We recently interviewed Sanyam Shirgaokar, the creator of Grabcase. Sanyam Shirgaokar comes from an industrial and entrepreneurial family, with several sprawling businesses in a number of different fields. Foregoing the formalities and pleasantries, here are the excerpts.
KTech: What inspired you to go down this path and create a product such as Grabcase? Any particular personal experience or something that caught your attention perhaps? SS: This is very introspective. Let me think. Inventions and innovations have always inspired me since middle school. Reading about Thomas Edison, Alexander graham bell and other great inventors who made a mark on history and changed human civilization forever was always fascinating. Ever since middle school I wanted to invent and innovate, it's just something I find really exciting. And as Edison has rightly said "Sale is a proof of utility, and utility is success", hence the path of creating new products. Not that I compare myself to them or consider myself anywhere close to as great as they are, just something to get inspiration from.
KTech: Interesting. So you have always been intrigued by innovation and application. What inspired you to go with this as your debut product and what was the inspiration behind Grabcase? SS: Cell phones are getting more and more popular. I wanted my first product to be something that would help a large population. Solving a small problem or annoyance of a large population instead of solving a huge problem for a select few was the first logical step. Using widescreen smartphones with one hand is a problem I have personal experience with.
KTech: Yes. Quite a practical solution, and a logical approach to the whole issue. How did you come up with the design for Grabcase? What is the production process, the materials used and where do you manufacture them? SS: I was looking online for solutions to solve this problem and found products like "ring" or bands that can be stuck to the back of the phone. But they stick out and make the phone even more bulky. The challenge was to make it thin and compact. Started out with cutting a thin piece of rubber with a hole in it and glued it to the back of my phone. As it was still sticking out and the phone wasn't leveled when placed on a flat surface, it wasn't perfect. Then thought of making a hole in a flexible case itself instead of sticking a flexible piece. The design went through a series of iterations considering several human factors like thickness of fingers, reach of the thumb etc. to finally reach the current design. The material used is thermoplastic polyurethane, and there is a microfiber cloth glued from inside the case. Production process is proprietary. Part of the process is done in China and partly in the US.
KTech: Were there any hiccups in the whole process? Did you have anyone with experience in this field backing you? SS: Developing vendors overseas is not the most straight forward thing. Unfortunately I had to try several subcontractors and lose a lot of capital before getting the right one. Thankfully, my family has always been into business and therefore support new ventures quite enthusiastically.
KTech: What is next for Sanyam Shirgaokar and can we expect similar products for other phones? SS: My focus would be on cell phone accessories for the next 2 years but I am also interested in a variety of other fields which will be explored soon.
KTech: Any advice for up and coming entrepreneurs? SS: Not sure if I have reached a level to give advice but regardless I would say work hard towards what you really like to do and really want to achieve. Always follow your dreams and never give up.