A collection of personal Interviews with celebrated leaders, entrepreneurs, corporate honchos or any success stories.
Home Automation in India is Being Revolutionised by Silvan Labs
Silvan exists to leverage IoT technologies to make various spaces like homes, offices etc more safe, secure, comfortable, energy efficient and operatioally efficient. Read ON!
Can we get introduced to the Founder/s of Silvan Labs?
The four founders were colleagues in Texas Instruments and then got together in 2008 to start Silvan. Following are brief background of the founders:
Avinash Gautam : CEO
B.Tech, IIT Kanpur; MS IISc Bangalore, 29 Years of engineering leadership experience in India and US, Two times winner of EDN Asia component of the year award. Experienced in high level customer interface, complex solution selling and large B2B deal closures. At Silvan, Avinash has been driving Business development, new market identification, Sales and Marketing, Product roadmap, Branding and PR, Customer relationships and Customer Projects execution.
Previously, he headed the India Design Centre, Montalvo Systems, where he set up a team of 150 engineers and managed the operations and technical execution of a complex, high-performance microprocessor. At Moxair Inc, he was the Vice President of Engineering, where he handled a start-up on system level power management. Earlier, as General Manager at Texas Instruments, he managed a team of 200 engineers working on DSP and DSP related product development for various applications.
Giri Krishna – Heads Quality, Program Management and Manufacturing
A PhD from Indian Institute of Science and BE from Delhi College of Engineering, has more than 31 years of experience. His expertise ranges from a wide spectrum of Technology Product Development life cycles, programming paradigms and technologies, to managing multi-location product development teams. Started as Founder-CEO of Silvan Innovation Labs in 2008and became the CMD in Dec 2013.
Prior to this, he managed a 450-member, embedded systems software organization, which developed software for applications ranging from personal media players to complex video surveillance systems at Texas Instrument in India. He was part of a 4-member core team chartered to set up a 1000-member development organization for Lucent's Wireless Organization in India. He was also the Managing Director of Winphoria Networks, India (a soft-switch start-up), which was subsequently acquired by Motorola.
G Mohan – Heads Product Management
A B.Tech and M.Tech from IIT Madras, Mohan leads the new product development initiatives at Silvan, and is responsible for setting the strategic direction of the company. Earlier, he handled the product design and realization team for the company's home automation products that brought out several of the products being deployed at present.
Prior to co-founding Silvan, Mohan managed business development for the Indian market for the broadband and digital signal processing products of Texas Instruments between 2004 and 2008. Mohan was the co-founder of three startup companies between 1989 and 2003. These companies spanned various technology domains, from Indian language computing, storage and residential gateways. He began his career as a software engineer in CMC Ltd Secunderabad in 1985, followed by a stint as software engineer and project lead in Texas Instruments India till 1989.
Ajay Gupta – Heads Product Design and Software
B.Tech graduate from IT-BHU. Ajay brings 26 years of experience in embedded system design. Ajay is the architect for Silvan's indigenous Smart Home System. He has filed 7 patents for Silvan. Prior to Silvan, he worked for two years in BEL with missile control systems after which he spent 14 years in Texas Instruments with audio and imaging systems, and video and multimedia application design. Ajay has three US patents granted against his name in audio processing, image quality enhancement, and media drivers. He has presented multiple papers in international conferences.
What is the Vision behind the idea of Silvan Labs? How did it originate?
Silvan exists to leverage IoT technologies to make various spaces like homes, offices etc more safe, secure, comfortable, energy efficient and operatioally efficient.
What is the difference you observe to when it originated compared to a decade of successful Operations?
We started with a vision enabling security using smart technologies, but abut 3 years down the line expanded the scope beyond security to all other considerations mentioned above. The decade also saw maturing of various supporting technologies which have set the ground for a successful IoT enterprise: ubiquitous broadband and other forms for connectivity, low cost sensors, cost effective IoT modules, all pervasive usage of smart phones, democratization of hard technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning. Accordingly we have also fine tuned our offerings to provide more value to our customers by leveraging all of these.
What have been the key challenges and bottlenecks faced in the Journey in the decade of Silvan Labs?
The key challenge has been market. In some sense, we were ahead of our time in terms of market readiness, a hence there was a struggle to gain wide customer acceptance. The second issue was macro level issue with real-estate industry, which is our main customer base. Things have been a bit slow there over last 4 years, and several regulatory changes like demonetization, RERA and GST only increased the woes there. We are happy to notice that things are much more mature both in terms of market readiness, and the impact of the regulatory changes also seem have faded away. So we are expecting much better growth in the coming years.
Have you managed to raise any Funding? How are you funded?
Yes, we have raised equity funding from The Chennai Angels, Infuse Ventures and 1Crowd. However these fundings were raised after almost 6 years of boot strapping.
What have been the key Products/Services launched by Silvan Labs in the sector of Home Automation? What differences are they creating in the Industry?
The home automation needs in residential real-estate sector revolves around following:
1. In home control of appliances (lights, fans, ACs, Geysers, Curtain motors) for comfort and convenience.
2. In home security and safety.
3. Entrance Management: ability to see and talk to the visitor at the door and remotely unlock the door
1. Property level security and safety
2. Property level entrance management
3. Property level management of lights (street lights, common area lights), water pumps, ACs etc
4. Parking Management
Silvan offers all the solutions for Home level and multiple solutions for property level
Silvan differentiates itself by ensuring that the products are made more relevant for India lifestyle, more reliable for India infrastructure realities, and more valuable by value-added cloud services.
In enterprise sector, Silvan offers a comprehensive IoT Building Manager platform for effective management and energy optimization of buildings. It also has solutions for Hotel Guest Room automation, ATM Security and Power Management and Conference Room Automation.
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We would like to know some statistical achievements of Silvan Labs.
Silvan today works with over 40 real-estate companies in South and Western India, has over 12 lives Silvan communities, has over 20 big enterprise customers, serves in 10 cities through its channel partners.
Where do you envision the above numbers to reach in the next 2-3 years?
We expect to double our presence in real-estate market and establish ourselves more firmly in the various enterprise sectors. All these should result in 10X revenue growth in 3 years.
What have been the other Achievements of Silvan Labs?
Silvan is considered one of the thought leaders in Automation Industry and is regularly invited in various forums to share its views. It is a R&D center recognized and funded by Department of Science and Technology. It was top amongst top 20 Home automation companies in India by Homes Magazine in 2015.
Why, according to you, is Home Automation important? Is there a boom in the demand in the market segment like India?
Home Automation smartly uses technology to make home owner’s life more safe, secure and comfortable. The demand is steadily increasing as people are much more aware about it, prices are much more affordable, broadband and connected cellphones are everywhere and people have access to voice assistants which make home automation usage much more seamless.
Which are the current operational Cities of Silvan Labs? Are there any expansion plans on the cards?
Currently we are present directly or through our partners in Bangalore, Kochi Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Pune, Surat, Lucknow, NCR and Jaipur. We plan to have more direct presence in various cities to support our partners better.
What is your message for the other very Early-stage Startups & Entrepreneurship Enthusiasts?
Be very sure about the needs of the market being addressed, and offer something really compelling to your customers. Spend first few years to gain customer traction and do not get to greedy in the process, as your will need support from your early customers to fine tune your products, so in that sense they will be doing you a huge favour. Be patient, yet learn to cut the losses fast, do invest for-ever in losing propositions, be quick in adapting yourself to market realities. Have a thick skin!More information about Silvan Labs can be checked on their Website
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Any facts, figures or references stated here are made by the author & don't reflect the endorsement of iU at all times unless otherwise drafted by official staff at iU. This article was first published here on 3rd July 2019.
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