Alum Ventures: Inertial Elements – Amit K Gupta, EGMP 2010 (Batch 14B)

Wearable technology is revolutionizing the way we experience things around us. Be it tracking devices, or gadgets that enhance our movie time, or keep us fit by monitoring our workouts among many more. Amit K Gupta company Inertial Elements deals in hi-tech sensors that are used across fields and have recently expanded into the Sports and Fitness domain sounds very exciting and promising.

From a corporate professional to a full time entrepreneur, Amit talks about entrepreneurship, his interests and more.

Manzil mile na mile, iska gham nahi,

Manzil ki justuju mein mera karwan to hai..

Please tell us something briefly about yourself.

Being son of an army man, I spent my childhood with people having diverse cultural background. Later, hostel stays at IITK and IISc provided me the same opportunities. I learnt determination, discipline yet maintaining simple lifestyle from my parents. Challenges and difficulties have often brought opportunities to me.

I am passionate about creativity, innovation & entrepreneurship. I feel lucky to be surrounded with ever supporting family, friends and well wishers. My wife and two little kids are my source of inspiration.

How and when did you start Inertial Elements.

Inertial Elements is the outcome of DST-VINNOVA sponsored Indo-Swedish research project which IISc Bangalore and KTH Stockholm executed jointly. We got involved in the later part of the project for prototyping of research outcomes, and subsequently, we commercialized it. This happened in the year 2014 when we were incubated in SIIC, IIT Kanpur. Later, Prof K V S Hari of IISc and Prof Peter Handle of KTH came on board as technical advisors.

What prompted you to enter this space? What was the inspiration?

During the early years of last decade, advancement in MEMS fabrication technology led to miniaturization and significant reduction in cost of sensors. The rise in sensing technology was well complemented by the pace of communication and cloud technology. This enabled connected devices or Internet of Things (IoT). Consumer applications and wearable IoT started gaining popularity. Having passion for sensors, circuits and systems, I got fascinated by these developments. And when the opportunity came in form of collaborating for Indo-Swedish research project, I didn’t let it go.

What are the products or services offered by Inertial Elements. Any upcoming product that you are excited about?

Inertial Elements was started with the idea of revolutionizing pedestrian tracking using shoe-mounted sensors, in GPS denied environments. The location technology has industrial as well as tactical applications. Tracking industrial workforce, land survey, gait analysis, tracking firefighters, etc are some of those. Last year, we expanded our business scope to wearable technology for the Sports & Fitness domain by initiating collaboration with a European sports giant.

I am excited to announce the launch of our smart watch based workout App – 7Top, in coming weeks. It has already been undergoing beta testing for past three months. It’ll be released for Apple watch initially. 7Top can automatically record the repetition counts and other body parameters during the 7-min workout. (The 7-min workout is a popular home based workout sequence – HIIT – of 12 exercises covering entire body, with 30 sec on 10 sec off.) With 7Top, we present the analytics of the workout sessions. In future, we plan to include more flexibility in choosing the workout sequences. It’ll eventually lead to AI based virtual coach which could utilize data analytics to create customized workout plan for every individual.

Recently we’ve been granted an Indian patent on “Smart toe-rings for capturing movements and gestures”. International patent application has been published. Shoe-sensors as Smart toe-rings would be a turning point for the technology. Development of an Indoor Positioning System (IPS) around Smart toe-ring is underway. This will be meant for tracking personnel for industrial and tactical applications. The Smart toe-ring and the IPS will be released in year 2021.

What are some challenges and rewards of entrepreneurship.

Opportunity to pursue your passion fulltime itself is satisfying and rewarding.

We are into business of hi-tech sensors. In my previous organizations, I’ve imported such technically advanced products. I always thought if we could produce such things in India, and export to the world. It came true for me. What else could be more satisfying than shipping our products to hundreds of users worldwide.

It gives very good feeling to see the relations graduating from business inquiries to good friendships.

It was also rewarding to earn recognition in form of DST-Lockheed Martin India Innovation Award in 2015. We were also recognized as Top-10 Most Innovative Startup at CII Industrial Innovation Award 2015.

Uncertainty is the biggest challenge of entrepreneurship. It never disappears forever. The art of managing uncertainty is the key.

There are some challenges which are no different than what a captain of a ship faces.

Maintaining quality of physical goods by utilizing local resources is a challenge. Notion of “Quality” varies between a Tier 2 city, a metro city and the one in developed world. With local resources, quality-cost matrix is favorable for low-cost products, not for high quality ones. FEMA compliances are too burdensome and limiting for a startup. I envy our European and American counterparts who execute international transactions with ease. There are many other well known challenges related to our ecosystem.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I enjoy satisfying curiosity of my kids, and being in company of my loving wife. Playing chess with kids is fun. I derive pleasure in reading and watching documentaries on countries where our customers come from. There is no better pastime than sleeping. I wish to start going on trekking again.

Role of IIMB in your journey as an entrepreneur.

I have always been passionate about entrepreneurship. With the knowledge acquired at IIMB, I gained confidence to enter the world of entrepreneurship. There is no substitute of learning from the expert faculty members and interacting with the like-minded batchmates from diverse background, which IIMB offers.

If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?

The journey of an entrepreneur begins with and is full of challenges. Therefore do what you are extremely passionate about, capitalize on your strengths and learn to say no.

A favourite quote.

Entrepreneurship is a journey, not a destination.

Please visit Inertial Elements to know more..