These up-starts are not really in it for the money...

Rajesh Kurup Mumbai | Updated on January 16, 2018


Their aim is to make life simpler with frugal fixes

On a summer morning, employees at the Bengaluru-based technology firm Gida found themselves locked out of their office and stranded in the hot sun for hours. It was then that the boot-strapped firm’s founder and CEO Kiran PB came up with the idea of the ‘Yoky tag’, and the caption ‘never lose anything’.

Launched last month, Yoky is a wireless tag that can be attached to wallets, key rings and smartphones, while also doubling up as a fitness tracker. The tag, which operates on Bluetooth technology, sounds an alert in case a user forgets something behind.

“Priced at ₹999, the Yoky tag is designed to make your life simpler. The device is also selling well,” Kiran told BusinessLine.

Many such frugal innovations are rocking the start-up space, and most are devoid of commercial interests. And their makers are crowd-sourcing funding as modest as ₹50,000.

Gida is launching two more simple inventions: a smartlight light bulb ‘Glow’ and ‘Red’, a product that converts any smartphone into a universal remote control. Glow, embedded with light and motion sensors, switches on or off automatically as it controls the intensity of light required for a room. Glow (with versions priced at ₹1,999 and ₹1,299) and Red (₹999) will be launched by November.

Count your money

A friend’s request is what resulted in Paul D’Souza’s invention of the ‘Tiffy Template’, a plastic card that helps the visually impaired identify currency notes. The inventor, who has named the card after his friend Tiffany Brar, provides the card free of cost, its production and shipping costs amounting to a mere ₹2. D’Souza is working on other inventions such as Brailler (a low-cost Braille typewriter) and Braille Display (a computer for the blind). The Bengaluru-based entrepreneur wants to price the Brailler at about ₹10,000 and the Braille Display at about ₹30,000 (similar products now cost ₹40,000 and ₹1 lakh respectively).

“Tiffy Template is distributed free, and the cost is met through crowd-funding. We expect the other products to give us a small profit, which will be pumped back into R&D,” says D’Souza.

Find your way

Having failed at using Google Maps while riding his bike, Abel John came up with the Exo Band, which straps a mobile phone on to one’s wrist. “I am getting a modest profit by selling this band, and my intention is not to be an billioniare,” says John, who is crowd-funding his venture through FuelADream (₹50,000) and Kickstarter ($10,000).

His one-man company, Tarius Star Trading, has already sold 300 units, priced at ₹450 each, since it began commercial production of the band in May.

Published on September 13, 2016

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