Number Intends To Clock Rs300cr In Revenue By 2025: CEO Mehta
Jigar Mehta, Co-founder, CEO and CTO at numBer speaks with BW Businessworld on his company and its future plans. He said that the brand will launch eight products by the end of this fiscal year
Below is an excerpt from the conversation we had with him:
Brief us about your brand numBer.
After years of research, I started numBer Fone Co. in 2013 with the vision to transform the distribution channel of smartphones in Gujarat. I was running a successful venture with profit margins. My journey with smartphones, helped me crack the code of distribution channel that later became one of the core pillars of running my business in accessories. After the Covid-19-induced pandemic hit the world, I re-evaluated my vision for business and what I want to build.
Developing on yearlong research, I recognised a gap in the wearables and hearable market for quality and well-designed products. By then, the consumer tech market started to mushroom yet, the void was still wide. I always had my instinct to leverage my designing expertise, and numBer was just that opportunity. I believe that life runs on the concept of a numBer that transcends boundaries, culture and race. Everything comes at the right time.
Hence, in 2021, I started numBer and launched our range of wearable and hearable products to offer. At present, numBer has gaming TWS earbuds, smartwatches, Bluetooth neckbands and wired earphones. We launched our D2C website and soon after, we collaborated with Flipkart and Amazon to reach our consumers. We also have presence at select retail outlets in Gujarat, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra.
Who is the core team behind conceptualising and running the business?
I laid the groundwork for the business. I started my professional journey at an early age with my family business. I indulged myself to dive in the deepest of the sea to understand the space and disrupt the highly unorganised and challenging distribution channel. After working with them for ten years, I already acquired intel on the tech industry, dynamics of distribution channels and establishing a business. All these propelled me to give life to numBer. I overview product designing, online sales and marketing.
In our core team, we also have Palak Mehta, Co-founder, who primarily looks after procuring the finances for the business. He completed his graduation from London. We started numBer together in 2013.
Another core team member is Manan Sanghvi, Head of Accounts. Manan looks after day-to-day accounts and sales. He is responsible for charting strategic plans for sales that can increase the customer base and brand presence.
Together, as a cohesive team, we are committed to pushing the boundaries of innovation in the tech industry and creating a lasting impact with our passion for product design, online sales, and marketing. With each team member's unique expertise and dedication, numBer Fone Co. is poised to make a mark in the industry.
How is it different from other Indian brands in the industry? What is USP?
numBer is committed to offer a range of products that are well-designed, premium looks, best-in-quality, advanced tech features and yet affordable. We intend to offer a holistic range of product with the greatest features and utility. The essence of our brand is based on the unique designs and aesthetics of our products. We are the first ever Indian brand to launch of helmet shaped TWS case. We intend to make our products with the best-in-quality features and playful.
Another difference we are creating in the industry is via our packaging. Our customers and bloggers have appreciated the packaging along with product quality.
What is the growth of the business: revenue, numBer of products and categories, team, year-on-year growth, other achievements, etc.
In a short span, we have grown at a rapid pace and registered a revenue of Rs 3crore in FY23 and over Rs 90 crore from the distribution of smartphones. To date with have launched a dozen of products in the Indian market. We are first brand to launch a 1.91” display smartwatch in the country and 1st Indian smartwatch brand to make India’s slimmest five mm metal frame. We are also the first Indian brand to launch PUBG-styled helmet gaming TWS in the country. Within less than two years, we have also built a team of 32 employees.
How are you supporting the Make in India initiative?
I strongly support the government’s mission of Make in India. We have already launched a smartwatch. By next year, we plan to shift 90 per cent of our manufacturing to India and offer a range of products that completely resonates with Indian consumers.
How much funding have you raised to date? Any plans regarding fundraise?
We are a bootstrapped brand. We started the company with a minimal capital of Rs 30 lakh. We have plans to strategise and deploy our current capital to thrive the business of over Rs 100 crore a year.
What are the key challenges you are facing to establish numBer in the market?
Our first mission was to have deep insights into our customers and understand what they want. During our market research, we understood that Indian customers want an affordable range of products with best-in-class features and aesthetically appealing appearances to flaunt.
Despite a cluttered market, they wanted a premium device at an affordable price. The brands available in the market were either international or Indian brands mirroring the designs of international brands. We, at numBer, are committed to curating a unique brand identity by offering a never-seen-before range of products built with ergonomic designs/aesthetics. We intend to offer an Indian range of products with an international look and feel.
We understand that one of the biggest challenges is to catch up with the growing demands of customers within timelines. We should be able to anticipate the market trends and foresee what customers could be asking for. Being a new brand, one must be very specific and distinctive as compared to others.
What is your biggest learning so far?
One of the biggest learning so far is to create a differentiating and high-quality product. The hearable and wearable market is cluttered with ample brands that may offer a cloned product. Any brand needs to curate a range of tech-advanced features and quality products. Creating a monopolistic identity for your brand helps customers to distinguish your brand from others.
We also understand that customers are more loyal to companies that offer seamless aftersales services and hassle-free warranty processes. Any brand can earn new customers by spending on marketing and other tactics, but to retain them, they must connect with the customers even after they start using the product. Any brand should consistently speak with the customers to understand their demands and requirements. It enables brands to create a diversified range of products and timely deliver on the customers' demands by anticipating their future needs/trends.
What are your plans over the next five years?
In the coming years, we intend to venture into strategic partnerships with leading marketplaces and LFRs to reach the masses. We have aggressive plans to establish a strong foothold in the Indian market and then venture into international waters in years to come. We will be launching around eight products by the end of FY24. We are focusing on more gaming gadgets and TWS as we expect the esports in India is going to soar with 1000 per cent growth rate in the coming days.
We intend to invest in marketing to increase our customer base and establish our social media pages. We intend to be the pioneers in the smart accessory industry by 2025 and achieve a revenue of over Rs 300 crore. We also have plans to strengthen our team in the coming days.
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