How Shark Tank India funded Proxgy is leading the way for smart safety helmets

Gurugram startup Proxgy, which began with its service of human proxies, has received patent rights for almost 26 smart safety headgears from the Government of India.
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In 2021, when Cyclone Tauktae swept across the Arabian sea killing almost 78 people who were left stranded in the oil rigs of ONGC, it triggered a chain of what-ifs. What if the authorities had received the correct information to take appropriate precautions much before the cyclone struck? What if they were alerted the exact location of the stranded ones on time? What if help had reached earlier?

Pulkit Ahuja, Founder of Proxgy Technologies, was thinking on similar lines when he was walking out of Shark Tank India with an investment for his team’s first product - an IoT enabled smart helmet. He thought, “How can this helmet be more than something being worn by human proxies to do our daily chores?”

The question morphed into an idea, and soon Proxgy was in touch with the Government of India and contacted by several private organisations for custom-made smart safety helmets.

Founded in 2020, the Gurugram-based B2B and B2G startup makes smart helmets, and currently has six patented products and has acquired 25 patents for developing more products for industries such as mining, oil and refinery, defence, surveillance, road safety, and others.

The first steps

Proxgy launched its first product, an IoT-enabled smart helmet with a stereoscopic 3D experience with a 360-degree viewing option, in 2021. The software also included certain in-house developed technologies such as ScrollView, StreamScroll, and UVCI (Universal Video Conferencing Identifier).

The startup basically enables brands to provide immersive and real-time shopping content to shoppers for making informed purchase decisions.

While the idea rings a bell with Swiggy Genie and Zomato Valet, what made Proxgy unique was giving real-time directions to your proxy as they pick up your groceries or run other errands for you. You can see what they are seeing, hear what they are hearing, and you can keep track of whether they are completing your tasks correctly or not.

“We thought about a system where you can take the help of some person or your proxy enabled with some kind of technology who would do the chores for you. This is how we came up with the term Proxgy - ‘proxy’ and ‘technology’,” says Pulkit.

Safety helmets developed by Proxgy

Appearing in Shark Tank India

Proxgy appeared with its first product on the hit reality television series Shark Tank India. Presented by Pulkit and his investor partner Inderjit Singh Makkar, the team bagged an investment of Rs 1 crore for 10 percent equity from former BharatPe MD Ashneer Grover and Lenskart chief Peyush Bansal.

“Around 60,000 companies had applied to pitch their ideas at the show, and almost 98 were shortlisted for the final round. Only 67 got funded, and we were among the lucky ones who bagged the funding from Ashneer and Peyush,” recalls Pulkit.

Pulkit also feels the entire process of Shark Tank -- from getting selected to the final stage -- taught the team to introspect on their product and the company. It gave them the confidence to present their ideas to not just Sharks, but also to the rest of the world.

Within four months of featuring on Shark Tank India, the market value of Proxgy bumped up by 9X, with almost 50 qualified institutional investors reaching out to them.

“The Made in India Industrial IoT concept introduction and subsequent discussions that happened on the show struck a chord with the decision-makers across multiple businesses and government entities, and thus enquiries and PoC requests increased multifold,” adds Pulkit.

After raising an angel and pre-seed round in Shark Tank, Proxgy is currently in the process of closing its seed round at a $12 million valuation. The startup has raised $800,000 funds in total so far.

Commenting on her investment in Proxgy, Suramya Choudhary, a product manager at Binary Semantics, and an investor says, “Proxgy’s product ideas have always been very unique. I personally love their approach to solving complex real-world problems with proprietary product designs and end-to-end solutions. Proxgy’s Shark Tank success provides the validation of the business model at a national level with a massive internationally scalability potential.”

More than running errands

Since appearing on Shark Tank India, Proxgy has been developing customised smart safety helmets for a clientele consisting of both government and corporates.

Pulkit says that one of the first products it developed post-Shark Tank was a safety helmet for workers at oil refineries and mining sites. The smart helmet is enabled with GPS, light detectors, and a gas detector to detect up to 14 types of different harmful gases.

“Suppose an oil rig is spread over a hundred acres and somewhere a worker is in a dire situation and needs immediate evacuation or assistance, instead of someone running to the central control room, the smart helmet can alert the authorities and provide the necessary information such as the location of the worker, their biometrics such as oxygen levels and pulse rate, and if there is any detection of oil or gas leak. This can prevent many disasters and casualties,” says Pulkit.

Team Proxgy

Overcoming challenges

One of the initial challenges for Proxgy was finding the right team for diversified domains such as hardware and software, IoT, and on-ground operations. A serial entrepreneur, Pulkit feels lucky to have found the initial team in his previous venture.

The core team consists of Harish Verma, who is the CTO, and Ketan Khanna is the head of business operations. Currently, the team has 14 people at the headquarters in Delhi.

Proxgy competes with companies such as Revsmart, Jarvish, Altor, Vida Salvateur, and Nand Logic, which are developing safety headgears to prevent accidents and alert medical emergencies in India.

Future roadmap

The startup is looking to develop patented products further to deliver to clients in the near future. With the seed round inching closer, the team hopes to expand itself and onboard more talent as new orders come in.

Proxgy also hopes to expand globally in the next six to eight months as soon as they complete catering to the clients in India.

Edited by Megha Reddy

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