Artoo– A name with ‘art’ within it, to my mind, suggested a company that would have something to do with the creative and artistic products. As I dug deeper and tried to find out what this word means it emerged as a Sc-Fi character (R2-D2), a robot, in the Star Wars universe. Weaving these connections, I realized the enduring relationship between ‘art’ and ‘science’ and how the two naturally overlap as a means of investigation. And with this perspective in place I went about exploring Artoo.
Field Agents using Artoo App
Technology to the Rescue– Since the technology has entered the Indian market it has served the needs of the people and organizations that lay in the upper half of the pyramid- a dominant portion being outsourcing technology services. And that’s where Artoo seem to have put forth their business proposition. Based out of Bangalore through its pan-India operation, Artoo provides cutting edge technology to those who are at the grassroots. A for-profit organization, it is designed for the Social Enterprises. Most social enterprises have problems scaling and servicing the very high volumes at the bottom of the pyramid. This means even good ideas and prototypes that work are unable to scale! Artoo remedies this using effective use of technology.
With mobile technology easily accessible to the masses, Artoo has tapped on the idea and created financial inclusion products that allow institutions to take all field processes online. The field processes are common to most of the verticals like healthcare, micro finance, etc. and it has built a high-value product that can smoothly undergo customization and serve multiple enterprises across industries. Sameer, the CEO and founder of Artoo notes, “Nobody is designing technology for the Base of the Pyramid (BoP) — the poor. Let’s change this! BoP technology needs to be intuitive, fast, responsive apps that work in spite of connectivity challenges – requiring the same kind of engineering prowess as that of a Facebook Engineer.”
Empowering Women using Technology
Artoo’s technology help empower the social enterprises to capture, analyze and process information remotely through smart phones/tablets cutting down the processing time and saving unnecessary delays. Their product aids the smooth processing of field tasks such as customer enrollment or repayment collections. These tasks are presented to the user as a mobile application on an Android device (mobile or tablet) and the back end staff can view and act upon processed field data, real time, through a web interface. By using Artoo’s platform to conduct loan origination, credit verification and loan approval, financial institutions are able to improve their productivity by 51% and reduce their loan turnaround times by 48%. This implies they can process twice as many loans in half as much time. One must note, this is not only about process ease by technological innovation, but also smart data analytics using all the data that gets collected on the platform. Did someone say big data?
Sameer, recognized as one of the Asia-Pacific’s most promising young social-entrepreneurs got the motivation to begin something in the inclusive technology space during his internship at Ujjivan a growing micro finance institution of India. He considers Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon his inspiration. Along with his team mates- Indus Chadha and Kavita Nehemiah, Sameer intends to have a sustainable business model that is socially relevant and reaches the people at the BOP. He says, “We are here for the long-term, to be able to understand the depth of impact our work can have for the masses.”
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