Hardcore fans of Richard Hendricks from the popular situational comedy 'Silicon Valley' will identify with the pitfalls of being in the video compression business. Shailesh Goswami (Founder & CEO of Foyr) plays that role in real life.
Magic is created at the intersection of things
Shailesh Goswami is a big believer of the principles laid out by late Apple chief Steve Jobs. Armed with a B.Tech and M.Tech from IIT Delhi and a degree in business management from FMS Delhi, Shailesh spearheads the guardianship and growth of Foyr. He wanted to simplify and transform the real estate industry, relying on a path-breaking entrprise grade video compression technology. Shailesh's vision is directly responsible for Foyr's growth across its various stages.
Prior to founding Foyr, Shailesh served as a Senior Director at Microsoft India. When not working, he enjoys reading, music and playing cricket with his kid.
This is an Exclusive Interview with Shailesh, as a part of the #TimesStories initiative by The Times Blog.
What inspired you to launch a technology business in the real estate industry?
At Foyr, our mission is to solve real life problems through technology, innovation and design. It defines our business, our culture and the kind of work we are passionate about. We are a varied lot of thinkers and doers, continually rethinking what’s possible to help us all do what we love in new ways. We always do our jobs knowing that we can achieve great things when many people work together. By applying our tech at scale, we help architects and interior professionals all around the globe in shaping and showcasing their ideas in a truly immersive and collaborative manner, right out of the 3D toolkits that they are already using.
Our footprint at Singapore is a measure of both our vision and our scope on the global stage.
Foyr products are the reflection of our innovation. They are a result of several breakthroughs. Most importantly, we have applied innovation in three key components of our product:
- A highly effective compression engine
- A web-based high quality rendering engine
- The introduction of domain intelligence into design tools
Usually, a three-dimensional model can be very heavy (on size and necessary transmission bandwidth). Foyr's proprietary compression engine is the first innovation, which makes our virtual world extremely lightweight.
Secondly, achieving dynamic, high quality photo-realistic visualizations on a web browser has always been the problem that the world has been grappling with. Our innovation in this field is truly noteworthy. This makes our virtual spaces much more realistic. Lastly, our products tend to have a "brain" of their own. They are intelligent, and not just simple geometric software.
How did the puzzle fit together? What led to the launch?
One day, while doing up my apartment, I realized that the interior designing industry makes extremely little use of technology and the current processes are severely disjointed and time consuming. Right then, I saw a huge area of opportunity. Also, I'm a big believer in the fact that in every major domain, there needs to be an era of incremental but invaluable change.
Reliant on my technology background, I started the Foyr journey so that we could bring next-gen technology tools to the design industry.
When did you launch Foyr, and what challenges did you face initially while going about your rollout?
Foyr was founded in 2015. At the time, my immediate challenges were:
- Getting the right 'things' together (People, Infrastructure, Processes)
- Finding the right Product–Market Fit
- Managing Rapid Expansion
How did your family react when you told them you wanted to get into a tech business to support architecture?
My family was very supportive. Of course they were worried about the risks, but all in all they understood that it had to be done, and chose to support me anyway.
How important was the acquisition & targeting of a niche audience for Foyr? How did you go about it?
Targeting the right audience is always super important because there is a very large market in almost every potentially successful business. It was a proactive strategy to go after a smaller subset of the cumulative target, and a reactive plan based on how the market is responding to our product. A few iterations of these two finally resulted in us being able to identify & target the right segment.
Are there any specific influences who have inspired you? Is there any advice from them, that you would like to share with our readers?
There are two things that I would like to share. In my very early days, I asked my mentor (who is the creator of one of the most popular web browsers in the world,) about which business model (out of four available options) should I choose. He said "Look, there are no maps in the journey. The advice is - you have to figure out that choice yourself, as you go down the path."
What is the Top Business Takeaway that you did not know when you first started out?
Nothing is impossible. Believe in your dreams.
What advice would you give to your ten-year younger self, if given an opportunity?
Start sooner. Don’t delay taking the plunge so much.
Have you raised funds for your business?
We have had a total of three rounds of funding so far:
a) $600K from Brick Eagle Ventures
b) $ 1 Million from ASTARC Ventures
c) And we are about to close our Series A round of $4.2 Million, involving a clutch of investors such as JLL, etc.
Any words of advice to aspiring entrepreneurs in the design-tech industry?
Don’t copy another idea. Start something that you feel very connected with, and attempt to tackle a problem that you really want to solve. Don’t just do it because someone else has done it.
Is there a product or service that doesn't exist yet, which you wished existed? To help your business?
I was fortunate to have a very good network. A lot of entrepreneurs don’t get advice. I'd say a vibrant community of mentors and advisors - but of course, these things are already happening. But there is a lot more that can be done.
Secondly, having a Reliable Ancillary Ecosystem is always a need.
How much of a role does consumer marketing/publicity play in the enterprise tech business, in your opinion?
Consumer marketing is important, yes - but it is not like the most important thing. It plays a role in making people aware and establishing a technical leadership for us.
Ultimately if your customers like your work, it will work.
Finally, is there someone you want to thank on our platform?
First I want to thank my core team. They stayed by my side through all our ups and downs. The team stuck together in literaly the worst of times.
Secondly, I wish to thank my investors - who have always been there as my friends and advisors.