It was a fun-filled ambience thunderous with children’s chirps, whoops and fascinated hollers. Some of them were playing virtual reality games, some were dancing to changing tunes, and a few kids were even flying drones. No! It wasn’t any overpriced game arena! It was at Hug Innovations, a company disrupting the wearable industry with world’s first gesture controlled smart watch – Hug and the event was ‘Bring Your Kids to Work’ bi-annual event day. “Can we please come here on every Saturday,” pleaded the kids to Raj Neravati(Founder & CEO), as they were a little jealous of their parents who get to play everyday. The kids also felt proud to be a part of their parent’s project, since Hug studied the kids’ behaviours to create and build more interactive gestures.
“Hug – our patented wearable device provides a new way of communicating with digital devices. Finding a new device everyday to integrate with Hug is part of the fun and excitement,” proclaims Raj.Being the only wearable that can fly a drone, connect with virtual reality, and powered with artificial Intelligence, it magnetizes passionate people who wish to make a dent in the industry by contributing to develop such technology. They also get abundant exposure to next-gen technologies, since it’s one of the very few Indian companies doing hardware, software & machine learning. Reflecting Hug’s inimitability is prestigious awards akin to ‘Best Wearable – 2016 by World Startup Expo’.“In a recent Global Mobile World Challenge conducted regionally with finale at Barcelona, we came as top one in India, top three in Asia&top ten globally amongst 1500 companies,” adds Raj.
Abundant Perks & Non-stop Fun
Raj embarked on this venture in 2014 triggered by the unfortunate Delhi gang rape incident,as he felt the need for women to have some thing handier than phone in case of attack. Created for such a noble cause, Hug obviously has a stringent sexual harassment policy, drops off late working women and provides Hug gadgets to every employee. Hug’s notable perks also include flexible timings (9:30AM-3PM and 8PM-11PM for a young mother), work from home option, comprehensive health insurance for family and flexible leave policy (four months maternity leave & three weeks paternity leave). “Our travel policy doesn’t box up people travelling abroad with per diem, but takes care of complete expenses without scrutiny,” proclaims Sandeep Ravula, Head of Sales & Strategic Partnerships, Hug Innovations.
The office atmosphere enriched with Jeans & T-shirts reflects its comfy culture. A brief glimpse into its balanced gender ratio and employee demography comprised of people from seven states affirms its love for culture amalgamation and diversity. “We regularly conduct fun events (annual celebrations, monthly potluck & spontaneous ice cream party), eat-outs & team gatherings (daily stand-up meeting where every employee’s idea is respected) to ensure bonding and have a very family like work environment,” explains Hoimoboti Choudhury, Head – HR, Operations & Marketing, Hug Innovations.
Hug seeks people with strong engineering background, who are willing to go the extra mile, spread positive energy with the right attitude and commitment.
Enabling Self Improvement
Hug seeks people with strong engineering back ground, who are willing to go the extra mile, spread positive energy with the right attitude and commitment. Its healthy mix of juniors and seniors (whose average industry experience is 10+ years) empowers young talents to aspire and learn best practices from their leaders.“I joined Hug Innovations as a fresher and have been a part of Hug smart watch’s development from scratch. With in a year, I got promoted as Team Lead for device development, learned a lot, gained hands-on experience, and had many opportunities to represent Hug at industry events & road shows where I interacted directly with customers about my work, which is great exposure for a fresher,” affirms Nilabh Shant, Device Team Lead, Hug Innovations. A big believer in constant self-improvement, Hug encourages its people to pursue professional certifications and conduct performance reviews on-time and on-spot, apart from quarterly reviews. Along with annual appraisal and monthly rewards for exceptional performers, Hug has a separate incentive policy for those who innovate and file patents.
New Wave of Opportunities
Hug keeps attrition at bay by openly communicating about its growth and through a big check that comes with its generous salary & equity structure which makes employees take Hug’s success personally. “Duringinitial days, I signed an agreement that promised to pay three months’ salary in case we fail,” recalls Raj, as Hug has recently closed some humungous orders with corporates and insurance companies. Even Microsoft has approved that the Hug Smart watch is 100 percent reimbursable for its employees. Currently selling Hug on Flipkart and Amazon, the company plans to hit retail stores in North America.
The Hyderabad-headquartered company with office in California & consultants in China, intends to expand in China and North America. Recently moved to a bigger office, Hug is hiring actively to achieve its goal of becoming a 50 people strong company by end of 2017.Hug is creating a new wave of opportunities for engineers by building a first-of-its-kind IOT platform, which will be an open source for developers to build rich interactive applications in IOT using gesture technology. “Like Android’s or iOS community for mobile apps, we’re building a community & market place for smart devices, particularly an Appstore for smart devices,” concludes Raj.
Raj Neravati, Founder & CEO
Raj has over 17+ years of IT industry experience,during which he managed global teams for large IT Services organizations with 100 million+ revenues. Instilling such hard-learned principals & philosophies, he envisions to change the way we interact with the gadgets today.