After working with top corporates like Wipro and Tata Docomo, this woman entrepreneur decided to start up in the AR space
Amrutha Valli, the Founder of PurpleApple Infosytems, has always believed that women are born entrepreneurs.
“We wear multiple hats, multi-task, and balance so many roles easily. The entrepreneur bug is latent in every woman. It’s only a matter of time before the innate skills show up,” she says.
However, it took Amrutha more than 20 years of working as a security consultant with corporates like Wipro and Tata Docomo to think of starting up.
The MCA gold medallist from Sri Padmavati Mahila Viswa Vidyalayam, Tirupati, started thinking of taking the entrepreneurial plunge in 2014. It took around one-and-a-half years for her to give it the current structure.
AR for shopping solutions
Amrutha started Purple Apple Info systems in 2016 to develop augmented reality solutions to “disrupt the retail industry with experiential shopping and marketing solutions”.
She explains, “One of the biggest challenges of shopping is the percentage of returns. New-age shopping is all about providing experiences and 37 percent of shoppers prefer to try before they buy the product”.
Amrutha's TRYb4uBUY is a sector-agnostic, omni-channel augmented reality solution that uses AI to allow users to try products like spectacles, jewellery, apparel, furniture, furnishings, wallpapers, home décor, etc., in a live environment with the exact size. Users can try different items using a mobile application or web portal. Users can also resize the items if they need them to be customised.
“This is a B2B2C solution. Our target clients are any enterprise dealing with products, which can be tried by the customer. We are working on multiple revenue models like licensing, Pay As You Go, and others,” she adds.
The leap forward
Purple Apple Systems is completely bootstrapped, and the startup took root from Amrutha’s meditation room at her home to reduce expenses.
“I had mixed feelings when I decided to leave the job and start something on my own, especially with regard to investment, employees, success, and failure, but thanks to the support from my family, I was able to take a deep dive in this solo journey,” she says.
The startup is completely bootstrapped and has a few paying enterprises and customers on board.
“The challenges of a bootstrapped organisation include limited funds, resources and time. Also, in the current world where software innovations are introduced by mega companies like Google and Facebook every month, a budding company holds no cards while competing against the larger players. A startup, especially a bootstrapped one, which does not have enough resources for elaborate R&D, finds it difficult to establish initially in an ever-changing tech world. Sales and marketing of the product are obviously one of the biggest challenges as ours is a new concept and the market is still in an experimental mode. It is not yet completely ready for new technologies,” says Amrutha.
While the startup faces competition from a few in the space, Amrutha claims that no one else has a mobile app or a web portal that is sector-agnostic, has size, resize and autofit, uses 3D and 2D, is omni-channel, easy to use, and works on all smartphones.
The response, Amrutha says, has been positive and encouraging.
“People loved to try jewellery using the TRYb4uBUY mobile app in all the conferences where I have put the stalls. I have testimonial videos of people trying jewellery, dresses, etc. I also feel privileged to be part of multiple entrepreneur cohorts of IIMB, IITD, XLR8AP, Amity Innovation Incubation, Empower, SheLeadsTech, etc. that have provided me the opportunity to network with like-minded entrepreneurs, learn, and excel.”
Amrutha is buoyant about PurpleApple’s future. “The retail market in India will reach approximately $1,200 billion by 2021. We have started with metropolitan cities and are slowly planning to expand to Tier II cities and globally by the end of next year. There’s huge potential to scale up in this space and achieve my dreams of being a unicorn even if I consider 0.1 percent of the Indian retail market,” Amrutha says.
(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)