Kochi: A Kerala-based startup has made an unlikely foray into the global hardware market with a wearable technology device that can control smartphones, smart TVs and computers with a swipe or a touch. Neyya, a ring-shaped Bluetooth device made by Fin Robotics, is already on sale on Amazon.com and in retail majors in the United States and United Kingdom.
The achievement by Fin Robotics, mentored in the Startup Village in Kochi, is phenomenal for a firm from India, whose software giants have never been able to market any device globally. Co-founder Rohildev and team developed the concept through crowdfunding and found early interest from Silicon Valley’s leading tech investor Keyur Patel.
Rohildev and team conceptualised the ring and wrote the algorithm for the software to control other devices. The ring’s industrial design was done at Patel’s lab in the Silicon Valley. The device, including the chip, was made in Japan.
The ring is being sold through the Donna Karan New York (DKNY) stores. The legendary fashion designer herself inaugurated the New York sales of Neyya. The $139 ring is also sold through upmarket department stores such as Bloomingdale, Brookstone and Harrods. The product is also available online through Amazon.com. Fin Robotics will receive $69 for each ring sold.
The firm had raised $2 lakh through crowdfunding to develop Neyya’s prototype when it was based in the Startup Village. As many as 1,400 investors took part in the crowdfunding round. The entry of Patel’s venture capital firm, Fuse Capital, added scale to the operations. Patel received a stake in Fin Robotics in return for his investment.
Fin Robotics has only 15 employees currently, including co-CEO Rohildev. The firm is based in Nedumangad near Thiruvananthapuram.
The global marketing success of Neyya was due to its developers’ ability to think differently from other entrepreneurs in Kerala who lack in confidence, Kerala Information Technology Principal Secretary P.H. Kurian said.
Fin Robotics has created a model for other startups in India through its success in the hardware sector. IIM Ahmedabad has made the firm a case study for management students.