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Building A New, Smart India
Invento Robotics, owned by Invento Makerspaces, is known for its Mitra series of robots, which have been showcased at various forums, with a variant being launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
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Balaji Viswanathan, a robotics engineer, started his career at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond. He then came back to India to realise his dream i.e. build the world’s best social robot — best as in terms of sales and customer satisfaction. That is where he came up with a humanoid that automate retail store experience.
Invento Robotics, owned by Invento Makerspaces, is known for its Mitra series of robots, which have been showcased at various forums, with a variant being launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Currently, the Mitra robots are deployed in various companies including HDFC, Accenture, Morris Garages, General Motors, Zomato, and PVR.
“Our robots are among the world’s best in design and marries with the state-of-the-art autonomous navigation and human robot collaboration. We have some of the world’s top IT companies and India’s top hospitals as our customers. Our primary model is an asset sale model with a one-time cost of Rs 8-10L. We are now moving to a robot as a service model with a price point comparable to an entry level worker in India and 1/4 of a worker in the US. In the next 3 years, we see a market of 6,000 robots globally with the US and the Middle East would be the top 2 markets and we have won key customers in both the markets,” reveals Balaji Vishwanathan, CEO, Invento Makerspaces.
Having received some seed funding early this year, the company is planning to use the funded amount for research & development (R&D) in building and innovating new robot variants, expand into new industries and verticals. Mitra is capable of autonomous movement and obstacle detection, along with speech understanding in Asian languages like Hindi, Tamil, and Sinhalese. The company is looking to launch subsequent variants of robots for applications in different industries and operating verticals.
Being a hardware company, the company was hit hard by import restrictions and was forced to look for local suppliers. Its supply chains were completely disrupted due to travel bans and product deliveries were significantly hit. However, it rose like a phoenix as soon as the lockdown restrictions were eased. During the Covid crisis, its robots have been helping top hospitals do screening and disinfection, helping reduce the disease spread.
“With all the hardships above we had an excuse to say “tough luck”. Instead our Q1 earnings (April-June) during the peak lockdown time grew 600 per cent from last year. We raised a new round of funding. We hired a lot of new people. We became a global company exporting our robots to the US, Australia, the UAE and Qatar in the past three months. There are hardly a few companies that can claim to export machinery and high-end hardware from India. And as a startup, we achieved that and in a tough period,” Vishwnathan added.