This app is changing the way gated communities live
A Bengaluru startup is revolutionising the way apartment security is approached in India
MyGate is the kind of technical innovation you don’t think you need until you start using it.
As anyone who has lived in a large apartment complex or gated community will testify, one of the most annoying aspects of these communities is receiving constant calls from security informing you that your food/courier/e-commerce package/visitor/daily help has arrived, and asking if they can be let in. In fact, the response to these queries has become so pre-programmed that myGate’s co-founder Vijay Arisetty says his six-year-old daughter picks up the intercom and says “bhej do (send them)" whenever it rings.
The idea is simple: myGate digitizes this experience and puts it all into one easy-to-use app at a fraction of the cost of installing or maintaining an intercom system. “Ever since e-commerce and food tech took off in India, the sheer number of people who make unscheduled visits to our homes has gone up by a huge number," says co-founder Abhishek Kumar, a former Goldman Sachs executive. In any urban household, the daily visitors used to be house-helps and drivers—but now there are online shopping deliveries and pick-ups, Uber/Ola cabs, and a steady stream of grocery, medicine and food deliveries.
The sheer number of calls can be disruptive and annoying. MyGate replaces this with a notification on your app seeking approval for entry for the specific visitor or delivery person, all it needs is one click. You can even notify the gate ahead of time; your visitors get a one-time password (OTP) that they can show at the gate—no need to park their vehicle, get down and sign a security register.
This is one feature I appreciate each time I visit a friend who also lives in a myGate-enabled apartment complex. Most people are reluctant to enter their phone numbers in the register at the gate owing to fear of data theft. Arisetty, a former Indian Air Force officer and Shaurya Chakra awardee, says the company is “paranoid about data protection" and users’ data, including phone numbers, are secure. “In fact, we sign a non-disclosure agreement with apartment managements assuring that the data will not be given to any third parties," says Arisetty.
Ever since my apartment complex in Bengaluru, a modestly sized one with 120 homes, adopted myGate, it has simplified my life in multiple ways, some of them unexpected. I realized that I didn’t have to wonder about the daily help arriving because one of the app’s features is to keep track of regular workers who enter the apartment, so I simply have to look at the app to know whether she has checked in. The app also allows parents to be notified about unaccompanied children leaving the building—something the company incorporated after two incidents in Bengaluru of pre-teens walking out without informing their parents. What about requesting the security desk to accepts couriers and deliveries on your behalf if you’re away? There’s a feature for that as well, secured by OTP, that makes sure only an authorized person can take the delivery. MyGate has kept the app interface simple keeping in mind the varying literacy levels of guards.
The Bengaluru-based start-up, which received a funding of ₹ 16 crore from Prime Ventures in January, currently services 180,000 homes in Bengaluru and is expanding to cities like Hyderabad, Pune, Mumbai, Chennai and the National Capital Region.
Companies like Commonfloor and Apartment Adda, which offer apartment management systems and property listings, are also venturing into the tech-based gate management space, but myGate has the first-mover advantage.