In today’s world, one thing is for sure; along with people things have also become smart. From refrigerators to our mobile phones, everything is now smart. But do you actually have a “smart home”? There is a difference between having a smart home and owning smart devices. A smart home gives you convenience and everything is at your fingertips. You can save your energy by not getting up to turn a switch on/off while actually saving electricity with smart home solutions.
Aliste Technologies is a home automation company that aims to make daily tasks convenient. The company’s journey started three years back when a couple of young adults were roommates at Vellore Institute of Technology. Like every college student lazing around, they fought about turning on the lights and AC. That’s when they realized there has to be a better way to do this. The founding members ordered a home automation device that was already available in the market and they were surprised that the performance of this product was fairly average and so they put their thinking caps on, finally founding Aliste Technologies.
Aliste provides a simple device that goes behind your switchboard and it creates a connection between the application and devices. It turns your regular appliances like ACs, TVs, fans, lights, etc. into smart appliances. The solution is simple and enables you to control your existing devices using their mobile application or voice assistants like Alexa and Siri. Aliste Technologies is offering something that will not only lead to a smarter future but also help in saving energy.
Sociobits got a chance to converse with two of the co-founders, Mr. Anant Ohri and Mr. Konark Gautam to know a little more about the company
Sociobits: What issues are you addressing through Aliste and how are you planning to solve them?
Founders of Aliste: We are a mission-driven company that wants to contribute to saving electricity while moving forward with automation. So, if we can reduce 5-10% electricity of one house, then on a macro scale we will be able to make a bigger impact and this is the root mission of Aliste.
We will be able to do this as our technology is automating all your existing devices. Considering that we are behind your switchboards, it gives us an idea about how and when you are using your devices. If we have an idea about the appliance you are using and for how long you are using it, by storing and analyzing this data, we can approximate how much electricity you are consuming through our solution. On top of this, monitoring this data for a long period of time will enable us to know our customers more.
Our multi-layered strategy will help to incentivize this information. For example, let’s say we offer that if you reduce 10% of your electricity consumption, our customers will get a free month of our soon-to-launch subscription model- Plug. The 10% reduction in electricity consumption may not sound appealing to customers but one month of free subscription will. And if we are able to do this from house-to-house then we will see a huge difference in the bigger picture.
Sociobits: It has been three years since you founded Aliste, how has your journey been so far?
Founders: It has been a roller coaster ride and we face new challenges every day. Being a bootstrapped company, we have done everything ourselves, from making the pitch deck to solving major tech issues. We keep moving forward and hope to see something great coming out in the future.
Sociobits: Speaking of challenges, what are the challenges the company has faced? Is there any major challenge that comes to your mind?
Founders: One particular challenge that we have noticed on a broader scale is that when you run a startup, there is a lot of personal esteem attached to the product or associated with when the brand name is mentioned. This pushes us to be better than the best and strives for perfection. When we go out and try to outsource things rather than getting it done ourselves, people are trying to pass the minimum viable product. They don’t aim for perfection or do things up to the mark you expect them to do. This is something we find very difficult to adjust to. This is a major challenge faced in all fields so it is very important to choose people who will be working for you carefully. Overcoming this challenge will enable businesses to build a business that is scalable.
Sociobits: Who are the potential competitors of Aliste and why would users choose Aliste?
Founders: The device caters to the segment of people who are making new homes or looking to renovate their houses and people who are tech-friendly. But we do have a few competitors in the market. The only difference is, our software is the secret sauce and our technology is way ahead of our competitors.
On the other hand, the market is divided into two segments; one segment is the very high segment and we cannot call them our direct competitors as they are like the ‘Lamborghinis’ in the car market and we are trying to be the ‘Swift’ i.e. offering a product that is affordable and reliable for the masses. The other segment includes mostly those who are traders and offer a product that is similar to what we tried before founding this company. A truly well-rounded company that is focusing on the hardware, as well as tech, is not present in the market, meaning there is no go-to name in the home automation market and we are striving to be that.
Sociobits: How was your experience at Shark Tank India? Why did you reject the deal you received on the show?
Founders: Shark Tank is a great platform for startups. Being on national television for ten minutes gave our startup good exposure and propelled our company’s growth. Even though we didn’t accept the offer that we got, platforms like Shark Tank have propelled our company’s growth and it’s the exposure that is of value. But that doesn’t mean that you can sit and enjoy the good moments, you need to leverage that growth and acceleration to keep moving forward. Whenever something good happens, it mounts a certain amount of pressure on us and forces us to make sure that this point can be used in a manner that we can scale from it.
We understand the value of getting a Shark on board as their experience is invaluable. We also understand why some startups would compromise on their valuation for getting a Shark but we did not accept the offer at Shark Tank because we were fairly confident that the valuation we were offered was not fair enough. Compromising our valuation for getting a Shark did not make sense to us.
Sociobits: What is your road map for the future? Do you have any goals set to be achieved in the immediate future?
Founders: Apart from the launch of our subscription model- Plug, we are looking to close our first round within the next couple of months. Once we are done with it, we are planning to allocate that money wisely into different sectors to scale in the manner that we want to exceed everyone’s expectations.
Sociobits: What is the difference that you felt being a part of fundraising events virtually and in-person?
Founders: Fundraising was a completely virtual process during COVID. We believe that during the early stages of a startup, the team is as important as your business model, and pitching through online video platforms like Zoom, doesn’t really reflect your personality much.
Apart from the launch of OUR subscription model- Plug, we are looking to close our first round within the next couple of months.
Pitching to investors while they are present in the same room gives you a chance to connect with them in person. People can get a sense of your energy and tend to resonate better with us. In the post-COVID era, we need to ramp up places where entrepreneurs and investors or mentors get to be in the same room. This way they can see the drive and passion a person has regarding their business. Ten Zoom calls will inform you about the business model and metrics but if you want to know how a person feels about their start-up, it is not enough.
While Technology is picking up pace, Aliste Technologies is aiming to lead the way for home automation solutions. Through their products, the company is making your life easy and free of technical glitches while contributing to the well-being of planet Earth.