We recently caught up with Rahul Sharma, the man behind Yu which has launched the Yureka device in the market and is having a tough time keeping up with demand on Amazon India.Yu is a new brand in the Indian smartphone market. The company is a 100% subsidiary of Micromax, one of the most popular names in the sub-continent.We had a chance to talk to Rahul Sharma – the co-founder and the CEO of Yu about the company’s progress and of course we asked questions that would answer all your queries.
Yu with its first device, the Yureka has created a lot of buzz in the market and has been the talk of the town for what it has got to offer. It is one of the hot sellers at the moment and the limited stocks meant that many of you were left disappointed. In our talk, Rahul shares with us the journey that led to the unveiling of brand Yu and spreads light about the product availability.
1) Tell us about your early life ?
I was a resident of Pitampura in North West Delhi. I hold a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Saskatchewan. I also have a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University.
2) A little about his career?
Rahul has been Vice President of Marketing and Internet Channel at Mobile Wave Group PLC (Fieldbury PLC) since June 13, 2007. Sharma co-founded Micromax Informatics Limited, served as its managing director starting in March 2000,and currently serves as its Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of Product Strategy and Channel Sales since April 1, 2007
3) How did you come up with the name Yu?
Rahul: Y stands for you and U stands for us. It’s a brand for you from us and that’s how we came up with this whole idea of Yu. And, that’s how the smartphone got its name.
4) Is there any possibility to see Yureka sell in retail stores?
Rahul: No way. It’s always online. As I said, we are completely focusing on tech natives- all those people who want to customize their experience and all those people who want to empower them by the virtue of their mobile phones. That’s why we say that if you want to root, go ahead and do so. We are not voiding their warranty. All these demonstrate that we want to back you guys.
5) We know that you guys already have a factory in India. Do you plan to manufacture your products in India and support ‘Make in India’ initiative?
Rahul: We are already manufacturing feature phones in India and we will eventually start producing smartphones in India as well. We plan to manufacture about half a million smartphones here, but we are not talking about it. But, you will pretty soon see Yureka being produced in India.
6) Why should a buyers buy YU and not another brand?
Rahul: The way the markets are moving, it is very hardware-centric. People decide on buying phones based on the specs. We want to move away from the hardware-centric part. We want to focus on the software part rather than on how many megapixels we can provide. You should be able to order food, book a cab, you should be able to do it with a single swipe.
7) Who do you consider as your biggest rival?
Rahul: We take every brand as a competitor. Lots of good companies with lots of good are products out there. To make it big, it’s all about how you’re going to approach the competition. Motorola’s a really good brand, they invented the phone. However, they haven’t been able to produce a successful product after that. A decade ago, Nokia brand was the one that everyone had, but they weren’t able to build upon their early success. So, it’s all about reinventing yourself. The biggest reinvention is Madonna. From being a typical pop artist, she got onto R&B to hip hop and rap. If you don’t re-invent yourself, you won’t see where the markets are moving. If you re-invent yourself you will be successful. Whoever gets the whole thing (re-invention) right will be successful.
8) What are the non-phone products you are launching?
Rahul: We will come up with various products to make the ecosystem better. The idea is how will you control your home? This is part of the connected devices idea. For instance, we are working on the new version of the YU health band. Instead of it just collecting data like the number of steps traversed, number of heart beats per minute, we are revamping it to analyse the data and return useful information to the users.
9) What have you learnt from Micromax that you are incorporating in YU?
Rahul: The thing that we learned from Micromax is how to make good phones and we would incorporate it into YU to make great products. For the rest, including software and the likes, we have to create the whole ecosystem of devices from scratch. That is a new thing on which we’re working.
10) And finally where do you think the value of the market lies in the coming future? And, do you think a consumer would pay for solutions like a cloud back up or remote access etc?
Rahul: The value lies in software and services. If we are able to provide more and more services we will be successful. I don’t think that the goal should be to charge money to the services. But, rather one must think to empower the consumers and help enhance their productivity. That should be the motto. You need to make money to survive, but for that you’ll have to find some other way.