Losing His Niece Triggered Entrepreneur To Make Smartwatch for Kids’ Safety; Won Rs 1 Cr
Mumbai's Abhishek Baheti has built smartwatches that make parenting easier with their GPS tracker, emergency SOS Button and other useful features.
‘Is my kid okay? Did they reach school safely?’ Parents feel an overwhelming sense of responsibility for the safety and well-being of their children, right from the moment they are born.
To make parenting easier, Mumbai-based chemical engineer turned entrepreneur Abhishek Baheti developed a smart solution. In 2022, he introduced smartwatches for kids that are not regular smartwatches with Bluetooth connectivity. Instead, these are built on safety, connectivity, and curiosity fundamentals.
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Apart from an activity tracker and an in-built music player, these smartwatches come with an in-built GPS chipset that helps track the location of kids. It has a 4G calling facility to remain connected with parents and has an emergency SOS Button. With its anti-removal theft sensor, the smartwatch notifies the parents when the device is removed from the wrist of the kid. It also has an inbuilt object detection scanner for fun learning.
“Unlike Bluetooth smartwatches, these smartwatches are an independent device in your hand designed keeping the safety and connectivity of children in mind,” the founder and director of WatchOut Wearables, a technology-driven company, tells The Better India.
“For example, if the kid is in India and the parents are living in some other country, they will be able to video call him. They will be able to track the GPS location of the kid to know their whereabouts if they are in a radius that is safe. It is a very controlled device. It is like a phone on your wrist,” adds the 32-year-old entrepreneur.
So, what was Abhishek’s motivation behind making the gadget?
Caring for the family made easier
In 2010, Abhishek lost his niece and tauji (paternal uncle) due to smoke inhalation in a house fire. “We are a joint family. At the time of the incident, my tauji, niece, nephew, and mother were in the house. But my tauji and niece succumbed to the smoke. They must have fought to survive for at least 30-40 minutes. They could not reach out to the outer world on time, and nobody could come to their rescue. This incident shook me,” laments Abhishek.
The mishap triggered him to come up with a gadget that can alert family members in such emergencies.
“I felt that there should be some device that can help people, especially this age group [children and senior citizens]. During the subsequent years, I travelled to many developing countries, and I could see the early adoption of wearables in youngsters. The idea for such smartwatches was born after seeing the scope for these in India,” he adds.
What makes these watches unique is that it is an independent device that works without requiring a phone, making them suitable for children and older people.
Jyotsana Jha (37) from Dehradun, Uttarakhand says she bought the smartwatch for her 10-year-old daughter who has been using it for the past two months. “I find it very useful,” she says, adding “I was looking for a GPS device for my daughter because she goes to sports classes and tuition. It has added advantages also like…I can hear the background noise with the device which is not available with other smartwatches. It helps me know what is happening in her surroundings without her knowing that I’m listening to the background noise.”
“Today, generally both the parents are working, and have to leave children with ayahs (nannies). Sometimes the kids are out to attend different extra-curricular activities. During these times, it is useful to have such smartwatches, keeping their safety in mind,” she adds.
In addition, Abhishek has built smartwatches for senior citizens, keeping their vulnerability in mind.
“These smartwatches are more focused on health analytics. For example, my parents stay in Surat [Rajasthan] and I live in Mumbai, but I am able to monitor their health with this watch. It helps you get information on their body temperature, blood pressure, and oxygen level with the help of sensors. With its anti-fall alarm sensor, caretakers know if their parents fall down or slip,” says Abhishek.
“Usually in India, parents do not convey what they need, it needs to be understood. This watch helps understand it,” he adds.
These smartwatches have been made with breathable soft silicon, which makes them comfortable to wear. “Every third person wears watches all day and removes them only at night. And you can still video and audio call the child or adult, even if they are not wearing it but is near them,” he says.
Bagging a deal with the ‘sharks’
Recently, Abhishek and his nephew Divyajeet, who survived the mishap, were featured in Shark Tank India Season 2, where the ‘sharks’ were moved by the incident.
Abhishek was offered a deal by Sugar Cosmetics CEO Vineeta Singh and founder of Shaadi.com Anupam Mittal, who resonated with him as he lost his maternal grandmother in a fire accident. They offered him Rs 1 crore for 10 percent equity and Rs 1 crore debt with 15 percent interest.
“It was nerve-racking to present our idea before the sharks, but it turned out well. We got tips on how to increase market share and areas to focus on. The episode helped us get visibility, and our sales increased three times after the episode was featured,” says the entrepreneur.
It also helped him overcome one of the challenges he faced while launching the startup. “People do not buy your product till you become a brand, and since you are not yet a brand, people do not buy your product. It takes some time and patience to break that cycle, and in my case, the exposure at Shark Tank helped me break it,” he says.
So far, the smartwatch has more than 3,000 users across the country. Last month, Abhishek received 1,000 orders for the smartwatch. The smartwatches for kids are priced between Rs 6,000 and Rs 10,000, while smartwatches for senior citizens cost about Rs 7,000.
Commenting on the affordability of the smartwatches, Abhishek says, “The utility function adds to the value of the smartwatch. It is a very fast-changing market, and we will be able to cut down costs soon. Our next launch will be somewhere around Rs 4,999.”
(Edited by Pranita Bhat; All images: WatchOut Wearables)
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