Established in 2016, Okwu is an upcoming Mobile Company that believes in engaging their client through a “smart way” of living. The innovative company offers mobile sets and accessories that are internationally competent in terms of quality and price.
The premium Mobile brand was started with a seed capital of 1 million dollars, aiming to substantially upgrade the lifestyle of the Indian audience through their range of technologically-advanced smartphones. Okwu is a brainchild of Mr Anshuman Atul and Mr Arjun Gupta, who believed in producing and manufacturing Indian products which are at par with their overseas counterparts.
Okwu was conceptualized with a sole motive: to help Indian audiences “upgrade from a smart phone to a smarter phone”. The company is striving to push the limits of software technology that goes beyond the capacities of existing brands. One of the key differentiating factors that set them apart from other phone brands is their pioneer tool “U-Arena”, Okwu’s solo invention which cannot be found on other hosting platforms.
U-Arena promotes an automotive lifestyle. The intelligent tool has pre-installed built-in apps that help users to integrate all their devices and appliances with the smartphone. Users can track, locate and control various objects/parameters, all through a single platform. Okwu is a stand-alone company that lays emphasis on providing their customers with an “automated living” through “augmented assistance”. They work to make a difference in the lives of 21st century habitants.
Headquartered in Noida, the company has invested in a manufacturing plant in Shenzhen, China and will have a functionally assembly plant in India by the end of the first operating year.
Okwu is constantly innovating, keeping in mind the current needs of the modern buyer. Customers can procure their “smarter phones” directly through the company websites. They plan to open 500 dedicated outlets by the fiscal 2017, working to serve both the online and offline markets. The Mobile company targets to sell 2 lakh smartphones by 2017, and efficiently build a loyal client base.
Backed by a strong business model and innovative Indian technology products, Okwu is gearing up to position itself amongst the top 10 most valued brand in India in the coming few years.
We got the opportunity to have a detailed conversation with Mr. Anshuman Atul regarding OKWU Mobiles and its future:
Qwich: Kindly tell us a little about yourself and your background in this industry.
Mr. Atul: My role in Okwu is to focus on strategizing Company’s footprints in the industry. I head the Marketing and Finance department and oversee the product and brand development.
I do not have any past association with this industry, but my experience of building Arise Reinforcement Pvt. Ltd. into one of the largest mechanical splices manufacturers in India and having taken it global as well, comes in handy in various critical decision making.
Qwich: What prompted you to enter the smartphone race?
Mr. Atul: India is one of the largest market for smartphones in the world and also one of the fastest growing smartphone markets in the world, which is the reason why there are many number of smartphone companies emerging in the last couple of years. Though it is crowded, hardly any one brand enjoys customer loyalty. This makes it easy to penetrate and build upon.
But these statistics only strengthened my will to enter this industry; the real driving factor is to build a smartphone brand that can resonate across the globe.
Qwich: OKWU sounds like a unique name, how did you come about it?
Mr. Atul: Thank you for appreciating the name.
It just happened. We were through the pre-planning and strategizing stage and now had to kick start. The first think we needed was a name that sounds global and my team came up with a few options, of which we finally settled for OKWU, a Nigerian word which means hello/talk.
Qwich: What is the basic Idea behind OKWU mobiles?
Mr. Atul: To design, develop and produce the best in class devices that automates our lifestyle. To transform the way an individual communicates with the surrounding. To outshine the world variety of smartphone technology and develop OKWU into one of the most trusted brands.
But, most importantly, it is to transport technology into each hand and every home.
Qwich: How has IoT been integrated into smartphone technology and what benefits does it have?
Mr. Atul: Internet of Things, the next wave of technology is all about connected devices and machines. It has seen significant development for industrial usage but it’s mass deployment can take place through mobile web services. So, we can say that smartphones is the king-pin of IoT.
OKWU has number of IoT related accessories to offer, the same will be rolled out at different time intervals that would offer anything from smart objects, to smart cars to smart homes. For eg. one can get an alert on his phone for the items that are in refrigerator, or can run an appliance in his living room while still at office.
Qwich: How much time did you take for coming out with your first working prototype?
Mr. Atul: Since, we started from scratch we had more than just one challenge to cater. Moreover, we were designing the product in house. It took us almost 8 months to develop the first prototype.
Qwich: Who are the core investors for OKWU mobiles and how much capital have you raised till now? (If valid)
Mr. Atul: Presently, all the finances raised have been through the shareholders and borrowed from existing businesses. We started with a capital of 1 mn USD. We are also conversing with VCs, to raise more capital post launch.
Qwich: What are your future expansion plans?
Mr. Atul: In the first operating year, we want to launch a maximum of 4 handsets during different time intervals and 4 IoT related U accessories. We start with 250+ service centers across India, and want to build on that number.
The company will also have a lot of focus on the off line distribution and retail channels.
In the First four years of operation we want to be one of the top 10 smartphones companies in India in terms of market share.
Qwich: How are you planning to tackle the extensive competition in the Indian smartphone market from various Chinese and Indian brands?
Mr. Atul: Keys to success are competent R&D as the technology is always in evolution mode, striking the right connect with your target audience and a good retail strategy. Developing right distribution and retail channels and offering price competitive products. Having said that, we believe our IoT module concept – “U-Arena” will strike the chords. With the best of after sales service through ‘U-care” will be crucial in brand positioning and developing customer loyalty which should benefit the company amidst competition.
Qwich: Will OKWU devices be sold through online channels or retails stores? Or both? If online then, regular sale or flash sales?
Mr. Atul: We enter the market through online retail and will waste no time in offering products offline. We want to develop a 50-50 revenue distribution between online and offline retail. Right now, I cannot comment on online flash sales.
Qwich: Are OKWU devices “Made in India”? Do you have your own facilities for manufacturing the devices?
Mr. Atul: I have been running a manufacturing unit and that is out of my sheer will to do so. If, unit economics support manufacturing a product in India, we will always be the first one to do so. Right now, in early stages of OKWU, capital investment in plant and machinery does not sound interesting. So, we have invested in assembly line in Shenzhen. We are rending the services of their assembly line. The design of product and selection of parts is all in house. By the end of Fiscal 17’ we plan to have develop our assembly plant in Noida.
Qwich: What is the benchmark you guys are targeting to reach in terms of sales?
Mr. Atul: In the first operating year, we want to sell 200,000 (two lakh) smartphones.
Qwich: Is OKWU mobiles planning to open its own after-sales service centers or tie-up with a 3rd party for the same?
Mr. Atul: Right now, we have tied up with third party for service centers. But, we are offering an application called “U Care” which acts like a pocket service center. One can simply register complains and queries. Can track their closest service center and can also ask for pick up. This application will also offer user a remote access to the service center team in future.
Qwich: Lastly, when will interested buyers be able to get their hands on OKWU devices?
Mr. Atul: We are launching the product on 15th of November and will go on shelves in early December.
It is high time that Indian players enter the much lucrative Smartphone market of India and we sincerely hope that OKWU Mobiles can be one such company. With the onset of an IoT age, this might just prove to be the best timing for the company to begin their operation.