By placing Safety on the customer's sleeve, Leaf Wearables hits the Spot
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By placing Safety on the customer's sleeve, Leaf Wearables hits the Spot

Leaf Wearables, barely a year old Indian start-up, has been able to create some buzz in the country. The reasons could be their smart safety wearable device, SAFER and the recent funding of $250,000 secured from seasoned investors.

The smart safety device was developed under project ‘Guardian’, which won an Ericsson innovation award this year, resulting in a full-fledged product and led to the start of Leaf Innovation Pvt. Ltd in February last year. The product ‘SAFER’ is a smart safety device, which can be used to trigger alarm and send signals to pre-identified phone numbers in case of emergency. The device can be used as smart jewellery in the form of a necklace; and is available in three colours on the company’s website.

Retailer Magazine caught up with Chiraag Kapil, Director, BD & Co-founder, Leaf Wearables and talked about the innovation they brought to the technology, the customer’s response and future plans.

What was it that attracted the investors to your business?
The team of us 5 cofounders, Avinash Bansal, Ayush Banka, Manik Mehta, Paras Batra and I were one of the biggest beliefs for investors to invest in Leaf. The sheer synergy and bonding between the cofounders was the motivator. Moreover, our vision of safe and connected world and capabilities in the hardware, design and software brought the right set of investors on board.

What has been your biggest challenge so far?
The biggest challenge I have faced was the uncertainty that enveloped the hardware development. I still remember putting huge sums of our saved money on hardware prototyping and its immediate failure soon after, which not only wasted huge sums of personal financial investment but also made us begin from scratch. I guess, to begin from square one made all the change if I analyse the situation today.
My personal style of addressing challenges is by way of a ‘lockdown’. When the company faces threats or dangers, I make sure we all go under lockdown and do not leave the room until we have a solution. This obviously follows healthy discussions and a lot of brainstorming with multiple cases formation.

Since yours is a start-up, how’s the office culture coming along? How many people do you have in your team?
We have an 11 member strong team (ten humans and a pet dog named Google; he’s named after the search engine because he is very efficient in searching for things). We believe in working together and staying focused on improving our end product. We work hard and party hard, from dinner outings to table tennis games, to music and everything that defines us as a team.

What has been the high point for the business?
Leaf Wearables was chosen amongst the top 10 innovative start-ups in India by Department of Science and Technology who accompanied Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his visit to Silicon Valley to participate in first India-U.S. Startup Konnect (September 2015). Separately, every day comes with many a-ha moments in my business. It is always surprising to see how and in what ways people use your products. The insights always keep us wondering and wanting to further improve our product. For instance, the time when we decided to embed our technology into daily wearable jewellery and pendant and the realisation that we would have to make it modular so people can replace and put it in different accessories at will and make it truly wearable. That was certainly a high point of my journey and for the business.

What are your future plans?
Leaf Wearable is India's first Company to come up with a concept of wearable technology for safety. We work to solve the problem of safety crisis around us and innovate to make this world a safer place to live, learn and work in. We are on a mission to make 1 million families SAFER by 2017.

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