Editor’s Note: The Launch a Podcast by TandemLaunch is brought to you by PodBean.
This episode features Ashok Prabhu Masilamani — who is currently a chief technology officer and founder at Stratuscent, which is an electrical & electronic manufacturing start-up based in Montreal. Stratuscent’s breakthrough portable, real-time, and low-cost electronic nose leverages chemical sensing and artificial intelligence (AI) to detect, digitize, and catalog simple and complex everyday scents enhancing brand identification, quality control, yield, and safety.
Jermaine: For TandemLaunch, I am Jermaine Murray. And this is the launch, a podcast all about start-ups today. COVID-19 has completely reshaped our world. This is especially true within technology. For the first time in a long time, instead of being the disrupter. Technology is being disrupted. Start-ups everywhere are trying to figure out what the next move is. How do we pivot? How do we adapt? And how do we survive? There is a start-up in Montreal that uses machine learning to power chemical sensing, and they are starting to figure it out. This is a story of Stratuscent as told by their CTO Ashok Prabhu Masilamani. Prior to COVID-19 Stratuscent was doing some pretty interesting stuff. Can you tell us a bit about what your operations were like, you know, pre COVID-19 and how have they changed post COVID-19?
Ashok: Oh, absolutely. Yeah. So, Stratuscent is actually you know, your start-up that is building your technology That can digitize the world of smells. So why we say it like that is because the camera sensor is useful to digitize the world of vision by capturing visuals, either a picture or a video, your microphone is a sensor that can capture and digitize the world of sound. And same way proximity sensors and touch sensors in your phone, digitize this sense of touch, right? In equals, you know, in your phone, if you look at it in your smart device, there is no current sensor that can digitize the world of smells, which is part of our world, right the human world and Stratus and is basically doing essentially that, that that part. And as a technology, it contains, you know, many set of things that enables this, but the key aspect is like our human nose, which is the part that detects the smells, it has an array of chemical receptors, I mean all that enables the ability do sense a chemical or smell in the real world and similar to our human knows where the brain comes in and kind of interprets what it is smelling from that is coming out of the sensor we have artificial intelligence that does the part of interpreting what the chemical receptor is swelling currently. So, that is a combination of technology that we have been working and we have enabled and successfully we have currently it is ready for deployment for enabling this particular capability right like for various applications. As you can imagine, one can ask like, you know, okay, if we enable digitizing the world of smells, what can one do right? If you can imagine with cameras, what we have done is like going beyond just taking pictures, you know, right now our, we use it for security purposes, we use it for, you know, there are cameras that are used like you know, have more thermal capacity to look at you and temperature. There are, you know facial recognition systems that can recognize people you know or objects you know, and there is a number of things that we’re enabling with the camera in a similar manner. You can imagine if we can have the ability to detect smells. One can imagine what, what are possible scenarios like for example in even your fridge. If you have a sensor embedded in your fridge that can tell you ahead of time that a particular food item is going to spoil in the next two-three days.
Jermaine: You can save it so you can reduce food spoilage although you could have just saved me a bunch of money yesterday, I had to throw out exactly half a dozen eggs because they were past the expiration date. So that could have prevented me from not only opening up my gap getting hit with that unexpected funky smell. Earlier Thank
Ashok: You even in your cooktop, let’s say like, you know Imagine, you don’t need to be standing next to your cooktop, your cooktop can automatically smell ahead of time that your food is about to get burnt or dried and it stops the cooktop automatically keeping it you know, in the right condition for you to eat. Again, reducing food wastage there from burning on but also dried food is not good, right? Because you are losing nutrition, you know, so, it needs to be in the right, you know, optimal point for you to be consuming it right like so. And if you come into our living room, you know, the air quality of your living room now that we are all you know, quarantine and we are staying in our home, the quality, the air quality in your indoors matters a lot more like, you know, how do we know about that, like, you know, if people have pets, people have other kinds of, you know, possibilities with respect to their home like you know, the formation of molds, indoors, again, molds like you know, can release chemicals. Right now, there is no mechanism to monitor any of this right? If you have the ability to monitor them, it could simply tell people to open the windows to me Like more airflow or it could be automatically controlling the Yarmuth system and that can enable like, you know, the airflow in a way where your indoor air is clean right? And in the living room now like you know you have a mobile phone let us say your phone has this capability eventually in the future. Now as you’re speaking in your phone, the sample from your breath goes into the phone like you know it hits the microphone and that’s how like, you know, we convert the sound waves into digitally into like files right? But if that our sample can be like you know, sensed with a sensor like ours which sits next to a microphone, imagine the possibility because from your breath based on the hydration levels, all the way to various other chemicals that might be there your breath, you can look at an initial screening of your health condition, right it could predict like basic dehydration all the way to like you know, hey, there is something off your right leg and all that where you can connect to, you know your doctor or like you know, go to the next step of like checking further what is the health condition problem one individual might have. So, this is just in the home right like when I when you look at it all the way from the kitchen, we went to the living room and all the way to the individual right. But now, you can take it further and imagine what if you know we can detect smells, you know in various locations like you know across the food supply chain for example, right, how much wastage we can reduce like, you know, refrigerated trucks can reduce wastage, if your capability like this is there, you know, where they are transporting a lot of produce and meat, etc.
Jermaine: When it comes to food wastage and things of that nature, how much are we talking in terms of financial impact in terms of just-food gone to waste, you know, do you have an idea?
Ashok: Grasp of that yet actually, because it is not a simple problem of food wastage is one dimensional, because food wastage happens The across the entire supply chain all the way from the farmers you know where you may waste your particular product because there isn’t DNF enough pickers to pick them right and $1 gets wasted in the field. That is a different type of wastage problem. But then once it gets picked, it gets sold and it gets stored in a particular facility then it gets transported, it goes to retail, some of them goes to a food processing facility because they get further processed, and then again, they get stored, transported goes to retail and then consumers buy right. There are some interesting facts we found when we were like working on this particular domain is in North America, or in the Western countries in general. A lot of the wastage of the food happens on the consumer side because we have a lot of abundance in food production and distribution. So, consumers buy a lot more because you know, General food and beverage are relatively cheap. And then we keep it in our fridge and we waste a lot actually, so far is one percent of food wastage in western countries have been In the consumer side, whereas the rest of the world like, you know, like countries like continents like Asia and Africa, you know, people don’t waste food after they buy, like, you know, they try to consume all of it in a relative sense again like it’s a related statement, but more wastage actually happens in storage and transport because you know, these are vast places like where you know, and also technology-wise, you know, sourcing and storing and, you know, transporting and distributing, that’s where more wastage happens. So, it depends on geographical areas and everything, but largely the world has been seeing a big abundance in terms of food production, right, as you know, and there is a lot of wastage that is associated with it in different parts of the supply chain. And there are specific, you know, points of the supply chain. That is a technology that has a capability to smell You know, and use that as an indicator to reduce spoilage, like, you know, and so those are definitely possibilities that we were actually like, you know, not just exploring, we were actually actively into this domain, pre-COVID-19, that was one of the major set of things that we were doing. And other than that, we were also still exploring some of the air quality monitoring, whether it is domestic, our commercial buildings, or our like, you know, work buildings, like industrial buildings, etc. So, yeah.
Jermaine: So, it sounds like Stratuscent in your product, and the technology behind it had a lot of applications, different markets. I find it interesting that your company was able to look at the two sides of waste in terms of in the West, it is more on the consumer side and in other parts of the world. It is more on the production side. So, it seems like you are young flooring different spaces and then COVID-19 Hey, what happened? How has it changed your business okay? So, how have you been able to have this happen, and because this is relatively new?
Ashok: Like, you know, we are talking about like last six to seven weeks, we are kind of like you know, assessing the situation and evaluating like, you know, what happens to the company as a whole ourselves and all of that, but in general like, you know, what happens to our customers like, you know, the existing ones, the potential ones the prospects, you know, again across various domains. So, we have been having strategic meetings with respect to all these aspects. And, and the outcome of today’s at least like recently, as recently as yesterday, we are keeping tabs on, for example, our biggest, you know, focus that was in the food and beverage area across the supply chain. We have been keeping tabs on what is happening. in that domain, one thing we noticed was you know the
food supply chain is breaking down because of closures of food processing plants, you know meat processing plants and various other food processing plants as you know, they are seeing closure because of trying to protect the workers if there is contamination like of Coronavirus then then then there is a need to close a plant so the supply side is starting to take a hit again yesterday you know there was a large food company you know see will make a statement about how the food supply chain is starting to tighten right like where the abundance is starting to go away. On the other side, even farmers who grow things like you know they are seeing a lot of especially on the produce side. You are not going to get pickers that easy to come out and pick you to know they produce during the harvest season. This has one major thing right like you know the supply is going to really tighten like where the number of things we produce Will you know, start to reduce and you know the way it is going to go through the supply chain in terms of sourcing you know and sorting them out and like storing them transporting to retail all of them right a lot of things have changed in those parts. But one key thing is emerging is reducing food wastage is not just a nice to have a feature where you simply say that we reduce food wastage, reducing food wastage is going to be part of you know, your bottom line like you know, where the prices price of like you know to produce and you know, the raw material versus also with processed food, you know, is going to go up that is an expectation because the supply side is like, you know, having alike, you know, the major issue there in terms of like, you know, producing food the island and the plants that are undergoing site and this is going to Really take a hit on the in the entire supply chain. So, food wastage reduction across the supply chain is going to become even more necessary with more reasons to invest in it. So, we see at least the larger trend going towards that. Are we seeing any immediate changes to that to us right away? You know, not immediately, what we’re seeing is that trend is moving towards, you know, more automation in the food and beverage industry, which could help reduce wastage across the entire supply chain, and we could have a big play on that. So, that is one of the major things that we are seeing on the existing, you know, focus that we had pre-COVID-19 right. So, that said, we are not completely ruling out other possibilities. One of the things that happened recently, was essentially like I was inquired Like, you know, essentially by a number of potential partnering, you know, entities are funding entities, where the question about like, Can we help, you know, from the medical side from the health side, which is related to this pandemic lab, our devices can you know, in a non-contact way, take a sample of a breath of individual and then actually like, you know, meaningfully interpret some health conditions right. And the possibility of being like Canada will actually detect like even the presence of the viral infection in your yard. So that question has been always been there. And like I mentioned in the beginning, it is definitely one of the applications that are it’s a serious possibility and you know, it could enable a lot of new ways to look at healthcare right like you know, you know, if there is a cheaper way to have a device that can make screening easy for, you know, for the healthcare professionals. In a non-contact way. So, so, given that, but at the same time our company you know largely for them long like the last several years, we have been mostly focused on constructed and focusing on you know, consumer-oriented applications, right. So, moving into a healthcare domain is not a very simple thing like you know, it, it requires a lot of changes, right, this would be a large pivot. So, at this point, the best we can do with this is would be to evaluate the technologies capability and, you know, get it to a point where, where we can prove that such a possibility does exist, right. And that itself requires a lot of things we need partners in the medical domain, to even access to people’s breath, not the best time right now to actually execute it. You can imagine that we would need a partnership with hospitals or other entities where you can get access to, you know, blood samples, even to even to you know, from research and development. But speculate to explore what is possible here. So, we are definitely up for it to explore in a more, you know, for research purposes to prove that the technology has that capability. And again, it is definitely from a strategic standpoint, you know, we are getting ourselves ready for that actually. And it is a major trend that is something they are observing. And so that is that those are the two aspects that are very relevant over technology or product that are really, I would say, has been as become prominent, you know, in the last six to seven weeks as we are experiencing the current quarantine period.
Jermaine: I’m sure that when you look at your technology, you look at the transmission of the virus and you see like a hand in glove fit in terms of potential and just you know whether or not you can come to that point. Where your technology could be adapted? I imagine that you said your team is up to the task of exploring the research side of it, overall, how is COVID affected like the product productivity of your team production? You mentioned the fiscal aspect of, you know, having to touch the base of your clients, what what’s been going on inside the house or Stratuscent in you know, what has the team been doing in terms of acting I think technology,
Ashok: You know, it has like two major pieces here, you know, the sensor part and then the artificial intelligence part, but also it has cloud infrastructure, you know, which also comes, you know, as a software part, so, there is about 30 to 35 percent off, you know, the work relates to the hardware side, for which we have a lab facility, which contains, like, you know, a chemistry lab, an electronics lab where we make the sensors, but the rest of the team has been always been, you know, on the cloud. side of the artificial intelligence side. So when we went into the remote working mode, you know, the 70% of the team that was in the software side, not much changed, other than getting used to working from home getting used to communicating through like no tools like Microsoft Teams or like zoom and working effectively. So that part has been relatively easy for us from the work standpoint, right? Like obviously, this has other implications when it comes to working from home. Like it is not just about work but from the hardware side. We just ensured that we have enough for sensors, everything that is already premade that is ready to be shipped if necessary. Other than that, for time being you know, we are observing the protocols established by the city and we have shut down our lab right and that part of the team yes essentially, currently is helping with a lot of characterization activities of the censors are basically like, we also had consistently as an innovative company, we also had several technical breakthroughs that are also like, you know, going out as like, you know, patents and innovation, disclosure, all of that. So, various, so, other activities are still there that are continuing, and obviously, we can’t go like this forever, you know, we are hoping that there will be, you know, a point that, you know, we can review this and make other decisions. So, that is one piece, right. But on the other side, also, like, you know, we also notice that at least during the peak time, you know, the especially like the last I would say the three to four weeks, a large number of our customers, they all went through shutdowns, either fully shut down our full work from home mode, which also meant that the activities with our customers slowed down significantly. You know, but nevertheless, we actually were in constant engagement with them, you know, assessing situations, trying to basically ensure that like in our current deployments or our like, you know, in shape going, like, you know, moving forward with those are the ones that are in the initial stage of a relationship like, you know, we are using this time effectively to figure out use cases based applications like, you know, through essentially like, you know, communication tools right now. So, those things were always going on, and it’s still going on right and, and for example, in Europe, some of our customers, the shutdown is like, you know, slowing down and the many cities are coming out of the lockdown, and they are slowly introducing work from the facility one day and the rest of the time from home those kinds of arrangements that some normalcy is coming back and we are expecting like, you know, some of those customers moving forward with what we were originally doing right so things can get restarted on that front and we are getting ready for that. That said, this is the work part. So, we have been effectively like, you know, working from home as best as possible in this scenario. The main part is the mental part, right? Because working from home for a team, typically that was, you know, like, half the day are like one-third of the day in each other’s face right physically, like, you know, we were all like, you know that in the office and working a, you know, going for lunch, no meetings and everything that part is missing. And it is a challenge where, you know, you are essentially like isolated within your own small apartment or office or, sorry, you’re home right? To overcome that we have you know, structured you know, various small things like into our daily routine right. We have a daily briefing where it is not briefing essentially, it is a process where the entire team comes together and like we all have casual chat. You know, we touch upon every item as you know, it is easy is not limited to only like workplace-related things work-related things could be discussed, definitely. But we also touch upon how everybody’s family’s doing anything interesting that’s going in anybody’s, you know, personal life like in the sense of like, you know, the kids the kind of things, they’re doing an interesting project that is going in their home right now. You know, and one of the things the team has grown actually closer, they have gotten learning more about their colleagues even further right. Because there is a craving for that aspect and the company is enabled, you know, right now, with the tools, we have to actually do that. And it brings a togetherness with, you know, with respect to like, you know, everybody, you know, kind of getting to know each other much more, more on a personal sense and also, like, you know, you know, interacting and talking to a point where I believe our team right now, everyone, without thinking if there is an issue, they can call somebody within the team to talk if there is a necessity to talk that openness is basically that across the team. We also have our online game nights. We also have our online and watch parties, like, you know, we watch some funny stuff. Sometimes we watch TED Talks, and we conduct like a two-hour discussion around that. One of the recent ones we watched was about languages. It happens so that you know, our team right now, you know, they speak like 10 mother tongues, not even the number of languages from a mother-tongue standpoint, we speak 10 mother tongues, right? Like, it’s a very diverse team with a large number of languages across and that Ted Talk triggered like a very fun and like, you know, act two, you know, zoom session, like for about two hours, like, I didn’t know how the time flies like we were talking about various aspects of all our different languages, right, which all from they’re all from different families of languages. It was exciting. So those are some activities very embedding along with our work routine so that we actually are coping with this current remote work capability.
Jermaine: Amazing. So, let us, in a perfect world, right, let us say, Now let’s say when we go back to a more normal tradition, you know, COVID has been defeated. Maybe there is a vaccine, maybe there is a process, people are back out in the streets. Do you see Stratuscent in ever going back to traditional normal again? Or has COVID changed the culture product offerings and enough where you have to kind of revaluate what strategy is going to be going forward?
Ashok: Okay, so this question, you know, it’s not just about Stratuscent, and this is about generally about the entire world. Are we going to go back to what we call this virginal normalcy like, you know, pre-COVID-19 I don’t think so? That is my personal opinion that comes from the actual experience of, you know, going through the.com crash and going through the post 911 recession and also I happen to be in the lockdown in the quarantine part of, you know, SARS, because I was studying in Singapore at the time I was in Singapore, going through those experiences, I see that people’s behavior change. And when we see people, group of people that remind the society and groups of you know, those different parts of society combining together, you get the economy going, right, like, you know, so when people’s behavior change, fundamentally, you know, that impacts the society the way we live, what we care about, and then the economy changes accordingly. And, you know, that drives the entire engine, right, like, you know, so I don’t believe like we are going to go back to the, what we call us a version of normalcy, we are going to kind of get new normalcy that we will accept, it will have some of the old behaviors definitely, you know, he’s not going everything is To change, but there will be certain new behaviors, right? I’ll give an example. Post-SARS, in Hong Kong, and in Taiwan, everybody had a tendency to carry fresh, you know, toothpicks. Because, because of what happened with SARS, they didn’t want to touch any buttons like, you know, your public telephone or like the elevator buttons, right? They will use a toothpick to do that. And that behavior has been that for the last 17 years. It is like embedded in their life, things like that, right? We don’t know what it did to toothpick sales. But we also don’t know how much of that behavior impacted the spread of the virus within Hong Kong and Taiwan, like places, you know, because they don’t have a tendency to use their fingers, like, you know, to go touch it. So, this is a very small example, right? But it kind of highlights like, you know, how our behavior, our tendency, like you know, as a society, as an individual, as a family, as a society, all of that is changing, right? I mean, right now, I never had groceries delivered to my home. But in the last six weeks, you know, I’ve been getting deliveries to my home.
Jermaine: It is an amazing thing, isn’t it?
Ashok: Yeah, it’s an amazing thing. I can pick and choose things, you know, in half an hour on a website, and it comes to like, you know, it’s simple, instead of me going there for three hours, you know, and getting frustrated waiting in a queue for the payment and everything. And it is just, it is like, so a lot of those behavioral changes are going to happen, right? Like, as a society like about, like, what we care about, you know, the food supply chain, I already said, right, the abundance might go away, which means the way we consume food, the way we look at food could change, right? Like, you know, how we, the way we waste food is going to change actually. And also, like, you know, how things get delivered, like how we purchase stuff, you know, we may get much bigger efficiencies on that. You know, and, and the medical side of things like you know, how, as a society, there could be a large boom for two decades, like you know, on gloves and masks because everybody’s going to fear it. No matter what as a general tendency, and so, as a whole, there is going to be new normalcy. That is my expectation, right? And I’m not even talking about the economic impact in the current markets like what it is going to do overall like, you know, because this looks like we are in the middle of you know, either slow down or a recession right, at least bare minimum right. So, that said Stratuscent and as a company as an entity, definitely, you know, is looking at both, you know, things that used to be what we call us normal, you know, and the set of expeditions we had around it is going to change, right, as an example is the food supply chain where what we thought as a technology that can help reduce food wastage, but in the period of abundance, what could be seen as a nice to have, could be a must-have now, which means is a new emerging market with the due necessity and all of that, so, we need to push our self to calculate on it right? Same with the healthcare market, where can we develop this technology further towards, you know, a potential medical device in the future, right? Like, should we invest in the R&D currently so that we can be ready for that, right? Because this is going to change our behavior as a whole to look at future pandemics, right? Like, you know, this is the bigger one, right? But it was not like the world didn’t have anything between the volt source and now we had like H1V1, the swine flu, for example, in India, like, you know, for a long time, dengue fever was a very big one, like, you know, before the COVID-19 hit actually likes, so, across the world, a lot of other kinds of pandemics in you know, medium or large scale even within us in a country or something like that always was happening right. So, we as a whole are going to look at all of those and that goes. Those are things like you know, we are looking at and mode from standpoint of what is changing, what variable is, you know, getting highlighted as you know, and what are the driving factors for the project. In the future and are there opportunities for us and the same time, you know, we’re also evaluating things where some of our assumptions from the past we have to revaluate that which means we may have to drop certain things right we. So, while new opportunities could emerge, we also could drop some other things, which we are originally thinking of. So, those are the things that we are internally constantly tracking. And you know, and both from a strategic standpoint, which we are trying to translate on our tactical set of things that we are currently doing, so that we can get ready right like so. So, so, the team is essentially constant, you know, talking about this, evaluating this, through those meetings that I mentioned, right, which are not all the time technical, only about work, but when we talk about you know, other things like you know, but we are interacting in general and we are also looking at behaviors, societies, and everything. You know, and each individual’s opinion right from the team has been phenomenally you know, I would say like eye-opening, right, because everybody has a different background experience, some of them are single, some of them have three kids, some of them have apartments, some of them have a large home. And, and how they look at all of this even within my team, right? So, you know, this has given us the opportunity to have a farm like a mindset where all those things come in various formats. And, you know, and sometimes it impacts the main strategic discussion, which is very official, where we sit and decidedly think about like, what are the possibilities? How do we position ourselves but also, we let ideas seep through various other activities that we are doing, right, you know, and so that’s how we are getting ready for this, you know, the post-COVID-19 world, which is not going to be the same which is going to be a new normal definitely?
Jermaine: No, that’s very interesting because, um, I’ve, I’ve liked to look at, I like to look at like history, and I talk with a lot of people and they say that you can kind of see these historic moments happen. In waves, and it is like, you know, we have a huge, huge low that is followed up by a huge high in some form or the other. You know, you mentioned the.com crash I lived through I graduated through the oh eight recession, and the world was different prior to 2008. And then post 2008. You know, I think that is when the boom of like tech start-ups and tech companies and kind of forging your own path and entrepreneurship kind of hit peak mainstream levels. So, there is a historical context for what you say in terms of how the world is going to change going forward. You know whether it be from COVID-19 and like you say social norms getting reformatted economic downturn or anything else. What would your advice be? as a founder as a technologist as a scientist? What would your advice be on how tech start-ups and other companies can adapt to the situation of the crisis on the whole.
Ashok: So, yeah, very interesting question very, very important question actually. And when you look at this, you know, this entire aspect of like, you know, how many things are changing, sometimes we can always look into, like, you know, how people have done this in the past, as a society or as a company, or even as an individual, we can even take examples from an individual, right? And it’s always fascinating how even nature has, you know, showed us that like, you know, adaptability is the key like, you know, your, your company that has the ability to adapt for a newly emerging situation like, you know, our even individual right, like, where you can see something as a problem. But you also see, like, you know, that problem contains an opportunity as well, right? We say something is a problem because it deviated from the original plan. We had a deviated from the original normalcy we had, right? So, there is a new thing that is happening. And it could be painful. But also, you know, if you take time to, you know, look at it like, you know, from a different viewpoint, different perspective, there could be a new opportunity that right, and that is the key part, right in terms of from a high-level standpoint, where your start-up as a founder, you know, and we are programmed like that, right? Because in the beginning stages of a start-up, you know, you’re not in a very, what you call it, like a sustained revenue mode, you’re financing and you’re trying to, you know, trying to find like a product-market fit, actually the technology versus the problem you’re solving and all of that. So, you are constantly evaluating and changing. So, tech start-ups have that in their genes start-ups in general, I would say have that in the genes to have that adaptability, right. So that adaptability should be heightened, you know, and that that tendency should be heightened in this scenario, right where you are looking at like, you know, changes that are going on. That is, you know, constantly evolving, sometimes even on a day by day basis, but it also brings new opportunities, right? This is also, it is not just an opportunity from a standpoint of like, Oh, we can make some money here, right? Because start-ups also have a meaningful aspect of while making money, it is also helping solve a problem, right? So, we should have that adaptability to like to see, like, you know, the problem with originally solving may not maybe the part of the new normalcy we have, but there’s a new problem and we can adapt our solution to that, right. Like, at the end of the day, it is about solving problems, right. And, and, so, that capability is what is necessary, right? Like, you know, and being vigilant about, you know, the emerging scenario, and which I believe like all the start-ups, Now traditionally have like, you know, the ability to quickly pivot or change and that has to be heightened and enhanced that was You can have that capability to look for opportunities, right. And different start-ups might do it differently. And like I said, you know, you know, within Stratuscent and what we have done so far as we have basically enabled the oriented team to source ideas, right. But we don’t explicitly say that you all have to generate ideas, we just have different, you know, forums, like, you know, like technical meetings, you know, standard briefings, casual chats, game nights, watch parties, but in this forum, people are always essentially end up sourcing ideas. And sometimes unexpectedly idea that was discussed in a watch party Aftermath discussion ends up becoming like, you know, the key thing that the company could consider, right, like, you know, and leaving room for this is the biggest thing your company can do, put that into a culture, right. And typically, start-ups tend to have this like, you know, where if you have a culture of openness and you know, that ideas could come from anyone in this crisis, just enhanced that capability amplifies that capability across the board. Because, you know, the likelihood of someone finding an opportunity that, you know, nobody else saw because of the unique background that they came back came from. And that is where, like, no, the diversity of the team also plays a huge role. Right, like, you know, so the best tech start-ups could do is, you know, create the open culture where, you know, ideas can be sourced from anywhere, right, like, you know, and, you know, I when I say ideas, it’s not like, it’s even identifying your opportunity that has to be seen in a particular lens that not everybody can see. And somebody who has come from a technical background is your different cultural background ends up seeing right, that is an advantage, right? But if the company doesn’t have that culture that individual never speaks out, because like, why should I say anything right? But if you have the ability Are forums to bring out those things that that is how we can identify opportunities chase after they come out of this, like, you know, stronger than ever actually. And so that is the key in my opinion,
Jermaine: You should use it as a chance to reinvent yourself find new opportunities and pursue them to the best of your ability.
Jermaine: I like that. I like that. I should thank you so much for joining us just in case people wanted to find out more about Stratuscent or about yourself where can they find you?
Ashok: Oh, you know, we have our website www.stratuscent.com and we have a Facebook page, LinkedIn page, there is a YouTube channel you know, and so we are all available in social media. They can reach out to us there is an email id mentioned in our website, they can reach out to us in that form. Usually, we respond even on comments in social media pages, etc. So yeah, there are various forms and we are very proactive about it like you know, we have a constantly checking like, you know, all those pages and on our requests from our website and everything, and constantly responding to it so we can easily reach out to us actually through those mediums.
Jermaine: On the next episode of the launch, an investor gives us some insight on what funding and raising capital could look like for start-ups going forward after the COVID-19 pandemic has subsided, you know, so the news is, if you’re a traditional brick and mortar retailer, you got a world of hurt. If you are running a mobile app that changes how retail works. That is the future. So, there might be a couple of tough years, but that is, you know, that is just run of the mill of the world will survive, things will come back. And for tech start-ups and start-ups in general, focusing on the new world, I think there are better days ahead.