Bootstrapped Cloudblocks has a complete home automation range that comes with advanced functions like voice control at affordable rates.
From lights and locks to thermostats and speakers - technology has made smart homes a reality with just the click of a button. While comfort and convenience have become the key for smart homes with Amazon Alexa and Google Home now ruling the space, many homegrown companies are also venturing into home automation.
Looking to provide energy saving solutions and ease of home automation without burning a hole in your pocket, Harmeet Singh and Archit Gupta started Cloudblocks in 2015 in Delhi. The founders say they invested around Rs 4 lakh to set up the company.
The company says it is striving to differentiate itself from other global brands with its focus on the pricing.
“At Cloudblocks, we take the challenge to provide better user experience to our customers at nearly half the price of what other brands are providing. We provide a complete home automation range with advanced functionality like voice control at very nominal pricing without compromising on the quality and customer experience,” says Archit.
Cloudblocks’ product range includes Blocks Duo (that control two appliances), Blocks Quadro (for four appliances), Blocks Hexo (six appliances), Blocks Octo (eight appliances), and Blocks Power to control heavy appliances such as air-conditioners, geysers and motors in one switchboard.
It also offers a door unlock solution called Blocks Bolt, which lets you unlock your door from anywhere in the world. Its Blocks Shades is a curtain controller, and Autocut is a three-level water indicator that protects overhead tanks from overflowing and automatically turns on/off the motor depending on the water level.
Cloudblocks, which is installed in the house and outside and works in wifi, also has a security kit, which has motion sensor, door sensor and a smart button called ‘Click’ that can control lights, plus act as a panic button in case of an emergency.
Archit says the products will cost around Rs 50,000, including taxes, for a 2BHK house, and has many products for lesser than Rs 5,000 that are standalone and do not require any hub or control center.
Harmeet says he got the idea when he wanted to control the lighting in his house from the comfort of his bed. With an R&D background, he started working on a solution that could save electricity and monitor, analyse and control the home.
Archit says he met Harmeet through a common friend when he was searching for an android developer while the latter was working on the idea. Archit was intrigued with the idea and decided to join him.
Harmeet, a B-tech graduate from Rayat Institute of Engineering and Information Technology, Punjab, currently handles the complete tech-end at Cloudblocks. Before this, he was freelancing for clients in Russia and Dubai while working with companies like Limetray as a tech lead.
Archit has worked with Octro and also with some early-stage startups as a project manager. He holds a B-tech from HMR Institute of Technology and Management, New Delhi. At Cloudblocks, he handles the business operations, which includes planning marketing campaigns, building strategies for dealer distributor onboarding, competitive analysis and taking care of financials.
Cloudblocks is currently a team of 10 members.
Everything, right from the ideation to the final product, is done in-house. The team works through a network of dealers and distributors, which provides service and installation to end-customers.
“The dealers/distributors purchase stock from us, and we provide them 15-30 percentage of our margin depending on the amount they have invested. We have dealer slabs and accordingly the percentage. We train their electricians and then they give service and support from our side to the customers. We also provide them technical assistance and help them in troubleshooting if required.
"As distribution requires more investment, we provide exclusivity of the city to a distributor,” says Archit.
Cloudblocks offers services in Gujarat, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Delhi NCR, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana. The company is also getting requests for OEMs and is in talks for builder projects working on futuristic homes.
Archit says running a hardware startup with limited resources was their biggest challenge. “When we started this journey, we were clueless about how we would go about it, having no experience in delivering a hardware product to customers. But we just had one goal in our mind - to create a quality home automation product that we would love to use.”
The team did several iterations to achieve this and finally came out with a most convenient, easy-to-use and user-friendly product. Focused on B2B model, the team earns revenue through dealers and distributors. Cloudblocks has also tied up with architects and builders.
According to a report by Research and Markets, the Indian home automation market is expected to cross Rs 30,000 crore by 2022. “Home Automation in India is creating big opportunities not only for Indian automation companies but also for foreign companies. Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Pune, Ahmedabad and Bengaluru have a combined market share of more than 50 percent in the total home automation market of the country,” says Archit.
The automation industry already has international brands like Fibaro, Honeywell, Schneider and Legrand. In India, companies competing in the space include Hyderabad-based Wozart, Mumbai-based Picostone and Bengaluru-based Helpforsure, to name a few.
In terms of revenue, Cloudblocks claims to be showing month-on-month growth by selling more than 150 units per month. “We have seen around 30 percent increase in demand from last quarter. And this year, our sales are three times of what we did previous year,” explains Archit.
The team is now working on a new product called ‘Automation’. The product will work by itself, considering the room and outside temperature, humidity and the temperature you feel comfortable in. It will then iterate itself to suit your needs better with the help of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), and claims to bring down electricity bills by 30 to 35 percent. It will also reduce the air conditioner usage.
Currently bootstrapped, Cloudblocks is in talks with some potential investors to raise funds to scale and expand its distribution system.