[Tech30] Meet the serial entrepreneurs who are using AI to help retailers grow their business
Every store manager's job would be simpler if s/he knew what customers were looking for without having to ask them. Gurugram-based Vedalabs helps retailers with insights such as these and enables them to understand their customer base better.
Its AI platform uses CCTV video feeds in stores to present real-time analysis on the total footfall as well as the age and gender of each customer. It also gives retailers an overview of demographics, repeat counts, and other deeper insights.
This helps retailers move more inventory and make informed decisions on their customers and inventories through real-time, store-level insights.
Vivek Singh, Veer Mishra, Saurabh Shandilya, and Saurabh Yadav met while working out of the same co-working space. With a common interest in AI and its application, they decided to start Vedalabs.
“The need to build a pro-active monitoring system led us to launch this platform in January 2018,” says CMO and Co-founder Veer Mishra.
Forming the team
Most of the co-founders were entrepreneurs before starting up Vedalabs. Veer (28) was earlier the Co-founder and CEO of Neuron as well as the Co-founder of My Window.
Vivek (32) worked as an investment banker at Trafigura and was also the Co-founder of AI startup Corseco. Saurabh Shandilya (27) was the Co-founder of IoTfy and had worked as the head of systems at Innov8, while Saurabh Yadav brings his experience as an associate engineer at Qualcomm and data analytics team lead at Omnipresent Robot Tech.
“A few years ago, when we were working with one of the top ecommerce companies’ warehousing division for implementing an AI monitoring platform for hundreds of warehouses across the country, we realised that there was no pro-active system for monitoring entire CCTV systems. That's when we realised that there was a huge need for an AI-driven platform that tracks and monitors all CCTVs in an infrastructure for real-time, pro-active business insights,” Veer recollects.
The biggest challenge for the now 15-member team was in educating prospective clients on the importance of these insights. “We are overcoming this by releasing case studies and working with a handful of customers who then refer us to others,” explains the co-founder.
What Vedalabs offers
Vedalabs offers a single product - a retail analytics platform that shows the total footfall, age, gender, and repeat count at a retail store. “We charge our clients a monthly per-store-per-month retainer, ranging from Rs 3,000 to Rs 15,000, depending upon the features they sign up for,” Veer explains.
The company collects the CCTV footage from its retail clients, which is then run through its AI platform to generate insights.
To begin with, the team is focusing on the organised retail segment in the country. Currently its go-to-market strategies encompass word-of-mouth and on-ground sales. Veer adds,
“We are currently working with a few of the top retail brands in the country. Since inception, we have processed more than 1,50,000 hours of videos.”
At present, the startup claims to have two large-scale enterprises and brands as clients. By the end of this calendar year, the startup is looking to deploy its solutions across 300 locations.
The market space
According to Markets and Markets, the global retail analytics market is expected to grow from $3.14 billion in 2016 to $8.64 billion by 2022, at a CAGR of 19.7 percent.
Veer points out that the retail analytics market is huge in India, too, adding, “No one has yet been able to capture even 5 percent of the market.”
Vedalabs competes with startups like Capillary, Shopr360, and V-count. Speaking about the company’s USP, Veer says,
“The biggest USP is our accuracy in all aspects, followed by our IoT framework and its design that allows our AI device to perform without any blockage and the ability to present counts of repeat visitors among walk-ins.”
The numbers so far and the projections
The startup’s revenue stream comprises SaaS/software licences. There is a one-time installation fee, apart from the per-store-per-month retainer.
“We have been looking at a great revenue growth this calendar year. Our current focus has not been on numbers but on getting the product right,” Veer says.
The company had raised a pre-seed round in January 2018, and received funding from incubator Alchemist Accelerators in November 2018. It also raised convertible, additional funding from Mukesh Mowji and a few other angels in US in February 2019. The startup had raised a pre-Series A round, led by Satvinder Singh of Satin Neo Dimensions, in August 2019.
With its latest funding, Vedalabs is in the process of expanding its product capabilities into intelligent store fitouts and scaling the current products to store-level analytics. Veer explains,
“That will enable us to capture a vast amount of data on retail aspects, making us the most data-rich organisation in the retail space."
(Edited by Athirupa Geetha Manichandar)
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