NetObjex understands how blockchain can be leveraged for enterprise and industrial use with innovative features. By utilizing blockchain technology as a fabric for IoT, NetObjex enables them to have their own unique identity using a universal blockchain ID and have their own wallets, and even make cryptocurrency payments to one another.
Name: NetObjex, Inc.
Location: Irvine, California
Product / Service Offering: IoT-Blockchain Middleware Platform for Digital Asset Management
Co-founder Interviewed: Raghu Bala
This article is part of our Business Startup Spotlight Series featuring entrepreneurs and their companies. We hope that these founders’ interviews will inspire and motivate you as you undertake your own entrepreneurial journey.
Tell us a little about yourself with a focus on what motivates you.
I am a serial entrepreneur, always wanting to innovate new ideas and bring them to market.
When did you establish your company and where did the idea originate?
The idea originated in October 2015. Basically, I had been working for a media company where one of its divisions was literally going bankrupt. I wanted to rescue it by bringing about a change in the form of innovation. I had invented a concept called Smart Rack in 2011 and now people would call the same thing IoT. When the company did not change its ways that division got hurt by systemic issues in the print publishing world and eventually went bankrupt. I felt the idea we had built had legs for broader use cases. That was the genesis behind NetObjex.
What need or needs does your company seek to fill for its customers?
Our platform solves 3 problems:
- The tracking, tracing and measurement of the performance, efficiency and utilization of assets are handled using antiquated methods in several industries – supply chain, manufacturing, healthcare and more. We connect the physical world to the virtual world using a concept called Digital Twin and instrument edge devices to the cloud and onto blockchain to provide a very secure, tamper-proof, real-time approach towards asset management.
- With the advent of blockchain as a core technology with the potential to revolutionize many industries, our platform acts as a blockchain middleware to search, federate, and aggregate data across different heterogenous blockchain technologies.
- As digital assets/devices become more autonomous, there is a need for them to discover, authenticate, transact and communicate with one another. By utilizing blockchain technology as a fabric for IoT, we enable them to have their own unique identity using a universal blockchain ID and have their own wallets and even make cryptocurrency payments to one another. The next generation of assets in any organization would be smart and capable. This is an eventuality already developed in the NetObjex platform.
What is the one thing that sets your company apart from its competitors?
NetObjex has thought through how blockchain can be leveraged for enterprise and industrial use thoroughly with innovative features. We are not done yet! We believe we have first mover advantage and believe we can maintain that lead in the marketplace.
What was the biggest challenge you faced while getting your company up and running, and how did you overcome it?
Funding is a challenge for most startups. I put in my life savings, second mortgage and then some in NetObjex with the belief this will pay dividends. Many have put in a lot of sweat equity for their part.
Educating investors and getting our messaging right has been a challenge as well. Most customers and investors do not understand IoT or blockchain very well to be brutally honest. Some investors have a very short-term myopic viewpoint on ROI instead of being a little patient and capturing market share. We believe we are overcoming all of this through educating the market, balancing tactical and strategic objectives, all the while making a name for ourselves and establishing a brand presence globally.
Are there resources you have utilized that other founders might find compelling or useful?
The best advice I have for other founders is very resourceful. I know some who need a “marketing employee”, need a “finance employee”, need a “sales employee”, etc. Well, we do not have many resources so I wear many hats. I have recruited people with a like mindset and we all pitch in. Specialization and division of labor is a luxury you only have when you are larger. When you are small, you have to do everything yourself.
What steps have you taken to secure funding for your company and what, if anything, would you do differently if you had to start over?
NetObjex has bootstrapped mostly. We have had some angel investment, a small institutional round, and some crowdfunding (Reg D/Reg CF). We have also used Amex judiciously. It has come in very handy. We have more rounds of funding coming up and a few other methods to scale the company as we move forward.
Have there been any questions you have had as an entrepreneur of a fledgling startup that you had a particularly hard time finding the answers to?
Most founders sometimes ponder – “Am I really doing the right thing? Am I going to succeed?” Self-doubt creeps in after a while if you are not succeeding. Also, the morale of the team begins to flag. The only advice here is that I prayed/meditated a lot. An occasional shot of alcohol calmed the nerves. When all else fails, go to sleep or watch a movie or do something else. You will come back re-energized and look at the issue again with a fresh pair of eyes.
What challenges, if any, are you grappling with?
Funding is always a challenge for us. We want to scale faster and the gap here is investors want us to show revenues. Customers will come down the road, but one needs to invest today in anticipation of future revenues. The research and development begin now. The smart money investors understand this, but the not so smart demand immediate revenues, which we are generating six figures while doing research and development for the future.
What is the most helpful tip or “hack” you’ve ever learned, stumbled across, or been given?
Ctrl-ALT-Delete? Just kidding. There is a lot we use daily. No specific one comes to mind as being that outstanding.
Is there anything else you would like to share about your company?
NetObjex is an innovative company in a fast-changing market with a solid platform. We are always seeking like-minded people and businesses with which to partner and to work.
Are you familiar with other startups you believe should be spotlighted? If so, we would like to hear from you. Tell us about them, sharing in your comments below!