Interview with Avinash Kaushik
Market Specialist for innovative products
Avinash is the founder of Revvx, a Hardware/IOT Accelerator (www.revvx.com) with access to manufacturing in China and Taiwan. He has a well-established connection to distributors and retail buyers in the USA and Asia, as well as to Innovation labs of Fortune 500 companies. Avinash also runs an experiential retail store chain called 'Airflash' showcasing new IoT's from Makers and existing brands. (www.airflash.co).
Hubbers interviewed Avinash about his experience working with startups, Makers and Inventors, and how his accelerator program provides support to them.
1. How do you start the development process with a new brand?
We help companies take innovative products from Manufacturing to Retail Distribution. We work with inventors and companies for 6-12 months and support them to achieve things that would take them a couple of years to accomplish on their own. We get access to their ecosystem and with our partners in Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Hong Kong, and Taipei we can help them to manufacture and also take their products to market and into retail.
We understand that behind some of the new brands and ideas there are incredibly talented people, but with limited (financial) resources. When an idea is worth it, we consider working with them for equity and don’t charge a fee.
2. How do you decide what, where, and in what volume you produce?
We have created a selection of criteria that helps us to make educated decisions on a regular basis. We also have a judging panel in place, and twice a year they choose the final candidates who pass the application process. We help with product development, retail connections in China and India, early sales, as well as connecting customers to retail chains and organizing Kickstarter, Indiegogo, or similar crowdfunding campaigns.
3. How do you support your customers in your 'Experiential Retail' stores?
Starting retail is difficult for a startup, especially without an existing market connection – we have an established network, and we can help a new brand to enter the retail market. We also run a pop-up store chain called Airflash experience store to enable smart gadget makers and newcomers to get access to tech retail and exposure an entry point to the vaste consumer market in India. We work with 20-25 new retail hardware brands on a regular basis. These brands sell on Amazon and sell well online, but when it comes to offline, they are not in a position to consider it because offline is too expensive for them.
In our stores, we gather a lot of insights on customers behavior: where they look, what they buy, how much time they spend at each item or shelf, and it is all done with the help of sensors placed around the stores. It is a new way of retailing, where the customer has the opportunity to experience the product, test and try the features or even buy it in the store, but in most cases, the products get delivered to their office or home.
4. Are you working with the same factories and produce what they can, or you adapt to the client's needs and find suitable factories according to that?
We can do both. We use our regular factories where we have a strong and established relationship already. However, if we find a new product or concept that sounds interesting and unique, we explore opportunities to manufacture it, even if it requires finding new factories to produce those items.
5. What is the difference between producing in China, Taiwan, and India?
China and Taiwan are still the top global manufacturing solutions for the developed world. Today, China competes and produces in top-notch quality and has an overall supportive environment for startups and new inventions. Most USA based companies manufacture in China for long years. Hence they have a well-oiled and established network. India still depends on other countries for electronic manufacturing, and the development process is slower.
6. What do you recommend to Hubbers inventors and investors when considering a new brand?
There are endless opportunities and movements around the world to find help to create a product. Seek out your local Fablabs, or Maker Labs to connect with like-minded people, but there are various trade fairs and conferences such as the Canton Fair as well.
I recommend to investors to find creators who are serious about their ideas. We always expect the inventor to come up with a basic prototype. There are many good ideas out there, but we need them to make the first step to show us the product and their commitment. The best case scenario is when the customer builds a 'proof of concept' and a sample – this way we can try and experience the existing product.
7. What should inventors consider when getting started with product development?
Inventors should keep it very simple. We often see that they make their product too complicated. It is better to restrict to a one-use, one market, one product case. You cannot build a product to all markets, so a clear focus is better. Inventors can reuse existing design; they don’t have to spend a lot of money on new molds. It is easier and more cost-effective to produce a new software with an existing mold for the hardware. If the idea is brilliant, there will be money to develop a new look later.
Avinash is an expert in business and product development, prototype production, new product creation, IoT, sales and distribution, and manufacturing in China, Taiwan, and India.