Vicara: Control Your World
Amidst all the attention and attraction, the duo spotted a rue of disappointment. They realized that they were ruled out to participate because they failed to submit PAN cards, which were mandatory for participation. Unfortunately, when the results were announced, they found that the winner of the event had created a much similar prototype that could control only one feature. But, their prototype, on the other hand, which was integrated into the digital systems, could control more than one aspect.
Saddened by this unfortunate event, the young champs without showing any sign of rancour accepted their fate and were pretty happy with the kind of response they received at the venue. More than anything, their charismatic energy ignited a spark of hope and won the hearts of many. "What ended up happening was, the founder of Leaf Technologies, who found us really interesting there. Offered us an internship at his start-up," says Adarsh.
With time, the event also resonated with a lot of good and positive reinforcements. In December 2015, they both did attend the internship program at Leaf Technologies. The experience further emulated their understanding of the business and motivated them to start a company in the near future.
The Dawn of the Idea of Disruptive Innovations
Opportunity knocked when they got a chance to pitch at a business competition called the 'Startup VIT', a state level event organized by VIT University to promote young entrepreneurs. The duo felt that it was a good stage to test the potential of their project. Therefore, they prepared a business plan and pitched the idea, and came second with prize money of INR 30,000. This eventually re-initiated their dream project. This was the start of Vicara!
"It was pretty encouraging. But, unfortunately, the winner of the competition gets to take part in the national symposium and we just missed it!" sadly, mentions Abhishek.
After this, the duo didn’t split the money nor went their separate ways. Instead, they took a decision to work on the project and decided to build a prototype that is much smaller than the existing one. "We decided, as long as the money is there, we will keep doing it!" avers Adarsh.
Thereafter, they invested about INR 22,000on 3D printer, to further iterate series of prototypes, and finally were successful in creating a device that perfectly fits in hand (after 12 iterations)."Whoa! This looked cooler than the previous one, with better components and every thing," asserts Abhishek.
While they created this magnificent piece of work that controls the digital world around us, another opportunity snagged, in 2016, as they pitched their idea to Startups Club, intra-city event organized at VIT campus.
This was the major turning point for the co-founders of Vicara, as they didn’t just steal the show; they won the competition and ended up getting one lakh grant for their disruptive innovation. This further boosted their confidence to a whole new level, and the duo submitted their patented technology to University Startup World Cup, Denmark, and Hello Tomorrow Global Summit, Paris. Surprisingly, they did get selected for the Denmark event, but, got a rejection from Paris. However, they did receive an official invite from Emmanuel Macron to attend the event, as they had been shortlisted under a special category of top 500 global start-ups in the world. Also, the company received two tickets worth INR 1,60,000 (2000 €), to attend the Hello Tomorrow Global Summit in Paris.
“We started getting a lot of Validation in India. So, we decided why not explore the opportunity abroad and showcase our technology,” says Adarsh.
By then, the co-founders were sensational in college. The duo’s popularity also saved the day and helped them to postpone their exams, as the events were coinciding. While ever other students in college were busy studying for their exams, the duo was busy preparing to show their technology to the world. Once they landed in Paris, they got the best reception. At the event, they were surrounded by some of the top entrepreneurs and innovators from Airbus, Google, Amazon, and others. Also, they met Imogen Heap, an English singer, songwriter, record producer, audio engineer, and a Grammy award-winning artist. She was quite fascinated by Vicara’s gesture control technology.
Adarsh exemplifying the Hello Tomorrow Global Summit speaks “This conference was meant to showcase the future of technology. I swear, as soon as we entered, we saw robotic birds flying, robots that judge your emotions and talk to you, programmable silk worms, smart sprays that paint brilliant artworks, VR spaceships PODs, VR time travel devices for travel & tourism purposes and the list just goes on and on... We saw everything here. Our minds just exploded."
He further states "At, one point we really felt that we stood nowhere and felt dejected, as we had accomplished nothing special!"
In Denmark, it was a different ball game altogether. Vicara Technologies came in the top 3 position in their respective track. But, they witnessed a huge gap between them and the winners. "It was NARA Space Technology, they had built a low earth orbit satellites for space monitoring, and they already had a few million dollars in funding. We were just standing there like adolescent kids. And we thought we were amazing in our place," says Abhishek.
Beast Mode - ON!
Chalking out the experience, the co-founders returned back to India with a new glimmer of hope and a vision to change the world. Then, a miracle happened, the first competition - the 'StartupVIT', where the team had come second, they got the opportunity to pitch in their idea at the National level held in Chennai, because the winners of the city level symposium had backed out at the last minute.
"On the very brink of failure, when you know nothing is going right. That’s when the magic happens," asserts Adarsh, motivated.
Soon, Vicara Technologies, a start-up created by a bunch of college students becomes a mini hot topic in the tech community. As it turns out, they won the national competition too with 5 lakh grant.
Abhishek asserts "From coming second in the state level Demo Day and winning the nationals, it was a pretty big deal for us." Further, Adarsh adds "This also gave us an opportunity to scale our business multifolds."
In 2017,the co-founders graduated from college with flying colors of +9.0 CGPA. But, decided to drop out of the placements to pursue their dream venture Vicara Technologies full time. In fact, their college also supported their venture by giving them additional 5 lakh. Raising more funds, they later applied for NIDHI PRAYAS - IIT Bombay. On a winning spree, the team was granted additional 10 lakh here also. "For the first time in the history, this competition was won by a Non-IITn," states Abhishek, with excitement.
Further escalating their business to a whole new level, Adarsh says "By this
Right from enriching the experience of day-to-day activities, to helping businesses increase the efficiency, optimize resources, and automate the processes, Vicara Technologies gesture control technology has provided a perfect gateway to eliminate the redundancy in the existing infrastructure
Growth Way Forward - Expansion Phase
Currently incubated at VIT-TBI, Vellore, the company has raised series of funds from various angel investors and is using crowd-funding platforms like indiegogo.com, to take their product to the market, at a much faster rate. Adarsh elaborating about this decision says “Since the hardware is a capital-intensive market. You need a lot of money to start the initial production. So, people who are really interested in technology and its benefits will definitely be our initial vendors and will support our work. And, for a hardware start-up like ours, this really is a beautiful model.”
Recently, the company was selected as the top 30 tech start-ups by Your Story. The team's determination to take their tech out faster in the market was further witnessed at events like TechSparks, showcasing the innovation and scalability to numerous investors & VCs present at these events. Currently, in full sway. The company is in an expansion phase.
The Power of KAI – Augmenting the Human Capabilities to Next Level
Today, if we talk about the use cases of their technology– KAI. It is limitless! Right from enriching the experience of day-to-day activities, to helping businesses increase the efficiency, optimize resources and automate the processes, Vicara Technologies gesture control technology has provided a perfect gateway to eliminate the redundancy in the existing infrastructure. "Our platform and technology is completely application agnostic. And we have built it in such a fashion that it can be customizable, as per industry requirements" asserts Abhishek.
On a brighter side, if we look at the advancements of technology in the recent past, we had computers, but then smartphones has become a need of the hour, and it don't require mouse or a keyboard. As the trajectory follows, in the near future, technologies like AI, AR, VR, and MR is surely going to disrupt the entire ecosystem.
There will be more robots and drones. And the way humans interact with the machines of tomorrow becomes very crucial. "We, as humans improve. Machines also improve. But, the way we interact with the machines has not improved," avers Adarsh.
He further states “Now, something that is as natural as the hand gestures could be used as the mode of with the robots, drones, machines, and the digital world.This would be the ultimate convenience for all!”
Successfully bringing the technology into the real world, Vicara Technologies, in April 2018 is launching its state-of-the-art technology product called the KAI, where the initial 100 devices will be sold, exclusively on Indiegogo platform at a price range of about 100-120US$.Once, the popularity of the products takes shape, the company will start providing customized solutions to companies across industries.
KAI – Technology of Tomorrow
• Designed to Perfection: The KAI wearable device comes with a magnetic latch and a sleek body that fits perfectly on one’s hand. The design of the product is simple and quite elegant. Also, every aspect of the design – from color to finishing details. It gives the user a futuristic feel, provoking them to show off the device more.
• Extraordinary Features: The KAI wearable device in terms of accuracy, endurance, and durability, is one of the best devices on the market that is currently available and is suitable for everyday use. Weighing around 50 grams, one can barely feel it on their hand. The device gives a complete freedom to its user to express, interact, control, and play seamlessly.
• Always stay Connected: The device comes with a platform called the KAI Control Centre, which lets the user choose the gesture however they wish to interact with the PC or smartphones. The platform provides 10 pre-programmed gestures. Plus, includes the additional two gestures like pinch and zoom. One can download the KAI application from Google Play Store, toggle Bluetooth on and they are ready to go.
• Manufactured in Singapore: Because of the easy access to the availability of the raw material, resources, duty-free import, and most important of all the quality of the final product, the company chooses to manufacture the device in Singapore.
• Endless Applications: The KAI wearable device being an application agnostic. The industry that is going to be impacted by Vicara’s gesture control technology includes:
• Home Automation
• Tourism & Hospitality
• Automobiles and others.
Abhishek Satish & Adarsh Warrier, Co-Founders
Abhishek & Adarsh are neighbors, who happened to study at same college - VIT University. Apart from their common interest in technology, futuristic gadgets, and inquisitiveness to learning. They both are poles apart.
While Abhishek is the geek level inferno. He is the man of perfection and superior with his tech abilities. In the process of testing & development, he has eliminated every possible glitch that affects the performance of the device. Another surprising fact is that, after assembling the initial prototype. The device worked perfectly fine. Baffled Abhishek’s quick response was ‘Why is it working?’
Adarsh, on the other hand, is a people’s person. Loves to present their cutting-edge technology in the most theatrical way possible. Often during presentations, you’ll notice a loud blasting music in the background, before he enters the stage and a phenomenal hand gesture to stop the music, and again a different gesture to start the music. And repeats this several times till the audience is thunderstruck. “I like dramatizing things,” laughs Adarsh.
Team Vicara - Incubating the Culture of Growth, Fun, & Innovation
At Vicara, the team consists of six young talented individuals. The company gives full freedom to its employees to work in anonymity. Apart from the co-founders of the company, rest of the members are still in their final year of engineering. The team works tirelessly, managing both studies and work.
A typical day at Vicara's VIT TBI incubation center, involves the team members verbally abusing each other for fun and experimenting with the gesture control technology. Also, the team has worked with a lot of interns, giving them the platform to learn and showcase their talent.
Adarsh Warrier (HUSTLER, 22): Pragmatic Networker, Highly influential and accomplished public speaker, certified high-performance leader by TI, has previous experience working at a consumer electronics startup.
Abhishek Satish (INVENTOR, 22): Our in-house Inventor. Electronics and Technology specialist with extensive experience in microcontrollers, sensor interfacing, 3D Designing and certified ARM professional.
Rakshith Ravi (THE GEEK, 20): Coding expert with extensive experience in cross platform native app development in consultation for 4+ startups.
Vignesh Sankar (THE ARTIST, 22): Experienced User Experience Designer and Product Designer. Has designed over 25+ mobile apps and websites in consultation for 10+ Startups. Makes sure the product is user ready.
Manan Barjatya (THE CAPITALIST, 20): Finance Director and Operations Director with previous experience consulting for 5 startups in the last 2 years. Achievements include increasing gross revenue growth by 300% of a retail business by restructuring it.
Aditya Paranthaman (THE INDUSTRIALIST, 21): Operations Director with previous experience consulting for 4 startups in the last 2 years. Strong background in business networking with legal, manufacturing and production expertise.
Mentors & Investors
• Mr. Balachandran, GM&Asst. Manager Ms.Shuba- VIT TBI (Incubation Centre)
• Salma Moosa & Vivek Srinivasan - Startups Club
• Mahesh Balla, ex-Head at Uber (Investor), Sundar (Mentor) and others