How Aayushi Kishore-led Fire-Boltt is capturing the wearables market
Aayushi Kishore is the co-founder of Fire-Boltt, a wearable, gaming, and audio brand that offers fitness, and fashion products. The brand has clocked a revenue of Rs 500 crore in FY22 and looks forward to tripling its growth this year.
Aayushi Kishore comes from a family of entrepreneurs. Her father, Lalit Kishore, a seasoned entrepreneur, has been instrumental in bringing big brands like Nike and Lotto to India.
In 2011, Aayushi and her father identified a huge potential in the market for an aspirational mid-segment sports lifestyle brand and floated Globalite Retail–a 100 percent vertically integrated right from manufacturing to retail.
In 2015, she teamed up with her brother, Arnav, to start, a wearable, gaming and audio brand offering premium audio, fitness and fashion products. Its products include smartwatches, Bluetooth earphones, headphones, wireless earbuds, bluetooth speakers, sound bars, and more.
“Back in 2015, we realised that there was no homegrown brand that was providing high-quality smartwatches in the affordable segment. Our research showed that the country’s youth have the aspiration to own superior-quality smartwatches from global brands, but budget remains a restraining factor. To address this need-gap, we introduced Fire-Boltt to bring global aspirational products at the right price point,” Aayushi tells HerStory.
Counterpoint’s recent research shows that India’s smartwatch market grew 173 percent YoY in Q1 2022 (January-March).
To cater to the aspirations of customers looking for smart wearables at pocket-friendly prices, Aayushi says it was important to get the product and pricing right.
“We ensured both our hardware and software pieces were on point. Another thing that we focused heavily on was our channels of sales, both online and offline. Currently, we have over 20,000 points of sales in offline market. We are present in 300 cities in the top metros and Tier II and III towns. When it comes to online channels, we have almost 50 percent combined share on ecommerce platforms like Amazon, Flipkart and Myntra. In addition, our focus is on our website where we are promising delivery within 48 hours,” Aayushi says.
Fire-Boltt has its head offices in both Delhi and Mumbai. Arnav is the co-founder and CEO of the company. A sports enthusiast, he has represented the country at the international level in lawn tennis.
“He has always had a passion to create something futuristic and unique for sportsmen and fitness enthusiasts, which led to the foundation of Fire-Boltt. His combined passion for sports, and technology has taken the brand forward,” she adds.
Fire-Boltt currently offers 50 models of smartwatches. Aayushi points out that it was the first brand in the country to introduce the Bluetooth calling smartwatch, and the Amoled display in the smartwatches.
“Currently, we do not have a manufacturing facility in India, but we will start local manufacturing towards the end of next quarter. In future, we will also foray into the audio accessories and adjacent iOT category,” she says.
Competing on specs to price ratio
With over 10 million customers, she says, the brand generated revenue of Rs 500 crore in FY22 and aims to triple growth this year. It is currently bootstrapped with the founders owning 100 percent shares of the company. They are also open to funding to aid strategic expansion.
“Locally, the other key players in this category are BoAt and Noise whereas globally there are giants like Amazfit, Apple and Samsung who give a tough competition. Our strategy is to compete on specs to price ratio, without compromising on the quality,” she says.
Aayushi shares numbers of the brand’s growth in seven years.
“We have bagged the number 1 spot and captured a market share of 24.6 percent, and registered a 2000 percent YOY growth despite the industry growing at a stagnant pace. We further grew by 47.5 percent quarter-on-quarter and sold a total of 916,765 units in comparison to 628, 789 units while the overall industry de-grew by 25 percent approx," she says.
Aayushi, who has a master’s degree in Economics (Honours) from Delhi University, and an Executive MBA from Harvard Business School, believes that people are now more supportive and accepting of women entrepreneurs.
“It will not be incorrect to say that it is one the best times for women entrepreneurs in India. The country is witnessing the rise of so many talented and powerful women in business. I think talent has nothing to do with gender. If you are talented, have a clear vision and are fearless in your approach, then nothing can stop you from being successful,” she says.
Fire-Boltt aims to soon go global with the initial plan targeting the US and Europe and then gradually expanding business to other parts of the world.
Edited by Affirunisa Kankudti