[Tech50] Deep diving into the journey of deeptech startup Jidoka Technologies: one innovation at a time

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Sekar Udayamurthy, the Co-founder and CEO of Jidoka Technologies, one of YourStory’s Tech50 2021 startups, talks about the USP of the deeptech startup as they combine hardware and software to provide solutions to the automotive industry

When Dr. Krishna Iyengar and Vinodh Venkatesan were working in the automotive manufacturing sector, they were looking for a product which could meet the automation requirements of the industry, and one that could enhance the efficiency of quality control in manufacturing.

Unable to find the perfect product, they approached Sekar Udayamurthy, a BS degree holder in Information Systems from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS), Pilani and an MS degree holder from the University of Maryland, whom they met through a common friend. They initially undertook some market research and even attended international conferences looking for a solution in the global arena. However, no such product solution met their requirements. 

And thus began the journey of the Chennai-based, deeptech startup, Jidoka Technologies, a YourStory Tech50 2021 startup, with Sekar as the Co-founder and CEO, Dr. Krishna as the Co-founder and CTO, and Vinodh as the Co-founder and Chief Revenue Officer. 

The business-to-business (B2B) startup, which was launched in 2018, is an artificial intelligence (AI)-first company where automated cognitive quality control solutions combine AI and automation. Jidoka offers the software solution — Kompass ™  and trademarked hardware solutions to solve surface defect detection, presence/absence, product sorting and counting requirements of the manufacturing sector.

Driving customer acceptance

When asked about the biggest landmarks since the inception of Jidoka, Sekar shares that hitting the Rs 2 crore revenue benchmark since its launch, that too despite the impact of COVID-19, counts as a top achievement. The company also has 11 customers, including a recently acquired international customer based out of the UK. 

Sekar says that this speaks volumes about the product and points towards an acceptance of the product from the customer side. “From the product side, we filed for two patents. The intellectual property (IP) is key to our success. Last but not the least, the company boasts of a young workforce, fresh out of college or two-three years past college. It’s a pretty energetic bunch and the best part is that we have moulded them into a data science or software engineering world to deliver the high-class products that we have built,” adds Sekar. 

The differentiating factors

The manufacturing industry has been used to the licensing model. So, it’s an uphill task to convince every customer about subscription-based models, reveals Sekar.

“Secondly, customers expect that AI being a product-driven solution as opposed to human intelligence will work 100 percent accurately. Human intelligence operates at 75 percent, and the shift from 75 to 100 percent is not possible through AI. It can achieve about 98 percent, so there will still be a two percent gap between perfection and what AI can offer. Educating our customers about this is a big challenge,” adds Sekar. 

The USP of Jidoka Technologies is that they combine hardware with software to provide the right solution to solve the customer problem. “A software solution alone is not equipped to meet the levels of accuracy and consistency needed by the manufacturing industry. We work with the customer to achieve their end goal rather than just giving them a product,” shares Sekar.     

The future roadmap

Jidoka Technologies is eyeing geographical expansion across North America and subsequently Europe as the company is confident about the existing market opportunity there. “In terms of the product, we want to move into the vertical domain of printing and electronics. Talking in terms of the product itself, we have a very ambitious plan of integrating this as an enterprise-quality platform,” adds Sekar. 

Edited by Anju Narayanan