Three people died after three single-storey structures collapsed due to a cylinder blast in a slum in Mumbai in December 2016. Fire officials said the explosion occurred after leaking cooking gas caught fire.
In October last year, a woman and her child lost their lives in a village in Noida when a gas cylinder started leaking and caught fire resulting in the cylinder exploding.
For Anant Jhawar, co-founder of Exattec, disaster struck closer home when a very good friend was witness to a bad accident caused by LPG leakage in the kitchen. The domestic help simply couldnâ€™t smell the leak because she was suffering from a cold! This led to Anantâ€™s business idea of Gashound â€“ a product that uses IoT to minimise the scope of human error in gas leaks.
Just around the time he had this idea, his friend Siddharth Jain from college gave him an offer to join him in starting a new business from scratch. Siddharth had an existing engineering team working for him and Jhawar had a business idea. Out of this, was born Exattec in May 2016.
The company started off by working on its first product, GasHound.
What is the product all about?
GasHound is a product that has two modules, a detector and a shut-off valve. The shut-off valve is designed as a gas pipe breaker for emergency use. The product can be installed in the kitchen or near any gas pipeline. One side of the valve is connected to the cylinder and the other side to the detector. GasHound works on the principle of sensing the presence of gas â€“ LPG, PNG, methane or carbon monoxide.
Any time a combustible or explosive gas like carbon monoxide leaks, the detector detects it and sounds an alarm. As soon as the concentration of gas reaches critical levels, the solenoid valve gets activated to shut off the supply, preventing further leakage. After the valve gets closed, manual operation is required to turn on the valve. This ensures safety in the event of an accident.
Exattec also provides an installation, which integrates it with the security consoles in apartments. GasHound also has a call center, which notifies the house owner of a gas leak if there is no one at home.
The device comes in two variants. The higher variant works on electrical power and has an external battery that automatically runs in case of a power failure. The basic variant is priced at Rs 3,299 while the battery variant comes at Rs 3,899. Apart from earning from the sale of devices, GasHound is also planning to give out devices and associated services on a subscription basis, to households and enterprises. The company has so far installed over 1000 units and has bookings for another 2000-3000 units.
Exattec also has a B2B model where it has tied up with real estate developers, college campuses and restaurants to install its devices. It has presently struck deals with real estate developers in Bengaluru and Kolkata to install GasHound units in every flat for their upcoming units. It has also installed units in certain college campuses in Hyderabad that have integrated housing units.
Exattec has so far invested Rs 40 lakhs, through self-funding as well as angel funding from friends and family.
Bengaluru is GasHoundâ€™s primary target area for its B2C segment. â€śWe are not actively looking at other geographies. The market potential here is 20 lakh households, so the scope is very large in Bengaluru alone. However, if we do receive orders from elsewhere, we are fully open to serving those customers,â€ť says Jhawar.
It is now also in the process of developing and prototyping next-gen devices. Unlike the current devices which only work based on detection and automatic shutting off, of the gas valve, the next-gen devices will be networked and will be IoT-enabled.
The founding team of Exattec: Siddharth Jain (Left) and Anant Jhawar
But Exattecâ€™s focus is not limited to detection of gas leaks. â€śExattec aspires to be in the business of coming up with products which provide at least one of the three - Safety, Productivity and Convenience, by utilizing and leveraging the latest in technology and platforms, including IoT,â€ť says Jhawar.
Exattec is currently working on developing other solutions such as automatic lighting control and intelligent fish finders for the fishing community. It is also developing products for the automobile and real estate industries. These products are all in different stages of completion. Having already tasted success with its first product, Exattec is on track to break even by October 2017.