This startup that makes ‘smart’ stick for adventurers walks away with a sweet deal on Shark Tank India
- Kyari Innovations claims to manufacture the world’s first smart walking stick - a tech-enabled walking stick equipped with LED lights, panic alarm, power bank, and an electrical probe.
- Currently, it has a growth rate of 16.7%, with revenue of ₹30 lakh in FY 20, ₹1.2 crore in FY21, and ₹1.4 crore in FY22.
- The founders walked away with a deal from sharks
Peyush Bansaland Anupam Mittal – for an investment of ₹51 lakh for 6% equity.
AdvertisementWhether it’s embarking on the famous Triund Trek, paragliding off the hills of Bir, or going on a jungle safari in Ranthambore, adventure tourism has certainly gained popularity among Indians. And Kyari Innovations, the latest startup to appear on
Founded in 2017 by sibling duo Smratika and Abhay Sharma, the Ghaziabad-based startup manufactures and sells Guardian - which is the world’s first smart walking stick, claimed the founders. Designed and made in India, Guardian is a tech-enabled walking stick equipped with LED lights, a panic alarm, a power bank for portable charging, and an electrical probe (taser) with 10,000 volts of charge – enough to immobilise an attacker temporarily without causing serious injuries. It has a battery life of 720 hours.
The smart walking stick is available in three versions, priced between ₹10,000-₹17,500. Along with the smart stick, Kyari provides accessories like a stand that can be remodelled to be used as an axe or shovel, and a wall mount and moto mount to mount the stick at home or on a motorcycle, respectively.
Around 2,000 forest guards are already using the smart walking stick, claimed the founders. Kyari also manufactures ANIDERS (Animal Intrusion Detection and Repellent System) - a device that helps prevent crop raids and protect wildlife. ANIDERS has been installed in forest departments of over 20 Indian states, as per the company. A basic model of ANIDERS is available for $233, or approximately, ₹18,900. The founders also stated on LinkedIn that Kyari is recognised by NRDC (National Research Development Corporation) and accredited by ICAR, the Government of India.
A tiger encounter that made an entrepreneur
Smratika and Abhay Sharma come from a family of adventure enthusiasts. As they shared on the show, growing up, their dinner conversations were dominated by discussions on animals and NatGeo. However, the idea of developing a smart stick struck Abhay after his own encounter with a tiger.
“Like you sharks are sitting so close, I encountered a tiger at a similar distance and I was on foot. I was alone, and suddenly a tiger came from behind a boulder. I just froze. The tiger saw me and left but I remained frozen on the spot. That’s why I know, when you face a wild animal, you freeze - you can’t even scream,” shared Abhay on the show.
Abhay Sharma, who’s a designer himself, graduated with a Bachelor’s of Technology degree in Mechanical Engineering from Amity University in 2019. He also won the prestigious National Budding Innovator Award in 2017 for developing ANIDERS. He’s responsible for designing the Guardian smart stick.
On the other hand, Smratika graduated with a Bachelor’s of Technology degree in Computer Science from Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Technical University in 2015. She went on to work as a software engineer with Accenture for five years. She is responsible for Kyari’s brand strategy.
Kyari earned revenue of ₹8 lakh in its first year of operations, in FY19. Currently, it has a growth rate of 16.7%, registering sales of ₹30 lakh in FY 20, ₹1.2 crore in FY21, and ₹1.4 crore in FY22, as stated on the show. It also achieved year-to-date sales of ₹75 lakh in FY23.
AdvertisementThe founders also claimed that despite spending on research and development, and drawing salaries, they’ve consistently maintained a profit margin of 30% for three years and in fact, reinvested their savings to set up in-house manufacturing.
“This is great. You have to do everything on your own in India, from beginning to end. Without vertical integration, you can’t deliver quality in India, unless you scale a lot,” remarked Shaadi.com founder Anupam Mittal, after hearing about the company’s setup.
Simultaneously, Mittal, along with Lenskart co-founder Peyush Bansal, and boAt co-founder Aman Gupta, made a joint offer of ₹51 lakh for a 12% equity stake, valuing the company at ₹4.25 crore.
Advertisement“You (the founders) invest in R&D and are innovative and long-term thinkers. So I have to be with you in this business,” said Bansal.
However, the founders stated that they couldn’t go ahead with either of the valuations because the maximum equity they could offer was 2% for ₹51 lakh - valuing the company at a whopping ₹25.5 crore. While all the sharks responded that it was too high a valuation, Gupta walked out of the deal.
The other four sharks, however, kept revising their offers. In a matter of minutes, the company’s valuation rose to ₹10 crore, with Bansal and Mittal offering ₹80 lakh for 8% equity, while Thapar and Jain offered ₹51 lakh for 6%- valuing the company at ₹8.5 crore.
When the founders lowered their ask –for an investment of ₹51 lakh for a 5% equity stake– and tried to negotiate further, both Bansal and Mittal made it clear that there was no room to budge since any change in equity stake would lose them money.
However, Bansal and Mittal agreed to match Thapar and Jain’s offer of ₹51 lakh for 6% equity. At the same time, Thapar commented to Jain that it was clear the founders wanted to go with sharks Bansal and Mittal, and thus didn’t revise their offer further.
AdvertisementFinally, the founders agreed to a deal from Bansal and Mittal – ₹51 lakh investment for 6% equity, valuing the company at ₹8.5 crore.
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