The Coolest Smartwatch Made In India (Part 2)
Say what you want about wearables not taking off the way the billions spent on it by mega companies can be justified. Not even IoT is spreading like wildfire, even though there is much intellectual curiosity around it. But Blink coming from Bangalore is trying to do something different and the feature trailer is worth a look.
“With Blink, we never wanted to build another feature packed gadget that stuffs everything on the wrist.”
Here’s what Somnath, cofounder and CEO says about how demonetization and government policies can seriously hamper growth and the Make in India and Startup India economic goals as well.
Tell us how the business has grown so far
While it is too early to talk about numbers, the response for Blink has been quite phenomenal. We expect to fall short of inventory with our pilot batch given the demand, primarily because of our own bandwidth and resource constraints.
Buyers, distributors, enthusiasts from across the world are writing to us wanting to know more about Blink and Marvin OS. The design has been appreciated by everyone who has seen it.
Blink currently goes out in 6 variants, spread across Black and Silver colors with Sport, Classic Leather, and Steel straps; keeping in mind the choice of style for independent users. While the price ranges from INR 12,999 to INR 15,999.
But more than anything, it’s an attempt by us to prove that a small startup (and that in a set-up like India’s) can build technology and products beyond existing global benchmarks and take on the biggest technology giants of the world.
Any challenges faced setting up? Anything unique to your situation?
The biggest challenge we have been facing while building a consumer technology company in India are handling the government regulations and taxations around manufacturing and component imports. While most of the policies around these were framed for bigger traditional organizations, a small startup like ours operates in a very different way in terms of doing R&D and managing our supply-chain. It would require massive change at the policy level to allow a fair playing field for a smaller start-up.
Besides, lack of an existing consumer-tech brand success story out of India, makes us go through a situation where we have to answer a lot of questions and validate the possibilities along the way. We hope to be able to get Blink to a stature that brings up the overall sentiments around making world-class products in India.
Share with us some best and worst memories while running the business
Best memory -
The moment the first unit of Blink - a product designed and developed (technically by a bunch of 20-year olds) in Bangalore was delivered to someone in Dublin, Ireland; we realized this is as close to as one gets with building truly innovative and global products out of this country.
Worst memory -
Well, there are setbacks but it would be wrong to point out any. However, in a particular instance, all our Indian supply came to a halt for a week the moment the demonetization rule was declared, and we here were stranded helpless with part-inventory and paying up for the assembly set-up for every passing day with no production happening. Having moved through it, the day (5th Dec) our pilot shipment was scheduled from Thiruvallur Tamilnadu, the honorable CM of the state passed away causing a series of disruption to our operational plans.
Being a small startup it affects us deeply, as we have been more very particular about living up to the promises made to our customers.
But I’d still say we came out stronger and better because of the hard times.
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