Pivot and Persist: EV startup Emflux Motors turns to face shields to get past coronavirus roadblock
India’s startup ecosystem is unanimously following one rule to fight coronavirus: survive now, thrive later. Many startups are changing their business models and products to take on COVID-19 and stay afloat.
Bengaluru-based electric vehicle startup Emflux Motors, which has been focusing on electric superbike Emflux One, is now working to meet the increasing demand for face shields.
Founded in 2016 by Varun Mittal, Ankit Khatry, and Vinay Raj Somashekar, Emflux Motors is working in the electric two-wheeler segment. The founders, who believe that electric technology can completely change the transportation and mobility landscape, aim to produce high-performance electric motorcycles and create an ecosystem of partner OEMs.
But things changed during the coronavirus-led lockdown.
“It was difficult for us to work from home as we are a hardware startup. We did not have too much flexibility in terms of resources and money, and needed to start selling to sustain. We did our research and chose to design face shields as they can help our country fight the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ankit tells YourStory.
The Emflux Face Shield
The light-weight face shield has been designed for prolonged use and has a large-sized visor for complete protection. The face shield can be disinfected using alcohol-based sanitisers and re-used again.
The electric vehicle company has also joined hands with IKP EDEN, a Bengaluru-based startup incubator to launch a donation campaign to help frontline workers fight the pandemic. The startup aims to donate around 10,000 face shields to police and hospitals in the first phase.
Emflux Motors is trying to raise Rs 4 lakh for this initiative through a Ketto campaign. “Our donation campaign is currently live with Ketto’; IKP EDEN and Emflux Motors have teamed up to support the initiative,” Ankit says.
Apart from the donation campaign, the EV company began selling its face shields on May 15, 2020. Retail users can currently purchase the Emflux Face Shield from Amazon, Flipkart, and the official PPE selling website of Emflux Motors.
Business and more
According to Ankit, different options are available for retail customers. One can purchase the headgear and a visor for Rs 119, one headgear along with two visors for Rs 149, and two head gears with five visors for Rs 309. The price includes the cardboard packaging. Users can also purchase one headgear and a visor for Rs 99 (in transparent plastic packaging).
The co-founder says around 15,000 face shields have been sold till date.
Emflux Motors has also donated face shields to St John’s Hospital (Bengaluru) along with police stations and Indian postal offices. It will restart donating shields once it raises the required amount through the Ketto campaign.
“If there is enough demand post COVID-19, we will continue sales of the face shields as we have invested considerable time and resources in tooling and supply chain for this product and its packaging,” Ankit says.
Speaking about future plans, the co-founder says the company will focus on generating revenue by working on small products such as face shields.
“We showcased Emflux One in Auto Expo 2018 in Delhi and got a huge response from the public. Unfortunately, because of lack of funding, we were forced to do development contracts for other companies and focus on sales of products and components we made for our bike. COVID-19 came at a really bad time for us - in the middle of a fundraise and all investment dried up,” he says.
He adds that Emflux Motors is currently building electric drive trains for two and three-wheeler vehicles for the B2B market.
Like Emflux, many startups are working to manufacture PPE gear to help people deal with the pandemic. Aditya Kabra, Founder and CEO of Zeroplast Labs, and Mitesh Rasal, Co-founder and CEO of RUT3 Engineering came together to launch Armor Care to manufacture low-cost face shields.
Meanwhile, Jammu-based SID07 Designs, has developed COVisor, a comfortable face shield for doctors who need to wear it for long durations.
(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)