Virtual reality has been a boon to the mobile and entertainment domains. However, today almost every platform has been adopting this technology into their respective domains. According to Digi-Capital’s new ‘Augmented/Virtual Reality Report 2015’, Augmented/Virtual Reality is expected to reach a global valuation of $150 billion by 2020. These valuations are expected to be achieved through the development of both high quality hardware as well as content.
Two colleagues turned couple Gautam and Tithi Tewari decided to amalgamate their architectural designing skills with VR technology.
How does it work?
Gautam and Tithi had just started their own architectural practice after hanging up their corporate shoes at Space Matrix. Their quest to visualize their designs better they cofounded SmartVizX. The company is using VR based technology to develop business applications.
In a brief chat with Entrepreneur Media Gautam said, “While we are presently focused on the Architecture, Engineering and Design space, we hope to soon branch out to sectors such as gaming, edutainment, learning and development, healthcare etc. Our products use Virtual Reality to bridge the mismatch between seller proposition and customer expectation.”
“Say for instance, if you are contemplating on buying a home, how much of a help would static brochures be to you? In case the sample flat is not ready, you are forced to rely on imagery and numbers to imagine how your future purchase might turn out to be. Sample flats themselves may not be completely representative of the particular flat option you choose. This where, VR or more specifically, we come into the picture. We can use the Auto – Cad files shared by a developer or builder to create the entire house in Virtual Reality,” he added.
From being life partners to co-founders
Both Gautam and Tithi left their cushy corporate jobs and decided to venture into the entrepreneurial journey. Speaking on this decision Gautam said, “Well, we are married and I think the ‘knowing’ part gets explained right there! But if I am to delve deeper, we were friends first, became colleagues thereafter and, gradually realised that the friendship could become much more. However, in spite of nearly 30+ years of industry experience between the two of us, we still felt as if we were missing out on something. We craved to do something of our own and frankly, after so much industry exposure, we were well equipped in terms of skills to build our own company.”
“I believe we have both always been entrepreneurs at heart. We were fortunate enough to be in leadership roles for the major part of our careers which helped in a big way. Having built businesses and teams; we realised the value of commitments and people early on and, both of these are key factors to build a successful organisation. You cannot not value commitments and hope to build a business that your customers will trust in. Without committed customers; you really do not get to go anywhere. Similarly, people are and will always be crucial to make the journey of building something spectacular a success. If you don’t respect what and how people feel; there is no getting to anywhere with what you want to do. Of course; despite all the efforts to keep going with all honesty, you still get the odd ones that you need to deal with. Then you just cop it on the chin and keep moving. The key is to keep moving forward; always. And this is what we have learnt together, as entrepreneurs, over the years.” Gautam added.
Getting funded in the VR space
The company secured angel funding of $530000 from Indian Angel Network and Stanford Angels and Entrepreneurs earlier this year. SmartVizX is already present in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Dubai as well markets such as Singapore and USA.
On being asked as to how they won over marquee investors Gautam said that the credibility of the founders is the clincher. “End of the day the investors are looking for return on their investment. The idea might be great but if there are no returns; then it’s not a successful business. Investors feel far more confident of entrepreneurs who have a proven track record of setting up successful businesses. And, why should they not be? They are not funding whims and hobbies; are they? I have personally witnessed many a great ideas not taking off because of lack of business based experience of the founding team.”
Gautam sees their company becoming the face of VR content & solutions in India. “See hardware is already being developed by some of the biggest tech giants of today. Content however, is a different story. We have the right talent and the right strategy to become global players in this domain,” he said. In two years, he sees SmartVizX as a 100 crore company.