Immersing into a new startup culture

“My three months here in Bangalore have flown by extremely quickly, and I’ll be sad to leave the city and all my new friends.” Here’s what Amanda Aho has to say about her experience in India –

I first heard about the India Industry Internship through flyers in the entrance of ETH. As I didn’t have any concrete plans for the summer yet, I decided to apply and just one week after (finally) finishing up my master’s thesis I travelled to Bangalore to start my three months at Qrera Technologies.

Qrera is a rather small startup founded by graduates of ETH Zurich and Indian Institute of Science, with just four employees and two interns at the time, including me. Their main focus currently is a power and machine surveillance system for smaller manufacturing companies who might not be able to afford more expensive solutions. The power monitoring can help with easily identifying machine downtime, makes reporting digital, and enables energy saving through the analysis of these reports.

My main task was the integration of a cycle counter for the power-monitoring system, which would bring an additional parameter to the reports. This included the 3D-printed prototyping, testing and programming of the device in collaboration with my colleagues. Additionally, it was very interesting to see how different the startup environment is, in comparison to bigger companies where I had interned before. I got to see what everyone was doing, and experienced both setbacks and progress first hand.

The main difference that I noticed between working in Switzerland and India was the different focus on cost. Both at ETH and at my last internship, I was used to having an unlimited budget, and I was able to order and use anything I needed for my projects (within reason of course). At Qrera, I really had to retrain my brain to find more economical alternatives, which also sometimes involved taking a completely different approach.

swissnex and Qrera helped me find an apartment 20 minutes away, or a few minutes long auto ride from the office. I shared the flat with three Indian girls from Kerala and West-Bengal. This was really one of the best parts of my experience, as I really got immersed in their culture by cooking together, and going to the local markets for shopping and street-food. Having them around is probably the reason I felt comfortable and at home in Bangalore almost immediately, and they definitely helped with the language barrier when a delivery person, vendor or garbage collector only spoke Kannada or Hindi.

My three months here in Bangalore have flown by extremely quickly, and I’ll be sad to leave the city and all my new friends. However, I am looking forward to traveling through India for a few weeks after finishing the internship, and hopefully come back for visits soon.

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ETH Zurich

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