How this 25-year old CA went from never having heard of IoT to launching a deep-tech startup focussed on hyperlocal delivery of valuable parcels

  • My name is Prajwal Ajay, I am a chartered accountant and an entrepreneur.
  • I have lived in Bangalore all my life and (maybe) that’s where my deep-rooted love for start-up companies comes from.
  • Fast forward, I qualified as a CA in 2018 and immediately started working on building a company that would make lives better.
  • In 2019, after brainstorming several ideas I launched Gordian Technologies - a Hyperlocal delivery startup that has been recognized as one of the 78 DeepTech companies recognized by NASSCOM in India. 
  • Today our clients include various companies, CA Firms, funded startups, etc.
  • Here is my journey from never having heard of IoT to starting a DeepTech company!

From science kid to a CA

Up to the 12th grade, I was the “science kid”, after which I decided to explore career paths other than engineering. That is when I came across the CA designation.

I did my research and CA seemed exciting to me, I really loved all the subjects and how the concepts tied different aspects of a company together.

Throughout my life I have designed and built multiple products, I also had various small side “gigs".

However, before further developing my “gigs”, I decided to focus all my energy on obtaining my CA qualification.

I gave my best at every exam and qualified as a CA in 2018. 

What now?

Entrepreneurial leap as a CA fresher

Unlike most freshly qualified CAs, I did not want to join the corporate world.

Also since I grew up in Bangalore aka known as the Silicon Valley of India, I was always fascinated and passionate about startups right since college.

In fact while still in college, I had so many business ideas running through my head that I had a special diary where I would note each of my business ideas (I do this to date!)

Once I qualified there was an absolute certainty that I wanted to start a company. 

However, my biggest challenge was which idea to pursue first.

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Coming up with a business idea

The first thing I did was to compile a list of THE Startup ideas which I had recorded and brainstorm on which idea I should pursue.

I had set criteria for deciding on the idea though, it had to be - an innovative, disruptive solution that would change industries for the better.

That is when I came up with the idea of introducing security to deliveries. 

I recollect reading about exam paper leaks daily in the newspapers and it annoyed me that even after recent technological advancements, examination papers were still being leaked.

I did more research on delivery issues and noted that there were a lot of articles surrounding delivery-related fraud. I realized this was a big supply chain problem and it had to be fixed.

The more I thought about it, the more obvious the problem seemed, and my decision was made.

I made up my mind that the solution would be an OTP-based device, due to its simplicity at both ends of the delivery, there was no need for the sender/receiver to have an app to access their parcel, unlike other mechanisms such as Bluetooth/QR code.

But what should be my next step?

Applying for a patent & working on a prototype for 2 long years

Before I could discuss the idea further with anyone, I applied for a provisional patent and a year later I made an application for the complete application.

My first step was to understand if we can build this tech and understand its limitations.

I identified a guy who can build a prototype on Arduino to test if OTP-based unlocking works. (I spent close to 2 months identifying which branch of engineers I had to connect with.)

A firm that my friend worked for, and his dad ran, was helping me ideate and build the embedded hardware and firmware (the  IoT part). This helped me to build a trust relationship with the company as I knew I did not have to be worried that my idea would be stolen.

Once the initial prototype seemed to work well, I got the confidence that I could build this product and started working full time on it.

In early 2019 Gordion Technologies was launched.

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Launching the product...finally!

“Hustle, sleepless nights and lots of sweat and tears.”

Since the initial launch of the product, we have grown along the way.

We started doing our own deliveries a couple of months ago and now we are India’s only secure hyperlocal delivery company.

In fact, I didn’t have an office space for the first 6 months as I was always on the move meeting people, researching material, meeting production plant owners, attending conferences, and trying to figure out how to build this product.

I went from never having heard of IoT to be one of the 78 DeepTech companies recognized by NASSCOM in the country. We have come a long way.

Overcoming Obstacles

The product development process was the hardest and the scariest part as I had absolutely no experience or knowledge of the tech industry.

Building the product from the ground up was the biggest challenge. We required a lot of different technical experience from various experts and had to make sure they all worked together, at times it was extremely exhausting.

There were other non-technical activities such as making pitch decks, sales presentations, hiring and managing teams, marketing, legal compliances which were all incidental to the project development. Somehow this felt easier compared to the other technical skills I had to pick up along the way.

In short, there was a ton of obstacles in product building itself.

Thankfully, my friends and family have been an incredible support system and have always believed in my idea and that I could make it happen.

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Business Model

Gordian Technologies is a secure hyperlocal delivery company.

We use IoT-enabled devices to ensure safe and secure transportation of confidential documents and valuable parcels from Point A to Point B within Bangalore.

We provide real-time alerts, live tracking, and internal cushioning.

Our parcel deliveries include sensitive documentation such as bank and creditor confirmations, documents that require signatures, financial statements, etc.

You can visit our website and directly place a request for the delivery on our website...and we will ensure it is delivered within 2 hours.

Fun fact - You can book a secure delivery for as low as INR 65 (USD 1) for up to 5kms across Bangalore. 

Wrapping up...

Honestly, when I set out, I didn’t even know that I was starting a DeepTech company. 

I hadn’t even heard of the word IoT before a friend of mine asked me if I was building an IoT product when I told him about the idea.

All I did was spend a lot of time reading and listening to understand everything that was required to make decisions about tech.

I was naïve, and I am glad I was because there is no way I would have started this company if I knew what it took to actually bring it to life! 

Of course, there were a lot of people who thought this was a crazy idea, they called me crazy for leaving CA to start a company in an industry which I knew very little about...but I am glad I followed my heart and pursued my idea.

(Article edited by Chantal Potgieter AGA (SA) and image by Ankit Lodhi)

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