'When you can't find your phone, you give it a missed call. Now you can give your things a missed call too.'

This Bengaluru man gave Harvard a bunk so you could keep track of your keys and thingsThe Gida team (right to left): Pravin Carvalho, Kiran PB, Celia Castera, Guruprasad Shenoy, Vignesh Shenoy, Jishnu Choyi
news Innovation Friday, July 15, 2016 - 11:18

Do you hate missing the first five minutes of a film or being late to that important meeting because you couldn’t find your keys in time? Or when you have a cab waiting but you can’t find your wallet? You can’t Ctrl+F your way to finding them, but 31-year-old Kiran PB has come up with the next best thing: The Yoky tag is a small device you can attach to your keys, wallet or any other item and use your phone to find them.

The tag links itself to your phone via Bluetooth and works on the principle of proximity. You have to download the Yoky app on your phone and when you want to look for something, you tap on the search button. The tag will ring, indicating where it is.

"When you can't find your phone, you give it a missed call. Now you can give your things a missed call," explains Kiran.

But suppose you left your keys at home. "In that case, the app will go to maps and show you the last location of your keys," he says. And he claims that the entire setup consumes only 1% of your phone battery, even if your phone is connected via Bluetooth to it all day.

“The idea was to make everyday problems easier with non-intrusive technology that runs in the background,” says Kiran, adding that users will also have the option of selecting a “safe location” when they are home. “This essentially means that you won’t be bombarded with notifications every time you move,” he explains.

Kiran says that the tag works the other way round too. “If you leave your phone in a cab say, the Yoky tag will beep so that you know,” he explains.

The water-resistant tag has a battery-life of one year when actively used, and also comes with a pedometer, which can tell you how many steps you’ve walked, the calories you’ve burned and the like. “If the key is going sit in your pocket as you go about the day, it might as well tell you how many calories you’ve burned,” says Kiran.

 

 

An electronics engineer from IIT Madras, Kiran came up with the idea of the Yoky tag about three years ago based on his own struggles to keep track of his keys and the like. And his desire to do something hands-on with his love for technology led him to set up Gida in 2011, of which Yoky tag is a product.

Gida, from the Kannada for ‘plant’, Kiran insists, is at the center of the company’s motto – to grow and benefit others. Their team consists of nine members, not including their dogs Eva and Jack.

Eva and Jack are both rescues and lighten the atmosphere in their home-office in Bengaluru. "Jack guards the trash and Eva is the Chief Happiness Officer," informs Kiran. 

Most of the other nine members of the team are also IIT Madras graduates, united by their love for technology and their dissatisfaction with how their education taught them about it.

While they all dedicate some time to Gida, they raise money for the company by providing niche software development services for top Indian companies. “We aren’t looking for investors,” says Kiran, “we follow a simple formula – selling price should be more than cost price,” he laughs.

Kiran initially had plans to go to Harvard for further studies. And while he secured admission in 2011, he decided not to go. “I was more excited about technology and doing interesting things. The corporate world offered a predictable life and I didn’t want predictable,” he says. “It’s strange that we consider getting into a prestigious institution an achievement. It only means you have potential. What you do with the potential is what really matters,” he adds.

While Gida has two more products in the pipeline, Kiran says that the experience of running a startup has taught the team something having lots of money couldn’t. “Being in tune with technology can make you think it’s as easy for everyone,” offers Kiran, “But when we saw people struggle with things we thought were simple, we knew we wanted to make something that’s accessible to everyone.”  

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