At the recently concluded ‘Techcircle Startup 2015,’ Micromax Informatics Ltd co-founder Rahul Sharma spoke about his company’s journey from being a Nokia distributor to the Finnish handset makers largest home-grown competitor for mobile handsets.
The son of a school principal, Sharma started the company’s handset practise at a time when Nokia (now part of Microsoft) had 70-75 per cent marketshare in mobile devices.
“One of my co-founders asked me: Who would buy a phone with ‘Micromax’ written on it?” Sharma, who delivered the keynote address, told the audience.
“We launched 10,000 phones and all were sold in 10 days,” he added.
Sharma claims that the tablet and smartphone maker has been successful because of its steadfast focus on addressing customer needs.
“Micromax only make products that fill gaps in the market. Pricing alone won’t get you there. Companies with deep pockets, such as Panasonic and Siemens, came into this market and went back, because they didn’t address the needs of the user,” Sharma added.
The company is now gearing up for what it calls Micromax 3.0. Its aim is to build an ecosystem of services.
“During Micromax 1.0, we made feature phones and Micromax 2.0 was all about smartphones. But with Micromax 3.0 we would take on the services market,” said Sharma.
This shift in strategy is evident with some of the Micromax’s recent inorganic moves. The company made its first cross-border investment by putting money in New York-based consumer cloud startup MiMedia Inc. MiMedia is an online backup service for personal content (photos, videos, music, files) which was launched in 2010 by technology startup MiMedia, LLC. In June, Micromax made an undisclosed investment in Delhi-based Le Travenues Technology Pvt Ltd, which runs the online travel search engine ixigo.com.
So, what’s Sharma’s tip for budding entrepreneurs?
“Do not let your passion wane; passion is what investors look for when they put in money,” he says.