napEazy in Shark Tank India Season 1 Finals - We Share Our Experiences With You

75 Lakh INR for 5% was our “ask” at the Shark Tank India Season 1 Finals. It was pitch day and more than feeling anxious, we wanted to do our best and sort of went into automated mode. Pradipta, Sarit and Abhishek - The co-founders of napEazy were about to pitch in front of the sharks. Just a week ago we were informed that our sharks are going to be Aman Gupta, Vineeta Singh, Anupam Mittal, Namita Thappar and Ashneer Grover. We had spent months preparing for the finals. Starting from applying for the show, to qualifying for the audition, recording our videos with pitches of various lengths and intent to ultimately reaching the finals.

As entrepreneurs we aren’t so comfortable coming in front of the camera even though we have come out of our comfort zones a few times for the sake of the brand. But the possibility of appearing on Sony TV at prime time was mind-numbingly awesome. Although, nobody knew then whether you would be broadcasted or not. 

Off we went to Mumbai

We got our standees ready, the accessories required to display the product at the stage, 6 pairs of shoes and a few different combinations of dresses (yes, we were instructed that way). After reaching Mumbai at the hotel near the Juhu beach, we had plans to relax and explore the surroundings but little did we know that we will be inside a “bio bubble”. Yes, that’s what they called it. As per the guidelines of the Government of India, we had to undergo RT-PCR test at arrival and not leave the room till we test negative. So, we were locked up in our rooms watching TV and hoping someday we will appear on TV too. Since I was the one who was pitching and Abhishek and Pradipta had to enact, it was obvious that I would have to stay more focused and get myself ready for a smooth presentation. Each team had to stay for 3 days which consisted of 2 days of practice and 1 day when the pitch was to be delivered.  Apparently our pitch was near perfect and not much was required so we had very little rehearsal. Hindi came naturally to me or at least better than the rest of the founders or maybe they just fooled me. 

The Pitch Day

The previous night we were informed that we are going 2nd that is after Powertree. We woke up early and got on the bus to the studio. We headed straight to the make up room (yeah we felt like pseudo celebrities). Being the only woman of the group, they spent more time getting me ready.  

Anxiety was trickling into me. I must have repeated the pitch more than 100 times in a span of less than 24 hours. We got our strategy in place with regards to what questions will be asked, how should we answer them and one thing we were absolutely clear that we aren’t going to argue there much or let's say we wanted to maintain our dignity and not look like fools in front of everyone. This, sort of, became the reason behind us not getting broadcasted. We did not come out as good TV coverage material. 

In the Tank

Wow, the set was simply magnificent. It looked way better than the set of any Shark Tank we had watched before. We were confident and ready to go. I delivered the pitch like a pro and everything went smoothly. The Q&A started with Ashneer opting out immediately after the pitch. We were left with 4 Sharks to talk to. napEazy pillows were handed over to each of the 4 Sharks. Aman being the jolly one, started playing around with it. Even though Namita might not look like a typical critique, she has a mind of her own. She turned out to be a die-hard fan of neck pillows and that she keeps the neck pillow around her neck in the airport. Thereby, not having to carry it. Vineeta got really engaged with us in order to understand our marketing messages. As per her opinion, our design was complex enough to explain it to the consumers and doesn’t have a viral aspect to it for people to talk about it on social media. Anupam Sir, really liked the comfort napEazy provided him the entire duration of our pitch. However, he felt that calling napEazy as a napping pillow will not resonate with the Indian consumers and that he needs  repositioning. Aman summed up all the feedback and said that we had all our 4Ps of marketing wrong. People - We are not clear of our target market, Product requires more design thinking, Price - As per the profit margins weren’t lucrative for an investor to invest in it and Promotion - It is difficult to explain it to people and haven’t had much success in India even though we did a successful Kickstarter campaign in May 2020. But Kickstarter garnered interests among people from the United States, Europe and Japan, our case wasn’t strong enough of the Shark Tank India to consider us an investable business. To conclude, they were all out. 

Reality Check

We weren’t ready for this shock, as we were pretty sure our product will be loved for the value it provides to the user and with small investment we can reach the masses in India. The profit margin can be increased with scale, positioning the product as an orthopedic cushion would take into the healthcare segment which we have consciously stayed out of. We are a comfort company. All our existing customers have loved the product and the unique design has drawn attention in a positive way till date. Since we launched our product in the USA, our major focus stayed international. With Shark Tank India and one of the Sharks onboard, we wanted a grand launch in India. A feat which “failed” to achieve. 

What Now

We have been “metaphorically” carrying this hat on our heads. This is helping us to stay focused and increase our presence in India as well as go deeper in the US. There are few developments already. 

  • We are a RangeMe verified seller and have our warehouse in the US.
  • We were covered by National Geographic Traveller, UK in April this year. 
  • We are setting up our warehouses in the US.
  • We have improved our listing on Amazon India
  • We were awarded the Global Small Business Of The Year, 2022 by Amazon India,

Over to You

We are more than happy to collect your honest feedback on the following:

  1. What should we have done otherwise on the pitch day?
  2. What do you think we should start doing now?
  3. Do you like napEazy and would want to be a consumer?
  4. Do you think napEazy should be priced lower?

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