In Belgaum, a small city some 500 kilometres from Bangalore, a tiny startup is devising ways to make a dent in the universe. Two engineers Abhishek Latthe & Apurva Shetty, are working on a wearable tech device, that they hope will someday rival the likes of Samsung & Apple.
Their startup SenseGiz, founded just a few months ago, seems to be making steady progress towards the goal. The duo, are developing a new smartwatch or ‘wearable smart tech product’ as they’d like to call it. The SenseGiz Star, works with a smartphone, can be clipped on to clothing or tied around the wrist.
Unlike the Samsung galaxy gear and most smart watches whose battery barely lasts 24 hours, SenseGiz claims that the Star’s battery will last upto a week on full charge. In addition to that the Star uses gesture control to tackle phone-related tasks like making/rejecting calls, launching applications and adjusting audio. While it doesn’t have an inbuilt camera or a fancy screen, the SenseGiz Star, unlike most smart watches, can function with any smartphone, so long as you download the app which will be available on android and iOS soon.
The Star also monitors sleep, like the Jawbone, and automatically detects falls and crashes to notify friends and family via an alarm on their phone. The SenseGiz Star priced at Rs 6,000 will be available for shipping by March 2014, said Abhishek
Though Abhishek & Apurva started the company in August 2013, they’ve been researching on the product for over a year. The two zeroed in on Belgaum, a city whose entire population is equal to the number of ‘techies’ in Bangalore (over 5 lakh) to startup. SenseGiz is just one of a slowly expanding network of startups based out of smaller Indian cities.
“I wanted to start-up in an environment where I had a lot of support already in place instead of moving to a new city. Starting up in Belgaum has given us a jump start and allowed us to concentrate on work better,” says Abhishek. The idea is to keep expenses on a tight leash.
Being in Belgaum doesn’t limit their global ambitions though. The startup has floated subsidiaries in San Francisco & Dublin to help them manage sales and increase visibility in developed markets. “We are also in touch with potential retail distributors in the US as well as in India.” Says Abhishek.
Currently bootstrapped with funding from family, SenseGiz is on the lookout for alternative sources of funding. The product development phase for its products has set the company back by around Rs 50 lakh.
“Since we have been focussed solely on developing the products, we have not focused enough efforts at fundraising,” says Abhishek who is thinking of launching a crowdfunding campaign to support product development.
While the watch isn’t yet being manufactured, the final hardware prototypes are ready, says Abhishek “We still have some work to do on the external casings, mobile apps and firmware fronts,” he said.
SenseGiz seeks to set apart the Star from conventional smart watches by expanding the scope of the product. For instance the Star is useful for fitness as well as aiding with phone related functions like making a phone call and taking pictures. SenseGiz is looking to complement the user’s smartphone, instead of trying to replace it with identical features already available on the smartphone.
The startup is also developing a Bluetooth based tag called SenseGiz FIND, which will help track and recover misplaced/lost items.
So is this tiny smartwatch company going to break the bad press that most smart watches have received? It’s tough to predict, but it looks like the company is pulling out all the stops to attempt it.