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Hooked to your mobile? This 3 year old startup is probably the reason behind it

Hooked to your mobile? This 3 year old startup is probably the reason behind it

Saurav Kumar, Co-founder & CEO, Cube26

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You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

New Delhi headquartered Cube26, which claims to be India’s leading technology firm, has been making devices smarter through its software expertise since its inception. Popularly known for its customised Android experience and Gesture technology like “Blink to capture” and “Look away to pause” for Panasonic and Micromax respectively, Cube26 software resides on more than 5 million devices, which is just 4 per cent of the total mobile users in India.

Cube26, a Silicon Valley startup founded by Saurav Kumar and Abhilekh Agrawal in 2012, has developed the next generation of technology that allows devices to recognise users, interpret human gestures and understand their emotions.

As per the research by Cisco, the number of smartphones grew by 54 per cent in 2014 to 140 million, and the number of smartphones will grow 4.7 fold between 2014 and 2019 to a total of 651 million.

Further, India is said to be the fifth-largest tech market in Asia Pacific and if we go by figures stated in Forrester Research's latest Asia Pacific Tech Market Outlook report, then tech purchases in India will grow by more than 10 per cent making it the fastest growth market in the region for 2015 - 2016.

Sensing the opportunity, Cube26 decided to shift its base in India in 2013 to focus on Indian mobile ecosystem. Formerly known as PredictGaze, the company is working towards revolutionising the device experience for users across platforms.

Recently, the startup has raised Rs 50 crore in the seed round of funding led by venture capital Tiger Global Management with participation from Flipkart to leverage its software expertise across devices and to expand its team across the stack.

Speaking on the recent investment, Kumar said, “We are elated at the trust showcased by our investors so early in our journey and glad to be associated with the global leaders. With our software focus and product led monetization approach, we are confident of providing unique user experiences across form factors and devices to Indian consumers .We want to bridge the technological gaps and build products and solutions which are accessible and intuitive in nature.”

After pioneering in gesture technology and enhancing the Android and OS experience through customisation and applications, Cube26 plans to further develop its groundbreaking software products and work on smarter devices in the IoT (Internet of Things) segment.

Currently dealing with 25 Indian and International brands across sectors like travel, food, entertainment, retail & others, the 60 people team in Delhi plans to take the total headcount to 120 in the next quarter. Entrepreneur India interacts with Kumar to know more about Cube26, its future growth and expansion plans:

What challenges did you face in term of taking your product to the market?

“Technology doesn’t sell, product does”, “Product market fit”, “Building business models that scale” were some of the initial challenges faced by us. Going ahead, we want to stay relevant and provide amazing customer experience and engagement with the products we build.

How Cube26 is different from other companies catering in the same sector?

Cube26 as a company works with multiple stakeholder across the mobile ecosystem - building customised Android experience/utility apps for OEM/consumers, App discovery/engagement platform for brands while being core to user centric design and experiences. Going forward, we are also exploring ways to expand our expertise toward leveraging internet of things (IoT) experience.

There are companies that are working specifically in each of above domains, however we believe a holistic approach to service/content discovery has a significant advantage when it comes to overall user experience and customer engagements for brands.

Throw some light on your revenue and business model. Also what’s the revenue figure till date and the target revenue next year?

We provide customised OS solutions to Indian OEM’s and our software currently resides on more than 5 million devices which are around 4 percent of mobile users in India. We have shipped products like ‘QuickLook’ and ‘Blink for Selfie’ exclusively on Micromax and Panasonic smart phones respectively.

Besides this, significant amount of our revenue is being churned through tie-ups with brands for user acquisition and monetization. We were over a crore in revenue per month. Looking at the constantly changing market trends and conditions, we believe it’s too soon to comment on our target revenue.

At present, in what all categories you are dealing in and what other categories you are planning to add?

We believe that mobile hardware is steadily becoming commoditized, so a lot of device makers are focusing heavily on software-led user experience and monetization. We plan to use our software expertise to help brands reach their target audience in a non intrusive way.

Also, in India, majority of big e-commerce players are becoming app first and the focus is shifting from desktop to mobile only with smaller companies following suit. Going forward, we will be venturing into more consumer centric utility apps and upcoming IoT (Internet of Things) devices for Indian and global market.

With how many brands you are currently dealing with? Kindly name them.

Apart from dealing with almost all OEMs like Micromax, Panasonic, Intex, and Karbonn etc., Cube 26 also works with a lot of Indian and International brands across sectors like Flipkart, ZO Rooms, Myntra, Quikr and others to help them reach targeted users and drive engagement through our curated local store and products.

Edition: December 2016

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