The new government’s faith in India’s budding IT industry became apparent when Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the Make in India initiative. “I tell the world, make in India. Sell anywhere but manufacture here. We have the skill and talent for it,” Modi said in his first Independence Day Speech as Prime Minister.
It is a bold step, which in a way, challenges our neighboring country China, which has always boasted of being a low-cost technology provider. The initiative is a grand opportunity for startup companies to fuel their ambitions and reach out to global consumers. Notion Ink, a company that designs tablet computers, is one such organization.
“It is saddening to see India as a services country. The whole world has spent the last two decades in teaching China how to make products and now they are experts in every field, and have done large-scale, complex product development,” says Rohan Shravan, CEO and founder, Notion Ink Design Labs, while talking about the importance of the initiative.
The challenges Notion Ink faces are no different from other startups. What is different, though, is its perseverance and grit. This medium-sized startup feels that failures have made it humble.
With two of its tablets, Cain and Adam, coming in the era of phablets, the company realized that making a mark wouldn’t be easy. “With the Adam tablet, we started a very different kind of product development, which now people call crowd sourced. Here we tasted commercial success,” says Shravan.
“We faced a few challenges with Adam I, but we rectified ourselves and made sure that we do not face the same challenges again. Cain is doing phenomenally well in the market and we are getting good reviews,” he adds.
The company’s vision is to make devices that can make real computing accessible and mobile. “A product firm has a lot of challenges. Right from selecting the material to designing aesthetics, and pulling together the right software. But at Notion Ink, we remain optimistic and believe that if a design can inspire the user, he’ll be far more innovative and creative in whatever he does,” says Shravan.
Being a startup in India has never been easy, especially if it harbors ambitions of doing business outside India. It is difficult to gather funds and convince leaders to get engaged. Through Make in India, hopefully these issues will get addressed.
“India has a habit of skipping things. We skipped the landline phone revolution, we skipped manufacturing and jumped on to services, we were also trying to skip roadways development and jump directly to flying cars! This way, knowledge will never develop,” says Shravan.