Mr. Shripal Gandhi, Founder and CEO, Swipe interacts with IT Voice

Mr. Shripal Gandhi, Founder & CEO of Swipe Technologies
Mr. Shripal Gandhi, Founder & CEO of Swipe Technologies

With a vision to empower India as the world leader in the touchtechnology and revolutionary telecom products, Mr Shripal Gandhi transitioned to India from the US, where he led technology developments for a leading nanotechnology company. A chemical engineer by education, Gandhi has been a Research Scientist, who has 11 technology patents under his name.

In his overseas stints, Mr Gandhi worked with iconic technology firms such as Samsung (Korean Division), Motorola, Apple etc., developing the next-generation touchscreen technologies for handsets and portable navigation devices and other consumer electronic products in the US, Korea and Japan. In his stint at Nanomix, California he led a team developing nano-electronic sensors for diagnostic and industrial gas sensing applications.

Gandhi has accomplished a number of national and international recognitions for his outstanding achievements in the fields of technology and business.

  •  Featured in the Online Business Journal of Wharton School, USA

  •  The Best Campaign Design for Rural Brand Development by the World Brand Congress – a member of TiE Silicon Valley Chapter (USA)

  •  National Award In Holistic Marketing for Rural Brand Development , given by World brand congress and CMO council of India for taking a company to Rs 200 crore (Rs 2 billion) in less than two years

  • Star Youth Achiever Award by STAR TV

  •  A WAT Media Award in the category of “Young Entrepreneur of the Year (2013)”

In 2012, Mr Shripal Gandhi was featured in the “CNBC Young Turks” on CNBC TV18, where he shared his experience on how Swipe came into existence and how Swipe is now amongst the Top Tablet PC and Smartphone Fablet companies.

Mr Gandhi regularly gets featured in the leading newspapers and media like the Economic Times, Business Standard, Hindu Business Line, Times of India, Western Times, Metro Herald and Gujarat Pranam etc., expressing his views and opinions on the tablet technologies.

Mr Gandhi is an avid reader and a speaker by passion. He has delivered speeches at a number of corporates and eminent educational institutions like Symbiosis, Business Bhelpuri, The Rotary Club, Indira Group of Institutes, PUMBA etc and several corporates in Pharma, IT and Retail sector.

IT Voice: What is your growth strategy here in Indian market?
Shripal Gandhi:  Swipe Telecom’s market strategy is based on one philosophy – “Affordable cutting-edge technology”. And towards this we have a four-pronged go-to-market strategy specifically designed for an acutely heterogeneous market like India.

One, we have entered high-growth potential “Non-Metro” markets in the initial phase and achieved leadership position in each of these markets. Two, we retail our products through online as well offline sales channel i.e. through our website, E-commerce portals as well as through a well-oiled dealer network. Three, we are targeting India’s youth which constitutes over 50% of India’s population by way of tying-up with MTV, Quickheal, et al. And four, we have cherry-picked wholesalers, dealers and shopkeepers that have long-standing reputation in the market place, thereby giving added assurance of genuineness to the consumers.

Swipe Telecom’s business model more or less resembles that of Apple Inc’s, albeit with a clear understanding that we are a “start-up”. At Swipe, we believe in owning the “concept” i.e. product design and its features, and the production takes place under our strict supervision outside India.

Further, we also focus on depth rather than width. That approach has helped us to operate in potential markets build scale, work with reduced layer of distribution and command leadership position.

An Indian consumer wants latest gadgets at an affordable price points. For Swipe –consumer comes first and that’s why we have been striving hard to bring in products that are innovative, fresh and high on technology for our consumers at an affordable price points. We have successfully launched largest portfolio of tablets with most innovative offerings – 32 models launched first time in India. This customer centric approach has helped us to create huge differentiation within our target segment by offering three fold value to customers for every penny spent. To put it in a nutshell, we offer Innovation with substance.

This customer centric approach has helped us to create huge differentiation within our target segment by offering three fold value to customers for every penny spent. To put it in a nutshell, we offer Innovation with substance.

IT Voice: What is your channel policy in India? What kind of channel expansion are you looking for in the near future?

Shripal Gandhi: We are a trade friendly brand. We have a no price violation policy for our channel partners.

We are operating through 110 premium distributors pan Indian with an outreach to about 20, 000 retailers. We further have a strong presence across all modern trade and online channel. To name a few we are available at Croma, Vijay Sales, UniverCell, Sangeetha, BigC and Amazon Snap deal, Flipkart etc.

The trend for marketing and selling products across online platforms is growing day by day. I believe our recent exclusive launches of products like the Slice with Amazon and Ultimate with Flipkart are a step in the right direction. To further strengthen and meet the ever increasing demand of Indian consumer, we are tying up with more and more online platforms to propel our growth.
Having said that, I strongly believe that the focus on distribution as the brick-n-mortar model of Indian can’t be overlooked. The traditional channel will continue to prove crucial for our market expansion and growth plans. It actually is an appropriate balance of traditional and online channel strategy that will continue to help us in acquiring customers and improvement of top line. .

IT Voice: What kind of strategy have you planned to position Swipe product successfully in the market?

Shripal Gandhi: We strive to be position ourselves as a technology leader offering affordable products that are innovative, fresh and gives impeccable customer experience. More importantly, we have been able to keep up the pace with ever changing technology and consumer preference by coming up some of the ground breaking products.

To name a few we have launched -India’s First 3D tablet with 3D content and 3D goggles at Rs.3, 999/-

• India’s First Tabtop- a 10.1” Ultimate Tablet Pc, with detachable Keyboard and Windows 8.1
• India’s 1st Smartphone –“SENSE” with Finger Print Sensor with 5.5” screen under Rs 10,000/-
• MTV Slash, a much loved 7” Tablet Pc known for its slim and light weight design.
• India’s First kid centric tablet, Swipe Junior priced at 4,999/-
In a nut shell, we offer “innovation with substance” at a real value for money.

IT Voice: What is the prime focus of Swipe today? What are some of the top priorities for the Company?

Shripal Gandhi: The goal is to cement ourselves as one of the prime movers of the budget tablet and smartphone market that is driven by innovation and technological advancements.

In achieving this we are working very closely with leading chipset manufactures, nationally and internationally. We are further strengthening our supply chain and working with reduced layer of distribution that helps us to control cost and bring latest gadgets at an affordable price point to the Indian consumer.

Also, service has been our prime focus area right from the inception stage. We have a wide service base of about 600 service centers pan India and are working hard to expand this number further to provide unaltered and exceptional customer experience.

IT Voice: What are the new challenges that you face in relation to the Indian market?

Shripal Gandhi: Changing technology at the blink of an eye is a major challenge faced by technology brands. This is an industry-wide challenge but for a start-up this challenge is further aggravated.

Also the presence of too many low cost players has made the competition really fierce and cut-throat with very less focus on quality over cost. Having said that for a brand like Swipe, it’s an opportunity to create a niche by consistently offering high quality devices at an affordable price.

Statutory compliances has have been another challenge since last one year with lot of changes and new ruling. But Swipe sees this as one of our major strength given our focus on tablets.

IT Voice: Are there any plans by the Swipe to get in to expansion mode by entering in to any tie up or partnership?

Shripal Gandhi: Swipe has forged a very unique partnership with one of the largest youth centric brand, MTV to roll out co-branded range of devices. This is been an extremely successful partnership with MTV.

Swipe has also been very instrumental in having exclusive tie-ups for launches with leading online players like Amazon and Flipkart.

Additionally, Swipe has partnership with numerous content providers in education segment for offering content loaded tablets to students.

In enterprise space, Swipe has been working closely with multiple leading players in banking, pharma, logistics, retail segment for offering tab based solutions e.g. SBI, iPay, Transasia, Taxi for Sure, etc.

IT Voice: How is the company positioned currently and what is your strategic roadmap for the year ahead?

Shripal Gandhi: In a short span of 2 years, Swipe has gone from being a 4-person organization to 120140; we are profitable – in an industry that operates on wafer-thin margins in India. We have closed our first round of private equity funding from Kalari Capital and have the biggest portfolio of Tablets and Fablets in India.

We have built an unconventional approach to product development by reducing design- cycle time to 3 weeks flat; we are officially the No. 1 Tablet manufacturer in the state of Rajasthan, and a leading company in the states of Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh; Unicef has partnered with Swipe in Rajasthan to carry a rural-program; we have one of the most comprehensive Pan-India customer service networks; and lo! We are the youngest Telecom Company in India with the average employee age being 27.

In India the Tablet pc market alone is expected to be Rs 40,000 Cr by 2016 at an average CAGR of 5.4%. Swipe is among the top 6 players in this space and we expect to contribute an even larger chunk to this growth in the coming years. 

More importantly we are continuously coming up with new products that are setting new benchmarks in this highly crowded market place. We have recently announced Swipe Marathon a one of its kind product that offers 60 days of standby by time at a price point of 4490/. Following year is even more exciting as we we’ll be launching host of innovative products.

Asian Pacific and Middle East markets are our focus areas in near future for growth in offshore markets.

Swipe

Swipeis a leading mobiletechnology company,better known for introducing innovative Android-basedTablet PCs and Fablets in India. Keeping in mind the technology requirements and specific needs of the Indian consumers, Swipe has introduced Tablet PCs and Fablets with distinctive features and specifications that benefits users in many ways.

An innovation-centric mobility company, Swipe’s vision is to empower India to become one of the top nations in the world in terms of availability of new Tablet technologies and innovative solutions through its support. Swipe believes in offering cost-effective and affordable mobile communications technology to the huge consumer base in India. Swipe is backed by 600+ support centers,through which it provides comprehensive service to its customersacross the length and breadth of the country.

Since inception, Swipe has been on a mission to develop feature-rich mobile communications devices with cutting-edge technology,developed using global best practices, and which are sold at prices that are rational and affordable. Swipe has attempted to bridge the gap between practicality and aspiration that go hand in hand. Swipe has introduced a variety of bestselling tablets,from the Swipe Halo Value, to the Swipe Monster Tab, which has been instant hits and has far exceeded the company’s own sales estimates.

Over time, Swipe has built an unconventional approach to product development by reducing design-cycle time to 3-4 weeks flat(compared to 250+ days taken by the established industry giants), which ensures that Swipe can get the latest technology to its customers in the shortest possible time. By having one of the fastest design cycles in the world, Swipe has reduced its time-to-market to less than half of that of its competitors so its customers are one of the firsts to get access to the latest global technologies. So far, Swipe has launched a range of 25 products – which include Tablet PCs and Fablets – eight of which are the “first-to-be-launched”in the country!

Given its technological strengths and clarity of operations, Swipe was chosen by MTV – one of the world’s most youth-centric brands – to design, develop and manufacture devices for them out of a list of top Tablet PC manufacturers in India. The result of the collaboration was the “Swipe MTV VOLT”,India`s first co-branded 6” Fablet. A fabulous device that offers the youth communication and entertainment on the move, The MTV VOLT became an instant rage across college campuses and young professionals everywhere.

Swipe is also recognized for having developed India first Dual-Sim Tablet, “The Swipe Legend”,a unique sustainable combination of Dual-SIM with a Dual-Core Processor that enhances the multitasking functionality and user experience that doubles the mobility factor in today’s tablets. 

At a time when the 3D technology was unknown to customers, Swipe pioneered and delivered India’s first 3D Tablet,“The Swipe 3D Life”! This was the first tab to use the company’s patented 3D tooling technology and mechanical ID that delivered a unique 3D experience that was unlike any other tab out there.

Under the leadership of technocrat MrShripal Gandhi, Swipe has been one of fastest-growing tablets manufacturer in India, having grown at an above-market rate of 35% since inception quarter-on-quarter for the last 6 quarters. The company’s strategy is to capture market shares in Tier-2 and Tier 3 cities and towns rather than to fight it out in the metros. This strategy has worked wonders for Swipe by virtue of having pole position in the States of Rajasthan, Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab and certain North Eastern States. In November 2012, Swipe was awarded the “Most Innovation driven Company in India by World Brand Congress.”

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