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How OnePlus Managed To Disrupt The Smartphone Industry

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How OnePlus Managed To Disrupt The Smartphone Industry

In this digital age, where information is being exchanged at the tap of a screen or the click of a button, the need for owning a smartphone is huge.  The fact that smartphones are getting cheaper, smarter and readily available makes it easy for any individual to own one. 

The smartphone revolution began when Apple, under the leadership of Steve Jobs, released its first iPhone and Google developed its own open operating system (OS,) which came shipped on LG, Samsung and Sony devices.  The battle for the position of best smartphone was kickstarted with people choosing either Apple or Android devices. 

While Apple and Samsung are the market leaders of providing premium flagships which have the best features in terms of software and hardware, a small unknown Chinese company called OnePlus soon entered the scene.  OnePlus had everything to gain with their unique marketing strategies and their unbelievable pricing without compromising on the quality of both hardware and software. Eventually, they ended up disrupting the entire smartphone industry, earning them the moniker of ‘Flagship Killer.’

Marketing strategy

OnePlus started out with the intention of providing an Android smartphone which looked and felt premium in every way.  When OnePlus was beginning, Samsung was already established as a top market player with the reputation of releasing premium flagships.  If OnePlus was to compete with Samsung, they needed to do something different. 

OnePlus began by partnering with Cyanogen Inc., a custom ROM manufacturer for Android.  Post this partnership, they got themselves published on influential websites and blogs like GSMArena and Android Authority.  Once the public relations campaign was well underway and before the sale of the first OnePlus One device, the Company created an invitation only and internet only sales system.  Interested buyers had to register themselves for a list which was on a first come first serve basis and the sale took place only online. This unique approach also created a buzz which was good PR.  As OnePlus founder Pete Lau said in an interview with Larry Downes and Paul Nunes of Forbes, “We created the invitation system to manage uncertainty. We don’t know how many people will buy our products at any given time. Our approach helps us make an accurate sales forecast. If one phone sells for $ 200, for example, 50,000 units equals $ 10 million, 100,000 units equals $ 20 million and so on. Creating these kinds of inventories means taking on a huge financial risk. So we manage that by getting earlier insight into real customer demand through invitations.”

Identifying their geographic markets

After the success of the OnePlus One, OnePlus decided to come up with OnePlus Two and took the same approach—invite only and internet only sale.  They tied up with Amazon as their exclusive selling partner in India. The demand for the smartphone was so high, they failed to keep up with the sales.  OnePlus was always vocal about being in constant touch with their users on their forums in order to listen to feedback and they were surprised by the response of Indians on their forums.  Currently, India is the largest market for OnePlus, contributing to up to 35 % of its revenues. The Amazon partnership worked so well, OnePlus decided to replicate it in its other markets as well by partnering with local e commerce and mobile carriers.

Perfecting the customer service experience

OnePlus remains dedicated to their motto of ‘Never Settle’ and they adopted it for their after sales services as well.  They realised the need for a good customer service experience and committed themselves to opening service centers at multiple locations.  In India, OnePlus is able to resolve 70 % of customers’ queries within an hour. As Vikas Agarwal, the General Manager of OnePlus India, explains, “It took us almost two years to have these centers where we guarantee to repair the device within one hour. Today, we are able to resolve 70 percent of queries within an hour. As part of enhancing the experience, two years ago, we also published the prices of our spare parts to bring in transparency.”  Apart from this, they have free coffee, WiFi, XBox consoles and magazines, which elevate the customer experience. Their over the air (OTA) updates are usually continued for 3 years, which is a lot in the Android industry.

OnePlus was able to focus on developing a product which was cheap but exhibited a premium feel.  It was able to provide a product for half the price at which flagship smartphones are sold. They achieved this due to their disruptive pricing, innovative marketing and good customer service.  This let them capture the Indian smartphone market, which is considered as a huge revenue source by other smartphone providers, owing to the demographic dividend. Riding on their success, OnePlus also recently launched a new television, the OnePlus TV.  It is likely OnePlus will ‘never settle’ and continue expanding its business.

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Six Innovations By Elon Musk

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Six Innovations By Elon Musk

Elon Musk is perhaps the boldest business leader, thinker and entrepreneur of this generation.  Elon Musk dabbled in multiple ventures over the years and most of them might seem like they are straight out of a storybook.  Elon Musk’s perseverance to achieve his dreams have paid off and he now owns several highly successful companies.  Elon’s ambitions are bold as he is determined to send humans to Mars, offer highly subsidised or free internet to the world and develop the world’s fastest mode of transportation with his ventures.  

We give you six innovations conceived by Elon Musk which prove he is a true visionary.

1) Tesla

Tesla is a car manufacturing firm which mainly focuses on cars which run on electricity powered by batteries.  The company name Tesla, is a tribute to Nikola Tesla who was an electrical engineer.  Elon Musk’s Tesla pioneered the concept that electric cars can look and feel like premium cars as well as powering their vehicles with powerful artificial intelligence which lets its drivers to sit back and relax while the autopilot does the driving.  Tesla cars are only sold online as Elon Musk believes a traditional dealership will have conflict of interests while selling electric vehicles.  Tesla is the first automaker that sells cars directly to consumers while the rest use independently owned dealerships.

2) SpaceX

Space X is perhaps the most ambitious undertaking by Elon Musk as he believes colonising Mars is the future of humankind.  SpaceX is also short for space exploration and has drastically reduced the costs of undertaking space missions as Elon Musk figured out a way to reuse the rockets.  Unlike most rockets, which are expendable launch systems, since the introduction of the Full Thrust version, Space X’s Falcon 9 is partially reusable, with the first stage capable of re entering the atmosphere and landing vertically after separating from the second stage.  This feat was achieved for the first time by SpaceX in December 2015.  A 2011 NASA report “estimated that it would have cost the agency about US $ 4 billion to develop a rocket like the Falcon 9 booster based upon NASA’s traditional contracting processes while “a more ‘commercial development’ approach might have allowed the agency to pay only US $ 1.7 billion (sic.)”

3) Hyperloop

Hyperloop aims to be the provider of the fastest mode of transportation on the planet.  Hyperloop is a sealed tube or system of tubes with low air pressure through which a pod may travel substantially free of air resistance or friction.  The Hyperloop could convey people or objects at airline or hypersonic speeds while being very energy efficient. In aerodynamics, a hypersonic speed is one that greatly exceeds the speed of sound, often stated as starting at speeds of Mach 5 and above.  Mach 1 is the speed of sound which is 1234 kmph.  The Hyperloop Genesis paper conceived of a hyperloop system that would propel passengers along the 350-mile (560 km) route at a speed of 760 mph (1,200 km/h), allowing for a travel time of 35 minutes, which is considerably faster than current rail or air travel times.

ALSO READ: Five Interesting Facts About Elon Musk’s SpaceX 

4)  Starlink

Starlink is a satellite constellation being constructed by SpaceX  to provide satellite Internet access.  The constellation will consist of thousands of mass produced small satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO,) working in combination with ground transceivers.  SpaceX intends to provide satellite internet connectivity to underdeveloped areas of the planet, as well as provide competitively priced service to urban areas.   

5) Boring company

The Boring Company is a tunnel services company and Elon Musk cited difficulty with Los Angeles traffic and limitations with the current two dimensional transportation network as his early inspiration for the project.  Musk claims the tunnel trip will take five minutes, compared to above ground driving which takes 45 minutes in normal traffic to go from LAX to Westwood.  These trips were planned to be implemented by placing a car on an electric sled and traveling at 120 miles per hour (200 km/h) through tunnels.

6) Neuralink

Neuralink is a neurotechnology company founded by Elon Musk for developing implantable brain machine interfaces.  Neuralink announced it was working on a “sewing machine like” device capable of implanting very thin (4 to 6 μm in width) threads into the brain, and demonstrated a system that read information from a lab rat via 1,500 electrodes.  The company is centered on creating devices that can be implanted in the human brain, with the eventual purpose of helping human beings merge with software and keep pace with advancements in artificial intelligence.  These enhancements could improve memory or allow more direct interfacing with computing devices at broadband speeds.

While some of the companies and their vision might seem far fetched, Elon Musk is adamant on making them a reality.  Elon Musk and SpaceX successfully made history as being the first private organization to transport astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS.)  The entire operation from launch to docking at the ISS has been live streamed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and was watched by millions from all over the world.  Neuralink’s progress was displayed recently as a pig named Gertrude had a chip implanted in her brain which tracked her neural activity and was publicly displayed to everyone.  

We at Startup Stories hope Elon Musk will continue to push the boundaries of science and imagination for as long as he can and make an indelible impact on humanity.

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TVS Motor Story : A True Blue Indian Motorbike Company

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TVS Motor Story : A True Blue Indian Motorbike Company

India as a nation has a preference for choosing a two wheeler over a four wheeler.  It is quite easy to see the Indian roads packed with motorcycles and mopeds zipping away and snaking their way through the notorious Indian traffic.  Almost every household has some form of a two wheeler at home which they use for travelling with whole families .  The entire two wheeler market segment is flooded with gearless mopeds like Activa, Jupiter and budget geared vehicles like Passion, Splendor and Victor.  There is a vehicle for every economic requirement in India.  

The Indian market is majorly ruled by Honda, Bajaj and TVS all of which have a plethora of models available for the market.  Let us take a look at the story of TVS Motors, a true Indian company which makes vehicles for the Indian sensibilities.

Beginnings:

T.V. Sundaram Iyengar began with Madurai’s first bus service in 1911 and founded T.V.S., a company in the transportation business with a large fleet of trucks and buses under the name of Southern Roadways.   This is also the first company to run buses in Delhi and with their large number of buses, TVS quickly began to rule the transportation market in Delhi.  After the death of Sundaram Iyenger in 1955, his sons took over the business.

Sundaram Clayton:

In 1962, Sundaram Clayton came into existence.  This company was a collaboration of the Sundaram company and Clayton Dewandre Holdings of the United Kingdom.  Sundaram Clayton started making products like motors, bike brakes, compressors and other automotive products.  For about a decade, the company was engaged in the same work , they were manufacturing automotive products.

In 1978, they set up a plant to manufacture mopeds at Hosur, Tamil Nadu.  They began with TVS50 which was also India’s first two seater moped.  Sundaram Clayton then entered into a collaboration with Japan’s Suzuki Limited as a joint venture in 1987.  TVS and Suzuki shared a one year long relationship that was aimed at technology transfer for design and manufacture of two wheelers specifically for the Indian market.  TVS Suzuki introduced many models such as the Suzuki Supra, Suzuki Samurai, Suzuki Shogun and Suzuki Shaolin.

After a fruitful relationship, the collaboration finally came to an end in 2001 following which TVS signed a moratorium for 30 months during which Suzuki promised not to enter the Indian market with competing two wheelers.  TVS was then renamed to TVS motors.

Recent Past

TVS Motors entered the racing bike category with the Apache model and the budget and mileage friendly segment with the Jupiter series.  In early 2015, TVS Racing became the first Indian factory team to take part in the Dakar Rally, the world’s longest and most dangerous rally. TVS Racing partnered with the French motorcycle manufacturer Sherco, and named the team Sherco TVS Rally Factory Team.

In 2016 TVS started manufacturing the BMW G310R, a model co developed with BMW Motorrad after their strategic partnership in April 2013. 

TVS Motors also has a list of firsts in India which is to be the first to indigenously produce a four stroke motorcycle.  The list of firsts from the firm include: India’s first 2 seater moped – TVS 50, India’s first Digital Ignition with the TVS Champ, India’s first fully indigenous motorcycle – Victor, and the first Indian company to launch ABS in a motorcycle with the Apache RTR Series.

TVS Motors is currently the third largest motorcycle company in India with a revenue of Rs. 20,000 crores.  With a strong history and a proven track record for innovation and its commitment to making the lives of Indians better, TVS Motors will only look forward to releasing more models into the market and become the market leader in India.

 

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Storage For Rent: This Startup Idea Is Seeing A Huge Demand During COVID-19 Pandemic

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Storage For Rent: This Startup Idea Is Seeing A Huge Demand During COVID-19 Pandemic

If you could travel six months back in time and tell yourself how the world would look now, you might have dismissed it as a hoax.  The world changed suddenly when the COVID-19 virus broke out and started spreading across the world.  The virus which manifests in the form of a flu before attacking the respiratory system currently has no vaccine.  This forced governments across the world and India included, to enforce a strict mandatory nationwide lockdown.  

The lockdown was initially announced in India for just three weeks and many businesses and startups never expected it to go beyond a month.  However, the lockdown is still continuing albeit with a few relaxations, but many industries continue to be badly affected by it as they saw zero revenue in the last three months.  Many organisations and businesses have made the shift to remote work as their offices remain to be closed for fear of contracting the COVID-19 virus.  

As software companies continue to declare work from home for the foreseeable future, many employees are looking to return back home from technology hubs like Bengaluru and Hyderabad so as to save money on huge rents in the metropolitan cities considering their offices are not opening anytime soon.

ALSO READ: How The Events Industry Is Impacted By The COVID-19 Pandemic

This is where a unique concept where companies offering storage spaces for long term rent is seeing a huge spurt in demand.  As software employees in Bengaluru are slowly vacating their accommodations to move back home in order to save on rental expenses, they have no place to store their personal belongings.  Firms like SafeStorage, Storagians, StowNest Storage and MyRaksha, which provide the service (storage for rent,) have seen a spike in clients and quotation requests.  Even some gyms and restaurants, both of which are yet to reopen completely, are offering their facilities for storage in order to reduce their own rental expenses.

ALSO READ: How The COVID-19 Pandemic Affected Startup Investments And  IPOs In 2020

These storage firms offer facilities like pickup services, CCTV monitoring and individual locker facilities apart from providing insurance coverage against theft, natural calamities and fire.  Ramesh Madisetty, co founder of SafeStorage, says “We have 13 warehouses with 1.16 lakh sq ft space in Bengaluru.  We have signed up for another 27,000 sq ft facility near Whitefield.  There is a 10x jump in enquiries due to Covid-19 , from 30 to 300 now (sic.)”

Another company named Storagians, which offers storage for rent in Bengaluru has already run out of storage space and are having to turn away customer requests.  Prasanna Kumar, founder of Storagians says “Unfortunately, we are turning down customers’ requests due to the non availability of slots sic.)”

The average monthly rent is based on the volume of goods.  While goods accommodated in 1BHK are charged a monthly rental of Rs. 2,500-3,500 and it will be Rs. 4,500-5,000 for 2BHK.  As more and more enterprising people are embracing this concept, many others are racing against time to get their own facilities up so they can offer storage space for rent.  This concept will continue to see a huge demand as long as companies keep working remotely.

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