This is India’s Pebble (No Relation to the Smartwatch)
To all the people out there tired of sub-standard chargers and unreliable power banks
It’s your story of a B2B brand now going B2C and choosing to do so online first. Pebble, a pioneer in power banks and branded mobile accessories, was launched in 2013. It was founded by a team of two, a father-daughter duo, Ajay Agarwal and Komal Agarwal.
Headquartered in Delhi, Pebble is part of SRK Powertech Private Limited (of which Mr. Aggarwal is CEO and promoter). SRK has been in this business for the past 16 years manufacturing and exporting power back-up devices and other electronic products.
Komal, the 28 year old IIM alumnus is director of marketing and shares about Pebble in a soft voice and a tone of conviction.
Why did you decide to found this venture?
Alongside the evolution of technology, the accessories market is booming in India. But mobile accessories is still an unorganized, unbranded market with no clear quality standards. On the extreme end, there are certain brands trying to provide higher quality products, however at a huge cost.
India needed a happy middle – quality products at affordable prices, hence Pebble was born.
Mobile accessories are dime a dozen; what’s special about Pebble?
Pebble power banks are among the most efficient in terms of output and quality, and sleekest in terms of design which means they are extremely portable and user friendly. Pebble power banks rank among the top ten brands for power banks. In fact, the brand has won the award for the Most User Friendly Power Bank Brand in India.
We are also the only brand to provide a pick-and-drop 6 month replacement guarantee for all its products.
How did you manage to fund this idea?
Pebble has the backing of reputed businessmen with 35 years of experience in running profitable ventures, so the promoters were capable of funding this venture with their own resources along with working capital from institutional lenders.
Tell us how the business has grown so far
With a current portfolio of more than 50 SKUs, Pebble has a growth rate of 100 percent annually and aims to become the industry leader by 2018, with expected annual turnover of over Rs. 100 crore.
What marketing strategies and plans are in place to grow the business?
We do quite a bit here: social media marketing; strategic partnerships with the likes of Yatra, MakemyTrip, RailYatri; brand promotion at more a 1000 physical retail stores; sponsoring large scale events at university and corporate events because that’s our target demographic.
Soon you will also see and hear Pebble ads in print and on radio in tier 1 and 2 cities.
What is the market size and opportunity?
According to a recent report, the Indian mobile and tech accessories market size is estimated at rupees 18,000 crores by value while 40 crore units are sold in a year. That’s another reason why our projection of annual turnover to be rupees 100 crore by 2018 is a possibility.
Any challenges faced setting up? Anything unique to your situation?
At the moment, the biggest challenge for Pebble is competition from existing fake/unbranded products in both offline and online channels. These fake products falsely claim to have state-of-the-art features such as high mAh capacity of power banks, high output of speakers etc. Thankfully, categories like power banks have been declared under BIS and has substantially helped in clearing out such products from the market.
Share with us some best and worst memories while running the business
Best Memory – Being an instant hit in the online market and in-flight (Pebble works with AirAsia and GoAir) shopping within 2 months of launching Pebble. This lead to a lot of big industry players coming to us for partnership, instead of us trying to reach out to them.
Worst Memory - Launched a new model of power bank in in-flight shopping. The actual sales far surpassed the anticipated sales and we were stocked out within the first week itself. Due to this, we had to step out of in-flight shopping for a brief period despite the amazing customer response.
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