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Founded within Bosch, how this startup combines the power of machine learning and IoT to change the face of retail

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There is a lot of innovation taking root in Indian R&D Centres. For the last six years, Robert Bosch Engineering India Limited (RBEI) has seen its engineers file at least 50 patents per year. They also have an innovation fund that helps the best ideas (generated within the company) to be funded up to a million dollars. But these ideas are for Bosch’s internal applications. But this year even Bosch was surprised that it had four of its senior engineers convincing them that there was an idea that could go to market and win it all. This startup, founded within Bosch, is called “Bezirk” and it has won pilots with retail and consumer facing companies in North America. With its technology this startup hopes to make it big in every region where the smartphone is the centre of the consumer universe.

founding team of Bezirk (L-R) Hemanth S M, Pawan Govindan, Joao Sousa, Ragavendra Prabhakar
Founding team of Bezirk (L-R) Hemanth S M, Pawan Govindan, Joao Sousa, Ragavendra Prabhakar

Bezirk beginning

Last year, something changed when senior engineers at Bosch Hemanth S M and Joao Sousa met each other in Bengaluru. Joao told Hemanth that there was a big opportunity to build a system that could target consumers on a real-time basis in a retail or home environment.

Say, for example, a consumer is using an Internet of Things application installed in his home grille, which connects to an app provided by the retail store or the manufacturer. The data generated by the grille syncs with the mobile app, which sends targeted updates on retail products and recipes for cooking. To make it even more personal, when the consumer goes to a retail store, where the consumer is a loyalty programme member, to pick up some cutlery, the retailer’s app will send the consumer targeted ads based on his buying habits at the store and the inputs received from the IoT application during the cooking process. All this is done by software with machine learning and analytics embedded within the networks of the retailer and the IoT application.

This may look over the top, but this crack team of Bosch engineers has made it possible. Hemanth and Joao, along with colleagues Ragavendra Prabhakar and Pawan Govindan, have founded a startup called Bezirk to go berserk on targeting consumers across all retail segments.

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