Merxius Software : Implementing Ideas, augmenting reality

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Merxius (mer-she-us) is an award winning startup based out of Hyderabad. They implement ideas.  Started in 2011 by Hasan Khan and Vaishali Neotia., Merxius has been growing from strength to strength.

Merxius creates web, mobile and Augmented Reality applications. The AR apps are cross channel (mobile, desktop, web). Their mobile apps are cross platform and web apps have flexible layouts (screen size dependent) and clean code using the LAMP stack.

Augmented Reality is an exciting means of communication wherein virtual data can be overlaid on top of the real world around us. Imagine looking at the Gateway of India and having information about it pop up around it. Or flipping through your favorite magazine looking through the camera on your smartphone/tablet and seeing the content come to life. Interviews and animated objects and television ads playing right there on your magazine! Merxius augmented Batman on top of a chair in office to show the melding of the real and virtual worlds!

Merxius has a few demo apps up on the Appstore and Playstore. There is also a small video that can be viewed for better understanding of the technology.

Techaloo got an opportunity to have a chit chat with Vaishali, CoFounder and CBDO at Merxius Software. Let see what she wants to share with you

Techaloo : How the entrepreneurship journey started? Or who inspired you to start business?
Vaishali : It all began with a Football world cup app on Facebook we made back in 2010. The feedback we got was so positive, that it planted the seed of doing more such innovative and fun things. The idea of doing that as a business took another few months to formulate. Both of us founders knew that eventually we would be running our own show, and one fine day we sat and questioned ourselves on the waiting period.

The epiphany as it had happened was – if we have to start up, why not now itself when we have the boundless energies synonymous with youth. It was a simple energy versus experience question and we chose the former. There was a long, difficult and absolutely uncertain journey ahead and it took us a good few months to battle the opposition both within and without. This included rejecting the job offers we had and university admissions for a Masters degree. In January 2011, Merxius saw the light of day. We had set forth on the adventure of our lives.

On a personal note

–  The final push for me happened during a technical interview for a famous IT/ITES company. My interviewer, who incidentally had been part of the said company for a decade, asked me to decline the job, stating that I would ‘waste myself’ if I didn’t. That was the turning point which steeled my resolve to startup against all odds.

 

Techaloo : What was the vision mission of Merxius? What exactly you wanted to do when you started your business?
Vaishali : As any young startup would envisage, we wanted to bring some major value addition to the world. We knew the power of ideas and the hardships faced by other people like us who have an idea for a brilliant app but don’t know how to implement it. We decided to fill that gap. We not only wanted to bring out and execute all the creative ideas that we had, but also those that others did. It started in the form of complex web applications, with cross platform mobile apps and Augmented Reality applications being added to the repertoire subsequently.

Techaloo : What kind of difficulties you had faced while starting/doing business?
Vaishali : The biggest was the lack of guidance. Not having a mentor was a greater drawback than not having funds. Looking back, we realize that if there had been a good guide who shared his/her experience with and pointed out some hard facts to us, at the time we started, it would have been of immense help. We would still have made mistakes, maybe lesser, but different nonetheless, and more informed.

Another huge difficulty was being taken seriously. Not having a Masters degree to show nor corporate job experience, added to the lack of seriousness a ‘startup’ tag invites.

The good news is: things are changing. The entrepreneurial ecosystem in India has changed drastically over the last couple of years and awareness has increased tremendously. With the advent of e-cells in colleges and universities, with their numbers increasingly rapidly year on year, guidance for and awareness about startups, have both showed positive upswings.

Techaloo : Your 3D sample is amazing. Are you creating 3D websites as well?
Vaishali :
Our 3D lens business cards have garnered us tremendous attention. Being handcrafted, they drained us of time, effort and money, but it all pays off when we see the excited look of awe and inquisitiveness that reflects on people’s faces in the face of innovation. This was a unique way for people to visit our website and see the 3D page there.

We do offer creation of 3D websites, but they require 3D lenses like ours, to see with. We are yet to meet a creative individual/company that wants such a different kind of website, and is willing to send 3D lenses to their website visitors. If someone does, we will be more than happy to see through the entire process. 

 Techaloo : Currently you are serving businesses and schools as well. Are you planning to focus on some other dimensions?
Vaishali :
We are currently a B-B company but will soon be introducing specialized AR packages that are consumer oriented. People will be able to download our apps and use them for to see augmentation around them. We are also involved in using AR for social causes and awareness campaigns.

Techaloo : Do you consider freelancers as your competitors?
Vaishali :
Not at all. It would be an unfair comparison. A freelancer is great for a single and simple job requirement. Then the cost in general is a good trade off versus time and quality. The kind of work we do spans various areas of expertise. A freelancer being a single person, has to learn and then execute all the multiple things we do, single handedly. This jack of all trades but master of none method results in compromising both quality and time. These are both very precious commodities, more so in the world of technology. Ideas are free and everywhere. Who implements them and when, makes all the difference.

Techaloo : What are the new features, you are going to include in new web version of “Merxius”?
Vaishali :
Merxius is all about being exciting and unique. Our last website went against the format of conventional websites and sported a horizontal layout. Pages could be accessed by horizontal scrolling. We also had one page in a 3D format, viewable via 3D lenses.

Our new website which we have been working on for a while now, will be out soon. As for the features this one will have – wait and see for yourself

Techaloo : Have you got any kind of funding?
Vaishali :
Some seed funding – family and friends. We have had a garage setup and have been completely bootstrapped. Our first investment was a single computer which we worked on out of the back room of an apartment. We now have a comfortable 15 seater office in a central location in Hyderabad.

Techaloo : What are your future plans? Or now what is your vision for next five years?
Vaishali :
AR is a strong area of focus for us right now. We are trying to build our competency in this field – by working on our own platform as well as with other tools. The future is convergence – digital and real – and AR is gaining ground. We want to be thought and market leaders by the time the wave hits full on. We also want to use this technology to aid and abet people in as many industries as possible. Doctors, Engineers, and people in general would find it very useful.

Techaloo : What will be your advice/suggestion for new entrepreneurs for starting new business?
Vaishali :
If you are starting up, you are already a 9.8 on the Richter scale of courage. Keep moving forward with that same strength and faith in your resolve and you will make it.

Second – Get a mentor. If you have to scour your city for one that you can associate with then do it. It is important to have the right kind of guidance when starting up. Best get someone who has been there done that, is a pool of optimism and gives you the ability to ask the right questions.

Third – Spend time with other startups. Not necessarily in the same space if it is uncomfortable for you. You can learn a lot from others in the same or similar boats as you. It also helps you through the difficult times when you are frustrated and think you are a failure, and then realize you aren’t the only once whose felt this way, learnt a lesson and moved on.

Fourth – It is also a good idea to start up with cofounders. Having one more (at the very least) person in the same boat, helps tremendously and is a great support. Ideally, find someone whose core beliefs are similar but otherwise he/she complements you. A good mix of technical and non technical is important to effectively run a startup. Of course, if you work best as lone soldier then by all means plough on!

Last and above all – Before you resolve to start up, spend quality time evaluating alternative things you could be doing for the next 3 years. That’s an ideal figure at the end of which to evaluate whether your startup can make it. Also, understand that you are building an entirely new entity- your company and will operate in conditions of extreme uncertainty. Make sure you have the support system to last you through the first few years of extreme conditions.

Practical evaluations aside, if you have the courage and faith in yourself, then by all means start up and all the best to you.

Techaloo : Few words about techaloo.com?
Vaishali :
A platform like yours is what startups need to reach out to people. Some stories are inspiring, some déjà vu, and some plain unbelievable, but each is a unique story of courage, worthy of going down in the annals of history. That your platform records each of these beautiful journeys is amazing in itself. That said, an Indian equivalent of Cnet and Mashable was much needed. Thank you for techaloo.com

 

Meet the team

merxiusteam

Merxius currently has a dedicated team of 9 but they are always looking for like minded individuals who can join the family!

Merxius was founded by Hasan Ali Khan and Vaishali Neotia, who met while pursuing engineering at Osmania University. Being part of a larger circle of friends, all of who wanted to be entrepreneurs eventually, it was easy for them to find common interests. Their love of football started their journey of being a team and once the idea of setting up Merxius came about, there was no looking back.

Contrary to popular assumption based on all of their bickering based on differences in opinion, these two individuals are great friends.

Being from middle class service oriented families, the two were armed with a little money, a lot of sweat and tremendous amounts of courage.

Merxius has been a great journey so far, and hope abounds that it continues to be so!

It has already won awards, been written about in the papers and is recognized as a company with a unique way of doing things.

 

 

 

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Mohit Bansal(23) is B.Tech in Electronics and Communication Engineering from Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad, India. He has interest in business and entrepreneurship and has published couple of research articles. He is also associated with various NGOs. He is with Techaloo when it was just in concept stage. The Techaloo site was not existing even then. Currently Mohit is working with Mu Sigma as a Business Analyst Profile.

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