Q. What were the major challenges that you faced to bring this product to market?
A. I will talk about the external factors first. It’s a very embryonic market and not a mature market. So entering an embryonic market means you have to face a lot of challenges. For one, we don’t go the consumer directly, so we don’t get the consumer feedback directly. The whole loop of getting it to the customer, obtaining feedback, and then iterating through that and building the right stuff into the product is in itself a challenge. Since the market is also developing – people really don’t know in which direction it might go. What happened to us was that after we had rolled out the first version of the product, Apple TV was announced. Apple did a lot of marketing for the entire eco system. But they had a different kind of vision. Those people are good at building this into the minds of the consumer right, so when something like that happens it is not necessary that Apple has the same vision as you do. Initially people might tend to follow that, but later they realise that this is not right and then they come back. These things is not easy for a start-up.

The second challenge is the internal challenge. Engineers are so used to working in a certain way, the fact that you are building a whole product all the way from very serious things like deep design and architecture thinking over the long term. Also, the productisation of the product does not come naturally to a lot of engineers. If you compare engineers in India to those in Silicon Valley, you would see that engineers in Silicon Valley are more customer oriented. For instance, if you do an operation and something fails, you have got to display an error message. People here would say that ok, it’s just an error message. But for a finished product, the error messages are done up very cleanly and it doesn’t confuse the consumer. At the same time it gets you feedback which notifies us of what went wrong and lets us realise what has happened. This is essential for a world-class product.

Q. Is your product introduced in India on a large scale?
A. Not really, in fact India is one of the few countries where we have lesser penetration. The reason is very simple, this is a product that delivers video over the Internet. So if I want to deliver high quality video over the Internet, I am talking about at least having a 2 Mbps connection. That’s why US and Western Europe is where all the action is right now. Far East obviously. India is developing, so we’ll be looking here at a larger scale soon.

Q. Couldn’t you leverage the 3G connection for your product?
A. We have an Indian customer who is looking to develop the product, specifically with respect to 3G. They are in serious trials for the last four months. There are still some challenges, for instance it is still to expensive. But from the technology perspective it is already started.

Q. Is there any particular reason for choosing Bangalore for your design house?
A. Well, I am from Bangalore and it didn’t occur to me to move out from Bangalore. Even if I were to start a company today, I would still base it in Bangalore, because the talent pool here is still far above what you get in other cities especially in our space. Now if you were developing a Web development product, then you would have other options like Hyderabad.

Q. Of your engineers over here, how many are design engineers focusing on the electronic part of the product?
A. Out of 100 people, our design element for hardware is around 10 per cent. The good thing about the hardware side is that if you look at the semiconductor for the devices that we are building, they are very highly integrated semiconductors. These designs today are not extremely complex such that we need a large design team. Most of the complexities are buried in the SoC, and optimising for power and space. That’s why we have a 90/10 team.

Q. What do you believe got you the award from ISA for best electronic product built out of India?
A. The biggest thing which helped us get the award and the initial traction in the marketplace was that we were able to create the product small.

Q. How is your recruitment here?
A. We have a pretty long recruitment process, so it’s not easy to get in. We never hire freshers, and because we have a shortage of time we usually use consulting houses to bring people in instead of making a hiring mistake. The challenges that a start-up company would face is that since we don’t have a brand, there is social mindset problem. We have had cases where once they were selected, the parents had to agree and then the uncles had to agree and so on. The key differentiator for us is that when someone comes to work, they should look at it as not just another product.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS & COMMENTS