LEADERS

Shalini V Nair: Integrating Technology And Digital Solutions Through Ennoventure

Shalini V Nair
Co-Founder & CTO

Over the last few decades, women have consolidated their position as global leaders across multiple domains, and technology is no exception. A prominent example is Shalini V Nair, who co-founded Ennoventure as a way to improve brand protection by safeguarding against counterfeit goods. Since its inception, Ennoventure has witnessed significant popularity among consumer goods brands.

Take Us Through Your Early Educational Journey.

My co-founder, Padma Kumar, and I were Batchmates while pursuing a Bachelors in Engineering. Subsequently, I did my Master of Business Law from the National Law School of India University, after which I completed the Executive Education General Management program at the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore. My objective was to understand all the nitty-gritties of running a business. While I personally prefer the tech side of things, I consider it essential to know how everything works, even if I am not personally in charge of it.

Talk About Your Prior Industry Experience And What Motivated You To Venture Into The Field Of Technology?

By the time I completed my studies, I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I was keen, however, to work for a few years first to gain the necessary industry knowledge and experience, which is why I joined the R&D division of HCL after college. While Padmakumar was studying at MIT, as a part of his curriculum, he worked on a project where he identified counterfeiting problems faced by African market. He subsequently started researching on this to understand exactly where the pain points lay, what solutions existed in the market and why they weren't being adopted more broadly. His key discovery was that most anti-counterfeit measures, like holograms, were easy for the counterfeiters to copy, which was why brands were chary of investing in them. That was when PadmaKumar approached me to ask whether we could devise an anti-counterfeit tool that involved scanning something invisible with a mobile phone to avoid copying. Having worked with emerging technologies like AI, blockchain, and cryptography, I was keen on experimenting myself. That's how we started on our covert technology.

It's also worth mentioning that phone cameras evolved during this same time period, which is what made our solution possible. Today's cameras can capture and validate images and codes, which is how our customers can check for our invisible cryptographic signatures. More importantly, these signatures can be added to any kind of packaging without the need to redesign the package or any other change of that kind. Manufacturers, therefore, have no extra costs to bear and are thus willing to invest in our solution.

Tell Us Something About Ennoventure.

We started rolling the ball in early 2017, which was when PadmaKumar first reached out to me, and we co-founded Ennoventure a few months later.

By August 2018, I had applied for two patents in the US - one for the verification of product authenticity by using smartphones to scan labels containing our invisible cryptographic code, and the other related to design and how the cryptographic code for a design is optimized. We use technologies like AI, Cryptography, Blockchain and geofencing to create digital solutions to day-to-day challenges. With headquarters in Massachusetts, US, and an R&D center in Bengaluru, India, our technology ensures brand protection and thus enhances brand engagement.

Give Us A Brief Overview Of The Tech-Based Solutions You Provide At Ennoventure.

Our brainchild is Enncrypto, a non-disruptive solution to verify the authenticity of product packaging without affecting the manufacturer's existing design and production process. Its encryption technology employs AI, cryptography, and blockchain to add an invisible cryptographic code to the packaging that counterfeiters cannot access. Multiple machine learning models are deployed to pick up suspicious signals on different fronts. For instance, a Deep Neural Network enables spurious product look-alikes to be spotted quickly, while blockchain stores the e-pedigree of the product right from the manufacturer to the consumer.

“The democratisation of e-commercemeant that counterfeit businesses could also easily sell online, which meant that consumers were at greater risk”

We also offer solutions like: Ennteract: Embedded packaging takes the brands digital, allowing them to store a greater amount of information on the package labeling and display it in a multimedia format. Enntrack: A Blockchain and Geofencing-based, fool-proof track-n-trace solution that provides real-time updates and dashboards to all stakeholders about the products' movement.

VYU: Any smartphone with data or Wi-Fi connectivity can be used to download the free VYU app, which the customer can use to check the veracity of the packages they receive.

What Are The Challenges You Faced During Covid-19?

With the onset of COVID-19, the online shopping and online payment habits of consumers has witnessed rapid growth. The democratisation of e-commerce meant that counterfeit businesses could also easily sell online, which meant that consumers were at greater risk. Sectors like FMCG, pharmaceuticals, alcohol and automotives were especially vulnerable. We identified this gap and devised a solution that is patented, unique, and non-disruptive for clients. Consumers can also use it easily with their smartphones, thus enabling all-round protection from spurious goods.

Shalini V Nair, CTO, Ennoventure

Shalini is an experienced Chief Technology Officer, IIM Bangalore alumnus with two decades of experience in cutting edge technology realms in the information technology and services industry. Owner of multiple IP rights, Building a unique Technology startup that leverages Al, Blockchain & Cryptography in Anti counterfeit & connected packaging for Brand protection & engagement.

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