Microsoft, Apple, Napster, WordPress, Facebook, DropBox, Tumblr, Mashable, Spotify, Ploud.io. It’s likely you have not heard of the last name on this rather eminent list of tech firms. The Bangalore-based virtual reality (VR) startup that made our Tech30 company list for this year, counts Raghu Venkatesh among its co-founders.
Like many other firms whose founders dropped out of school/college, Raghu dropped out of formal school in the 12th standard. This tech evangelist, who began coding at the age of eight, has been involved in different fields like game development, ideation, innovation solutions, and strategies as part of the three startups he helped begin before Ploud.io.
The company, which was launched in August 2015, is focussed on building a futuristic platform that is at the intersection of VR, deep learning, sensory experience and Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Details of Product/Service
The company’s product is in the proof-of-concept stage at the moment. Third Eye, a next-generation Neuro-VR headset, allows a person to consciously dream using a telepathic compilation of thoughts collected from the user’s brain. For instance, the prototype is currently able to compile brain signals and determine the user’s specific mood,and then react according to the determined mood to alter the user’s state of mind. The next wave of development is focussed on exploiting thoughts to determine and create intent of action.
‘We are building a platform where content will eventually be user-generated. We are basically building the technology platform. This platform can be used by Virtual Reality companies. It’s about thought taking control of technology rather than technology controlling your thoughts. The idea is to build a technology that you take control of, giving the power back to users,’ says Raghu.
The story of the team
It’s a quirky mix of five rather passionate people behind this technology-driven venture. Despite coming from different walks of life,their vision is all aligned to making Ploud.io a pervasive technology.
This is Raghu’s fourth entrepreneurial venture. His first two ventures failed and the third one was a success.However, he gave it all up and backpacked to the Silicon Valley to gain more insights into the startup ecosystem.
Over there, people have greater regard for products rather than services. That’s when I realised the need to build a product that will not only appeal to an Indian audience, but one that has a global appeal.
It was by pure chance that his path crossed with co-founder Faizil V N, who himself had been involved with many startups since he was a teenager, including W3Graphix, Appsud and Sketchmonk.com. A common vision brought them together for the long haul.
Although they had the software ready, they needed a hardware person to get things up and running.That is when Chennai-based,multiple-award winning hardware genie Arun Magesh decided to join the team.Adding diversity and balance to the company are Brindaalakshmi who heads marketing and communications and Archana who takes care of everything operational.
Currently at a proof-of -concept stage, some of the sectors they are focusing on include Healthcare, Education and Entertainment. Eventually, they hope to cover all sectors.
This is clearly NextGen technology, which even global tech giants like Facebook and Google are working on. If this team gets it right, there are immensepossibilities in the future, both from generic (consumers) use cases as well as specific ones (Healthcare, Legal, Education).
The revenue model is subscription based.
500+ customers have used the technology so far.