[Startup Bharat] How Kerala-based Pradjna Helps Employers Assess Blue Collar Talent

There are a number of platforms that make it easier for companies to hire blue collar workers such as drivers, factory workers, plumbers, carpenters, etc., but assess their skills before hiring one. been a challenge.

Based in Kerala Pradjna Intellisys created a solution using technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Machine Learning (ML), and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to solve this problem.

Launched in 2017 by Sunil Haridas (56) and Vinod Balakrishnan (52), Pradjna, based in Thiruvananthapuram, is a B2B HR performance management SaaS platform which assesses and assesses the skills of blue collar workers using a combination of IoT equipment such as gloves, sensors and software technologies, which are also compatible with weak or weak internet connection.

Sunil says human skills and performance are currently only assessed by human subject matter experts, which is not always doable, objective or cost effective.

“For example, millions of associated drivers of taxi consolidation companies, clients of auto insurance companies, blue collar training and placement companies and many other businesses need a platform that evaluates human behavior and skills, which is objective, data-driven, distributed. , scalable, profitable and always available. Our solution is easy to use, implement and maintain, ”he adds.

Pradjna is part of the cohort of E4 shelland is supported by the Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC).

The product and how does it work?

Sunil explains that Pradjna mainly supplies blue collar performance analysis such as driver skills, risk and cost assessments for use-based insurance, taxi aggregators, analysis of worker skills quality and productivity, assessments of manufacturing skills blue collar workers like welding, machining, industrial painting, etc. which are currently carried out via expert human subjects.

Sunil says the startup uses General artificial intelligence (AGI) framework machine learning and sensor fusion using the latest technologies.

“Our machine learning platform is unique, generic and more flexible than advanced deep learning networks. Deep learning networks like Google Tensor Flow or IBM Watson require a separate training mode with huge datasets to learn the specific context and create internal logic, ”says Sunil.

“But in our case, there is no separate training and testing mode, and the same data flow is used for learning and then for anomaly detection. This is clearly a unique advantage in many. many real life situations such as driving where each driving context is different from previous contexts, ”he adds.

Pradjna’s team of seven has developed technology that uses unsupervised e-learning through data processing.

For example, the startup, which currently prioritizes driving skills, uses sensors on smartphones to collect real-time data from a driver, which is then used by the engine to build models, learn models and identify anomalies. The system is configured to provide contextual reports and a company specific dashboard.

“For driving, we have incorporated global industry standards such as OBD-2 and the Indian national standard AIS-140. Our app-based solutions are available for Android and iOS, ”says Sunil.

The comeback story

An engineering graduate, Sunil has worked as a technology professional for over 25 years with companies including IBM, Infosys and Covansys.

Always keen on upgrading and developing skills, Sunil dabbled in entrepreneurship with a social enterprise called Aspire Management, which provided training and mentoring for a large number of engineering students and management and young professionals.

Four years later, Sunil realized that there was a greater opportunity in assessing the skills of blue collar workers using new era technologies like machine learning, which will also have a much greater impact. important, and this has become a basis for Pradjna Intellisys. He then roped up his friend Vinod Balakrishnan, a mechanical engineer with significant experience in operations in the manufacturing segment.

Together they pooled Rs 60 lakh of their savings along with friends and families for product R&D and initial business development and launched Pradjna in 2017.

The market and the competition

The Kerala-based startup has the potential to tap into various markets. Sunil says the startup’s auto insurance offering has the potential to reach a significant percentage of 450 million vehicle owners in India and a much larger population globally. The same is true in industries such as manufacturing and factories.

In terms of competition, the founders say Pradjna has limited competitors in the Indian market. Some of the global players operating in the space include Cambridge Mobile Analytics, a company specializing in the behavior-based insurance segment; and Nissan Connect from Nissan Corporation, which is a connected car solution, which also assesses driver behavior.

Sunil claims that Pradjna is the first IoT-enabled common platform and software to analyze the performance analysis of blue collar workers around the world.

Sunil adds that there are companies like SkillVeri in India that offer virtual reality (VR) based training solutions to blue collar skills like welding and painting.

But Pradjna’s solution focuses on assessing and evaluating employees and potential employees and scoring them on the basis of skills, risk, quality and cost, according to Sunil. He adds that the company is not targeting professional training for blue collar workers.

“The employment of blue collar workers is a huge segment not only in India, but globally. Digitization is accelerating as part of Industry 4.0 initiatives. In addition, digital models such as connected vehicles and aggregation of taxis are developing very rapidly and maturing globally. Therefore, we see a great global opportunity in the HR performance management space in the manufacturing and service segments, ”Sunil said.

Business model and turnover

The startup has a cloud-based B2B business solution, based on a subscription revenue model (SaaS).

“We offer it in two models: an annual model for large companies such as insurance; and a seat-based or license-based model for small and medium-sized enterprises, ”explains Sunil. “We are also location independent and offer our solutions globally based on our cloud-based architecture,” he adds.

Pradjna has so far carried out a number of pilot projects for large companies like the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and Adani Vizhinjam Port. It also works with Shell India and its partners to deliver its solutions globally. Sunil says the startup is still in the pre-revenue stage, but expects strong growth over the next two quarters with nearly $ 1 million in revenue by Q4 2022.

Funding and upcoming projects

In addition to the founders’ investment of Rs 60 lakh, Pradjna has so far received additional seed funding of Rs 7 million from the Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) and Shell India Markets. He also received grants from the Indian government under Tide 2.0 and the government of Suzhou, China for winning a competition.

The startup is now looking to raise $ 500,000 as part of a pre-series A funding round. Pradjna has valued around one million end users to date and predicts exponential growth in India and abroad in coming years.

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