Neurotags: The end of counterfeit products in India?

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Founders – Nitin Gupta, Yogesh Miharia, and Abhishek Agarwal

Website –  Neurotags

Every now and then I stumble across several instagram meme pages posting stories and/or posts selling Nike shoe @ 1500 INR, which apparently is always an one time offer. And, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that it’s a duplicate product.

Not only shoes, these cheap substitutes are sold in every department of the market, even in the life-deciding ones like medicines. As a matter of fact, counterfeited products worth more than $1.6 trillion are sold yearly worldwide. In India itself, around 30% automobile components, 30% FMCG product, 25% of medicines, etc. are counterfeited.

Now, you might be wondering why am I throwing these random facts at you? Well, A) Because it’s a big problem of our country and B) The startup we are discussing today might have just put a ‘period’ to all these “Almost original” scene.

The startup we are discussing today is a pune-based company registered by the name “NeuroTags”.

The Problem:

Let’s start with the problem. The problem is not the counterfeiting of the product, well it actually is, but the bigger problem is we haven’t found a sufficient enough technology to counter this problem. RFIDs and Holograms which are generally used can actually have their own flaws and hence can’t be the complete solution.

The Solution:

One word: NeuroTags!

Nitin Gupta, who had worked for giants like Google, Yahoo, eBay, Paypal, etc., was once watching a hollywood documentary in which the person use to pick up fake products oftenly, which led him to the whole situation and eventually the idea of NeuroTags. He, along with his former-Cognizant-employee-friends, Yogesh Mihari and Abhishek Agarwal, started developing NeuroTags to tackle counterfeits.

Finally, in january-2017 they started the NeuroTags with a product in hand.

But what is/was the product actually?

NeuroTags, at its core, is an AI and heuristic cloud based product which comes with dual layer of security to tackle the counterfeits.

The first layer is a open-layer or a public tag which can be scanned by anyone from outside the box to know the details about the product, which gives a certain degree of confidence to the buyer.

The second layer is a closed-layer or a private tag which can only be accessed once the seal is torn. On scanning this tag, one can guarantee the authenticity of the product i.e, whether it’s original or not.

Both these layers are algorithmically inter-connected, and the backend i.e., AI on the cloud, makes sure the all the tags are unique. If someone tries to replicate the same code, it will automatically be discarded from the original-product list. Also, as the whole process is digital, it gives product owner a complete overview of the supply chain, from manufacturer to the customer.

P.S. On scanning, for the original tag, one might get incentives. If you are into that sort of things;)

neurotags

The future & the present?

Currently, NeuroTags is associated with less than ten companies in different sectors with some big names like Syska LED, Hyperexchange, Global Auto Implex, etc. Neuro tags currently employees 18 people, and it isn’t profitable yet.

As far as the future goes, Nitin and teammates aim to sell five to seven crore tags in India and the United states. Will update this article once this happens.

Final words:

Neurotag, indeed, is a great addition to the country’s startup land. With solution never seen before, NeuroTags has made an place for itself in the market, and so has many more startups we discuss regularly on StartupUrban. To get to know more such startups, bookmark this site!

What made you strike this business idea? What inspired you to start this Company?

The idea of NeuroTags came to us while watching a documentary on the counterfeit market that made us realize how big this problem is and how badly it is affecting the market. After a thorough R&D about the counterfeit market and use of the technology that can solve this problem, in early 2017 we designed a foolproof technology – NeuroTags. It took us around a year to develop and launch it in early  2018.

When did you start your business?

NeuroTags was conceived in early 2017 after a year of work it was launched in January 2018 with an idea to protect the world market from counterfeits and fakes. Since then our platform has evolved a lot based on market feedback.

NeuroTags leverages the native capabilities of billions of smartphones to connect people and brands together to fight the counterfeiting, it:

  1. Empowers consumers to validate products before purchase
  2. Provides an easy and automatic channel of communication between consumers and brands
  3. Provides brands with the data to partner with their consumers on their journey
  4. As a bonus, enables end-to-end supply chain visibility at no extra cost

What does success mean to your company?

We see NeuroTags playing a major role in making the world free of fakes and counterfeits. Also, the data collection and analytics by NeuroTags will change the landscape for the non-tech-savvy manufacturers to compete with the top technology equipped companies.

How are you performing currently?

We are growing fast, and already working with some of the major brands in the country. With our cost-effective and powerful solution, we see ourselves to be the market leader in helping the companies grow their revenues by eliminating their counterfeit markets in the industry. We penetrated the market in January 2018, we have acquired 8 companies in India along with a brand like Syska. We are also in talks with some other global and Indian brands and looking forward to closing a good number of deals this year.

What is the biggest risk to your company?

Ours is a B2B evolving platform which enables digital capabilities in offline brands. One of such capabilities is foolproof anti-counterfeiting and highly engaging consumer engagement. This is the current as well as the future need of the market, and we have positioned ourselves as the leader in this. So I do not see any major risk in terms of business. But one general risk is the closing time for the sales as the ticket size is comparatively large; however, we are restructuring our offerings to reduce the time it takes to sign a deal.

What are your plans on funding?

We have started to look for it.

What is the biggest challenge you faced during your start-up setup?

Initially, it was difficult to convince the companies, as nothing has been done like this before. But now when they see their competitors and other companies benefiting using our solution, they move forward with fewer hesitations. Also, we are working on refining our processes required to integrate with their current manufacturing or supply chain process, as it varies from company to company, so we are moving the common steps into a part and then customization into another, this helps reduce the overall time to integrate.

What does growth mean to you and your business?

We are looking to acquire more and more clients. With more and more experience across industries, we are getting better at evolving our offerings as well as automating the integration process with production lines.

We envision in next 2 years we will be the default go-to platform for enabling digital capabilities, such as digital anti-counterfeiting, digital consumer acquisition and re-engagement, digitization of supply chain and very efficient inventory management and predictive analysis required by leaderships for better business decisions.

How does your product stand different from others in the market?

NeuroTags provides the world’s first of its kind an integrated platform, which provides a number of useful offerings to offline brands, such as consumer protection (our flagship offering), consumer acquisition, consumer re-engagement, marketing automation, supply chain visibility, and anti-diversion, data analysis, and predictive BI capabilities. We have integration points which seamlessly integrates with existing SAP, Oracle or CRM systems.

Our offerings can be used individually, or in any combination, the important thing is Brands get the certainty that their digital platform won’t suffer if their product grows out tens of billions or if they end up acquiring hundreds of millions of users.

Our team has past experience in top tech companies in the world such as Amazon, Google, Paypal, and Yahoo, and the best practices from them have been used to design our system.

Our system is always evolving and becoming better based on the feedback of various companies in the market.

However, most of our competitors are hardware first, they come up with one or two solutions which are assembled on some legacy setup which usually doesn’t scale and is costly to use and maintain. So every time brand has to put in a lot of time and resources to integrate the various offerings with each other, which doesn’t really work in the real world that well.

Our UX first approach, also sets us apart from the rest of competitors, we have reduced frictions at each and every step to engage brands consumers, and we are seeing the results in terms of many folds better user participation in loyalty and eWarranty programs.

Where are your start-up services spread?

We focus on solving the challenges faced by offline physical goods manufacturing brands. The target industries include any physical goods industry facing counterfeiting problem and who wants to acquire and re-engage users for better sales.

What does it feel to be the founder of your start-up? How does it feel getting up every morning and getting on to work?

It’s fun, full of new learnings and sometimes it comes with stressful schedules.

Where do you see your business standing in the next 5 years?

We are aiming to be a major player in enabling and providing the digital capabilities to offline brands and helping them with data analytics and predictive BI.

What difficulties did you face when starting Neuro Tags?

One was to convince the potential clients of NeuroTags capabilities and RoI. The other was to build the core technology team and to grow up a really helpful customer success team. We are evolving and getting better every day.


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