If shopping online was a challenge simply because you couldn’t try clothes on, then latest technology by Hemanth Satyanarayana and Pavan Kosaraju’s Imaginate will help you do just that
How often have you walked into a store hoping to buy your favourite brands, but unwilling to try on several designs before making your pick? Or have wanted to try on that dress or piece of jewellery that you’re buying online? Imaginate’s upcoming technology TRIALAR, that will be launched in August, will help you do exactly this.
The company is built on virtual and augmented reality to develop innovative visualisation of products and services, which enhance the consumer’s experience of reality. Incidentally, the company, the brainchild of Hemanth Satyanarayana and Pavan K Kosaraju, has won many start-up awards like Startup Chile and MIT TR35 2012 much before the product has even been launched.
The idea for TRIALAR took seed when Hemant, the founder of the company, went to a store with his wife to buy saris and noticed the challenge she faced trying on so many different types of the garment. “I wanted to solve this with the technologies at my disposal. That is how TRIALAR came about, a virtual trial room that helps the user try the styles he/she wants in front of a 55 inch digital screen rather than a mirror,” he says.
However, his decision to start a company was met with some resistance. After completing his Masters Hemanth worked for nearly three years with Sovoz, where he worked on building the Virtual Locomotion controller by which the Armed forces can get trained and warmed up virtually without being on the battle ground.
“Following this, I returned to the country in 2009 to fulfil my long-term dream to set up my own company. However, many people suggested that I first work for a few years, earn a decent sum of money and then think about setting up a business. However, I was confident of my capabilities and knowledge in the field, nor did I require huge investments. After working for almost a year on the business plan and viability of the project, Imaginate was launched in January 2011,” he says.
“I started off with Photoplay, a gester-based interactive game. There were endless possibilities and fun activities with the augmented reality technologies,” Hemanth adds.
Hemanth was joined by his childhood friend and IIT graduate, Pavan Kosaraju in December 2011, who left a well paying job with KPMG, Germany. “Hemanth used to share his business idea and vision with me. It intrigued me enough to make me give up my job in Germany and return to India to join him. It was risky but I understood the potential of the technology and knew it would reap rich dividends soon,” explains Pavan K Kosaraju, co-founder and COO.
The duo invested Rs.40 lakhs with help from family and friends to build the business. While developing TRIALAR, they ensured that the technology was all in-house to gain expertise in the subject. They now plan to include a web plug-in of TRIALAR for e-commerce sites.
The company also got a $40,000 equity-free seed capital to set up their business in Chile. “We are one of the five companies from India and the first from the State to be selected in Startup Chile. The business will be expanded to Chile. This will help us tap the US and European markets,” says Pavan.
“We want to be a Rs.100 crore company in three years time with an investment of another Rs.10 crore in the business. The breakeven is expected for Rs.10 crore within 18 months from the product launch. The business is in the process to raise Rs.10 crore investments in tranches. It is also in talks with angel investors and early stage venture capitalists and is open for investments,” he says.
“Initially, we are targetting high end apparel and jewellery showrooms and then plan to expand to medium size showrooms after reaching a sizable market. It is an advantage for the retailers who don’t want customers to try out vaguely, the most expensive apparel. Sometimes when people repeatedly try on clothes or jewellery, they may get damaged and results in loss for the retailer. TRIALAR will help the customer try on different cuts and styles of their choice of expensive clothes virtually and if he really likes a design then try it on in reality. The company aims to continuously develop the product and reach 6.0. version from its current 1.0 version in three years,” says Hemanth.
On the personal front, Pavan enjoys playing chess, watching movies and dining out, whereas Hemanth enjoys travelling.
- B Tech Mechanical, IIT Madras
- Masters in mechanical and computer engineering, University of Buffalo, USA
- Consultant at Sovoz, USA
- Lead engineer at Sovoz
- Software engineer at IBM
- MBA, ESMT, Germany
- B Tech, Civil engineering IIT, Madras
- Assistant manager, KPMG, Germany
- Development specialist, SAP Labs India
- Software engineer, Infosys Technologies