EmbroS: Indian Hardware Startup Creating a Change for Visually Impaired Globally

Founded on October 1st, 2015 by Abhinav S. Verma, Chandigarh-based EmbroS, is a startup that designs and manufactures wearables for the visually challenged. Recalling the company’s initial days, Verma said, “We found a vacuum in the PWD market and thought of building a revolutionary device using breakthrough technology to help the disabled. Currently, we have a laser vision for the visually impaired and are developing world-class products for them”.

Abhinav Verma

“We dreamed of visually challenged running past people, then climbing a flight of stairs, then see colors ! No wonder we’ve faced not days but months being mocked upon. Just until we showed people, the people with ‘challenges’ running ! And since then we’re on it.”- Abhinav Verma

Created by a team of 10 with multi-disciplinary; the company has two products– LiveBrailleMini and PRO (to be launched soon).

When asked to elaborate on the technological disruption that the company is headed towards, Verma quickly threw a rhetorical question, “Imagine a 32 gram ring that the visually challenged could wear on one of his fingers and tell you exactly how far an obstacle is, what is it, where is it going and how fast is it going?”

Then he took to explaining how this works, through the following pointers-

  • 4 metres of sensing range (Based on ultrasonic technology)
  • The most advanced technologies in Haptics Industry (Immersion 2000 certified) for communication with the visually challenged user.
  • The device comes with a 6 day battery backup with a 45 minutes quick charge.

About the Products:

664148-0c867d4765fed38cf2aa5009dbde3bc97bb7d8aaThe Live Braille Mini priced at $100 (Rs 6999) has tapped 1000+ customers across 3 states in 3 months (Opened sales in January), claims the company. “We are growing 5 times month on month”, maintains Verma.

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Currently, the device is up for sale on its website. It is soon going to be available on Flipkart.

The live Braille Mini with Education costs $200(Rs 9999) and is also available with Live Braille Freedom and LB Experience schemes from Embro.

Live Braille Education™ is extending education facilities to the Visually Challenged via the Mini (Incorporated in the product). The device has incorporated 8GB flash storage and the capability to read our digitalized NCERTs and all generic audiobooks. The reading speed is also adjustable to user requirements.

“Penetration of quality education for the visually challenged has always been a critical problem not only because they cannot independently commute to education places but also because the mode of education is not trivial. Live braille Education claims to solve this problem by delivering education in a completely digital format automated by the Mini,” states Verma.

Traction Details

Referring to a report, Verma said that there are around 1.3 billion people globally, who face challenges across three general areas- dexterity, cognition and sensory issues. Their needs represent an annual disposable market of $1.2 Trillion – and $544 Billion in the US alone.The near ones (friends and families) of the PWDs add another 2.2 billion potential customers and together they control $8 Trillion in annual disposable income globally.

“We capitalize on a booming market which is evolving at a CAGR of 6.9% to build the Apple for assistive mobility. You would be shocked to know that there are 100 Million PWDs in India, out of which almost 51% are visually impaired and this presents a scalable commercial opportunity of 4500 crore, across product categories for PWDs”, he added.

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Funding Status

The company had raised an undisclosed amount of funding in 2015 from a few angel investors from Chandigarh and New York. Two of the key investors are Munish Jauhar and Vipul Gautam.

It is now looking forward to raise $2 million to expand its business.

Common Challenges Faced by Hardware Startups in India

As per the team, following are the biggest challenges faced by hardware startups in India:

  1. Building the inventory and managing it.
  2. Logistics
  3. Sales Tracking

They explained,“Like all other hardware startups in our country, the initial selling was quite difficult. We need to build in few products before we take them to the market. So inventory management was one of the challenge. Apart from it, we are operating in a niche market where the trust and UX are the prominent measures to get a sale. The logistics is another difficult task”.

Scope and Future Plans

The company is currently focused on making assistive technology more accessible. Its business model as of now is B2B for Indian sales but it is working towards foraying into B2C. “We ship UX and this is our core competency”, says Verma.

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