Seizing the Industry 4.0 opportunity – in conversation with Mr. Raunak Bhinge, Managing Director, Infinite Uptime

Industry 4.0 is no longer a future trend. Manufacturing companies are capitalizing on the innovations brought by young technology companies like Infinite Uptime. Having recently raised $5 Million in Series A funding, Infinite Uptime is poised for the next phase of growth.

Raunak Bhinge walks us through the company’s journey and future growth plans

1. What has been the journey of Infinite Uptime? And what are the key drivers for your success?

Infinite uptime was started in the U.S. towards the end of 2015. That was when the product development started. We started with a few angel investors where we got the first initial funds to develop the product.

We came to India in January 2017 and that’s when we raised our seed round. We started going to market in about July 2017. The response from the market has been really good. We have been lucky that we have hit the market at a time when the industrial IoT space has just started to take off and is now is reaching a hockey-stick curve in the product development cycle.

Apart from India, we have a team in China and in the U.S. The team in the U.S. is mostly focused in research and development. And, we have sales channel partners in the U.S., Australia, and other countries.

2.You have mentioned in news articles that 80% of your customers are in India. What has been your experience with the Indian manufacturing sector? Is adoption of Industry 4.0 pervasive or only focused among the large players? What is the opportunity?

The market is quite fragmented in the manufacturing industry. There are a lot of small & medium players and a few large players – few as in few hundreds. Currently the adoption starts with the large companies. Large players are trying out different forms of industry 4.0.
The adoption among the small & medium companies is low because they are more driven by a P&L kind of a system.

How pervasive it gets, we will see with time. However, at least everyone’s trying it out. You never hear a “no” in the industry today. This was probably not the case about five years’ back or even three years back.

There are a large number of small & medium sized companies who are exploring solutions such as ours. But they are looking for the RoI proof with the large players before they jump into it.

3. From a sales point of view, what is your approach in reaching out to a small & medium players and large players?

The market has a very large number of small & medium players, so to go to them directly is not feasible for most IoT companies. We mostly use a channel and system integration partner distribution network for sales. We do pilots with both the SMEs and large players. It is such a new concept that until and unless they see the benefits they won’t spend on it. Our strategy is the same for both, and that’s how it will be. Whether you are one machine, one manufacturing line, or 100 you want to see results before you invest.

4. You recently raised $5 million in Series A funding. What are your growth plans?

We plan to channelize most of it in team building. We are building a pretty substantial team here in India. We have some USPs in our product. We want to focus and ensure that we always stay on the top of that. Our focus is to get a good R&D and a good innovations teams and build on top of that. Also, customer acquisition is going to be very critical for us.

5. What are the challenges that young companies like you face that might hamper or hold you back from scaling the business?

We have been lucky to hit the market at this point of time in IoT. The timing matters a lot. If we had started five years back, we would be struggling to get this kind of market traction.

For us the barriers are not on the market side or the adoption side. Our challenge lies more on the ability to execute well and better than the other players. It is mostly on an execution and on innovation fronts where we need to build up and thereafter build the business on those USPs.

6. You are mostly concentrated in manufacturing. Can your solution be used in other verticals like retail, healthcare etc?

No, we are very focused in manufacturing and we will continue to do that for at least the next five years. We are not a horizontal solution that can be used by anyone and everyone. Our USPs are specific to certain types of equipment’s and we would like to keep it that way.

7. What would you suggest a company that wants to get into Industry 4.0 sector now as a solution provider?

The point we would like to mention to new companies is that they should find their niche and should be focused on certain problems and be very focused on certain technologies. They should choose to specialize across a vertical rather than a horizontal where they can scale much faster. Horizontals have already been established, so being yet another horizontal won’t help.