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This Silicon Valley-Based Company Promises To Keep Your House Spotless Founded in 2016 and headquartered in Santa Clara, Trifo is a full-stack AI home robot company

By Debarghya Sil

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

Zhe Zhang, Founder & CEO, Trifo

Among the few things that parents teach their kids at an early age is to keep their surroundings such as the study, bed and playing area clean. Even in schools, lessons were given to students to inculcate cleanliness. Even most of the days "Cleanliness is next to godliness" was found to be thought of the day in classrooms.

Over the years, humans have found ways to keep their living space clean with the help of leaves, branches, brooms and rain, among others. As like any other space, technology found its way, and delivered tools that only cleaned better with zero effort. One of the latest additions in this space is artificial intelligence (AI)-based home robots cleaners, which can clean your house effortlessly with a single tap. One such company is Silicon Valley-based Trifo, which provides a range of AI-based smart home cleaning robots.

In an interaction with Entrepreneur India, Trifo's founder and chief executive officer, Zhe Zhang shared the idea behind Trifo and its entry in India.

Passion for robots

Robotics has always been a fascinating subject. The ability to do tasks that not only require physical strength but also coordination have always amused and rather intrigued everyone. Needless to say, people have been apprehensive about robots as ill-conceived theory floated that said robots will dominate humans. However, with time and noticing the results, humans and robots have established co-dependent relations.

Zhang, a believer of technology, was intrigued by robotics, so much so that he earned a doctorate degree in robotics from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and holds a bachelor's degree in automation from Tsinghua University.

After gaining the required knowledge and driven by a passion to bring enhanced performance and affordability to consumer robotics, augmented reality (AR) and software engineering, Zhang founded Trifo.

"My passion for artificial intelligence and robotics drove me to build a family of home robots that enhance people's lives and let them focus on what's important," he added.

Founded in 2016, and headquartered in the Silicon Valley (Santa Clara), Trifo is a full-stack AI home robot company. Trifo creates end-to-end integrated hardware/software systems with sensing, perception and decision-making capabilities. The company claims that these robots help people live better lives by perceiving physics, geometry and semantics of home environments, naturally communicating with humans and continuously learning new skills with advanced AI technologies.

Balancing life

One of the primary things that the startup claims is that its devices will make one's life better. The company is dedicated to developing home robots that help families obtain the optimal balance between family, work and personal life.

According to Zhang, the cleaning dynamics have been evolving every day. However, robot cleaners at home can cut down the housework and comfort people with busy schedules, especially working professionals.

"Trifo robots bring a new level of ease and efficiency that human cleaners are simply inept at attaining due to human productivity's inherent limits. A person can only mop so many square feet per hour. So, for most homeowners, investing in a robot cleaner is a real life-saver," he justified.

However, when asked if robots will truncate the livelihoods of maids, he said even with the advent of the most sophisticated technology, the future is of collaborative robots (cobots) that support human laborers.

"Robots can actually improve work conditions and empower humans to have more fulfilling jobs in homes or industries,' he added.

Trifo robots can also be used for home monitoring and security as they have pre-installed cameras.

Trifo—which offers three types of home robots named as Max, Emma, and Lucy—raised a Series A round fund worth $11 million in January last year from Walden International, Samsung Ventures, Matrix Partners and others. Eight months later, the startup bagged a Series B round worth $16 million.

Entry to India

The startup—which already had its presence in countries such as Canada, Germany, the UK, Poland, the US and France—entered India September last year at a time when the country was reeling under pandemic. Upon asking the reason behind choosing India as the first Asian country, Zhang said based on the company's initial research of data and experience, Trifo found Indian users are even more open to new technology and receptive to home automation.

"Compared to other parts of Asia, India has less than 10 per cent of market penetration, making it an incredible opportunity and the next big market for home robots. Due to its scale and attractive online and offline distribution channels, India is a significant potential market," he said.

Zhang believes that floor-cleaning robots, which already dominated the market in India, got a tailwind due to the pandemic. So far, Trifo has launched the entry-level product Emma, and mid-level products Ironpie and Max, and is eyening to launch Lucy in early 2021.

Last year, the startup saw a yearly revenue growth of 200-300 per cent compared with last year. The founder is confident to see at least 300-500 per cent growth this year in the American, European and Indian markets.

Debarghya Sil

Entrepreneur Staff

Former Correspondent

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