Knowledge-based Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Solutions

Vizara Technologies Pvt Ltd, a startup founded in 2016, provides knowledge-based virtual reality and augmented reality solutions in various domains such as heritage preservation, tourism, real-estate, security and smart city governance. The company was founded by IIT Delhi alumni and technology entrepreneurs. The company was recently showcased as chosen Women Entrepreneurs at the Womenpreneurs Wall at the Global Entrepreneurship summit (GES) 2017. In an interview with Dr. Vanita Srivastava, the CEO and Founder of the company Dr. Anupama Mallik talks about her startup and the way ahead.

Tell us a little about yourself.


I have a Ph.D in Electrical Engineering from IIT Delhi. I have worked in the IT industry for several years, and was a young entrepreneur in the 90’s as head of a software consultancy which developed applications for lawyers, retail firms and tourism industry including DTTDC. In academia, I have taught at the GGSIP and at IIIT Delhi. I have been associated with the Multimedia research group of the Electrical Engineering Department, IIT Delhi and have worked at several Scientist positions in projects sponsored by DST, Government of India, TCS research labs and Samsung Research India. I have authored a book on multimedia ontology and several papers published in international conferences and journals.


Tell us a little bit about your startup.


Vizara Technologies is a tech start-up providing knowledge-based virtual reality and augmented reality solutions in various domains such as heritage preservation, tourism, real-estate, security and smart city governance. The company is founded by IIT Delhi alumni and experienced technology entrepreneurs. It is mentored by IITD professors and has highly acclaimed academicians and scientists on its Technical Advisory board. The company has been certified as a Startup under the ‘Startup India’ programme of the GoI by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), and is currently undergoing incubation at the Technical Business Incubation Unit (TBIU) at IIT Delhi.


How did you come up with your idea? Tell us about your journey?


The story of Vizara began with a vision for heritage in India and global world. Vizara Technologies was set up in August 2016, as an Information Technology (IT) startup company. The idea came from the Indian Digital Heritage (IDH) Project of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) of the Govt of India. The push given by the DST to translate the technologies and outcomes of the IDH project into commercial products was the motivation for setting up Vizara.


What motivates you? Who has been your greatest inspiration?


Our motivation is the passion to change the way people engage with heritage by offering immersive and interactive experiences which feel almost magical to create exciting memories. These solutions will deploy cutting-edge technologies like 3D and XR (AR/VR/MR), and combine them with knowledge-based explorations to offer learning about our history and heritage an exciting exploration.
My greatest inspiration are those unknown heroes who keep working towards changing the world for better through their innovative ideas, hard work and passion, with tangible benefits to society as their only motivation.


What three pieces of advice would you give to aspiring women entrepreneurs?


- Focus on building good teams
– Hire people who are smarter than you at least in their area of expertise.
- Maintaining life-work harmony is important for a long innings.
- Failure is the best teacher.


What would you say are the top 3 skills that make a successful entrepreneur?


- Having a vision and getting it implemented through ‘delegate and deploy’.
- Being open to different perspectives to be able to keep learning from every person and situation.
- Ability to juggle budgets and leverage resources optimally.


How did you select your team?


My co-founder Dr. Geetika Sharma and I have done PhD under the same mentor - Prof. Santanu Chaudhury, Professor, Electrical Engineering Department of IIT Delhi, currently Director, CSIR-CEERI, Pilani. We decided to join hands and start the company, combining our individual skills and experience of working with technologies like knowledge based applications, computer vision, graphics, VR and AR, offering various products and services primarily for the heritage domain. Later we plan to offer pan-industry products based on these technologies.


How did you fund your startup and what were the key challenges you faced in raising capital?


We started with bootstrapping the company with our own funds. The Government has many schemes under which they provide funds to start-ups. We have recently received our first seed support funding under the NIDHI SSS* scheme of the National Science & Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board (NSTEDB), GoI through our incubator Foundation for Innovation and Technology Trasfer,(FITT), the Technical Business Incubation Unit at IIT Delhi


What have you planned for the future of your startup?


Vizara’s vision is to not only safeguard heritage in digital domain, but also stand at the forefront of offering cutting edge solutions made in India to the world. There are few companies in the world that offer VR combined with knowledge-based solutions using Artificial Intelligence for cultural heritage applications. Vizara’s products are an Indian showcase to the world of how home-grown talent, supported by the Government, can offer innovations which can match and even surpass many global initiatives.