Company 1

  • Name of the Company– Ducere Technologies Pvt Ltd.
    Name of Founder(s) – Krispian Lawrence
    City – Hyderabad
    Revenues – Undisclosed
    Headcount – Approximately 100
    Industry – Wearable Technology
    Investors Details & Amount Raised – Bootstrapped initially, later raised USD 2 million in 2013.

The idea was to take away the stick and use technology to assist a much ignored segment of society – physically disabled people. Krispian Lawrence, a graduate from Michigan University, wanted the visually impaired to navigate the world better by using haptic technology (recreating the sense of touch by applying forces, vibrations or motions to the user).                                                                                                                                        However, the founder soon realised that while GPS on phone has guided many a lost soul home, there have been many a times that it guided many others straight into a pole. “When we started in 2011, the product was just an idea, a concept that we wanted to explore, but the more we explored, the more prototypes we built, the more we tested, the more we realized that the product could be and should be used by everyone and not just those who are visually-impaired,” says Lawrence.

The feedback was that even non-disabled people felt constrained by the technology trying to map their feet to their destination with their eyes glued to the phones. Thereby, keeping them completely immersed in a technology which was built to aid and not control.

Take me home
“That’s when Lechal evolved into a mass-market product and options such as the Lechal insole were created. We wanted to use it ourselves. So, the product has gradually evolved in to what it is today,” says Lawrence.

“Wearable tech should feel like an extension of your body. However, products in this category have been primarily about audio-or-video-based. We feel that your sense of touch is the most powerful and not much utilised.

“Lechal has been created to offer convenience to its users, it has no language barrier and no extensive instruction manual. The footwear allows users to tag locations, set destinations and get real-time data on landmarks all around you. Lechal also boasts unique voice commands and has an inherently social nature, enabling you to share your location with other users. The footwear is also ideal for groups of families and friends that want to keep track of everyone,” says Lawrence.

Launched five months back, the startup has already shipped 10,000 units of the product and is available for Rs 6,999 on the company’s website. The product was launched on the Amazon Launchpad platform last week to increase its reach.

Keeping with the genesis of the idea, 75% of the manufacturing force in Ducere Technologies is comprised of differently-abled people and has quickly grown to employ 100 people. The company is also working to open channels with organisations working with visually-impaired people to serve its initial target group. The immediate plan of the startup is to increase the production capabilities and distribution channels of Lechal in order to serve the demand and at the same time, expand the footwear line to bring more Lechal-enbaled footwear in the market.

However, Lawrence identifies himself more as an innovator and is busy giving three more ideas the shape of wearable tech, one of which he expects to launch by the second quarter of next year.

Company 2

Name of the Company – Elanic
Name of the Founder(s) – Abhilash Narahari, Palkush Chawla & Aditi Rohan
City – Bangalore
Revenues – NA
Headcount/Strength of the team – 30
Industry – Ecommerce
Investors & amount raised – The company has raised an undisclosed amount from BEENEXT, Rebright Partners, Anupam Mittal, Tracxn Labs and Aneesh Reddy.

It was a problem of plenty for Aditi Rohan. Despite having a wardrobe full of clothes, she is always out of options when getting dressed. “This is a problem most women would identify with,” she says. “Hence, it made sense to invest time and money into something that nearly half the population is likely to relate to,” she added.
This prompted Rohan to collaborate with Abhilash Narahari and Palkush Chawla on a platform for used goods that goes beyond electronics and automobiles to focus on fashion.

“We decided to create a community for women where they can buy things from each other’s closet,” says Narahari. “As Indians, we stock up on items which we no longer have use for. The hand-me-down route for these items also stopped after disaggregated families started replacing joint set ups. Elanic was started to provide a platform to enable the transaction of these items,” he explains.

Need to reuse
The Bengaluru-based startup offers a mobile app platform for people – particularly women – to sell their clothes online. Explaining how the app works, Narahari says users simply need to click a picture of the product and put a price on it to get it listed on the platform.

“Once a user agrees to buy the product, Elanic will pick up the product from the seller’s doorstep through its logistics partners and sends it to the buyer,” he says. “The financial transaction and subsequent processes are all taken care of by us and is designed to maximize the convenience to both buyers and sellers,” he adds.

However, when it comes to pre-owned, lifestyle goods in India, startups like Elanic need to jump over two major hurdles – lack of trust and transactional hassles. Educating people about new concepts like reusing clothes is also not easy.

“There could be lack of trust between buyers and sellers regarding an item since there is no measure of standard and quality when it comes to pre-owned goods,” says Narahari. “To counter this, we came to understand that trust is built better between members of a community. So we opened up communication channels between buyers and sellers through private chat and public comments,” he adds.
Launched in November 2015, the startup has branched out to 23 cities in India. “The main reason for the success of the app is the deals and the quality of the products available,” says Narahari. “We thereby not only help de-clutter wardrobes, but in the process, also make fashion more affordable,” he concludes.

The team behind the startup also believes that it has enough scope to grow in the existing markets and hence, will be creating awareness in these places over the next 12 months. “We need to educate more and more people on the items that they can sell on Elanic,” says Narahari. “We currently have over two lakh listings on the platform with over 3,50,000 downloads,” he adds.