Delhi-based i2e1, a smart network layer platform which aims to provide low-cost and free Internet to consumers and actionable analytics to providers, has raised a seed round of $500,000 led by growX ventures.
The round also saw participation from angel investors such as Mohandas Pai, Rajan Pandhare, Debasish Mitter, and Singapore Angel Network. IIT-Delhi, where i2e1 was incubated, is also a shareholder in the company. The platform will use the funding for ramping up operations, analytics platform and the team.
Satyam Darmora, Co-founder, i2e1, says, “Our aim is to provide information to everyone. At i2e1, we are challenging ourselves to create a model, which will bridge the information gap for at least 500 million people over the next five to seven years. Our aim is to build a connected ecosystem where information is available to everyone, at the right time and the right place, to enable better and faster decision-making.” Satyam is an alumnus of IIT-Delhi and IIM-Bangalore and has worked as head of Financial Services Portfolio at the Dell Family Foundation, and with American Express.
He adds that while there are many application-level platforms, network-level platforms are still unexplored despite having the potential to transform multiple business models. He wants to use his skills to create the smartest network layer platform and thereby impact lives of Indian citizens across the length and breadth of the country.
Other members of i2e1’s founding team include Ashutosh Mishra (ex- Microsoft, Adobe), Anugrah Adams (ex Chitika, mobile advertising platform), Gaurav Bansal (IIT-Kharagpur alumnus, ex-BASIX), and Maanas Dwivedi (IIT-Kharagpur alumnus, ex-American Express).
Based on innovation at the hardware front, i2e1 aims to reduce the cost of network delivery through cloud-based, remotely manageable plug and play devices. The platform leverages advanced machine-learning systems to create valuable insights and increase revenue and profitability for brands and merchants. i2e1 is live across India with over 100 paying clients, including retail outlets, ISPs, and organisations in the hospitality industry like ZO Rooms. Additionally, it has partnerships in place to help it scale up to over 5,000 locations next year.
Sheetal Bahl, MD and CEO, growX ventures, who will be joining the Board of i2e1, says, “i2e1 is led by a very strong team with a grand and audacious vision – to do to the network layer what companies like Facebook have done to the application layer – free it up, in exchange for data, allowing for a more meaningful connect between merchants/ brands and their consumers.”
India’s broadband subscriber base – both wireless and wireline users – has crossed the 100-million mark in May this year, according to TRAI data. The sector is mainly dominated by big players like CISCO, Airtel and Reliance JIO, among others.
In the sector, many platforms have emerged that are working on technologies around it. They are offering trans data analytics and machine learning system, reducing the cost of the Internet delivery, offering public Wi-Fi hotspot and providing services to many individual retailers.
“Many other platforms are working on individual areas. However, we have been offering innovations to the entire segment – networking, data analytics and other Internet-technology-related fields,” says Satyam.
Currently, the market size is worth $15 billion and is growing at 30 per cent CAGR.
Satyam adds that he aims to target between 500 and 700 million people in the next five to seven years.