Leaf Wearables – Jewellery To Send A Message
“We are virgin entrepreneurs (for the first time) and we have never built a product before.” They have won more than half a crore in prize money for their product.
Photo Credit : ketto.org,
The crystal glass is not an attempt at fashion, but an attempt at housing a piece of tech to alert people if you’re in danger. Or just about any time you need to alert someone. Like the times we sent out a secret signal to get friends together for parties and what not (and why not?).
We speak to Paras Batra, cofounder of Leaf Wearables to pique your interest on the buzzing wearable tech scene.
Why did you decide to found this venture?
I went to Singapore on a research scholarship in 2013 when I saw their startup culture. I saw young college students working to solve the problems of their country. Singapore is a fairly small country with much lesser problems to solve compared to India. That's what inspired me to come back and do something of my own.
Luckily my cofounders experienced the same thing during their research in USA and we were on the same page that we wanted to start a venture that solves grand challenges of India.
[A grand challenge here was safety concerns in India.]
Share with us what’s special about this venture and how it’s different from its competitors?
Unlike a lot of safety apps that are available on the play store and app store, we did not shy away from building a hardware that makes the solution feasible. It is almost impossible to take your phone out from the handbag, unlock it and then use the safety app that you never use and that too in case of a distress situation.
That's why we built safer Smart Pendant that lets you call or reach out for help with a double press and it is easily accessible since you are wearing it.
How did you manage to fund this idea?
Hardware is very difficult to fund in India. In our initial days, we won multiple business plan competitions and innovation awards to accumulate equity free money of more than half a crore within 6 months.
We infused all that money into building the product and then raised a seed round of 250,000 dollars after product launch.
What are/what will be your monetization paths?
We are a revenue generating company and majority of it comes from sales of our wearables. Later in time, we are keen to explore some premium features in the app.
Tell us how the business has grown so far
We have already sold over 10,000 products and that's one of the highest by a wearable company in India. We have 3 colors in the pendants and also there is a variation of using it as a keychain.
What marketing strategies and plans are in place to grow the business?
We are only marketing through digital channels as of now as it gives us immense control on targeting and also on analytics. It’s a much more cost effective way to market in my opinion. We plan to enter into offline distribution in 2017.
What is the market size and opportunity?
Figures like market size and opportunity are relevant to companies and products which target a weak problem. Safety is one of the biggest challenges faced by almost every country today. It’s bigger than all of us can imagine.
The global safety wearables market is worth 50 billion dollars.
Any challenges faced setting up? Anything unique to your situation?
Haha! A lot of them. We are virgin entrepreneurs (for the first time) and we have never built a product before. We faced challenges at almost every step from making a prototype till finding the right suppliers but it was all worth it and taught us a lot.
Share with us some best and worst memories while running the business
Best memory- The day we cracked our first B2B deal with Ericsson and they gifted SAFER to all their women employees.
Worst memory- The day we tested our first prototype. It literally gave me sleepless nights.
How effective is the device? (Given poor bandwidth and internet in India)
The device was built for India and that's why it works even in the absence of Internet :)
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