“The entrepreneurship bug bit me in the first year of college itself, IIT Bombay being the hub of student entrepreneurs. Motivation was in various forms, but the final strike on the nail was when I realized that receiving orders from someone is not something which I can digest. This was a major weakness realized during my days as a Hostel secretary, and there was only one way to overcome or override this weakness. Though, later I realized that as an entrepreneur, this attitude can be suicidal,” says Ashwin Srivastava, co-founder, Incept.
Hariom Sharma, the co-founder, experienced entrepreneur and mentor, was the driving force behind the setting up of the team. Ashwin and Hariom had met through the ECell at IIT. And then, they did the first set of hiring through undergraduates at IIT Bombay itself, followed by hiring of fresh MBAs from Pune University. The decision turned out to be not-so-successful; and today, only one of the core team members (apart from founders) still work with them (a lesson for aspiring entrepreneurs?). Dhiraj Hakke, the National Technology Manager, was the only gem filtered out of their first set of multiple hires, accentuates Ashwin.
Hariom has been a pioneer in the Security Industry. He says “My focus always remained on serving SMEs, as I was a voracious reader during the 2008-09 slowdown which talked about rise of SMEs. The marriage of these two ideas led us to conceive Incept.”
They spent almost a year in understanding customers and potential market segments. Technology development was easier considering the presence of similar ideas and technologies in foreign countries. But bringing the technology to suit Indian SMEs, turned out to be the major research area. After all, sitting in Mumbai, it’s tough to understand the pain points of a small factory owner in Bihar. But detailed R&D was done, before going ahead with the venture. That included use of social and professional media like LinkedIn, and offline customer interaction platforms like Justdial.
In short, with these complete systems, it becomes easier to ensure timely attendance in the offices, and a generation of government reports can be done with a single click (hence no need to waste paper and maintain those big sized registers that represent old-school Indian businesses).
Their systems can also be used for Access Control, and in combination with Incept’s CCTV Camera systems can make an SME office completely secure. Most importantly, Incept is not a product company, they love to call themselves a Service Army that is ready to repair, maintain and service any security based office automation products including those by their competitors.
Their revenue generation happens through their service. It includes maintenance, configuration and training directly by the R&D team. They also have a Training Academy, which is aimed at educating students, entrepreneurs, business proprietors, security professionals, and others. This Academy is the source of their not-for-profit revenue generation. It also acts as the biggest source of their employee hiring and is a significant force in establishing and cementing the leading position of ‘brand Incept’.“We are scalable both vertically and horizontally. Apart from providing automation products and services (which includes Biometric and CCTV surveillance systems) to SMEs, we have also provided them free HR consultancy in the past. We are planning to add this as a nominally paid service and more interesting services to our kitty. Geographically, we have already expanded to Middle East through a partner office in Dubai, and hope to target the North African markets soon. There is a huge potential in the Middle East and African countries, waiting to be tapped. Moreover, there are some interesting plans with the Incept Training Academy which is currently running in parallel to our core business. Certain crossings at strategized intervals will help our business scale further,” says Ashwin.
Incept has been the first company to do a number of things: it has been the first company to sell Biometric systems online, the first brand to publish all prices on website, the first organization to bypass multiple business layers in the security industry, first service provider to sell automation products to doctors’ clinics in places like Bihar; and been the first to implement many more firsts in its processes.