Atlanta Startup Battle is the premier startup competition in Atlanta. With 300+ startups and 2 days of competition, the top participants will develop their ideas with seasoned mentors and present to investor judges, real VCs from Atlanta and Silicon Valley, all in an effort to help Atlanta build, scale, and fund the next generation of outstanding tech companies.
Oculogx, an augmented reality company which offers a solution for warehouse order picking, walked away with the Atlanta Startup Battle $100,000 investment.
As if being a Georgia Tech student and published researcher wasn’t enough, Charu Thomas co-founded Oculogx. The startup focuses on providing a technology solution for the order picking process, where warehouse workers go and pick out items to be shipped. “It’s a pretty tough job,” says Charu, “imagine reams of paper in one hand, a bulky barcode scanner (that only works half the time) in the other, wandering around seemingly endless racks for 8-10 hours a day.” Order picking also happens to be really expensive. It is 60% of the operational cost of warehouses, costing millions of dollars per year per warehouse.
The Oculogx approach is to have warehouse workers use augmented reality to literally guide and point them to the product. By wearing the Microsoft Hololens (a self-contained holographic computer) on their heads, workers can navigate to the highlighted product and scan the barcode, updating the Warehouse Management System (WMS). According to Charu, their application is 37% faster than traditional methods like pick-by-paper and pick-by-voice. She also expressed that one of their pilot customers estimated a savings of over $450K per year.
Since winning Atlanta Startup Battle in the fall of 2017, Oculogx has been working on 3 pilots and so far have used less than $1K in legal fees. Their goal is to be the go-to AR order picking software on the market. There’s a lot of warehouses in the world (> 750K), and over time they want to make a sizable dent in the market. “We’re super excited about the enthusiasm of both the warehouse managers and workers we’re talking to. We are aiming to have it deployed in at least one facility by the six-month mark,” said Charu.
A question that Charu get’s asked a lot is “What about robots? Isn’t this all going to be automated soon?” Her response is that most people believe the future of warehouses is complete automation – that robots will replace human beings in all parts of the supply chain. She believes human beings play an essential role in the efficient operations of warehouses of the future.
What’s your biggest challenge?
There are many different types of warehouses and each of them has very different processes. It keeps it really exciting but it can be a bit intimidating when trying to figure out all the similarities between them.
How did you prepare for success in the Atlanta Startup Battle?
We iterated on our pitch almost constantly. During the Saturday pitch practice day, we had a lot of great feedback and worked a lot of it into our final pitch. Then we’d just rinse and repeat x6!
Do you have any advice for the new contestants this year?
Apply! We applied to the 2nd Atlanta Startup Battle and didn’t get in, but we applied again and ended up winning! The very least is you’ll have a bit more clarity about your idea/company.
Witness the top 5 teams pitch onstage in front of a crowd of 500 investors, engineers, and startups to win a $100,000 investment!button