With seats that float, this NIT Surat trio has a solution to your travel woesSaniya Raza
Feel Good Innovations has introduced a way to solve your daily commute troubles through its revolutionary travel comfort product — Fego Float.
Every day is a struggle on Indian roads. With those surprise bumps and badly maintained infrastructure, travelling back and forth has turned into an unwanted hassle and a literal pain-in-the-back. The reported number of slip discs, miscarriages and back issues people face only continues to grow by the minute.
Determined to put an end to this, Feel Good Innovations (FGI), a startup building innovative automobile accessories for the new-age customer, has designed Fego Float — an air bed that eases your travel woes and enhances the experience of a ride, especially in India.
Social impact, innovation, and a niche market
Feel Good Innovations was created by three college friends from NIT Surat — Viswanadh Malladi (29), Madhav Reddy Kolli (28), and Santosh Samala (31) — who decided that they would venture into the world of business once they graduated.
After discussing over 100 business models, and taking into account major factors such as social impact, innovation and market opportunity, they came up with their product Fego Float. “Knowing that your product will have a social impact instills a satisfaction that the business model will positively impact lives. Innovation is another important factor to keep the excitement live and running in the team every day. Finally, you need to see big returns in order to put in six to seven years of your life to a project. That's why we were looking for a big market. Fego Float ticked all the boxes,” explains Viswanadh, CEO and Co-founder, FGI.
An air bed for easy commute
The team began working on Fego Float when the idea was conceived in September of 2014 during an open-source design thinking course. After three years of tremendous research and development, the product came to fruition and the team now works out of Jubilee Hills in Hyderabad.
Short for Feel Good, Fego revolves around the startup’s vision to make terrible commuting time ‘Feel Good’ while Float suggests the function and technology of the product. Fego Float is infused with an innovative air technology that helps it act as an air bed. The detachable seat comprises of air cells or bubbles that are interconnected keeping a thin layer of air between the rider and the bike, promising a 46 percent jerk reduction.
Explaining how Fego can make vast difference to daily travel, Viswanadh says, “Once a person sits on it, air in the bubbles adjusts itself in such a way that the weight is distributed across the seating surface. Also, when a vehicle hits a pothole or speed breaker, each air bubble acts as a shock absorber and isolates jerks that are transmitted to the spine. The flotation technology causes the users to simply float instead of being troubled by bad roads.”
Since the seat distributes pressure evenly for both bikes and cars, Viswanadh also informs that if used as a support for your spine when stuck in traffic or for long rides, Fego helps reduce fatigue making it possible to ride double the distance you usually can. “This is a must-have for all riders given the state of Indian roads. It works for both the rider and the pillion riders, who often experience more discomfort.”
The crowdfunding route
Hiring the right team and managing the finances was a major challenge for the bootstrapped startup but early success in form of grants from the government was a confidence booster, says Viswanadh. Besides, after initial support from angel investors, the team decided to reach out to its potential customers through crowdfunding and Fego Float was launched on Fueladream.com on December 1, 2017.
“This was a conscious decision. The crowdfunding team adds a lot of value to our launch plans and strategy by acting like partners rather than just a tech platform. They also help us manage cash flows and the supply as per the demand. Moreover, we get support from all the backers to make a brand out of our product and get our overall launch right,” shares Viswanadh.
“The Fueladream team also added a lot of value at the pre-launch and launch stage, right from planning, pricing, strategy to the marketing communication. Crowdfunding actually validates a lot of your assumptions and makes it very easy for startups like us to get to the market, as they add a lot of value beyond just providing a platform,” he adds.
On to a smooth start
In over 40 days of its launch, Feel Good Innovations has sold 1,600 pieces of Float Fego to close to 1,400 funders from over 200 towns across India. Priced at Rs 1299 for two wheelers and Rs 1599 for four-wheelers the Fego Float also comes with an exciting combo package of one bike and car seat at Rs 2799. “These price points have led to each customer purchasing more than one float. We have received a great response from every user with over ten videos made by our customers for the love they have for the product. Around 40 customers have also posted on various social media, giving us great feedback,” shares Viswanadh.
Further, having started with a crowdfunding goal of Rs 2 lakh, the team has zoomed past the Rs 20-lakh mark. “Our campaign has been over 1,000 percent funded. Today we get orders from all over the country, be it a small town or a metro. We have had bike clubs starting to buy a float for their members,” Viswanadh remarks.
Not stopping just yet, FGI and its first product are headed towards becoming India's largest ever crowdfunded product with respect to the number of people who have funded Fego Float. With this, FGI aims to become a 100-crore revenue company in next three years. “We are already working with Bigbasket on a very innovative product to reduce the fatigue of their delivery employees and also reduce their delivery costs,” says Viswanadh. The next step is to launch Float Fego on the Amazon Launchpad platform soon after the crowdfunding campaign ends, shares the team.
With a simple formulation of social impact, innovation and a huge market, FGI plans to design other automobile accessories with a health angle and customer centricity to make travel time more enjoyable in the near future.