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Making Objects Of Desire
Constant innovation and products that appeal to the millennials have mabe bOat Lifestyle a brand to reckon in its category
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A CHARTERED ACCOUNTANT by training, Aman Gupta never had any official instruction in the marketing field. Yet that hardly proved to be a handicap when it came to founding bOat and building the brand ground up as its Chief Marketing Officer.
In fact, for Gupta the jump from finance to marketing was driven by his passion for sales and marketing. Having worked with names like Harmond, JPL, KPMG and Citi Bank, Gupta entered the startup space after gaining hands-on experience in these companies. And after spending more than 15 years in the entrepreneurial space, he started bOat Lifestyle in 2016.
The home-grown Indian brand has raised approximately $100 million from an affiliate of Warburg Pincus, a global private equity fund focused on growth investing, in January 2021. bOat focuses on creating exceptional user experience across its range of products like headphones, earphones, fitness bands, smart watches, speakers, travel chargers, as well as premium mobile accessories. The products are designed keeping in mind the preferences of listeners looking for stylish and quality products that are premium looking yet affordable and which resonates with their personality.
Catering to the Millennials
Apart from audio products, boAt recently launched smartwatches which have proven to be highly successful in striking a chord amongst the millennials. Their latest offering, the boAt Storm smartwatch sold 20,000 units under a minute.
On the topic of raising funds during the pandemic, Gupta says, “It was easy to reach out to more people, because you could take out more time from the schedule.” During the pandemic they were able to attract $100 million dollars in funding despite the handicap of pitching online only. In fact, the work from home culture proved to be beneficial for them. During the pandemic, it had become essential for more and more people to invest in headphones for entertainment as well as work. This facilitated a 500 per cent growth for the company last year, with even better numbers expected in the near future.
bOat is highly proactive on the innovation front, with new products hitting the market frequently. “We have launched our smartwatches, we will now launch our ‘Made in India’ products. In the technology space, we have launched Google and Alexa products,” informs Gupta. bOat believes innovation is the backbone and key driver of any technology based industry, and serves as an essential medium to survive.
The company also invests heavily in its employees. At a time of job cuts across sectors, Gupta says they have been doling out increments to their team. “We paid full salaries even though our sales was zero.” In fact, their workforce has doubled in the last 6-8 months, with increased focus on upskilling the team through online courses.
Despite the upskilling initiatives, Gupta points out that the big players in the market namely, Sony, JBL, etc. pose stiff competition. “This market we are in is highly commoditised and today there are more than a hundred audio players.” Despite being in a highly competitive space, they are emerging as one of the top players.
Talking about the future of audio industry, Gupta says, “If you look at Alexa and Google you will realise that voice technology is taking over. Secondly, AI (artificial intelligence) will be the future of wearables with sound getting more personal.”
The constant strain of innovations has helped bOat stand out in the sector. They understand the Indian market very well, in terms of durability and functionality of devices, which are the primary requirements of the modern consumer. In 2021 the company plans to move into the wireless segment. bOat also hopes to cross the Rs 1,000-crore mark in revenues and expand internationally in the near future.