[In continuation with our fortnightly theme on Free software for start-ups’, here is presenting an interview with Engenesis founder, Sabir Ahmed. He shares with us free tools used in his startup]
1. Which start-up do you head? What software and other tools do you use?
I head Engenesis, a product design and development company. We mainly use engineering software tools e.g. SolidWorks or AutoCAD to do detailed engineering. We also use regular office productivity tools such as email, word processers, and spread-sheet / presentation software.
2. Tell me more about all the free tools you use?
There are many free or shareware software tools we use, more significant are the following:
- Brainstorming and mind mapping tools (standalone or collaborative): Thinking of new product or service concepts and attempting to design from scratch is an extremely divergent process. Mind mapping tools help us to sketch out an outline of the new idea and keep track of the original design intent. Moreover, these tools are XML based so it makes it a snap to create a design document.
– Freemind http://freemind.sourceforge.net/ (Standalone)
– Mind42 http://mind42.com/ (Collaborative)
2. Online Project Management Tools (we use): ACE Project https://www.aceproject.com/
3. Google Docs & Tools (G-talk, Picasa, etc)
4. Security Monitor: Winpatrol http://www.winpatrol.com/ – this software takes snapshot of your critical system resources and alerts you to any changes that may occur without your knowledge. Winpatrol will alert you to hijackings, malware attacks and critical changes made to your computer without your permission.
3. What are the benefits you have seen by using these free tools?
The most obvious one is the low investment that’s required to implement these tools. It’s almost next to nothing. For cash strapped start-up, what more can you ask! Secondly, there’s huge savings in training costs because these software tools have comprehensive documentation such as FAQs, on-line help and user forums, which shortens the learning curve so you can get going with your tasks on hand quickly.
4. What are some other free tools you are considering using?
I am planning to implement a Linux based server for file/print sharing, project management, and intranet applications. I am also considering replacing my present office productivity software with an Open Office Platform.
5. Can you tell us about your company in brief?
ENGENESIS helps brings a concept or an idea into reality. We addresses the entire new product definition cycle starting from conceptual design, product design, engineering (mechanical, electronics, embedded), right up to tool design and component manufacture.
6. Who are your target customers & what are their needs?
Our target customers are mainly from the automotive, consumer, healthcare and industrial equipment industry. We also work very closely with budding entrepreneurs that have conceptualized a new product or service but do not have the resources to bring their ideas to a functional prototype level or even manufacture.
7. What are your primary obstacles and challenges in setting up your venture? Name some of them
Since we are located in Bangalore, we have access to some of the best talent in the industry. Though we have an in-house engineering team, we sometimes engage external consultants from a specific domain. Locating and hiring domain consultants is sometimes a challenge.
8. On a last note, what are your growth plans?
So far, Engenesis has grown organically on a micro scale. We have built our own design processes, technological and engineering expertise. Now we are actively seeking funding to help us move our business to the next level.