We’ve got a chance to sit with Mr. Ashok Rajpal, MD, Anbrane India for a little conversation around the smartphone accessories market in India and the on-going situation of COVID-19 and its effect on his business.
Before moving further, let me introduce you to Mr. Ashok Rajpal.
He is a first-generation entrepreneur, Ashok Rajpal is the driving force behind the brand Ambrane India, which has evolved to be one of the most trusted and top trending Power Bank Brand in India.
Having a very warm approach and a go-getter attitude, he has strengthened the culture of innovation at Ambrane, exploring new markets and extended the brand’s product portfolio and also the global reach. He is credited with growing the business and consistently achieving high growth over the past 3years. Even with a minimum investment of Rs. 10lakhs, Ambrane is today the No.1 market leader in Power Banks and IT peripherals. Mr. Ashok likes experimenting and innovating technology for his craze for travel-friendly gadgets have no end. Started with humble beginning he focuses on keeping the Brand image intact with various opportunities for Ambrane. He has a commitment towards teamwork and beliefs in customer the satisfaction which has led Ambrane to be a well-known brand not only in terms of technology but also in providing superior quality and constant innovation.
Accredited with several awards and acknowledgements, Mr. Ashok upholds several Awards and also the most innovative product of the Year 2016 by NCN, Mobility & Digital Terminal. In his journey so far, he has always followed this Success Mantra: “If you have always felt that success is elusive, perhaps it’s time to try something new. He is a complete travel freak, likes to visit new places, meet new people and is adventurous.
Here is the complete interview:-
- How Ambrane got started? What was the initial thought and idea behind starting a power bank focused brand?
We had been in the textile business for eleven years, while the Tech Industry caught our attention. We studied the Industry and realized it had strong potential, and demand for peripheral devices will rise, considering the smartphone boom. Capitalising on a first-mover advantage, we started Ambrane in 2012 with an investment of Rs. 10 Lakh from our personal savings. We entered the Mobile Accessories Business, full-fledged, but Power Bank seemed to be a huge opportunity for us. We saw an untapped market which needed both education and penetration, with that, Power Bank became our hero product. The US, Japan and China had a strong demand for this product, and we saw India being the next big Market. We engaged tie-up with e-commerce portals; Flipkart and Amazon, and with that, the reception of the products led to the evolution of the category in the eCommerce space. Today Ambrane has become synonym to Power Banks and vice versa. Over a period of time, Ambrane has also ventured to Speakers, Chargers, Cables and several Mobile Accessories. We have achieved a 10-million customer base with a record turnover of Rs 103 cr.
- How many models and different capacity power banks are in the active portfolio of the brand?
Our active portfolio includes 30 SKUs of Power Banks which includes power capacity that starts from 5000mAh to 27000mAh. The Power Banks are designed lightweight, compact and portable.
- What are the brand’s future plans?
The current situation makes future planning quite difficult. Yet in sync with the earlier thoughts, Ambrane shall be aggressively diversifying to a newer product portfolio and focus on building ‘smart products’. We are looking at Smart/IoT devices that enable smarter living. Rather than being just another Tech product, we want to be known as a Lifestyle product. To work upon the same, we have invested strongly in R&D to bring new products and innovate the existing products with improved technological features. The R&D centre helps us gain important insights into the consumer’s preferences and provides better expertise to develop products for India and abroad.
- How Ambrane plans to cope up with the current COVID-19 situation?
Covid19 situation has put all of us to a standstill. Every business and sector in India remains deeply affected. For Ambrane, our units are shut and so is any form of revenue, with the continued expense. We have already worked upon our readiness plan, and are focussing on streamlining the disrupted supply chain, availability of raw materials and also getting our workforce together. We would return to normalcy in a phased approach.
- What Ambrane is doing for its environmental responsibility? I mean power bank uses batteries made of toxic elements, what are Ambrane’s efforts in recycling and responsible disposal of the dead batteries/power banks.
We do run e-Waste collection programs and have centres for the same. We have also engaged tie-up with NGOs for this wherein we emphasize on recycling or disposing of the Tech waste wisely.
- What are the safety standards being used in the power banks to protect them from malfunctioning or catching fire or blasting for that matter?
We are using NTC thermistor temperature sensors as a key component in our power banks for charging and safety. They provide critical temperature data required to keep the Lithium polymer battery in the optimum condition during the charging cycle. Careful management of temperature during charging prolongs battery life and avoids hazards inherent to lithium polymer batteries.
- Since power banks are mainly used to charge smartphones and most of the smartphones these days support fast charging, USB-Type C input, QI wireless charging support, does Ambrane currently or plans to offer a product that supports all these features in one?
Yes, Power Banks are largely used for smartphones. Trends of charging have seen consistent changes, and thankfully we at Ambrane have been in sync with the ongoing technology trends. We already have the products that support QI Wireless charging, Type C input & fast charging. In fact, we are one of the first brands in India to introduce new charging technologies.
- Anything you would like to add about yourself and the company?
Always remember, Innovation is key. In the tech market, you cannot have a stagnant approach, it needs to be evolving. Any technology can be developed at any time. There is always something new in the market and we always should try to be a pioneer in our category.
We thank Mr. Rajpal for taking the time out and having this conversation with us.