Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

Gokul Shrinivas: Putting energy conservation in your palms

MinionLabs' palm-sized smart Minion device gives users detailed data and analytics of electricity consumption to help automate and conserve energy to reduce electricity bills

Ruchika Shah
Published: Feb 9, 2022 12:45:41 PM IST
Updated: Feb 9, 2022 04:03:08 PM IST

Gokul Shrinivas: Putting energy conservation in your palmsGokul Shrinivas’s MinionLabs helps businesses and buildings become energy efficient
Image: Selvaprkash Lakshmanan for Forbes India
Stylists: Vaybhav Acharya And Geethanjali Manjunath; Hair & Make Up: Glossnglass;
Wardrobe: Shirt & Touser- Rare Rabbit; Production: Ovez Bakshi (Studio O Productions)

Gokul Shrinivas, 26
Founder & CEO, MinionLabs 

Gokul Shrinivas was a state hockey player before an injury ended his career and his prospects for any other for a long time. The injury affected his 10th board, limiting his picks for college. “Four-hundred-plus rejections, can you believe it,” he says. Later, while interning for Amazon in IT, he realised electronics was his true love. MinionLabs, a Bengaluru-based startup that helps businesses and buildings become energy efficient, was born out of his final year academic project. And Shrinivas, 26, who is founder and CEO, is determined to see it through.

Energy monitoring is a complex function that requires either the installation of a traditional meter or a smart meter, with sensors on every device in a house or a building, involving huge capex. The complexity of doing the right thing often dissuades positive action. MinionLabs created a smart AI (artificial intelligence)- and ML (machine learning)-enabled wireless device, which has to be installed only in the Bus Bar Panel Board of a building. The ‘Minion’ can fit in a palm, and detect the activity of each appliance in a home, office or a factory, without any new wiring or sensors.

It uses the unique noise or energy signature an electronic device produces when switched on, and collects up to four million data points per second. The user gets real-time device-level energy consumption analytics of usage and savings on a mobile application. Since it monitors noise signatures, it can also predict when any appliance needs repair, and alerts the user, saving time and cost. The company says it is GDPR compliant.

According to a World Wide Fund For Nature-India evaluation in 2020, MinionLabs has enabled a lifetime savings of 5.25 million kWh of electricity and reduced 3,712 metric tonnes of CO2 emissions. Seventy-three Minions are deployed at 52 buildings across Bengaluru, Chennai and the UAE, with customers including Fortis Healthcare, Cisco Systems, Accenture, MRF India, MSEDCL, Robert Bosch and Ford India. It claims to offer up to 30 percent energy consumption savings per annum.

During Covid-19, as offices and industries—MinionLabs’ target market—shut down, it pivoted to energy management for gated community buildings to survive.

Gokul Shrinivas: Putting energy conservation in your palms

“The technology MinionLabs uses has been around for a long time, but it has productised it successfully, and its self-learning model will accrue more value over time as the Minion gains market share. MinionLabs helps reduce capital expenditure and reduce electricity wastage,” says Mohan Kumaramangalam, working president, Tamil Nadu Congress Committee, who led the `96 lakh pre-seed funding round from Indian Angel Network in March 2020.  

“Next year we are targeting close to 300 mid- and large-size building clients with a revenue target of $3 million,” says Shrinivas.

(This story appears in the 11 February, 2022 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)