Name : Ankit DP.
Info.: He is , Co-Founder of Witworks, a Bangalore based collaborative invention company. It was started back in January 2014 by him and his batchmates from IIT Kharagpur, Somnath Meher and Chandrashekhar Iyer. They loved solving problems that came their way, regardless of whether it was a complex theorem or an everyday is like untangling your headphone cords. After having spent a couple of years in the corporate world, all three quit their jobs at Google, ITC and Tata Steel respectively to pursue their passion full-time. Besides, Somnath and him, decided to put off their admission to the Indian School of Business (ISB) Hyderabad in order to build Witworks. The team now comprises of a bunch of very creative and enthusiastic engineers, designers and developers working day in, day out to get the next big product out there…and of course find the next brilliant inventor! Each and every person out in the world is a part of their team, all you need is an idea and just sit back, relax and leave the rest to them!
Q1 : What is Witworks ?
Witworks is a product development startup based out of Bangalore. Witworks is based on the principle of collaborative invention. We are building a platform in India where anyone can become an inventor, all they need is one brilliant idea. A lot of us have ideas that can make a difference, but we are unsure whether they are viable. That is mostly because we lack the technical knowledge or the means to back such projects. Well, this is where Witworks comes into the picture. All you have to do is submit your idea to Witworks.
Anyone can submit your idea, discuss and evaluate it along with a community of your peers and experts in their respective fields. They get to be in complete control of the idea at all times, and eventually, if they and all the evaluators and experts feel that their idea has potential, it moves on to manufacturing and your product sees the light of day! Every package will have their name on it, designating them as the creator, and they also receive a share of the revenue.
Q2 : How you got such an Idea of making a Product “Rewind” ?
Being a part of our college band and also hard core music lovers ourselves, it is needless to say that all three of us loved and owned a prized pair of earphones. But, paying a huge amount for those headphone and watching the cords get tangled and eventually spoilt pinched us everytime we grabbed our headphones to enjoy some music, not to mention the effort that goes into untangling those cords. Thats when the three of us realised there was a need for a solution to this problem and here we are with “Rewind”.
Q3 : Have you CrowdFunded the initial product “Rewind” ? If so , then why ? Is “Rewind” the only product you came with ? or any other product is on the way ?
Lucky for us, our first product “Rewind” was a great success and we faced no need to crowdfund it. However, we are now working on two great new ideas by two different inventors and are planning to experiment with a Kickstarter like Pre-Order model . This would in turn, help us with a few critical things:
- Validate the need for the product based on the pre-order count/response
- Get the word out even before the product hits the market, thereby creating a demand for initial sales and help mitigate inventory/investment risk
Once we are able to establish the launch and sales of products with a Pre-Order model, it could open the floodgates for getting a series of innovations out to the market very well and very soon through a replicable system.
Our next 2 products are all set to be launched for pre-orders very soon. Do check out our website for the latest updates on these amazing products and help us make it happen.
Q4 : How your company affects Society ?
The whole concept of Witworks is to bring about a change in our society at various levels. Not only do we want to solve everyday problems of the society but we also want to change the way our society thinks. Pitching an idea to Witworks is a thought provoking process and we are encouraging every single person out there to be creative, become an inventor and irrespective of your educational qualification, you can start earning a living from your idea – something you never thought would be possible!
Besides, India has always been seen as a service-centered economy. Even with the brightest of people, extensive resources and a plethora of ideas (being home to the concept of Jugaad), we seldom come across inventions in the country that could potentially change the way people do things across the world. The gap there lies in giving shape to people’s ideas in terms of final design/development and manufacturing. We are attempting to fill that gap, along with taking the onus of doing the last mile of sales/distribution for these products. To put it simply, we are aiming to democratize the consumer product space, by making products for the people, by the people.
Q5 : What is your ultimate Goal ?
Our ultimate goal is to change the World. We believe every problem has an innovative solution and who better to find those solutions than each and every person on this planet.
We are living in an era where users have now started forming both the demand and the supply side of things. The consumers are transforming into creators and contributors. Wikipedia, Quora, Youtube or for that matter, even Facebook work precisely this way. The consumers themselves create, curate and manage the content; and in some cases the product. The crowd and cloud is changing modern consumerism. The online platforms play the role of a facilitator where the users connect to become communities. These communities share the technology, operational infrastructure and even funds within a defined framework. The concept of shared assets coupled with online marketplaces is disrupting several industries; starting right from transportation to hospitality. Think of Uber and AirBnB, where users are both on the consumer and the service provider seats.
It’s only a matter of time before a similar disruption happens in the consumer product space, and we’d say sooner than later; because innovation is rather inevitable there. So get out there and send us your ideas here as we work towards getting consumers on the makers’ seat this time around.
Q6 : How Witworks helps makers ?
As mentioned earlier, the inventor gets a share of the revenue obtained from the sales of their product apart from making them famous, as each product will have the name of the inventor and it will be called their creation.
However, at a broader level, the makers/tinkerers will now have a taker for their ideas/work. Making a hardware product (especially, in India) is a lot more than just the initial proof of concept and prototyping. There is significant importance of designing something for manufacturability, creating a demand for the new product, and getting it through the right distribution channels. We tried validating it with the first product we designed, which is a solution to the small yet very common problem of earphone entanglement. We scouted for manufacturers across the country, got into bad deals, burnt our fingers, lost a ton of money and more importantly time. But we learnt our lessons. We shall be extending these learnings to enable every user at Witworks. The systems we have in place shall enable any maker to get her/his idea from a whiteboard concept/prototype to the shelves in retail outlets.
Q7 : How much time it took you to take Witworks to this level ?
The three of us were good friends in college and got together to form a small group of students (both Under-grads and Post-grads), who really loved creating new stuff. We would meet up in abandoned lab basements, dark alleys, midnight cafes to discuss ideas over half cooked Maggis and chai. Starting from a foot operated water faucet that could be implemented by the Indian Railways to a forward osmosis desalination technology to a digital pen that could record whatever you write, we really wanted to have some of these ideas see the light of day. We built a lab top prototype, or as we call the laboratory top working prototype for the digital pen. This made us win a lot of technology and business plan competitions both in India and abroad. We got seed funding and incubation from our alma mater IIT Kharagpur. However, we didn’t have the infrastructure and funds it would have taken to manufacture and commercialize these prototypes as consumer products. So we graduated and took up jobs. That was the saddest day of our lives and the happiest day of our parents’.
Unfortunately or fortunately, after spending 2 good years drawing analysis and charts on excel sheets, and managing cigarette production on the shop floor we decided to disappoint our parents midway and quit our jobs (between Dec 2013 – March 2014) to start over something we had left in college 3 years back. And here we are today with our first product “Rewind” out in the market and ready to launch two more great products.
Q8 : What offer Witworks have , if any maker/innovator/inventor etc have a moonshot idea?
We would love to have a moon shot idea but as of now we are a small company starting of with small ideas. We are slowly moving from simple design based solutions to products with some amount of mechanical/electronics complexity. This is build capability incrementally in terms of manufacturing and distribution. But if there is anybody out there with a great idea, please do let us know, for who knows, someday we end up making an Iron Man suit and watch inventor Ton Stark lift off in it…