A crowd funded manufacturing startup, Tariustar aims to create innovative lifestyle products at reasonable costs. It currently has nearly half a dozen products in the pipeline.
It was a simple question that changed the course of business for 29-year-old Abel John. The project manager of a courier company that Abel was trying to sell a location-based GPS tracker application (Myadd) to sought to know if his executives would have to hold phones in their hands to track their location while riding bikes, scooters or even bicycles. His point was: in what way was his software better than the existing sound-enabled navigation systems if it required the rider to stop every now and then to look at his mobile to ascertain his location?
Abel became aware that he had to come up with something innovative to market his Myadd application. He decided to design a product which would be easy to use, convenient and could be retailed at a reasonable cost.
After numerous prototyping; Abel finally came up with Exoband, a band that can be worn on the wrist or the arm. This band can hold all smartphones from 4.3 inches to six inches in size and is ideal for riders, It is the flagship product of Tariustar Trading, a startup founded by Abel, but more on that later.
With Exoband, navigation has ceased to be a challenge for the home delivery services. Earlier, most riders were reluctant to use the location based GPS tracker as that meant they had to stop and fish out the phones from their pockets to see their location. Voice-based navigation too wasn’t really useful in getting them to the desired location.
Thanks to Exoband, riders can now navigate their way around without the need to call/talk, or taking wrong route . It helps save time, fuel and money.
Abel has sold more than 3,000 three thousand Exobands so far, since inception. It is available in three variants. Exoband Version 1, Version 2.0 and Exo cases. Exo case is a silicon elastic case
to protect the phones from rain. In the version 2.0 the band can also hold cards and cash. All the
products retail from Rs 500-1,000.
Abel spearheads the entire business singlehandedly and takes in apprentices when in need. He has hired three freelancers who mainly bring the design and prototype expertise.
About the product and its creator
Exoband is made out of an elastic material. The belt is shorter than an armband, so that it can fit on the wrist. It also has four elastic clips. The clips can be pulled and it can hold phones of the size 4.3 inches to 6inches.
The targeted market for the product are trekkers, joggers, runners, cyclists, bikers, Go Pro (action camera) users, home delivery executives, extreme adventurists, bike taxies, horse riders, fitness / gym and Pokemon Go players.
Building innovative and creative product has always been Abel’s interest.
A commerce graduate, Abel is a man of multifarious interests. Before starting up Tariustar Trading, he worked in the accounts department of Target India and for a marketing agency in Qatar. He enjoys photography and making videos for YouTube.
“During my stint with Target, I realised that there was a problem with the delivery systems. I wanted to develop and create my own delivery software and license it to all courier companies.”
However, his tryst with software proved to be short-lived. During the process of selling the software application, Tariustar and along with it Exoband came to the fore. Both were launched in November 2015.
Money matters & the band of customers
Abel is leveraging the crowd-funding platform, kickstarter.com. Here, one can market and sell the products. As Indian companies cannot list their products on the website, Tariustar has a subsidiary branch in the US that lists all the products.
Home delivery services have so far been Exoband’s biggest customers. Companies like Ekart, Dunzo, Runnr and Oneserve have purchased Exoband for their delivery executives. Swiggy tested the product and found it very useful and has introduced Exobands to their delivery fleet. Even bike taxis like Bikxie & rapido and a couple of other delivery companies have also started using these bands.
Abel is content with the responses of his customers. He says, “One of my customer from the Netherlands has used the bands during horse riding. Another customer is suffering from cerebral palsy and the band keeps her on track.”
A super-bike rider community in Dubai also uses Exoband to live stream the action from their GoPro.
The market landscape
There are any number of verticals in the Indian startup ecosystem in which wearable devices have made their debuts. These range from healthcare, fitness, sports, safety to fin robotics and Internet of Things (IoT).
In the safety vertical, there is Leaf Wearables, Delhi-based startup run by four IITians that has built a safety pendant for women in distress situations. In the fitness space there is Fitbit. In the healthcare sector there is Cardea ECG, a Bengaluru-based startup that will launch mirthym, which monitors ECG readings for arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat). In sports there is
ReTiSense, a Bengaluru-based startup, which builds shoe insoles to detect and prevent sports-related knee injuries. They have recently closed a crowdfunding campaign on the Kickstarter platform.
The future pipeline
Tariustar has a number of other products in the pipeline. These include:
- A magnetic bokeh filter for camera lens
- A key chain size GPS tracker
- Exoband V3.0
- DSLR controller device, which will be able to handle a DSLR camera from one’s smartphone app; can control ISO, shutter, aperture, time-laps, view image from phone or directly to TV, has built-in infrared so it can focus during night/low light and can remotely trigger flash
- A water regulating motor connected to phone: this will make it possible to water the plants remotely when on vacation or at work.
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