Misfit's strategy to fit India with wearable trackers

Sonny Vu, CEO, Misfit on wearable device trackers
Misfit’s strategy to fit India with wearable trackers

Founded on the day Steve Jobs died, and co-founded by Apple CEO John Sculley, the name ‘Misfit’ (suggesting the opposite of its actual purpose) was inspired from the ‘Think Different’ campaign, whose “Here’s to the crazy ones” commercial became a rage in 1997.

Misfit started inventing and manufacturing wearable and smart home products in 2011, a company formed by Sonny Vu with John Sculley, the former CEO of Apple and Pepsi, and Sridhar Iyengar, co-founder and former CTO of AgaMatrix. On September 10th, Misfit announced that its products are available for purchase in India through an exclusive partnership with one of the major eCommerce portals, Snapdeal.

Inspired to Succeed

Misfit’s quest for perfection is pursued down to the smallest of details in their products, a fact evident in the fine-tuning of Misfit Shine, an all-metal activity and sleep-tracker which automatically measures steps, calories, distance, and light and deep sleep. It can also seamlessly track walking, running, football, swimming, and dance. Shine’s sleep-tracker doesn’t need to be told when you are dozing off and getting up; it gets to know that on its own through algorithms and something called “motion variability”. When the company launched Shine, their first-ever product, they raised $846,675 through a highly successful Indiegogo campaign. The amount the crowd-funding campaign raised far exceeded their $100K goal.

Wearable Devices: India and the World

While the Indian start-up ecosystem is ripe with launches of wearable devices in verticals such as fitness, health, sports, safety, entertainment et al, according to the most recent forecast data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker, vendors will ship a total of 45.7 million units in 2015, up a strong 133.4 per cent from the 19.6 million units shipped in 2014.

Sonny Vu, Misfit’s CEO, discusses his strategy amid the flood of wearable devices in India, with Retailer Media, and the products available to their target group in the country and the performance of the devices market worldwide.

What was the idea behind launching a company by the name ‘Misfit’?

We happened to be founded on the day Steve Jobs died and were inspired by the “Here’s to the crazy ones” Apple commercial. We also liked the name because all of us at some point in our lives have felt like we didn’t fit in, and now we finally have a home with like-minded friends and colleagues at the company. Here at Misfit, it’s a collection of people like that. We’ve all had that experience, but we embrace being different. Our brand represents that; you don’t have to be a supermodel, but just your healthier self. And that’s the whole point behind our products that are helping you be healthier, being beautifully wearable, and to be inspired.

So far, how many rounds of funding have you raised, and what’s the actual amount?

We've raised $64M over three venture rounds (Series C).

What are Misfit’s main line of products invented and manufactured by the company?

In wearables area, we have Shine, Flash, and Flash Link. There are special versions like Coca-Cola Red and Victoria's Secret Shine in Shine collection. We also have specially designed Swarovski Shine and Speedo Shine, which are made with Swarovski and Speedo as our partners. Swarovski Shine is an exclusive collection of two crystal wearable products and nine unique, sparkling accessories, developed and designed by Swarovski and Misfit. Speedo Shine is the world's first activity, swim, and sleep tracker that was designed keeping the swimmers in mind. Besides wearables, we have two smart home products: Misfit Bolt, a wirelessly connected smart bulb and a smart sleep monitor, Sisfit Beddit.

What all of Misfit’s products are available for your target customers in India? 

Shine, Flash and Link and some of the Misfit accessories are available in India now. The three activity- and sleeping-monitors have something in common; they are water proof and require no charging, and can be worn anywhere. Shine is the first product made by Misfit. It is an activity- and sleeping-tracking device. It can tell you how much calories you’ve burned and how long you’ve walked. It has a halo of lights to show you how active you've been throughout the day. It also tells time using minimalist interface. Flash has the same great features as Shine but can be bought at half the price. Link is an activity and a control button.

How do you think India serves as a market for wearable devices?

With the proliferation of mobile Internet and eCommerce, we think this country is one of the most exciting places to be for this space.

How many countries do you sell your products in?

Currently, we're sold in over 50 countries in over 20,000 stores, both wearables and smart home products.

Do you think the market of wearable devices is growing in Asia per say?

Asia’s Wearable Device Market Shows Great Potential. According to IDC, worldwide shipment of wearable devices would almost triple to reach over 45-46 million by the end of the year and may further increase to over 100 million by 2018. Asia is still at an early stage compared with North America and Europe, but there are some signs that point to technology fans in Asia being even hungrier for wearables than any other country.

Who is your target audience?

People who care about health and well-being.

Where does your biggest market lie and what are your expansion (growth) plans?

The US is the biggest market right now and China is the second. We’ll continue to listen to the voice from different markets and provide better offerings to our users.

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