Altimetrik, the technology and solutions arm of US-based VC firm Vattikuti Ventures, is betting big on the Indian market. The company sees India as a big focal point for its solutions as it senses business opportunities in Digital India, Jan Dhan Yojna, and Make in India initiatives. In an exclusive chat with Firstpost, Altimetrik’s Chief Technology Officer Madhavan Satagopan talks about the company’s focus, its investments, and opportunities in the Indian market.
Excerpts from the interview:
Tell us about Altimetrik’s operations in India, and its offerings.
Altimetrik was incorporated globally and in India in 2012. We saw through our first year a series of acquisitions -- ThinkWays, EnTeg, and Timba. With these acquisitions, the company started developing its own financial inclusion and digital health platforms. The platform and solutions engineering happens out of India and Uruguay. We focus heavily on healthcare, financial services on consumer banking, retail and hospitality. All these segments have a heavy play in emerging markets like India and South Africa.
We have a platform, called Altifin, for financial inclusion, and a technology healthcare platform backed by technologies like analytics, mobile, and Internet of Things. The digital heath platform has integrations for different types of devices, wearables, and mobile platforms and supported by both information dissemination and visualization. We offer our solutions both on-premise or on cloud based on customers requirement. We have three different business models. In financial inclusion space, we work with financial institutions and deploy our platforms and solution frameworks into their landscape. Our customers can actually take the flat set-up fee and then do a transaction-based pricing; we can do purely transaction-based pricing; or we can deploy our IP and monetize it through the services we provide -- which can be integration services, deployment services, the end-to-end spectrum of the technology and IT services.
What are the focus areas for Altimetrik in India?
Financial Inclusion: In India, Altimetrik initially forayed into the financial inclusion space through Vattikuti Foundation in 2012. We identified a pilot at Tumkur district in Karnataka by profiling farmers, who were borrowing at horrible rates with no repayment scheme and no income. There was a disbursement channel from the government to help farmers. But the disbursements were not reaching the right people; even if they did the money was not utilized properly. We partnered with one of the government-authorised banking correspondents. For the initial population, we partnered with India’s largest nationalized bank. The bank opened 20,000 accounts and issued cards over a period of 12 months. Now, owing to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Jan Dhan Yojana, the figure has climbed up to 4.45 lakh. The Jan Dhan Yojna scheme has accelerated the adoption of our platform, and banks are more open to work with us now.
Digital Health: We aim to take our digital health platform as a base platform and work through specific healthcare initiatives. Currently, we are working on two initiatives – one with a state government and the other with an NGO. Both the projects are at a pilot stage. For digital health, we work with both medical device manufacturers as well as care providers. In India, we are in partnership talks with one of the largest healthcare providers in the country.
Make in India: We are not in the device manufacturing space, but we work closely with startups and big companies, specifically in the areas of IoT and wearables. The company has just forayed into agro-tech and solar energy. We tie up with startups to see how we can actually apply technology in promoting some of their innovation. We also do academic innovation and encourage people to align themselves into Make in India. Recently, Altimetrik established an innovation cluster lab in BMS College of Engineering, in Bangalore.
Being part of Vattikuti Ventures, if any of these smaller companies need startup or VC funding for device manufacturing, Altimetrik is open to do that.
Enterprise: Over the next two to three years, we will be focusing more heavily on mobile, information visualization, enterprise integrations, and connected solutions. We will be creating a lot more visualization layers on consumer technologies for our customers. Big enterprises are expected to take their current enterprise application landscape, and push it at the back. These enterprises will be spending lot on building the front ending layer. The inflection point will be into connected solutions in the next few years. So, as a technology company we see huge scope in this domain too.
Can you name some of your top clients in India?
We are working with one of India’s largest nationalized bank, and also with Tier-2 and Tier-3 banks. Our initial acquisitions have given us some respectable customers like Reliance, Tata Steel, Ranbaxy, Bajaj, among others.
How is Altimetrik placed vis-a-vis other competition?
In financial inclusion space, we see Atyati Technologies as one of our competitors, which was recently bought by Genpact. There is competition in other verticals too. However, Altimetrik believes in taking the leadership play in the longer term. Once we set our growth targets, we follow up fairly aggressively. We don’t see this with other companies. Altimetrik is an IP and solutions and investments heavy company, while many companies are services or product heavy. We have filed three patents on areas of Cognitive Sciences, behavioural research, and on areas of pattern recognition. We believe these all will have a play in the digital world. We are preparing our fourth patent in any device enterprise integration.
Are you eyeing acquisitions in India? Can you talk about the investments you are planning to make?
Over the next couple of years, we are looking at some acquisitions in India in the IoT, digital health and mobile segments. In the mobile space, we will be looking more at mobile device integration and mobile device management. We are in talks with couple of Pune-based startups, and one Bangalore-based IoT startup. We are eyeing lot of NASSCOM’s 10,000 warehouse startups.
In addition, Altimetrik encourages and directly supports and funds Innovation Incubation ideas as aligned to the organisational goals and strategy, as well as evaluates and recommends to its parent VC firm taller funding (ranging from $1-3 million dollars or higher) for qualified ideas and startups. In India, we are also, to an extent, exploring a couple of investments or funding that we want to probably give.
The investment to build technology and solution capabilities and drive growth for Altimetrik in India is more than 10-12% of the global revenues of Altimetrik in the last two years. This investment trend is expected to continue for the next three years at least.
How much does India contribute to your global revenues at this point in time?
India is a key market for us. Altimetrik grew 60-70% in 2013 and 2014 globally. Last year, out of Altimetrik’s total revenues, 32% of revenue share came from India and surrounding geographies. The quality of revenue we measured was 18% -- which means it was not out of services, but based on solutions and platforms. Our vision is to sustain 50-70% growth over the next three years. And, we want to increase the revenue share contribution from emerging markets in excess of 60%.
How are you approaching government to become vendor of choice? What are your plans for the Indian market?
Digital health is the primary focus. That’s where we will get a lot of business growth both from governments as well as enterprises. Financial inclusion will be core focus, but we are not counting it for business growth for the next couple of years, as the market needs a lot more maturity. Digitalizing is the key area where we are focusing on and aligning with the government initiatives. The Indian government is expected to earmark lot of funds for digitalizing assets, and being a digital company, we are keen to tap this opportunity in India. Prime Minister has been very precise that 38% of these funds will be spent at a central level, while 62% will be spent through states. We are yet to figure out the channels. In India, digital health, digitalization, and financial inclusion will be our key focus areas.