AIRPIX Solutions

            Airpix Team

AIRPIX Team (From left Neeraj, Shinil and Aniket)

           The other day, I was reading this article ‘The Meaning of Technology’.  The definition for technology used here was, “Technology is the manipulation of nature for human purpose.” We are the generation who has seen Technology not only make human life easier but also play a leading role in changing the way we live. The things that were unthinkable a couple of decades ago are a way of life, today. Never in our past has the pace of technology change been more rapid. This makes us realize that there is a need to find use-cases where these new technologies can be use to increase efficiency or effectiveness of the tasks we seek to perform.

      This month I have interacted with Neeraj Waghchaure, a graduate in Mechanical Engineering from VJTI(Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute, Mumbai). He has co-founded AIRPIX Solutions along with  Aniket Tatipamula and Shinil Shekhar, both from VJTI. AIRPIX is a leading drone solutions provider from Navi-Mumbai, India. For the people who do not recall what drones are, Remember Joy’s Engineering Project from Three Idiots? Yes? That was a Drone. With articles like, ‘Drones are here to stay’ and ‘New FAA rules for drones go into effect’ it is clear that the technology is getting well accepted in the Industrial circles now and looks like, is here for good. Neeraj and his team had also come across ‘Drones’ during their under-graduate years. They were fascinated by them and participated in various competitions related to Drones and Robotics.

            Since the last decade there has been a high impetuous for start-ups in India. Thus Neeraj and his team felt like they could start their own start-up making drones. Neeraj and Aniket graduated in 2012. Then, they spent some months after graduating in Research and Development and started AIRPIX in 2013 with their college senior Shinil. They had initially thought of manufacturing Drones but decided to go for providing Drone Services to start off. Their aim was to built a start-up that added value to the Industrial Sectors.

            Initially, they found it very challenging to find customers for their services as the technology was not mature then, market was not open to the idea and convincing the customers was proving very tricky. So they provided their potential customers with demonstrations of the possibilities drone pictures could open up for them by identifying the potential use cases.  They made an in depth study of the difference, the use of their services could bring to the return on investment for their clients,  marketed their services and they started getting orders.

            Today they have created a network of around hundred drone operators in India. This helps them with projects all over India. For their client’s data security they encourage them to use their own storage devices. They have worked with Indian Railways, Help India, a NGO from Uttarakhand during the Uttarakhand floods, JSW Steels to name a few. Neeraj recounts their experience of working for Help India as being the most memorable. This project gave them the opportunity to interact with the locals and to see their services put to use to help the locals.  The drone-images helped the NGO design better strategy for their rescue missions and relief distributions to help the flood victims.

Image captured by AIRPIX-Drone during Uttarakhand floods

AIRPIX has been awarded and supported by Indian Innovation Growth Program 2017, a program undertaken by Lockheed Martin, Tata Group and Department and Science and Technology, India. They are also currently a part of Airbus’s a part of Axilor Ventures accelerator program in Bangalore. They are also venturing into software product for drone data analytics and drone image processing in near future.

        This whole process has been exciting for the team and thought them a lot. Neeraj thinks that he has learned to work better in teams, to collaborate constructively by deciding each founders role, to make more practical decisions and how to adopt appropriate prizing models. Throughout this journey, I believe, their innovativeness and belief in themselves and their product has kept them going strong. The understanding that they needed to spend a significant time in research for their venture has no doubt helped set a strong foundation. Their flexibility in identifying the market needs and then catering to them instead of going ahead with their initial idea has evidently helped them create a place in the market.

As always, I will be back in November with a new venture or a venturist, hope to see you too……..

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