Have you ever wondered what goes into the mind of a newborn when he is forced to stay in the soiled diaper for longer than he should? Or have you given a thought how the parents or the care taker can be warned of to change the diaper of the baby immediately after it is soiled? Even animals do not like to sit in their defecation, so how would a human baby feel when he/she is forced to stay in a soiled diaper? Here steps Hynto into baby’s diaper (not literally: p). Hynto is a premium baby healthcare product by the start-up Signovate Technologies Private Limited. The company was founded on 1st Of August 2017 by Ashutosh R. Dubey and Rajaram Dubey. The most unique aspect about this product is that it is the only product in the world that actually monitors the hygiene conditions inside a baby’s diaper and alerts the parents at appropriate time to change the diaper. At present there is no other method that monitors hygiene conditions inside a baby’s diaper. Thus, Hynto enables timely diaper change which significantly reduces the risks of the baby getting several hygiene related medical conditions such as Diaper Rashes, many types of Bacterial, Fungal and Yeast infections, and the Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs). Just imagine the painless and tearless comfort a baby would go through while growing up if parents use Hynto. It is one of the rare companies that tested the product on their own baby before now bringing it to the world. Thus, the inventors have ensured that Hynto is safest among all wellness related products; it is also so much comfortable for babies that babies don’t even feel it, and it is extremely easy to use by the parents.
The founder of the company Mr. Ashutosh who has a post graduate education in management from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), faced similar problems when he became a father to a baby boy. Like most other parents, they started using diapers and despite of frequent changes, the baby still got few rashes. After consulting with other parents and pediatrician, Ashutosh came to know that there are babies with much more severe and painful rashes and many other infections that can be attributed to delayed diaper change. That’s when he decided to solve this issue using technology. This gave birth to Hynto. The product has a medical grade surface and uses the same material as in NICUs. This is the best raw material that money can buy! Hynto is medication-free, non-electronic, non-alcoholic and free of any chemicals. It is ultra thin (approx 0.3 mm thick), soft and flexible, and it is as easy to use as a sticker. Gradually offering their product pan India, they wish to expand in developed countries like USA and UK. Coming from a family of engineers with no background of business, Mr Ashutosh had firm faith in his idea and he was able to get his father, Mr Rajaram Dubey, on board as the co-founder. With the idea in mind and determination to create something valuable to serve the parents, he started his entrepreneurship journey. Let us take a walk in this journey where he talks candidly about this startup.
1. What is the Name of Your Venture? Any specific reason for this name?
The name of my start-up is Signovate Technologies Private Limited. It was founded on 1stOf August 2017. Our company is recognized as a “start-up company” by the DIPP (Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion), Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India. We are also among the approximately 1% of the startups who are certified and recognized by the IMB (Inter-Ministerial Board that comprises of representatives from DIPP, DBT, DST, and MEITY departments of the govt. of India) for being among the very few most innovative startup companies in India.
The name “Signovate” is derived from two words which are Signal and Innovate. We make new products that are (a) very innovative in nature (b) in the fields of health, fitness and wellness, and (c) that monitor something and provides easy to understand signal to the user of that product. Usually the “something” that we monitor is not easily seeable/ observable by the user. This is why our tagline is “See the unseen!”
The innovativeness is firstly about creating a product that has potential to either disrupt an industry, or to create a large new space within an existing industry. Secondly, the innovativeness has to backed-up with appropriate techno-legal methods such as patents, trademarks, design protections etc.
2. Who is your target Audience/clients?
Our first product called Hynto is a premium baby healthcare product. With this product our intention is to prevent (rather than cure) more than 15 commonly occurring but painful medical conditions from happening to a baby.
Being a parent myself, I know for sure that no parent in the world would ever want anything bad to happen to their children. I know how guilty parents feel when something bad happens to their children, especially something which they could have easily avoided. For us, the main audience for our first product is parents and relatives of such parents who have babies.
Our first product Hynto is the only product in the world that monitors the hygiene conditions inside the baby’s diaper and alerts the parents at appropriate time to change the diaper. This helps to reduce the risks of the baby getting several hygiene related medical conditions such as diaper rashes, many types of bacterial, fungal and yeast infections, and urinary tract infections.
Thus, for a parent, Hynto offers an extremely easy method to help them prevent their baby going through the pain and discomfort from many types of infections. Another way of saying it is, Hynto offers a very simple method to help parents ensure that their baby is happy, healthy and tear-free always! .. (smile)
3.Where is your venture based (city, state, country) & What are your geographical target areas?
The company is headquartered in Bangalore, Karnataka, India.
The geographical target areas for our first product Hynto are:
a. Urban parts in India
b. Gulf countries
e. Countries from Europe mainly Germany, France, Netherlands
4.What problems does your venture resolve? What are your products or services?
Generally, as part of regular usual lifestyle in developed countries (as mentioned in previous question), and in urbanized regions in India, people keep their babies in diapers. This starts right from the time the baby is born. The reasons for this lifestyle are obvious because diaper offers many benefits to the parents/care-taker as well as the baby.
However, this lifestyle has a huge side-effect. The side-effect is that babies get many types of painful skin infections, ranging from simple diaper rashes to several types of Bacterial, Fungal and Yeast infections, and even the Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs).
The main reason for this side-effect is that the baby remains in dirty diaper for a longer time than what it should be. Every pediatrician always tells parents/care-takers to change the diapers as soon as possible after it is soiled by the baby. However, for a parent/care-taker currently there is no method to know what is happening ‘inside’ the diaper. It is practically impossible to repeatedly keep removing the diaper/diaper-pants to take a look inside it!
So, presently the parents rely on three methods to help them either know about when they should change the baby’s diaper, or to protect their baby from getting these painful medical problems. These methods are
a. Rash prevention creams
b. Electronic gadgets
c. Diapers with wetness indicators
However, all of these methods fail to do the job properly. The main reason being that these methods are NOT at all designed for monitoring the hygiene conditions inside a baby’s diaper. Hence, despite using these methods, so many babies continue to get these awful medical problems.
On our website, we have a good round-up about these methods. It covers aspects about how these methods work, why they fail, and why these are not the right methods to address the infections issue arising out of hygiene conditions inside a baby’s diaper.
Our first product Hynto is to be stuck inside a baby’s diaper just like a sanitary napkin. Hynto then actually monitors the baby’s defecation, and then taking into account other factors, signals the parent/care-taker at appropriate time to change the baby’s diaper. It therefore helps to reduce the risk of firstly these infections from happening to the baby, and secondly from the baby suffering that pain again and again.
Hynto is the world’s safest baby care product which beats all wellness related products hands-down when it comes to baby safety. It is also so much comfortable for babies that babies don’t even feel it. Additionally, Hynto is extremely easy to use.
5.Share the idea or story behind the venture. How did it came to an existence? What motivated you to start your own venture?
This necessity of this solution came from my personal experience. My son was born about 20 months back. Like everyone else, we (me and my wife) started using diapers. When he got diaper rashes we tried things like changing the brand/type of diaper etc. but it didn’t work as much as we expected. Every-time he used to get diaper rashes, he will be uncomfortable for next minimum 2 to 3 days.
Initially we used over the counter diaper rash creams such as those that we get in any general stores. It helped in healing the rashes faster. We also started researching about it on the internet and consulted other parents who had infants. We came to know that most of the infants get such problems.
Then we consulted few pediatricians to find out if there is something unusual with our son … for example, is he having more sensitive skin etc. To our surprise all the pediatricians told us the same thing – that the root cause of this problem is that every baby’s skin is very sensitive, and more so in the diaper area. Doctor said that in some cases the diaper rash is so severe that the baby cannot lie down, or move around. Even if someone holds them, the pressure from hands on their bum or back would hurt them. Therefore, we need to change the diaper more quickly after he soiled it. Until then we were generally following the advice from the diaper companies that it is sufficient to change the diaper every 3 to 4 hours approximately, or if the diaper is full/heavy before this time period. The pediatricians also told us that they see many such infants daily and meet many worried parents like us every day. They also added that because the skin of babies is extremely sensitive, it is much more prone to catching infections, and therefore, the diaper area of the baby must always be kept clean and dry. Thus, maintaining proper hygiene is the only best and safest solution to these problems.
From pediatricians, we also came to know that there are many infants who get more serious medical problems such as Bacterial, Fungal or Yeast infections that require antibiotics for treatment. It also came to our knowledge that many infants also end up with urinary tract infections (UTIs). The infants who get UTIs are unable to communicate the initial discomfort, hence their infection gets caught at a later stage – typically when the baby is having unexplained fever and he/she is resisting drinking fluids or urinating. Like with every illness or disease, catching UTIs little later, makes it little trickier to manage. Moreover, if it isn’t managed properly medically, then it can also lead to permanent damage to the kidneys which is known as “Renal scarring”.
This sort-of worried us even more. We asked the pediatricians and also researched on our own but we could find only three methods that remotely matched what we were looking for. Both, I and my wife are engineers by education. We can easily understand how things work and where, when, how, why they will break. It was not a big problem for us to find that all the three methods will simply fail.
So basically, we were again back to the square one – that how do we continue to use the diaper but prevent any hygiene related infection from happening to our son. Or in other words, how do we monitor hygiene conditions inside his diaper.
Because there was no solution or method that was (a) absolutely safe for the baby (b) extremely comfortable for the baby and (c) very easy to use … we made Hynto.
We iterated hundreds of times on my son until we were satisfied that it works.
Later we thought that why not give it to others so we started giving it out to close friends who had babies. They were happy as well as kind of angry in a fun way. Happy because they could realize the importance of this product and understand that how it keeps their baby safe, happy, healthy and tear-free. Kind of angry because sometimes it increased their diaper usage, and therefore the total costs of diaper … But everyone loved the product!…:-)
In parallel to giving to friends, we formalized this company so that we can help more such parents in a good professional manner.
6.Who are your biggest competitors and how do you differentiate yourself from them?
As mentioned earlier, our competition is from companies that make any of the below:
a. Diaper rash prevention creams/lotions/gels/paste/ointment/spray etc
b. Electronic gadgets that alert parents to change baby’s diaper
c. Diaper with wetness indicator
I strongly believe that we can beat these products because with Hynto we offer world’s largest and best set of benefits that every parent desires.
A. Every parent wants products that are absolutely safe for the baby. Towards this Hynto offer the following:
1) The product has medical grade surface. It is the same material that is used even in NICUs to take care of babies that need special care.
B. Every parent needs product which is comfortable for the baby. Towards this Hynto brings the following:
14) Ultra-thin (approx 0.35 millimeter thick, which is roughly equal to 4 to 5 printer papers stacked together)
17) Doesn’t make lights or sounds i.e. it does not disturb the baby.
C. Every parent needs products that are easy to use. For this aspect, Hynto has the following:
18) Simply stick it in the diaper
19) Monitor from outside
20) After use, discard together with the diaper
21) No need to undress/un-bundle the baby to monitor
22) Recyclable (for unused strips)
23) Diaper-independent i.e. it can be used with any diaper
Have you ever seen a baby product that covers all these three essential aspects that parents always look for?
7.How did you identify your co-founder? Tell us some thing about your co-founder/s
The co-founder of this company is my father Mr. Rajaram Dubey.
When we were thinking about co-founder, we made a set of requirements that the co-founder should have. The main ones were
a. Complimentary knowledge and skills. I am good in tech, marketing and sales. So we needed someone with extensive experience in production and people/team management.
b. We wanted someone who has experience in machines and more importantly for whom safety is the most important thing. This is because at some point in time we would have to setup a factory. Plus, whatever happens, there should never be absolutely any compromise with the product quality.
c. Someone who can easily find flaws in my plans and easily and comfortably point out what is a real plan, and what is just lofty wishful thinking/dream.
d. Someone who has determination to keep going despite failures or challenges.
e. Someone who is respectable to me, else there is always a chance of conflict.
f. Someone who will willingly put his/her own skin in the game and stay for long term
Two people perfectly fit the bill – one is my wife and the other is my father. My wife is already working in a management position in an MNC and she loves her job. So we discussed and collectively decided that she continues to work with her present employer. I quit my job and started freelancing which helped me focus as much as needed into making this product and we chose that me and my father would start off this company as co-founders.
It is important for me to highlight that despite not being involved directly in any company affairs, the support of my wife has never diminished. Without her, all this would not have been possible at all. Even though she doesn’t take any official title in the company, she is kind-of commander in chief for the quality of the product. She is the biggest critic, and has an eagle-eye vision for every activity.
8.How did you hired your first team members? What skills Do you want in your employees/team?
Presently we are in process of hiring semi-skilled people. These employees would help us in production. The expectations from these employees are (a) hard-working (b) timely (c) honest (d) quick learner (e) doesn’t require too much monitoring or pushing to do the work
Once the production team is stabilized and is scalable, we will be hiring highly-skilled set of people for marketing, sales and business development roles.
9.What expansion plans are you looking for the next 2 years, next 5 years?
As of now, we are beginning to sell Hynto in India. In parallel, we are working on the following:
a. We are in talks with leading hospitals and pediatricians to offer Hynto to the neediest babies whom they treat of hygiene-related infections. So far, the response from pediatricians and the medical community has been phenomenal. Very soon we will have Hynto available for people through pharmacies.
b. In parallel, we are working on fulfilling export related formalities in India and Regulatory requirements for such products for exporting to the USA and the UK.
In the next 2 years the plan is to expand in India, and break into the USA and UK markets. This will be followed up with opening doors for Europe, Gulf countries and Japan.
In short, within the next 5 years we should be selling in pan India and exporting it to all developed parts of the world.
10.Where do you want to see yourself in next 10 years?
10 years is a long time so nothing can be said for sure. However, in 10 years, most likely I will be stabilizing another startup after giving reins of this company in hands of more able people. This will be required because after reaching a particular growth stage, the knowledge and skills of the current founding team members may get restrictive to the growth of the company. So, it would be time for us to step aside and make space for other people who possess the right skills, knowledge and other competencies to take the company to the next level. We will be there for monitoring, mentorship etc. However, we are very clear that we want to build a company and a team that is independent of any person including the founding team.
Moreover, my passion and love lies in doing something new, making something new, taking on what is seemingly impossible. This is what makes and keeps me happy, excited, and on full throttle. So after handing over day-to-day work to other better people, I prefer to take up something new. Moreover, I would also love to mentor, guide, help other people, especially youngsters, who are starting off something new. This, I believe, is a necessity if we want to strengthen innovation in our country. It would be a small but good contribution to our society because it will help nourish people who do not get bogged down because they cannot or do not have a regular job.
I had read somewhere that people should dream because only those who dream stand a chance of achieving it. I want to contribute to big dreamers – people who dare to dream big about themselves and also for our country, and then who have the steel to make that dream a reality.
11.What are your goals over the next 1, 3, 6 and 12 months?
1 month goal is to expand sales in metros in India and break-even within 3 months. Become sustainably profitable within 6 months and give the first team that we are in process of hiring, their first good increment … 🙂
For the coming 12 months, our goal is to be exporting to USA and UK. This would require completing all formalities, passing all the regulatory requirements and setting up stable and scalable M&S channels in these two countries.
12.Have you raised any funding? Or have any plans for the funding?
We haven’t raised any funding yet. For short term we can manage without funding. If things go as planned, then most likely we will need external funding in about 6-12 months from now. That time lump sum money will be required for rapid expansion on both sides – sales as well as production.
13.What were the problems you faced during the starting days and how did you resolve them?
For a start-up, every single day, including the starting days are full of only problems. Everything that can break down, actually breaks down … hahaha
Maybe a bit of background will help put the starting days problems in the right perspective.
There is no one in my immediate family or friends who have ever done any business formally independently. My entire family and also my friends are a bunch of techies and engineers. Only exception is my mom who was a teacher. We can easily build new great stuff in literally any domain, but for us to make a self-sustaining, person-independent, professionally-run and managed business around it is a completely different ball game.
So to talk about problems in starting days – we knew nothing. We just had the product in our hands and that’s it. There was no one to guide/help. We had to somehow figure out everything – right from small things like getting company registered, getting recognized from government, ensuring that we follow all the required compliances (there’s a huge mountain of compliances to be followed), getting proper IPs such as patents, trademarks etc., getting appropriate certifications, setting up channels to markets etc. To resolve all these, we needed to find the right trustworthy people who were willing to help us out.
Most challenging was and still is to explain the product to the people. It is a new product in the sense that nothing similar exists in the world. So naturally it takes time for people to get a hang of what it is and how it is useful for them. When I say ‘people’ it not only means customers, but it also means our employees, friends, family members etc.
14.What was the most challenging part of your journey till now? How did you overcome those challenges?
As mentioned in previous question, the most challenging part is to explain the product to people. We are overcoming this challenge gradually by proper communication including explaining the problem, telling about the current solutions, and then explaining the product to the people – its use, benefits etc.
This is quite different from explaining a product that is already well-known by people. For example, everyone understands what a mobile phone is. So anyone who makes a new mobile phone has to simply say that “look, this is a new mobile phone. It is different from other mobile phones in this particular way that is known as feature X. The feature X helps you do this particular activity (e.g. taking pictures) a little better as compared to other phones”. In this example, everyone already knows what a mobile phone is and everyone already knows what it means by ‘taking a picture’. Hence, the marketing message can easily ride on these well-known, or in other words ‘reference’ things.
In our case, we do not have any reference available. So we have to always explain a lot. We try to be balanced between details and crispness as much possible (like I am attempting to do even in this Q&A). This challenge has a positive side too because generally people ask lots and lots of questions. So, even though the conversations are longer, it is very engaging.
15.Are you married, single or in a relationship?
16.What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
My hobbies are to watch movies but since the time my son is born, my hobby has become to either play with him or to watch cartoons with him or sing nursery rhymes together with him. This is what I do when I am not at my desk or lab.
I think that for a start-up, there is no such concept of ‘non-work time’. Even when we are not in our desks, there is always a thread running in our minds about something related to pending work or some work that is stuck.
17.Whats your favorite food & holiday destination?
There are so many food items that I love to eat. I cannot pin-point one favorite food.
Talking about holiday destination. Well, the most relaxing place for me in the whole world is to lie down in my couch, with my TV remote in my hand, with no-body around to snatch the remote and change channels, and me watching my favorite movies back to back, with lots of good snacks within my arms reach. That’s my heaven that I hardly get to visit nowadays… 🙂
18.Whom do you consider your idol or biggest motivator?
My wife and my father
19.What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?
I think that there is no concept of ‘working for someone else’. Everyone who works, works for himself or herself only. An employee may work for getting salary from which the person runs the home, or an employee may work for doing a work that he or she loves to do Etc. Similarly, an entrepreneur works for realizing his or her dreams and/or to solve some problem and/or to make money. Essentially everyone works to satisfy their internal needs and drives. The major difference between entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs is the way these two sets of people try to balance risks with stability. An employee tends to seek stability (stable job, regular increments, promotions, etc.) while an entrepreneur is willing to take on more risk for attempting to fulfill his or her dream. Even though nowadays the word ‘entrepreneur’ is kind of glorified, I think that both types of mindsets are equal and one is not better than the other. Also, both need each other equally.
20.If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
Firstly, I would have done my management education earlier. Secondly, I would have started off my venture about 2-3 years earlier with another product that I had in mind before that.
21.How has being an entrepreneur affected your family & Social life?
It has actually made family and social life much better by making all interactions a high quality interaction. So even though now, because of being terribly busy 24/7, I may not spend as much time with people as before, but now every second is much more nice, more lovely and more memorable.
22.Anything, you would like to say to our readers or upcoming entrepreneurs?
To the readers, I would want to urge them to try out products and services from smaller companies and start-ups. The reason is very simple. These companies will offer more value for money and they will be more willing to go the extra mile to make you happy. Moreover, every customer that new companies get is much more important and valuable for these companies as compared to one customer among millions for a large company. In addition, I would urge the readers to give candid feedback to these small companies about their products and services. Even if you hated that product or service – contact the company and tell about it to them directly rather than posting things on the internet. This is important because it is a normal human tendency that people tend to talk loudly openly when they do not like something, but very few will actually say good openly if something is good. For us as consumers, to benefit the most, it is important that we talk to the company and let them know the good and bad. Most of the time the companies, especially the smaller ones, will take every possible action to correct it which includes complete unconditional refunds and/or extra free stuff. At least give them this chance to make it right with you.
For the entrepreneurs, especially the budding entrepreneurs, I would want to communicate that entrepreneurship is like climbing Mount Everest. There will be people who will not believe that you can climb it. There will be people who will make fun of you. There will be very few people who would be willing to join you in the journey. There will be times when you will be low on oxygen. There will be times when suddenly you will be hit by bad weather or chilly storm. You will fall many many times and slip backwards. It is therefore important to set the safety ropes as you climb so that you can have a point from where you can resume if/when you fall and slip backwards. Take every step carefully – placing one foot firmly before moving the other leg. It will take immense focus and grit to get going. But it is not impossible. And most importantly, do stop by after a while for some time and look around the beautiful scenes from the mountain. It will tell you where you have reached and fill you with more strength and happiness. Enjoy every step of this journey!
23.Tell us something about your education & family background.
My graduation is B.Tech in electronics and telecommunication. Following this I did post graduate diploma in advanced computing. Then in 2016-2017, I did post graduate course in management for executives (PGPX) from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
Like I mentioned earlier, my wife is also an engineer. She is also B.Tech in electronics and telecommunication. We were classmates, then got married with everyone’s blessings. We have one son who is now about 20 months old.
My mother is a retired school teacher and my father is also retired. He is B.E. mechanical plus he also has management education. Before retirement he was working in ONGC (Oil and Natural Gas Corporation) as Chief Engineer (Mechanical).
I have two brothers. Both of them are B.E. computer science.
24.What is your USP which makes it unique & different from other start-ups in similar domains.
The USPs of this company are:
2) Person to person talk like two people talking to each other normally
3) Being grounded all the time.
4) We tend to be extremely choosy about how we spend money, and we spend only when it is essential. For example, while many start-ups spend money on office infra beforehand, we have decided to delay it to a later point of time.
5) We are very careful about building the right team. For us it is okay to be slow if we are unable to find right people. But we will not hire anyone just for the sake of making a bigger team.
6) We are dead focused on our customers and we not only listen to every single word that they say, we also take all appropriate actions.
7) We focus on disruptive innovation rather than the incremental ones. For e.g. we do not make something that already exists a bit smaller, or bit more convenient, or little more better etc. Rather our focus is to make things that, as of now, do not exist at all!
25. What do you think is the biggest threat to the success of small businesses & Start-ups today?
Small businesses and/or startups are always in shortage of funds. Due to this they are under constant threat of either having to shut down, or to face the heat for something similar that a bigger company may offer by copying from the smaller company.
There are two reasons for the shortage of funds. Firstly, it is difficult to get people to try out something from a smaller company. This puts constraints on revenue side. And secondly, the other source of funds by debt or equity requires real hard selling for which revenues is a crucial element that any investor or a person giving loan looks at for assessing the risk.
So for a small company or a start-up, it is like a sandwich position. This position remains like this until they have decent steady revenue, which takes time to happen. Once there is revenue, then there is no shortage of people willing to fund whether it be through loans, or as investment against equity.
26. Do you consider yourself successful and by what means do you measure success?
Yes, so far we have been successful. For us it is like we know where we want to go, and towards that we continuously take small but strong steps. For us success is about whether the step that we take is successful or not. So for every step that succeeds, we consider ourselves as being successful. These small successful steps will add up overtime to the bigger goal, making that goal successful.
27.Please share complete name, address, phone number, email id & website of Your Business & Contact Person
Name : Ashutosh Rajaram Dubey
Company name: Signovate Technologies Private Limited
Company website: http://www.signovatetech.com/
Company address: A4-711, Sobha Aquamarine, Bellandur, Bangalore – 560103
Mobile number: 9886283738
Email IDs: [email protected]