The textile industry in India is booming and is witnessing unprecedented growth in the recent decades. Saving costs in this vital sector, thus, proves to be the most effective way to leverage the growth opportunity it provides for the companies as well as to the Indian economy. intelloCut is one such innovative product, which is helping the textile industry to save costs. Here is an interview with Ms. Mausmi Ambastha, Founder & Director, intelloCut.com.
For people not familiar with the textile industry, how does intelloCut work and what are the problems that it solves?
intelloCut is an intelligent material planning and optimization software. intelloCut measures, predicts and optimizes material utilization and productivity for sewn products industry (apparel, footwear, automotive, home furnishing, technical textiles etc.)
intelloCut snaps into the various processes of buying, cutting and using of material of the manufacturing units and improves utilization, reduces wastage, increases productivity and improves estimation accuracy.
- Buys exactly what the manufacturing unit needs – no more, no less and no wastages.
- Saves material, labor and time.
- Replaces all inefficient manual decision making processes with its extremely complex algorithms.
- Completely automates the complex Cut Order Planning, Fabric Grouping and Roll Allocation problems, thereby maximizing savings.
- Provides a rich multi-lingual user interface for ease of use.
- Deployed on the cloud and therefore highly available and extremely reliable.
- It has comprehensive business intelligence and reporting module that give real-time statistics of the factory.
- BI module is also available as a mobile application that can run on any smart-phone and/or tablet.
intelloCut provides SaaS version also, to encourage the Small Medium Enterprises. SMEs want the same software tools that are available to large enterprises, but cannot afford them because of the high cost of the products. Keeping this in mind, intelloCut offers an online suite which can be accessed via a web browser or web-enabled phone, hosted on cloud, that saves costs.
Your venture is very different from the general startups sprouting up – How did the vision of intelloCut come into being? Did the product change along the way?
I have been associated with this industry for the past 8 years and during this period I realized that there is a dire need for an advanced and practical software that can optimize usage of fabric. Fabric is the most important raw material in the textile industry, and is comprised of 70%-80% of the garment production cost. Thus, even saving 1% – 10% fabric has a huge effect in the overall profitability of the company.
So, with the aim of boosting the sewn products industry by saving fabric, labor and time in an efficient and smart way, I discussed the idea with my technology evangelist friends. We were contemplating ideas for a new start up venture at that time. We did a brain storming session and a critical market analysis on the competitive landscape, market entry, growth scenario and the future prospect.
Looking at the potential market opportunity, we decided to materialize the concept and founded Threadsol Softwares Private Limited and developed the revolutionary product ‘intelloCut’.
While building the software we were very conscious of the fact that it has to cater to all the practical and on-floor scenarios. We were associated with the leaders of the garment industry to get first hand user feedback and to ensure that the direction of the product is correct. We put in a lot of effort in developing our screens and tweaking the look as per the user feedback to ensure they resemble the way production floor documentation works today. The idea was to minimize the learning curve of the end user. Even today, our product development plan is highly guided by the user feedback, and we ensure that we give our clients the best service.
Could you share your team’s background and how you fixed on the textile industry as the sector to start your venture in?
IntelloCut team has an interesting mix of talents which provides the best launching pad for a product like intelloCut. Every member of the team shoulders a particular side of the business and creates an extremely capable and strong cohesive team.
Mausmi Ambastha: Founder and CEO: Mausmi has 8 years of industry experience. She did her MFTech from NIFT, New Delhi. Before founding intelloCut, she worked as a Professor at NIFT, and did six years of consultancy in South East Asia at Methods Consultancy.
Manasij Ganguli: Founder and CTO: Manasij has 11 years of experience. He did his BTech from BIT, Mesra. Before joining intelloCut, he was a Solution Architect at Terracotta (80 million exit in 2011), and worked with CSC, TCS and Impetus.
Abhishek Srivastava: Founder and VP Engg UI: Abhishek has 9 years of experience in software industry. After doing his MCA from UPTU, he worked with Smartdata and Impetus.
Bratish Goswami: Founder and VP Engg Backend: An MSc from IIT BHU, Bratish has 6 years of industry experience. He worked with Castle Rock, True Sparrow (acquired by Fab.com) and Impetus.
As to how and why we zeroed in on the textile industry to work on, here is the answer:
The Indian textile and garment industry is a key player in the national economy and contributes to 4% of India’s GDP. It is the second largest employer after agriculture. It is estimated that one out of every six houses in the country depends on this sector either directly or indirectly for its livelihood.
Today India is booming with fashion and lifestyle, with the organized retail trade growing at a rate of 30% per annum. The Indian apparel or Indian garment industry is pegged at nearly 13% growth rate per annum.
The idea of intelloCut was born on an evening get-together in January 2011. That day, I shared my apparel and garment industry experience with my software expert-friends and we discussed about the scope of contributing towards the industry by developing a complete solution, which can not only bring productivity and profitability, but also contribute towards a greener environment.
Our group of friends were considering multiple ideas for a start up at that stage. Based on a detailed research and understanding the tremendous prospect, we found this idea to be the most bankable and geared up to jump into the challenge. The start-up just broke through the cloud in early January 2013 after undergoing a 2 year gestation period of product development.
India has more than 30,000 factories producing $30 billion of exports and $60 billion of domestic garments. It is expected to grow to $220 billion overall by 2020. The world has around 150,000 factories producing a total of $660 billion worth of garments, which is expected to grow to $1 trillion by 2020. Taking in the other verticals of leather / inflatable / upholstery / footwear / home furnishing manufacturers, the market size is even bigger.
You have received national recognition at various prestigious portals, and awards at eminent contests/challenges. How do you view the success achieved and the future road to growth?
intelloCut has received good response ever since our entry into the market. We have some well-known garment manufacturing units in Bangalore and the Delhi-NCR region as parts of our diverse & growing clientele. We are really honored and feel very fortunate to be awarded at some of the prestigious portals and eminent contests/challenges. Some of our recent honors include:
– Winner of prestigious Women Entrepreneur Quest 2013 – a part of the Annual Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, organized by the Anita Borg Institute.
– Winner of National Award – 2nd prize in Microsoft Bizspark Startup Challenge 2013.
– intelloCut was recognized as one of the Top 10 most innovative startups of 2012 at UnPluggd 2012 by NextBigWhat.
We have already deployed intelloCut in more than 60 manufacturing units as trial. Every time, we are saving huge amount of material cost in each factory. We have received excellent response from leading industry players, which boost our determination and confidence, reaffirming that we are on the right track.
The success achieved is just the beginning and we have a long way ahead of us. We have started spreading our wings to reach out to overseas garment manufacturing regions. Apart from India, we have already reached Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Philippines, Bahrain and Italy. We aim to strengthen our presence and establish clientele in all these places by the end of next year and open more geographies for intelloCut.
What were some of the hidden challenges that you realized only after starting out?
The major challenge, that we had to face, was to make our team understand the intricacies of the garment industry and the production floor processes. We are very proud that we have overcome these challenges very well. We took our entire software development team to production floors for trials to see how the whole process worked. Today each member of intellocut, irrespective of their department, completely understands the product and how it works on the production floor. They are capable of running a software trial and explaining the concepts to a core production floor person. This helped us immensely as everyone started to view the product from an end user perspective. This gave us focused approach and smoother communication within the team.
One tip for all aspiring entrepreneurs?
Starting out as an entrepreneur can be tough, everything you do will demand more: more time, more money, more effort, more sacrifices. The only way to counter this is to be more: more perseverant, more focused, more determined and most importantly, having more fun in whatever you do!