Harnessing energy from Cavitation to expedite chemical & biological processes: Hyca Technologies [Interview with Founder]

Cavitation, usually considered an undesirable phenomenon is being seen by Hyca Technologies as an opportunity. HyCa has developed a technology that allows it to harness energy dissipated by collapsing cavitation bubbles to accelerate chemical reactions, breakdown complex molecules, ensure uniform mixing.

HyCa’s core innovation is the HyCator design algorithm that allows it’s reactors to create targeted cavitation bubbles required for the specific needs of the process.   This technology has applications across industries ranging from chemicals, bio-chemical, water purification, petrochemicals and several other industries.

Seed funded by Godrej Industries, company is in the process of setting up their manufacturing plant at Patalganga (near Mumbai).

Interview with Mr. Anjan Mukherjee, Co-Founder of Hyca Technologies

Q: What made you start working on cavitation?

I am a marine engineer and start or my research was motivated by environmental challenges of ballast water in marine industry. Once I started reading about hydrodynamic cavitation, I came in contact with Dr. Pandit (Co-founder of Hyca) who is world renowned expert in cavitation.

Commercialization of technology in marine industry is subject to policy changes, which are yet to come in place. This made us look at other avenues of applying this technology which today appear to be a multi-fold opportunity as compared to our initial target market.

Q: What is your innovation and what can be the potential applications?

Cavitation is an existing process. Our innovation lie in developing algorithm / mechanism to artificially control the process and utilize the energy released. To give you an idea – when a bubble collapses, temperature at point of collapse if 10,000 degree Celsius which is twice the surface temperature of Sun. This energy can significantly expedite several biological and chemical processes.

Applications can be found in different industries ranging from petrochemical, chemicals, biogas, ballast water treatment, effluent treatment, cooling towers etc. Each of these industries, can offer $1B+ market for our technology.

Q: Which applications are currently available for commercial use?

Technology’s application in cooling tower is commercially available right now. It is being used by corporate like TATA, Hindustan Unilever, and Godrej.

Technology helps in cutting down

– Chemical requirement by 40-60%

– Drained out water by 50%

– Down time for maintenance / cleaning

Customers can realize the payback in 1.5 -2 years in the form of savings made (chemicals, water etc.)

Q: How do you plan to monetize your innovation – licensing, selling complete solution etc?

A: We are in the process of setting up a plant for commercial production. We will focus on developing and commercializing applications till a point, techno-commercial viability is established as per industry standards. After reaching that point, we will look at licensing the technology to industry leaders.

Our core competence is technology, and there ample companies across globe who are very good in scaling up and commercializing technologies.

Q: You are traversing the road less travelled amongst Indian entrepreneur community – innovation with pure science instead of developing Web/Mobile based product. What have been the key challenges?

Structurally Indian system does not support such innovations. India is a difficult place to do business – regulatory approvals and bureaucracy makes the time to market very long; whether it is acquiring land, getting taxation approvals or environmental approvals. Also, there are no incubators designed for non-IT startups, where one can start pilot production.

Though, during the process we also learnt that Indian regulatory and academic system has hidden gems. It took us some time to reach the right set of people, who have contributed significantly towards where we are today.

Lack of investors focusing this space in India is limited, which is another key challenge. Investor community is predominantly focused on IT startups due to low gestation periods. So, it becomes difficult to find investors who understand our business and are interested in the venture.

PI’s View

It’s exhilarating that entrepreneurs in India are coming up with innovations based on Fundamental Science and Indian academia is acting as a catalyst. Though, it also highlights systematic bottlenecks for such endeavors and poses a question for Indian policy makers, innovation eco-system and investor community.

“Our first board meeting took place inside our hostel room.” – TechBuddy Consulting: From Student Startup to Nurturing College Students

TechBuddy Consulting is a venture by IIT Alumni & Harvard Fellow which is poised to improve the skills of students with its initiative Skill India Programs – ‘Making Learning Relevant’ . It is aimed at stressing the importance of inculcating the self learning approach in students focusing on individual’s strengths and interests. In essence, TechBuddy Consulting help students find out their strengths (via workshops etc).

1. Tell us more about TechBuddy Consulting and its operations.

Techbuddy is a socially responsible company of dedicated people which is aimed at stressing the importance of inculcating the Self Learning approach in students focusing on individual’s strengths and interests, delivering quality learning for an educated world. We envisage along with our team, a vision to build a robust education environment, where the creation, exchange and sharing of all forms of knowledge is highly effective & meaningful, & is easily accessible to everyone.

We believe that education is a great segment to build a successful business in,but only if done ethically with high social responsibility. Thou who would believe in learning by sharing, will be regarded as pioneering educationist.TechBuddy.Consulting

2. Where did you meet your cofounders? When did you guys actually decided on starting up with this idea?

My initial cofounders are two of my best buddies from my college IIT Roorkee where we graduated from in 2009. Together,we had been part of some great success stories at campus and always aspired for better and bigger in our lives. We sincerely believed that an awesome company can only be built by an awesome team, which was already our strength.Spark was there since long,planning had been underway for months,before it actually began on the November 30,2008 with our first board meeting that took place inside our hostel room. TechBuddy was born with the punchline ‘Don’t Just Create,Innovate’ and has been constantly innovating education & learning since then.

Though we initially started with 5 of us as cofounders & while two of them left few months down,few of them from the present team joined us later. As everything that begins has to evolve with time,we also did & that too with the right pace. The idea with which we originally started no longer forms the core of our business today.

TechBuddyConsulting

3. Some of your cofounders wanted to go for higher studies. Tell us about this part of your journey.

I was a devil & had worked very hard to ensure that none of us prepares for the CAT and is engaged in much more interesting stuff,planning our to be venture.Catching us early,TIME coaching did make a good business out of us and scored A+ on customer Care when their guys kept ringing us requesting us to attend classes,till we stopped picking up their calls. In the end, being from middle class families, we did take the CAT only to ditch our families’ ambitions and fail the prestigious entrance examination with honour. As they say,its all written and everything thereafter has been history and counting the dots backward now,it all seems so easy,so simple and so glorious not just to us,but also to our family & friends.

Sad part, one of our cofounders did give in to his family’s aspirations & opted for higher studies in US over TechBuddy,and another followed a few months later to separate. But the good part is that we all are still the best of friends and laugh over all the good and bad experiences we shared together as the founding partners of TechBuddy. Defining the norms of exit apart from everything else very clearly on papers in the very beginning is utmost important to prevent all such complications and we were lucky to have done them at the right time.

4. Post college, how did you guys bagged consulting projects? What were the challenges faced?

We were lucky to get our first project within the first month and so the numerous business problems which followed.The transition from students to teachers,from boys to men,from clients to a service provider,from innocent college going kids to shrewd businessmen was sudden. It did not come upon us easily to accept the fact that there is something known as the Legal Contract that would from now keep a strict watch on all our actions and the scope of committing errors had shrunk to amazingly low,while  any mistakes would only take us from a protected campus of IIT to an overprotected Tihar Jail.

As mentioned,challenges had just begun. From figuring out the scope of work to getting the work done,from motivating ourselves to hiring motivated enthusiastic student employees,from struggling with the burden of semester load at college for non-dropout entrepreneurs to getting almost succumbed under the aspirations of an overpromised client,all of it had just begun and had begun too well. The ball kept rolling,we kept moving,TechBuddy started growing,is still growing and confidence speaks that would keep growing for decades to come with just one belief,

‘Opportunities are ample,we just have to prepare ourselves with time.’

5. What’s your first reaction when you see your college batchmates going to US (for job/higher studies)?

If you will let me speak my heart out,I would waste a lot of time into coining something extraordinarily diplomatic for the couplet ‘educated fools’ and might hurt a lot of genuine dreams. But as I speak from a businessman’s perspective,while India is the place where the world wants to be,I don’t know why some of us are still aspiring to escape. I wish to quote it from somewhere I am not able to recall at this moment,”If India can beat the corruption fast and develop its basic infrastructure soon enough,21st century will be written in India.”

Everything said,its actually a free world. We all are responsible for our own actions and thus the choice has been solely left on each one of us to decide and plan for a much better future not just for himself,but also for the generations to come.So be wise,let your heart speak for yourself and keep dreaming.

6. What’s the current strength of TechBuddy consulting?

For us at TechBuddy,our strength can be summed up in 3 words,’Team,Team & Team’ which are the only constants,rest everything is adaptive with situations.

7. Your recommendation to students who want to startup?

Idea is a myth,team is a blessing.

Valuations are virtual,revenue is real.

Law is common sense,documentation is religion.

Great businesses are created by man,not God.

& While character is strength, passion drives entrepreneur.

[Our coverage of Student Startups is supported by Lenovo’s DoNetwork initiative.]

[If you are you a student working on a startup idea, we would like to talk to you. Fill in the form at http://www.NextBigWhat.com/students/ and we will get in touch with you.]

Mobstac Kills Freemium Model, Says Advertisement Revenues Not Enough

Bangalore based Mobstac, the 360 degree mobile publishing platform has announced that it will now kill freemium model and will start charging bloggers a minimum of $5 for the product usage.

“As part of the rollout of our integrated publishing product, we’re also announcing new pricing plans that include our new Touchsite product for tablets. The most significant change we’ve made is that we’re now dropping our free Basic plan entirely and replacing it with a $5/month plan. Our loyal readers will remember that we supported our free plan through an ad revenue sharing program. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough to foot the bill of serving all that mobile traffic so we did what every startup must do: make a tough choice. We thank all our publishers for supporting us and helping improve our product leaps and bounds with their feedback and active involvement.

Our new pricing plans are the result of data we’ve gathered from new customers we’ve signed up, feedback from potential customers we’ve spoken to, and an analysis of how different publishers on our network have been using MobStac. We believe the new plans align better with how publishers want to use our product and have also updated our pricing accordingly.“ [mail]

Mobstac Pricing Plans
Mobstac Pricing Plans

Mobile/Widget Platforms

The key challenge for India based mobile/widget platforms is not just the lack of early adopters, but also lack of early-adopters-who-are-also-big-players in the country. For instance, how many active bloggers in India can really help Mobstac in monetizing the traffic (so that they can keep the service free)? Very few – I can bet that there are hardly 20 blogs which have more than even 200K pageviews/month for mobile site (and by the way, 200K pageviews means nothing!).

Having said that, Mobstac is looking at cracking the US market and killing freemium model probably works if they have a strong pipeline (especially in the enterprise segment), otherwise it just might backfire as the market is getting too competitive and freemium provides the friction-less entry.

Aside, Pluggd.in has been using Mobstac for the last few years  and very recently, we announced our touchsite for iPad (http://m.NextBigWhat.com) – so do give it a shot and share your feedback.

Video: The Mobtac Story

Japan Based NTT Com to Acquire 74% Stake in Netmagic Solutions

Japan based NTT Communications Corporation (NTT Com) will acquire 74% of Netmagic Solutions, a leading provider of datacenter services in India. The acquisition is subject to the approval of relevant authorities in India.

All investors have exited and Netmagic founder/CEO, Sharad Sanghi has only sold a very minor stake and will continue to build the company.

The addition of Netmagic Solutions’ datacenter services and sites will expand NTT Com’s capability to provide one-stop ICT solutions in the fast-growing Indian market, as well as accelerate its offering of globally seamless cloud services through expanded ICT infrastructure Asia-wide.

Netmagic Solutions, an experienced provider of managed IT hosting services, currently operates seven datacenters in major Indian cities such as Mumbai, Chennai, Noida (Delhi-NCR) and Bangalore. It provides services such as colocation and managed hosting to more than 1,000 customers, as well as ISP and cloud services to many other customers. The company was named India’s Datacenter Service Provider of the Year 2011 by Frost & Sullivan. Established in 1998, Netmagic Solutions is headed by CEO Sharad Sanghi and operates bases in Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai and Delhi. It employs about 500 people. The company’s headquarters are located at 2nd Floor, (North Side), Block B-2, Phase I, Nirlon Knowledge Park, Goregaon (East), Mumbai.

The Netmagic Story

At Unpluggd, Sharad spoke at length about Netmagic story and he did talk about IPO and acquisition. Watch the video

File RTI Online on RTINation [Student Startup]

Planning to file a RTI and skip the visit to government offices?rtination

RTINation is a startup by Prashant Gupta, a student at IIT Kanpur. The site enables one to file RTI (Right to Information) online and so far, the site has enabled 3,000 RTIs [from 5,000 registered userbase].

Once you file a RTI from the site, RTINation generally takes 2-3 business days to process an application. The PIO (Public Information Officer) takes 30-40 days to reply to your application and replies are sent directly to the individual.

The site charges Rs. 150 (including government fees, service charges and taxes) and receives around 30,000 visits per month. In terms of technology implementation, the site is a basic implementation of Joomla, though what matters is the focus on solving a specific pain point.

Do give the site a spin and share your feedback with the team.

[Our coverage of Student Startups is supported by Lenovo’s DoNetwork initiative.]

[Are you a student working on a startup idea, we would like to talk to you. Fill in the form athttp://www.NextBigWhat.com/students/ and we will get in touch with you.]

Ecolibrium Energy Aspires to be India’s Largest Virtual Power House

About one-third of the 174 Giga Watts of electricity generated in India annually is either stolen or dissipates in the conductors and transmission equipment that form the country’s distribution grid. In certain Indian states, these losses are as high as 50%. This makes India amongst nations having highest power and distribution losses against world average of below 15%.

In 2010, these losses translated into annual losses of 600 billion rupees ($13.3 billion) and number is expected to rise to 1 trillion rupees ($22 billion) by March 2015, according to the country’s finance ministry. Over 50% of Indian utility companies are operating at loss levels between 45-60%.

Chintan Soni co-founded Ecolibrium Energy two years back with a conviction that information technology will be an answer to this problem. Ecolibrium Energy provides smart grid solutions using its multi functional platform for industries and power utility companies to improve their efficiency and energy economics.

Incubated at CIIE – IIM Ahmedabad, startup holds 4 patents and has 6 industries as their customers. In 2010, company also implemented Gandhinagar Smart Grid Pilot Project in partnership with Govt. of Gujarat and Torrent Power.

What Ecolibrium Offers?

For industries

– Real time energy tracking

– Monitoring & control of specific equipment / appliances from a central location wirelessly

– Rule based engine for scheduling of loads, to maintain peak load at time when power tariff is low.

Benefits:

– Check energy wastage and cut down energy bill by shifting power consumption pattern to hours when cost of energy is low.

For power utility companies

– 2 way communication / control with consumer

– Demand prediction

– Remote meter reading

– Remote outrage and fault detection

– Theft detection

Benefits:

– Cut down of thefts and pilferage

– Capital reduction on manual meter tracking

– Demand prediction helps optimizing supply planning to increase revenues

Below is a brief Q&A with Chintan Soni, Co-Founder of Ecolibrium Energy

PI: How has been initial response from customers? You are also targeting government bodies (state utility companies) which can be difficult customers. How are you going about selling to government companies?

Response from industry has been good so far. We have 6 paying customers at this point. Our products are competitively priced, and few customers have realized return on their investment in less than six months (in form of energy bill cut down).

Regarding, government customers – most of these are loss making companies. Moment you tell them, your solution can help them turn profitable they listen to you.

PI: You became a revenue earning company in 18 months from inception. That is very aggressive. How did you go about it?

One year back, we wanted to raise capital and our business plan showed revenues in 12 months. This was challenged by some of the prospective investors. We took that as a challenge, and turned into a revenue earning entity in 8 months from that point.

PI: What is your vision for Ecolibrium Energy?

We believe, that energy saved is the energy produced and we want to be the largest virtual power plant in India.

On one side we have Fortune 500 companies like GE, CISCO etc. eyeing smart grid markets in India and on the other end homegrown companies like Ecolibrium Energy are coming up with solutions for India. As smart grid become India’s priority, it would be interesting to watch how this eco-system will evolve in India.

Another startup in this space: HameshaON

MunchWithus Provides Social Dining Network [Never Eat Alone]

MunchWithUs is a social dining network that brings people together over tasting menus at top restaurants. The idea behind Muchwithus is to build friendship over food at your favorite restaurants and importantly, have informal conversations flowing.

MunchWithUs partners with high-quality restaurants that agree to offer discounted pre-fix meals and you can use the site to reserve your seatch to either meet new people or meet someone special (celebrity et al) or even plan your own group meal.

munchwithus

For instance, the Bangalore based startup has currently launchedLunch with Alok Mittal (Canaan Partners)’ that costs Rs. 2,500 (proceedings go to Akshaya Patra Foundation), inviting entrepreneurs and others to meet Alok for lunch (aside, we appreciate Alok’s openness towards being an early adopter of the site).

Somewhat based on Grubwithus model, Munchwithus concept can potentially evolve into a big play by simply connecting the dots and helping people ‘move forward’ in their career/venture. For instance, there is potentially big money in enterprise version of this concept, after all there are enough ‘VIPs’ in corporate world too.

To start off, the site needs to convince more big shots/VIPs to offer their time (for lunch) and target the audience that is willing to pay to meet these VIPs.  Maybe there is a way to reverse the game – i.e. have people vote for their favorite VIPs and have VIP pay to meet his/her fans? I don’t know! But for sure, there is a need for informal business meetups and Muchwithus can potentially provide that opportunity.

How much would you pay to meet a VIP/celebrity (for lunch) you always wanted to meet?

Aside, Silicon Valley based LetsLunch too is launching in India.