Interview by Marija Butkovic (@MarijaButkovic)
Aayushi Kishore is the Chief Marketing Officer and Co-Founder of BOLTT Sports Technologies Pvt. Ltd. A sports and a fitness enthusiast, Aayushi, with her comprehensive and deep knowledge about the global market, is leading a team towards developing a strong position for BOLTT in the Indian industry. With a robust experience in product development, retail/online operations and branding and sales, Aayushi’s strengths lie in consumer and product segment, market intelligence, product and market development, communications, sales force effectiveness and strategic planning. Aayushi graduated in Economic Hons from Sri Ram College of Commerce, who went on to pursuing an Executive MBA from Harvard Business School.
What is the idea behind Boltt and how did you come up with it?
Boltt’s vision has been to bridge the gap in the wearable market, where a myriad of companies brought chunks of data to the consumers, with little significance for them. The consumers always have a hard time when bombarded with numerous graphs and digits mapping calories and steps. Boltt is soon launching a range of advanced fitness wearables and an AI ecosystem. From an AI enabled Health Coach, to the stylish hardware, the products represent a ‘connected fitness’ solution. Boltt envisions to create a synthesis between the AI ecosystem and customers to lead a motivated, healthy life. For months, Boltt has been working on the establishment of a fitness solution by inferring a mix of data science, behaviour change, and cognitive computing, to create a Virtual Coaching Intelligence.
When did all start and do you have other members of your team?
For about a year we have been putting together the idea and been working to execute the plan. We have a team of over 70 people now, that realises the dream and is therefore collectively working towards achieving it.
How long did it take you to be where you are now?
It took us two years of consistent efforts to establish Boltt as a brand and as one of the pioneers in the fitness technology space.
What was the biggest obstacle?
As a start up venturing into the wearable space, we have had a fair share of challenges and tried to cope with them with a single-minded mission to provide ‘connected fitness solutions’. The entire development process, right from conceptualising the idea with the help of in-depth industry research to finding out the gap and then training the AI enabled coach have been significant challenges for us.
What are the challenges of being an entrepreneur in the niche segment? How about being a female founder/entrepreneur?
The technology space, across geographies, is predominantly ruled by men. However, over time we have seen enterprising women from across the globe take strides in this space. As an entrepreneur, your tasks are not predefined and each day is a new challenge which in turn offers new learnings. Throughout my entrepreneurial journey from my past venture Globalite to Boltt, I learnt that however hard it may be for women trying to make a mark in the space of technology, it’s equally very empowering as well to give shape to your dreams.
What are your biggest achievements to date?
Having mentioned time and again that Boltt is both, a young brand and an organization as compared to its counterparts in the market right now, we’ve still managed to attain certain heights and have therefore been recognized for our work. The recognitions until now include being featured among the “World’s top 10 Hottest Start-ups” a list that was collated post a rigorous analysis and research by Economic Times, being listed by CNBC among the “Top ten start-ups around the world” and being among the nominations for the prestigious “Edison Awards” in the year 2016.
What projects are you currently working on within your company?
We’re working on numerous projects simultaneously. Some of which include, product development, strategic alliances, business development and marketing.
What will be the key trends in the wearable tech and IoT industry in the next five years and where do you see it heading?
The global wearables market is expected to reach a value of 19 billion U.S. dollars in 2018, more than ten times its value five years prior. The SNS Research estimates that wearable device shipments will grow at a CAGR of 29% between 2016 and 2020. By 2020, wearable devices will represent a market worth $40 Billion with over 240 Million annual unit shipments. We have seen the diversification of wearables beyond trackers and watches, and the industry is betting big on innovation in both hardware and software to facilitate consumers with the best fitness solutions.
Is #WomenInTech movement important to you and if yes, why?
For me, the #WomenInTech movement is necessary to challenge gender stereotypes, motivate women to join diversified fields without any baggage and create disruption. I firmly believe that diversity in the workplace will promote the ethos of inclusivity and harbour a conducive work environment for all employees cutting across geography and gender. We have seen women leading projects in the tech space that have had the potential to create disruption. This has resulted in significant advances in technology. It’s imperative to un-gender the technology space to make consumers feel empowered and bring in a fresh perspective, #WomenInTech movement aims to fight for a gender sensitive world that respects differences and promotes a culture of diversity.
What is the most important piece of advice you can give to all female founders and women entrepreneurs out there?
I was going through an interesting quote the other day on Facebook which said “Behind every successful woman should be a tribe of women who have her back”, and I strongly believe in it. It goes without saying that every woman (with special reference to women entrepreneurs/female founders) are working very hard with an undying determination to give shape to their dreams. Consequently, bringing them success in their respective fields/domains/ventures. What is more important than success in today’s time is that we stand by each other and serve as a pillar of support for other women be it our competition, other co-founders, our own colleagues or our employees. This will gradually build strong and reliable ecosystem for women across industries and the organizational pyramid to seek professional support from and consequently encourage more and more women to take up entrepreneurship.
Who are your three inspirational women in wearable tech and IoT?
Globally, Susan Wojcicki, CEO Youtube and Karen Walker, SVP and CMO, CISCO and Stacy Burr, VP Wearable Sports Electronics at Adidas.
This interview was conducted by Marija Butkovic, Digital Marketing and PR strategist, co-founder of Women of Wearables and Kisha Smart Umbrella. She regularly writes and speaks on topics of wearable tech, fashion tech, IoT, entrepreneurship and diversity. Visit marijabutkovic.co.uk or follow Marija on Twitter @MarijaButkovic @Women_Wearables @GetKisha.