Two IITians on a mission to optimize energy efficiency in manufacturing sector with MagnetworksJai Vardhan
To help startups, especially in the manufacturing sector, with tangible improvements in production, process and energy efficiency, Bangalore-based Magnetworks offers end-to-end hardware and software systems to wirelessly monitor, control, analyze and optimize industrial machine data.
Father’s challenge becomes son’s motivation
Sahil Kini, founder and CEO, Magnetworks, comes from a business family. His father owns a paint factory. There is a particular incident involving his father’s factory that stands out in his memory. It was the first time his father didn't come home that night. “In fact, he came back after three whole days completely exhausted. This was because, during the commissioning run of a resin reactor the temperature shot up past the critical point. By the time they realized this it was too late. So in a state of panic they cooled it down, but that only caused the resin to harden and jam the reactor building high pressure in the vessel,” recounts Sahil. His father had to punch through the hardened resin blowhole with his bare hands to relieve the pressure resulting in minor burns on his right hand.
Later, when Sahil was pursuing engineering from IIT Madras he realized the importance of SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) and DCS (distributed control systems) made by the likes of Honeywell, Rockwell, Schneider, Yokogawa and ABB. When he asked his father why he never installed these systems, the answer was simple -- ridiculously high cost.
Team behind Magnetworks
Sahil had fascination for factories ever since the days he packed paint tins at his father’s factory. After getting his B Tech at IIT Madras, Sahil worked for McKinsey & Company, Titan Industries, UIDAI (Aadhaar) and a Bangalore-based startup called EzeTap.
Tushit Jain, co-founder and fellow IITian, has worked in the semiconductor industry for the past 10 years as a Systems Engineer. Most recently, he worked for the CTO of Qualcomm Atheros where he defined the product architecture for Qualcomm’s Next-Gen Gateway Chipsets. Before this, Tushit was involved in various stages of silicon design and production, including VLSI design, signal processing, software, validation and product management. Tushit has M Tech and B Tech from IIT Madras.
How the co-founders met?
During April of 2013 I had a bit of free time on my hands and wrote a post on facebook looking for electrical engineers to work with me on building connected devices. Ashish Goel (Founder & CEO of UrbanLadder) who was a senior of mine at McKinsey responded with just four words, ‘You need Tushit Jain’,” recalls Sahil. He knew Tushit through common acquaintances and was aware that Tushit was also looking to hatch a start up. “Tushit and I met the very next day and the rest is history,” adds Sahil.
How it works?
Five-member team works with three clients across areas like emission monitoring, automotive component manufacturing and process control in the chemical storage and distribution industry. Magnetworks’ in-house developed hardware, RedBox, connects sensors that measure machine/process parameters. It takes the output from the sensor and wirelessly transmits it to the cloud. Therefore the entire data gathering process for manufacturers/factories gets automated.
The startup offers real time dashboards, custom reports and analytics to factories looking to improve their business. Magnetworks leverages combination of hardware and software capable of providing actionable insights to business owners.
Challenges and road ahead
“Our biggest challenge so far has been learning the language of industrial automation and finding the right vendors to ensure product quality,” adds Sahil. The long sales cycles are a challenge too for the startup but that's a bit unavoidable. Magnetworks focuses on successful commissioning of the projects it is working on. So far the company is bootstrapped by the founders but they are eyeing to raise funds for scaling-up.