger companies and for clients based abroad, the pricing for using PaaS is around $650 per month irrespective of the number of devices installed, with a cap of 1,000 devices.
At present, the start-up is working with a Belgium-based company on waste bin management all across Europe. It has also been approached by Indian companies such as Pidilite, Titan and Relaxo who want to use IoT for logistics and manufacturing. However, Mehrotra and his team of 15 are targeting western markets as they claim to be the only start-up with this offering, the only other player being established giant Hewlett-Packard (HP).
Mehrotra says, “HP’s focus is on network management for telecom giants. We feel privileged to have a competitor like HP and the fact is, it helps create a good impression when pitching to clients.” In the coming months, to scale up faster, the start-up is eyeing public utilities for smart cities, manufacturing and transportation.