Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his speech at the launch of the ‘Startup India’ programme, pointed out a misconception that startups are generally associated with IT, and mentioned that it’s not true. Startups are not just about software and apps; hardware is also an important sector that entrepreneurs have started tapping. Amidst the lush growth of ecommerce, fintech, logistics and on-demand startups in our ecosystem, a new breed of ballsy entrepreneurs had sown the seed of hardware startups. The seedlings slowly grew steadily among the giants beanstalks and some of them have even turned out to be towering giants themselves.
Grey Orange is one such startup. This Gurgaon-based startup builds robots for the supply chain and logistics industry. Founded in 2009, Grey Orange has been aggressively scaling up and has over 400 employees across three cities – Gurgaon, Hong Kong and Singapore – and plans to focus on R&D of its new products, expand its executive team and accelerate its international expansion into Asia Pacific, Middle East and European Markets. To fuel its expansion plans, it raised about $30 Mn in Series B round of funding from its existing investors, Tiger Global Management and Blume Ventures, August 2015.
Kerala can be safely called the hardware startup hub of India. Hardware startups like Exploride, Mindhelix, SectorQube, Bisko Labs and Fin Robotics, all have their roots in God’s Own Country. Startup Village, based in Kochi, has played a major role in catapulting the state to this position.
There are other key players making their mark in this space. The wearable tech space has been witnessing a lot of attention from consumers and a number of startups have emerged to tap this opportunity – Neyya (Fin), Safer from Leaf Wearables, Lechal from Ducere Technologies, Sensegiz and GOQii are some of them.
Despite the inception of a number of hardware startups, and the Government coming up with a number of favourable startup policies, there are many challenges that still bog down these hardware startups.
The Hardships Of Hardware: What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger
Vivek Mohan, CEO of Bisko Labs, and Dr Ritesh Malik, creator at Innov8 Coworking and founder of Delhi-based Guerilla Ventures, both are of the opinion that “hardware is hard in India”. Hardware startups face a lot of challenges that are usually different from the ones faced by software startups, both in terms of quality and quantity.