This woman entrepreneur started a securities business, which has clocked Rs 150 Cr in revenue
The story of Volksara Pvt Ltd began when, on one fine day, Saily Lad went on a walk with her father around London. A casual conversation about CCTV cameras installed at different points segued to a discussion on her topic of research – a project for smart cities in the small counties of England.
“This led us to a discussion on my topic of research - the advantages of electricity produced through water, that we conducted while working on project SEMA. It was a smart city project initiated in the small counties of England. This was when the idea gained momentum, and we began discussing possible scenarios for the Indian diaspora. With the support of my father, these ideas turned into possibilities, and my venture was born. This was when the idea gained momentum, and we began discussing possible scenarios for the Indian diaspora. With the support of my father, these ideas turned into possibilities, and my venture was born,” Saily recalls.
Drive for entrepreneurship
Saily is not the first in her family to have a drive for entrepreneurship. Her father had founded the Krystal Group of Companies, which, over the years, evolved to providing multiple services(integrated facilities management, aviation services, etc) to consumers.
As his oldest daughter, her role at Krystal was to look over new developments and expansion of the business in the manpower-based service industry.
Saily pursued a BA in Strategic Management and Consulting from Nottingham Trent University and MSc in Business Consulting from Royal Holloway, University of London.
“At the age of 12, I had decided to start my own venture, rather than joining the family business. After completing my Master’s I turned my attention towards the IT industry in India, as I saw immense scope in it. Through these ideas, Volksara was born in 2014. While initially, we concentrated on providing surveillance security business solutions, we evolved into a 100 percent IT business over the years,” she says.
Volksara in smart cities
Today, Volksara works with smart cities and towards cybersecurity development, and plans to expand its operations further into other implementations of IT components such as system integrator. In simple terms, Volkswara provides security solutions with the aid of technological advancements.
Also, the announcement of the 100 smart cities by the Government of India in 2015, came as a fillip, as the demand for these services was increasing rapidly.
Volksara’s association with the Kumbh Mela came at an interesting point and served as an opportunity to work on a large-scale project. Saily throws light on how the largest religious gathering in India was aided by impressive and intuitive tech.
“The Kumbh Mela was the very first opportunity that we, as a startup, received in the first six months of operating from WIPRO. It was one of the first few cities to be under the safe city project at the time, and had the added importance of being one of India’s biggest religious events. While working on this project, we used of a lot of AI-based technologies like number plate recognition, people counting, and ICCC. We also received abundant appreciation for executing such a large project in just two months, and also got nominated as the ‘Best Indian Safe City’ by the FSAI,” she says.
Plans for the future
Over the years, Volksara has been associated with many safe cities like Gondia and Matheran, as well as smart cities like Nashik, Namchi, and Pimpri-Chinchwad.
“We have also executed a number of projects in the oil and gas industry and at airports – the major one being the work we have done for the Mumbai airport. Here, we installed 85 one-of-a-kind cameras, weighing almost 35 kgs and with 20 lenses in each, spread in a 2.13 km radius. AI (artificial intelligence) was used in it for the purposes of detection for theft from the flight to the belt, checking landing points for aircraft, as well as to issue parking penalties if applicable,” she adds.
While Saily says she counts her blessings for the success so far, the biggest challenge has been her acceptance as a woman, not just in business, but in the IT industry.
“It is sometimes an uphill battle, but a satisfying one, nonetheless.”
Volksara’s current revenues, as of March 2020, are at Rs 150 crore while projections for March 2021 are almost at Rs 300 crore.
As for the future, Saily has ambitious plans for Volksara. “We intend to expand into different IT ventures as an SI (System Integrator) which brings together all the different types of technology in hardware and software under one roof and run operations simultaneously and seamlessly. We also set up a production unit for R&D (Research and Development) of new technology products which largely focus on the AI and machine learning industry to bring better and more effective services to our consumers,” she says.
(Edited by Kanishk Singh)