MindHelix Technologies, Kerala based Student entrepreneurs, on building Tuk Tuk Meter and more

25th May 2011
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Already making waves with their mass friendly product TukTuk Meter, Student Startup, Mind Helix Technologies, based out of Kerala are raring to innovate and build differentiated product. YourStory spoke to one of the Founding entrepreneur, Kallidil Kalidasan, to understand the Mind Helix gameplan and what it takes to be a student entrepreneur.Introduction to Student Startup - MindHelix Technologies

MindHelix is a student startup company focussing on smartphone application development. We have great passion in technology and in providing “mobility solutions” to the masses and tuktuk meter is such a product in which we introduced complicated technology like GPS for the common good. Since its inception in December 2010, our goal has been to become a technology developer rather than being just a software company and we envision an R&D department to foster research into varied mobile solutions.

How is MindHelix Technologies different from other mobile app development firms? What are your flagship solutions?

We have not just been another mobile app development firm considering that we focussed more on ideas which can drive the mobile app market especially in India. Tuktuk meter and its sibling tuktuk meter 2 are examples of how we perceive mobile phones to be influencing people’s lives and rightly they took the market by storm with over 25,000 downloads in two months and being covered by over 60 national and international media including the wall Street Journal. We have made sure that we deployed all our applications on multiple smartphone platforms so that they would remain versatile in every sense.

How did the idea for MindHelix Technologies come about? How did you zero in on the name ‘MindHelix’? How much capital was required to implement the idea?

Thomas Antony (our CTO) and I are classmates and have been studying robotics and helped engineering students with electronics projects. All the while, Christin Emmanuel George (CEO) was a freelance web and software developer. The idea of starting a company popped when we three met for the first time. Although we would do everything from robotics to mobile apps, we had to find a vertical if we were to scale our business and we chose to go with mobile application since it gave us a huge opportunity to improvise on our strengths in software development and hardware too. We pulled in two more guys from our college Nandakumar KS (CFO) and Abin Peter (CIO) who really added muscle to the venture.

We chose the name MindHelix Technologies so as to denote the two core factors that has enabled the flourishing of human civilisation as it is seen today.  Mind is where ideas grow, where thoughts flourish, innovations take root. “Human Mind” led us to what we are today. The other key factor that influenced human beings, the core of our physical existence, the code of life: DNA. Structured in the form of a double helix, it symbolises human existence as we see it today. Together Mind and DNA has created civilisations. MindHelix Technologies was chosen as the name.

We pooled in Rs 1 lakh as initial investment to get everything together and start off. So basically we bootstrapped the venture.

Tell us about your background.

I am a doing my final year Mechanical Engineering from Toc H Institute of Science & Technology, Cochin, Kerala. In fact all us except Christin(CEO) are still in college and will graduate this July. Christin is a computer engineer from College of Engineering, Chegannur, Kottayam, Kerala.

Tie ups, associations established?

We have a tie-up with Infosys to develop apps for their mobile app system called FLypp. We are also in the process of signing a joint venture with a Pune based company called Suma Soft Pvt Ltd for developing mobile apps jointly.

Where do you see the mobile apps space in the coming times and MindHelix Technologies role in it?

The mobile app market is one of the fastest growing technology markets in the world and in India too. With smaller players like Micromax etc coming up with cheaper smartphones, the app market can expect a huge growth. Even the 3G based services on mobiles where content delivery is mainly done through applications opens up the market even more. All these factors add up creating a huge space for companies and for individual developers.

We are looking at ‘Mobility’ in the literal sense which is a major step ahead for MindHelix. That means we are also looking at “mobile” electronic solutions as well and we have already developed prototypes for such mobile products. We also want to set up an R&D lab where we could work on new technologies that would be a leap into the future. We also want to grow at a pretty good rate as a mobile software provider and also expand our client base to enterprise customers.

What is MindHelix Technologies’ revenue model? Funding? If yes, can you throw some light on how the funding came about and from whom?

We focus mostly on client projects now and thus our revenue model is basically from doing such projects. We also have more applications in the development phase with revue models based on ads and on app upgrades. Multiplatform games are also in various phases of development.

We have received Rs 2.5 lakh funding from DST through Technopark TBI recently for a hardware project.

What are the challenges that you faced while developing your solutions? How did you overcome those challenges?

Since we are focusing on mobile software which was a new area in software development, we had to train all our developers to work on new platforms. We had to train each of our employees to specialize on a specific mobile platform all the while having a basic knowledge of other platforms as well.

We made sure that we got only people with genuine interest in working in a startup scenario and who knew basics of programming. Our first employees were best we could get and all of them are experts in their respective fields now. We also made sure that we set a training system in place so that new employees are taught and moulded the way we want them. We even threw new recruits with live projects so that they get a chill of how to work on a real project.

And finally we made sure that everyone got their salaries without any delay whatsoever and always kept a friendly rapport with them. Now we a have a happy family of 13 members at MindHelix.

How big is the team behind MindHelix Technologies? Give us some info on team composition. Number of people, their backgrounds. Are you looking at hiring?

We have 13 people in MindHelix including the CXOs.

Christin Emmanuel George ( Chief Executive Officer )

Thomas Antony ( Cheif Technology Officer )

Kallidil Kalidasan ( Chief of Operations )

Nandakumar KS ( Chief Financial Officer )

Abin Peter ( Chief Information Officer )

Augustine George ( Chief Marketing Officer )

We have six developers and a marketing manager, all of whom are engineering graduates from middle class families. We have four interns here now who are passionate enough to have come all the way from Chennai to Cochin to do their internship from MindHelix.

We hired three about a month ago and will be going in for more in another couple of months if need be.

Let us know about your expansion plans.

We will be recruiting more at least six more developers in this year and are planning to move to a separate office space by then. We have hardware products which will be launched in a year and we are looking for funding on those projects.

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