How an incompatible charging problem built SPEC Invent
In this world of apps and technology, SPEC Invent Electronics intends to carve a niche for itself by designing and manufacturing custom-fit consumer electronics products. Incubated out of IIM Bangalore, SPEC ideates, conceptualises, designs, and manufactures products. The team began with building a wireless charging platform for smartphones and tables.
The team says that this wireless charger will enable a user to charge his/her smartphone easily at any given point of time. This will be irrespective of the phone’s brand, make or model.
Birth of the idea
The idea of SPEC came to Sandeep S Pai, Akshata Karnad, and Ashwin Mohan Gautham while they were colleagues at Hewlett Packard in 2013. At that point in time, Sandeep realised that both Ashwin and he were 'gadget freaks' who wanted to start a venture of their own.
Whenever they had spare time at work, they would discuss technological advancements in various industries. However, they would end up intensely discussing technological upgradations and disruptions in the consumer electronics and automobile industries.
Zeroing in on the plan
"It was in mid-2013 when we decided to venture into one of the two industries. We began contemplating a lot of ideas, issues, problems and challenges. We could have gone on like that -but one fine day, during a break, that we took the call to startup," says Sandeep.
However, the real work began in November 2013, when they went to Mumbai for the Inter-solar Expo. At this point in time, they had decided on creating a startup relating to solar power. On the way back, they began discussing a suitable name for their company, and after a long brainstorming session they zeroed in on the name SPEC Invent.
"Our first product ideation began from a small problem we encountered on landing in the Bangalore airport. Ashwin’s phone, an Android device, ran out of charge and I had an iPhone, so we faced the problem of incompatible chargers," adds Sandeep.
Seeing in this situation a problem that everyone needs a solution to, the duo did extensive research on this front, and finally zeroed in on ‘wireless charging.' Finding this idea great and lucrative, Akshata, their colleague from HP, joined the core team.
All about the product
The team’s flagship product is a wireless charger, meaning you don’t need a cable from a power source for power transmission to happen, since it has an inbuilt 4000 mAh Li-Polymer built-in battery. This should be able to charge your phone twice. The product is portable, and compact, has 2 Amps outputs and supports dual charging.
At the beginning of the month, the team released their product for pre-order on their website. This, Sandeep says, was after going through rounds of iterations, re-buildings, testing and deliberation. The team claims to have clocked in 54 orders till date.
For a few months, the team intends to sell via their own website, and then later approach e-commerce biggies like Flipkart. They're also looking to get into a distributor-based model. "We have already started conversations with few potential distributors and our sales pipeline looks promising," adds Sandeep.
He also says, "The market size we are targeting is huge, and from one of the market research papers we read, the wireless charging industry would be a $ 750 million market by 2017 globally. We should be able to capture a small but a decent share of this market with our existing and upcoming innovative products."
Funding and future plans
The team is bootstrapped, and is looking for funding to increase manufacturing capabilities, hire talent, invest in R&D for their next generation products, and scale up operations to be able to fulfil orders which will come through in the coming months.
The team intends to build a strong R&D team to innovate, design and create their next generation of innovative products. They have plans to venture into the B2B setup and install wireless charging hotspots across India.
"Our dream is you walking into a coffee shop/airport lounge, and having your devicestart charging. No more worrying about low/dead batteries. And, moving further, we want to expand to powering up laptops and kitchen appliances wirelessly. Our ultimate goal is to charge an eCar wirelessly while on the move, which we intend to do over the next couple of years," states Sandeep.
The scope for wireless devices is huge, as its can be applied across different segments and spaces of society. According to a research published by marketsandresearch, in the medical industry itself, its applications and market size are expected to reach USD 17.71 billion, and grow at CAGR 12.20 per cent, by 2020.
Portable wireless devices are believed to play a big role in home automations, business that is itself growing at 30 per cent YOY. We just have to wait and see the different sectors and spaces that SPEC Invent will venture into.