Originally Published in Business Standard
Ranjan Kumar and I sit in an office above the streets of Bangalore. The golden afternoon light on the city outside contrasts with the neat blue-white of the space. I’ve just asked him about feelings, something that’s made him leap out of his chair in excitement and begin drawing on a board. “I happened to be a teacher for a while in my career, so I love to do whiteboards,” he tells me. Ranjan heads up Entropik Technologies, a startup which seeks to make interactions between humans and machines seamless. The tech he’s building reads your interactions and gauges how you feel while you’re performing them.
Ranjan’s diagram – called a circumplex model – explains their first product, Chromo.
He marks emotions for me on the graph – happiness, which is intense and positive; relaxation, which is positive but with low intensity; anger, which is negative with high intensity; and boredom, which is negative with low intensity. Depending on how hard and fast you touch your phone screen, Chromo takes a reading of valence. The product also has motion sensing abilities. It can tell if a user is stationary, walking, or running. The Chromo prototype was released in August last year, and the final product was officially released last month.
Ranjan and his team continued to work on the product and build up its accuracy level. 75 percent accuracy is good enough for the market, and Chromo now tests at 84 percent accuracy, he claims.
Entropik currently has two clients in the US and five in India. It charges a monthly fee of $5 per 1,000 users and raised $200,000 in seed funding last month.
“I think the whole investor community and the whole ecosystem around it focuses on traction. Traction is valued a lot more than fundamental research or a patent value,” he says.
The company is working on an augmentation to traditional lead tracking software. Instead of just knowing the number of people who click on an article about Donald Trump, for example, the software will show whether that click was fueled by a positive or negative emotion.
The company is testing how well it works with reactions to articles and videos. When Ranjan conducted tests on reactions to wedding dresses, he used his fiancee as one of the test subjects.
“It was kind of fun,” he chuckles.