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Education 2010-09-12

Robotics benefit via franchising

By Ramanjit Kaur Feature Writer

Gridbots, a company that envisions making robotics for domestic as well as educational and industrial purposes is gaining grounds via franchising. In an interview, Pulkit Gaur, Founder and Chief Technology Officer, Gridbots Technologies Pvt. Ltd shares the origin, growth and future plans of his company.

Ramanjit Kaur (RK): Please shed some light on the origin, growth and success of Gridbots?

Pulkit Gaur (PG): We have started Gridbots Technologies Pvt. Ltd in August, 2007. We now operate in the field of consumer, industrial, and military robotics. The company has already worked with agencies like the Ministry of Home Affairs (New Delhi), National Institute of Design (Ahmedabad), Central Intelligence Bureau, Indian Navy, and Wipro. Gridbots has made its mark in the field of robotics, machine vision, and artificial intelligence. It has been incubated by IIM Ahmedabad’s business incubator CIIE and is supported by the Department of Informational Technology – Govt of India. Our company is growing exponentially both in terms of market share and technological capabilities. Today, we have more than 30 products which have commercial offerings. Gridbots has also started joint ventures with leading business groups to manufacture robots for industrial usage.

RK: What is Gridbots all about? What kind of services if offers?

PG: Gridbots is India’s first robotic company to roll out robots for day-to-day domestic activities apart from industrial applications and imparting education on robotics in both schools and colleges across the country.

We make robots for defence and surveillance purpose, surveillance cameras and security devices. We also make robots for the hospitality industry. We also make robots to clean homes, swimming pools and sewage systems.

Our educational endeavour – Edubotix uses robotics as a medium to propagate science and technology amongst students and help them in understanding intricacies of cutting edge technology. Edubotix conducts workshops at the Robostores and set-up Robolabs in schools and colleges.

RK: What inspired Gridbots to take the franchise route to expand the business in India?

PG: We strongly believe that ‘Together we can do better’. As mentioned above that we are incubated by CIIE as the start-up, infrastructure facilities, financial resources are always short at our disposal. So, for expansion we needed a team of likeminded people who are sound both in academic as well as financial spectrums. This is how we decided to go through the franchise route to expand our footprints across the nation.

RK: What practices and initiatives have you introduced with Gridbots?

PG: Earlier, we used to have manufacturing against pre-orders. Now, we have commenced production on commercial lines. In this direction, we have appointed distributors and retailers. For promotion of science and technology, we have started setting-up Robolabs in schools and colleges. The response is very much encouraging.

RK: What are the eligibility criteria for selecting the franchisees of Gridbots?

PG: Anyone who aspires to be a franchisee of our company should have enough time and interest in this subject to give something new to the society. S/he should have a minimum of 1250 sq. ft of office space (carpet area) at a semi commercial location and good business contacts in industry and academia can be an added advantage. As far as the investment is concerned, a franchisee needs to invest around Rs 12-15 lakh to take up our franchised business.

RK: How many franchised outlets do you presently have in India and across the globe? What are your target locations to expand the brand in India?

PG: At present, we have 15 franchised outlets in India. We are looking to have more franchised outlets in the near future. Our target locations are Delhi, Punjab and southern states of the nation.

RK: What kind of training and support does a franchisee gets after partnering with your company?

PG: We as a company relieve our franchisees from the technical burden by providing them company trained robotic engineers who work full time at our franchisees’ locations. The robo engineers posted as franchisees are B.Tech/ M.Tech graduates selected from the university campus through rigorous selection process. After their selection, they are trained at Gridbots Talent Factory for one-two months in the field of robotics before they are posted at franchised outlets. This training is continuous and on going. Also, business development managers are also trained with modern marketing techniques and helped in developing marketing strategies for making the franchised outlets a profitable venture. Our senior sales personnel and technical directors visit regularly in the franchised outlets and arrange lectures and workshops in schools and colleges for setting-up of Robolabs.

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