Leveraging emerging technologies for public services: In conversation with Prem, founder Marut Drones

CIE brings to our Deeptech community,

Fire Up Founder Insights series 5th edition, hosted by our COO, Mr. Ramesh Loganathan. The series is brought to you as a part of Startup Gyan Blog series by CIE-IIITH  where we feature our founders and talk about their Startup status and the journey so far through conversation on specific topics useful for other Deeptech startups and the community at large.

In Conversation with Prem, founder Marut Drones:

“After the trial in Miyapur, the community having seen the before and after difference in just 4 days, wrote a letter to GHMC to do the pilot in Raidurgam with 300 signatures on it”

Marut Drones was founded by a team of IIT Guwahati Alumni, passionate about solving some of the most persisting global problems. The Startup was listed under Forbes’ The 30 Under 30 Asia list and also won Facebook’s – India Innovation Accelerator Program 2019 in AI for Social Good. Recognised as an innovator, problem-solver, and creator in the industry, Marut is advancing in using emerging tech like drones, IoT and AI to solve the problems such as mosquito menace causing Dengue and Malaria.

The Startup is working on multiple fronts from fighting COVID-19 and building the World’s First Mosquito Eradication System to making Medical Supplies reachable to everyone and creating a solution for Sustainable Agriculture and Scalable Afforestation.

Discovering possibilities:

The thought process started after spotting a water body housing a lot of mosquitoes nearby to Prem’s house, The municipality couldn’t do anything on account of low funds, lack of manpower and technologies etc.

The water being stagnant and full of contaminant, was unfit and posing health challenges for anyone to attempt cleaning. This became the first problem for the team to look at and led to the application of custom drones to remove the human contact with water while eradicating mosquitoes.

Getting the authorities to see the value

“It took 3 months to get the permission for the first trial on a lake”

  • Once the product testing is done, Start talking to the officials at the zonal level
  • Get the first appointment through Institutional channels e.g. Incubators or accelerators
  • Identify the key person for regulation and someone who is inclined to look at the trials
  • There is always a big resistance to which the high demand and the problem size counteracts
  • Start educating and pick case studies from the ground level workers and use it for your demo
  • Show the value addition instead of selling such as Eliminating the human contact is an advantage                                            that worked in favour of Marut Drones
  • Supplement instead of replacing the manpower (Tech as enabler and not threat)
  • The resistance melts away with more results coming out of pilot

Government work in a structured way and go with rules and regulation but some authorities such as GHMC are always trying to bring in new technologies to make improvements in the country.

“Despite the initial resistance, the 60% reduction in mosquitoes was achieved in one day after the trial. A job which was earlier done by 2 people was now being done by a drone in 17 different locations.”

The Growth Hack tip

It is easier to do a services Startup than a product Startup when it comes to working with Public services but with the help of influencers and mentors services to product becomes achievable.

Watch the complete interview for some cool anecdotes and fun facts!

Keep watching this space for more under Fire Up Series.
Stay safe and sound!

– Sunita Kumari, Team CIE