This startup is building interactive, personalised and story-led products to connect kids with their family
With an aim to shift the conversation from simply making kids smarter, sharper, faster, and stronger, Elemeno was started by Keshav Marda and Rahil Shah to inculcate happiness and joy in growing up.
Over the years, parenting styles have certainly evolved. In an increasingly competitive world, every parent wants their kids to be among the best, which sometimes leads them to sideline happiness to the periphery.
Known each other since the first standard, Mumbai-based Rahil Shah and Keshav Marda, attended the same college and had the same friend circle. Recalling their childhood, Rahil tells,
“For us, childhood was just fun and playing around! And learning was automatically a by-product of what you were doing.”
Later, they realised that both the kids and parents feel stressed out in the rat race to achieve success. Also, due to mobiles becoming easy to use, kids are using them excessively and, in turn, becoming more aloof.
Rahil believes, “what’s good for your children can be made fun for them too!”
So, with an aim to make children's lives happier, they launchedin February 2018. The startup’s interactive products are aimed towards cognitive-holistic development and building the emotional quotient (EQ) of the family.
The startup’s name is derived from the nursery rhyme children are made to learn when they are taught the English alphabet.
“When we started, we were looking for a name that would cut across boundaries, that would be familiar, universal and that would bring a smile. And that took us back to the alphabet song. And no matter where you’re from, where you’ve done your schooling, when you were belting out the alphabet song, ‘LMNO’ always came out as one - hence, Elemeno,” Rahil explains.
The first product
The startup launched its first product in July 2018 – ‘Spotted!’ bedsheet – and the co-founders say that to date, it remains one of their best products. Available in two sizes (single and double bedsheets), the bedsheet is a massive canvas filled with 200 doodles. The USP of the product is that it is colourable, washable, and comes with a set of flashcards and colours.
Ranging between Rs 2,500/- to Rs 3,000/-, the product can be used by anyone between the age groups of two to 12 years, and the startup claims to have sold Rs 12 lakh worth of this product to date.
Elemeno’s product portfolio ranges from games, activities, home decor, physical endurance, IQ and EQ developing habits, value/moral-based, travel activities, etc for anyone in the age group of two to 15 years.
Since its inception, the startup has launched a number of products – ranging from the spotted bedsheet to their portable family fitness obstacle course, customised travel-friendly activity books, to family games.
“We’re developing products that are designed to delight first and develop second. So, today, we sell proprietary products that foster connections that are interactive, personalised, developmental, story-led, and more,” adds Keshav.
With a background in advertising, design and communications, Rahil has won several international and domestic accolades for his work. In the past, he has worked on creating content, campaigns, and communications for popular brands such as Cadbury, Amul, Mahindra Lifescapes, Castrol, and Zodiac.
Looking into newer, more creative and meaningful ways of engaging kids as well as their families, Rahil and his team conceptualise, develops, and designs Elemeno’s physical as well as virtual products, as well as manage their communications on social and broadcast media.
With an MBA in Business Design and Entrepreneurship, Keshav has been in business for over seven years now. His past experiences have led him to travel to over 30 countries as well as India to gain cultural and lifestyle experiences.
Keshav looks into the startup’s business development, expansion and negotiations. He and his team’s aim is to get Elemeno’s products, messaging and story as far and as wide as they can.
Currently, including the co-founders, the startup has a team size of 12 members across product, marketing, sales, and business development.
Revenue and market size
The startup works on a B2C model with its portfolio of products ranging in terms of age, experimenting with different materials, and being multi-usable.
“From necessity-based products to games, cultural products and lifestyle products, we have it all covered. We sell across multiple distribution channels, including at online avenues such as our own website, social media, and third-party platforms. On the other hand, offline avenues include modern trades, location-specific kiosks, and kids stores. Parent partners and organisations have become another source of outreach for sales,” adds Keshav.
Elemeno has stores in Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, and Surat, and plan to start displaying products after the lockdown.
According to imarc report, the Indian toys market reached a value of $1.23 billion in 2020, and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 12.2 percent during 2021-2026.
The bootstrapped startup has generated a revenue of Rs 60-65 lakh so far. The co-founders say that it has 2,500 customers, 20 parent partners, 10 partner collaborations, eight schools, and 15 corporate clients.
“Our products are based on family interaction and development of the child, which makes Toiing our closest direct competitor. Although, we also consider FirstCry, Intellkit, Class Monitor, Magic crate, Shumee, Smartivity, Flintobox, and Skillmatics as our indirect competitors as well,” adds Keshav.
The road ahead
Rahil says that the startup has plans to expand its distribution channels in India and export as well.
“We will focus on products based on India and its culture. Further, we plan to open experiential stores and hire new talents from across the country,” he adds.
“We are looking at raising funds in the near future. We want to reach out to as many families as possible. We endeavour to launch new products which excite us as well as them. We are extremely thrilled about the challenges and milestones that lie ahead,” Keshav signs off.
Edited by Kanishk Singh