In the last few months, since the coronavirus outbreak, terms like ‘contactless’ and ‘touchless’ have entered our everyday lexicon. Experts opine that the world is staring at a “contactless future”.
It could, of course, take us several years to go fully touchless, but we’re already headed that way. Several companies and product architects are out building solutions to help the world transition into this future. Meet Goa-based Spintly, an IoT startup that develops wireless cloud-based access control systems for homes and businesses. These systems allow users to control doors, gates, locks, elevators, and all types of access barriers through a simple smartphone app.
Spintly was founded in 2017 by Rohin Parkar and Malcolm Dsouza — engineers with nearly two decades of experience in Bluetooth and wireless technology. Rohin spent several years in the Bay Area working for tech giants like Broadcom and Nokia.
Spintly Co-founders Rohin Parkar and Malcolm Dsouza
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The co-founder and CEO tells YourStory, “I moved back to India in 2017 after being exposed to a lot of technology abroad, and realised that we weren’t doing enough in the core product development area. Most Indian talent was in Silicon Valley. We wanted to hire them back, and build a tech company, which is a true product company — hardware and software.”
Spintly identified a key gap in India’s access control market. Rohin explains,“We looked at the access control systems in offices and found that it involved a lot of wiring. Wires would get eaten up by mice, and sometimes access cards would be lost. Customers found mobile-based access to be much more convenient, and we thought we could bring about that shift in the industry.”
The startup was incubated at Ignite-EDC Innovation Hub, an incubator run by the Government of Goa. It also received a seed grant of $13,100 from the government, and launched operations in December 2017.
“Goa has a good startup policy, which gives financial incentives to companies like us. The ecosystem is still new, but it is growing,” the co-founders share.
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Spintly Smart Access Solutions caters to residential and commercial establishments (hotels, enterprises, tech parks, coworking spaces, co-living societies, hospitals, malls, colleges, and universities). The IoT-enabled platform facilitates indoor and outdoor management of access points like doors, gates, boardrooms, hotel rooms, office spaces, parking lots, or any area that requires a touch-based biometric log-in.
With Spintly, the check-in and check-out process are entirely contactless.
All the data collected by its hardware devices (which are rainproof) installed at access points is stored in the cloud. It can be accessed by enterprise customers through a real-time analytics dashboard and reports.
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Co-founder and CTO Malcolm elaborates,“IoT devices collect a lot of events and data points, and identify patterns that can help facility managers. We use machine learning (ML) in the cloud to provide insights. On top of the access control system, we have built a SaaS-based analytics platform for attendance and facility management. So, enterprises can keep a track of employee movement, hotels can check room occupancy rates, etc.”
Clearly, Spintly’s use cases are cross-sectoral. But the pandemic has heralded an all-new growth wave for the startup.
Operational growth and COVID-19 impact
COVID-19 has had a telling impact across industries and the global economy. In Spintly’s case, the pandemic has served as a boon.
With the government banning touch-based devices and biometric systems to curb the virus spread, the demand for contactless devices has hit the roof. Spintly claims it has recorded a “10-fold” increase in deal sizes.
Rohin reveals,“Big tech parks, major hospitality players, and manufacturing companies are interested in our solution. Tech parks have multiple entry points, and the owners want to keep a track of the movement for hygiene purposes. We are also enabling contact tracing features, which can chronologically track the movement within an area.”
“Hospitals and hotels are other big opportunities. We have been approached to build a contactless elevator solution. So, you don’t have to press buttons, and can control the lift through a mobile app,” he adds.
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Spintly claims it has 2,500 users on its smart access platform, which has connected over 1,000 doors and achieved one lakh unlocks. It services enterprise clients like OYO, Larsen & Toubro, P&G, MyGate, Simply-guest, and other various manufacturing and hospitality companies.
Malcolm says,“Before the lockdown, we had companies with 500 employees coming to us. Now, each tech park that has approached has about 4,000 to 5,000 people. We’re targeting 1,00,000 users by the end of this year.”
The startup charges clients on a SaaS-based model for the analytics platform; it also earns from sales of its hardware device. Spintly has sold about 500 units to companies based in Goa, Mumbai, Delhi, and Bengaluru (where it also has a sales office).
Funding and future roadmap
In April, Spintly raised $250,000 in a Pre-Series A round from Goa-based venture accelerator Saltwater Venture Sparks, and early-stage angel investors in the US. It had earlier raised $100,000 from US-based angels. The funds would be utilised to scale up R&D, and accelerate customer acquisition, expansion, sales, and marketing.
“We have seen a rise in demand for our products and are in the process of ramping up our production. The funds raised will also help us accelerate the product development process to meet the increased demand,” the co-founders said.
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Spintly is chasing global scale. It wants to become one of the leading players in the access control market projected to reach $12.1 billion by 2024. “We want to be a gamechanger in the business, that is the vision,” says Rohin.The startup recently got through an Austin-based tech accelerator. It is also witnessing demand from US-based OEM suppliers, who want to license the IP and tech and integrate it into their own devices.
“We have a business development team in Los Angeles for the licensing deals. We’re expecting huge order sizes going up to 10,000 units or above. There is some interest from UAE and Saudi Arabia too,” says Rohin.
Gautam Verlekar, Founding Partner, Saltwater Venture Sparks, said, “Being the world’s first wireless access control backend system, Spintly has a great opportunity to create a new market category. It has superior technology and IP, which will allow them to achieve a global scale.”
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