Most of the start-ups fail in the conceptualisation phase itself: Anshul Agarwal
While the global pandemic has bought economies to a halt and massively disrupted businesses, it has also fuelled start-up dreams and we even saw several Indian start-ups achieve Unicorn status during the pandemic period. The times have never been better for the budding entrepreneurs to give wings to their start-up dreams.
The Government, too, has come up with various schemes to support its ‘Vocal for Local’ drive. A case in point is the recent Rs 1,000 crore Start-up India Seed Fund announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the Start-up India International Summit 2021 held earlier this year.
Adgully is turning the spotlight on the entrepreneurs who fought against all odds to bring their dreams to fruition in our special series – START-UP STARS. We at Adgully wholeheartedly support the ‘Vocal for Local’ movement and over the next few months will be featuring all local/ homegrown businesses, brands and Apps.
XR Central is an interactive tech studio focused on solving real business problems with Gamification, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, IoT, Mobile Apps, Voice and more. It specialises in building learning and training use cases across verticals and creating immersive digital experiences and spaces with an aim to positively impact brand recall and elicit a wow factor.
In conversation with Adgully, Anshul Agarwal, Co-founder, XR central, speaks about his journey as an entrepreneur, the opportunities in the XR market space, how the pandemic pushed the company to re-think and re-strategise its services and more.
Please take us through your journey as an entrepreneur. What motivated you to establish your start-up? What were you doing prior to turning an entrepreneur?
The journey as an entrepreneur has been quite exciting to be honest. Everyday there is something new to learn from all around (employees, clients, partners, etc.). The platform that we have built is CUBE, and what really keeps us excited at all times is the new problem statements that clients bring to us and how we customise CUBE to provide them the best solution that not only meet their expectations but exceeds them.
The opportunities in the XR market space to innovate and see the world changing with the increasing use cases of XR (AR, VR, MR and Voice) in the coming times was the biggest motivator for me. I am a technology enthusiast and always wanted to create use cases of technology which have the potential to change the world. And it can’t get better than entering the XR technology space, which has limitless possibilities. This is what motivated me and keeps me motivated at all times.
I have been a global sales and marketing professional for over a decade now. I have worked with the global brands in the IT services and Power & Energy sectors. Just before turning into an entrepreneur, I was leading global account based marketing programs for a tech giant in India.
What need gap did you want to fulfil with your start-up? What is the core business proposition?
The biggest gap that we, as XR Central, are trying to fulfil is helping brands/ enterprises realise the unexplored potential of XR technology. We are working with clients and partners to help create some ground breaking use cases around virtualisation of spaces (experience centers, events, museums, retail stores, etc.).
Our core propositions are built around our XR Experience Builder Platform – CUBE. Below mentioned are few of the USPs:
- No app or special deviceis needed. Most importantly, to build the experience, no coding knowledge is needed for the host
- Customisation:With our CUBE platform, clients can create a highly customised 3D of a virtual space, that will be suited for working on the web browser
- Interactions:Each element in the 3D space will have a call to action that will run within the platform tab. No new tab will be opened up. Hence, all the interactions remain within the CUBE platform
- Collaboration:Human to human collaborations such as, video conf, audio, text chat, live support are all enabled within the platform so as to make it look like as the real world experience
How did you identify your TG? Did you carry out any feasibility study prior to starting your business?
The key for us was to keep talking to our industry connections, typically the ones who are the decision makers. Our conversations with them helped us identify the right TG and craft the best solution for them. Feasibility study is actually the conversations that we have with the industry connects that we have.
What were the challenges that you faced in your start-up journey and how did you overcome them?
The biggest challenge that we faced was the pandemic. Prior to the pandemic, our solutions were device dependent, however, the pandemic pushed us to re-think and re-strategise our services. We started partnering with global brands like ZReality, 8th Wall and Metastage. These strategic partnerships enabled us to provide solutions that are device agnostics and we started getting visibility in the market space. At the moment, XR Central is one of the very few players in the global market that provides fully immersive XR solutions to its clients.
Funds/ finance is the prime issue of almost all start-ups. What can the industry and the Government do to address this issue and ease the capital requirements of start-ups?
The Government is doing its best to be honest to help the start-up culture in India. I mean, the MSME registration really helps us get bills cleared in a given amount of time, which helps us plan our cash flows to an extent. For start-ups like us – one of the few in the country – the Government shall allocate funds and work for us as we can really help the Digital India mandate and take it to the next level.
Prime Minister Modi announced a Startup India Seed Fund earlier this year. How do you see start-ups benefiting from it?
Most of the start-ups fail in the conceptualisation phase itself. The biggest reason has been that not everyone is able to put in the initial fund for even bootstrap start-ups. Now with PM Modi announcing seed funds, I believe more and more start-ups will move ahead of the conceptualisation phase. This is a brilliant step by our Government to help the entire business ecosystem of India. This will accelerate “Make in India” and “Digital India” mandate.
How is digital helping you further your business?
The biggest advantage with taking business digital is the expanded reach to our ecosystem.
What were your key learnings from 2020? How do you see the start-up ecosystem progressing in 2021?
The biggest learning is: we need to be flexible and should be prepared to adapt to solutions that negate the worse. The worse can happen anytime, but we must stand united and tall to weather the storm and be patient enough to let it pass, while at same time not losing our focus. With the new seed fund announcement by our PM, I feel that lots of entrepreneurs will be motivated to expand or start something new. I see many new start-ups getting formed in India and many turning into unicorns in the coming years.
What would be your message for the budding entrepreneurs?
Just believe in the idea that you have, stay focused, and things will happen for you and your company. Always have a clear and a fair intent, which will enable you to thrive even in the toughest of times. But the key here is be honest and dedicated in what you do.