Trotting that fake designer bag? Don’t brag, because this artificial intelligence-based ‘tag’ by an Indian startup may just call you out. Exploring AI in a unique way, this one-year-old startup has brought some interesting offerings to eliminate counterfeit products in the market, which is one of the major challenges companies face today. With offices in San Jose and Pune, NeuroTags is proving to be a unique startup whose main product is their AI-based technology which completely eliminates counterfeiting of the branded physical goods using patent-pending digital technology and AI.
To explore more about how it exactly achieves the goal, Analytics India Magazine got in touch with Nitin Gupta, co-founder, CEO and CTO at NeuroTags, who started the company along with Yogesh Miharia and Abhishek Agarwal. While Gupta is an ex-tech manager and a security expert who has worked with IT giants like Yahoo, PayPal and eBay, Miharia holds a corporate experience of about five years and Agarwal brings in experience from startup ventures, having previously co-founded ShaadiAmantran and TapOnAir.
The idea of founding NeuroTags is as interesting as the product itself. Gupta says that they got the idea while watching a documentary about the rampant counterfeit market. “It made us realise how big the problem is and how badly it is affecting the market,” he said. After a thorough R&D, the team designed a foolproof technology called NeuroTags, which was officially launched in Jan 2018.
The 18-members strong startup has witnessed a remarkable growth in the last one year, having acquired eight companies in India and are in talks with few other global and Indian brands.
A Leader In Anti-Counterfeit Technology
The startup is all about eliminating counterfeiting of the branded physical goods, and the founders claim to be solving the problem of counterfeiting that currently stands at $1.6 trillion. “The aim is to help the manufacturers keep track of their products and save it from counterfeiting,” says Gupta. With the help of NeuroTags, companies can engage and connect with their end consumers in the offline world and also acquire their product interaction data.
The data collection and analytics by NeuroTags aim to change the landscape for the non-tech-savvy manufacturers to compete with the top technology equipped companies by providing a superset of authentication and patent-pending track and trace technology that uses AI.
“Our technology is very simple to integrate and the process of authentication can be done in user’s mobile and our backend server. Our tags do not need any circuit, processor or chip, thereby making our offerings quite economical,” shares Gupta.
Customised solutions for track and trace: The startup boasts an out-of-the-box integrated track and trace package to support billions of products. Manufacturers can track an item and monitor their product distribution, geolocation-wise over the map. This enhanced visibility of their supply chain helps in product distribution validation to prevent any leak. They also provide the dashboard for brands to see their inventory and validate the current stocks. This helps in preventing waste due to dead stock in many consumer goods companies.
How Does The Technology Work?
Gupta explains that NeuroTags provides algorithmically coupled tags, namely open and protected. The open tag is visible on the product and can be scanned by anyone with a smartphone to get the information about the product and an indication of authenticity with a certain probability.
Once a product is purchased, the buyer has access to the protected tag, which is protected by a scratch layer or is kept inside the product seal. After scanning the protected tag, the user gets the authenticity information with certainty making both the tags disabled. So that if someone tries to copy the tags, the next customer will come to know that the product has been counterfeited by scanning it.
The user may also avail warranty, loyalty and referral points after scanning this tag. The tags are connected, monitored and protected by algorithms and AI on the cloud servers in such a way that, if anyone tries to replicate the tags, it gets caught and the copied product gets invalidated.
The technology by the startup can be adopted by any sector that sells physical goods and at a very economical budget, such as pharmaceutical, electronics, fashion, cosmetics, wine & spirits, toys jewellery, auto parts and more.
“For instance, in the case of alcohol, a user can scan our supplied code and validate the authenticity of the product before purchasing. Our consumer engagement tag provides them the incentive to scratch and win loyalty points which leads to them registering with the brands and avail loyalty. To make use of their loyalty points they would buy again from the same brand.
Our UX is very engaging and intuitive to the end consumer and we are seeing engagements up to 20% compared to the industry standard of 0.5 to 2%.
How Is NeuroTags Unique?
Gupta is quick to enlist some of the key differentiating factors such as:
- NeuroTags provides a set of integrated technology suites, such as anti-counterfeiting, consumer engagement, track and trace, Data analytics and BI. A brand can activate one or more suites at any time and pays only per-use.
- Patent-pending technology that truly eliminates the Counterfeit in the most effective way.
- Cost effective and gives end consumers the assurance that they are buying a genuine product
- For brands, we provide complete end to end solution for their automated production lines
- Flexible and easy to adopt by brands in their existing process
- Helps collect the real-time offline user’s data which in turn helps in BI
- Insights of product lines effectiveness
- Insights on Geography/City wise effectiveness
- Enable A/B testing of marketing in the offline world
With such a unique offering, the team believes that they currently do not face any direct competition in the market as there is no such technology still available that provides exactly the same solution to counterfeiting. “While there are similar B2B products such as Sproxil, which are operating in particular sectors such as pharma and retail, there are no direct competitions”, shares Gupta.
Having said that they are growing at a fast rate, already having worked with some of the major brands in the country. “With our cost-effective and powerful solution, we see ourselves to be the market leader in helping the companies grow their revenues by eliminating their counterfeits from the markets”, says Gupta while signing off.