[PODCAST] Avacraft: Taking On Giants In The Kitchen

iot podcast Nov 27, 2018

About the Discussion:

What drives a woman to start a business with zero background in an industry that is heavily saturated, but with a unique perspective? 

Avacraft was founded by the husband and wife duo, Asha Kangralkar and Vivek Kangralkar. Asha saw an opportunity to create better quality, safer and aesthetically pleasing cookware with an emphasis on a culture of customer first and personalized  B2C interaction. What began as a desire to create kitchen aids to prepare meals for Asha's family has become a one-woman mission to bring quality cooking tools and an overall healthier kitchen. As a woman entrepreneur, Asha shares her challenges, highs and lows on starting a business from scratch and carving out a niche in the highly competitive cookware industry.

Avacraft’s commitment to  user experience and quality products  attracted Amazon to highlight Avacraft on the Day One: Stories of Entrepreneurship Series. https://www.amazon.com/b/?node=13496283011&ref=us_d1_fbr_ank&ld=SOUSSOAD1FBRANK

To learn more about Avacraft: https://www.avacraft.com/


About Asha Kangralkar:

Asha is co-founder & CEO of AvacraftⓇ. She was born in India in very humble background where she learnt to dream big and work hard to achieve anything. Inspired by her personal struggle at home as a mother & wife, she quit her corporate job to take on entrepreneurship to design and create high quality kitchen cookware that people can trust and bank on while cooking for their loved ones. She painstakingly designs her cookware right from metal composition to user experience and quality, tests in her own kitchen before releasing it to the market. Her customers love her and Avacraft for the care and support she provides.

Looking at her passion, unmatched customer service and products, Amazon made a short film on Asha.

Vivek Kangralkar:

Vivek is co-founder & COO of Avacraft. He was business manager of Texas Instruments and has been instrumental is providing support and strategy to Asha in making Avacraft a growing brand. He focussed on manufacturing and supply chain of Avacraft to ensure smooth flow for this woman driven startup. He soon realized the complexity in supply chain of the business and set out to another startup using patented AI & IoT platform to provide businesses with enhanced visibility into supply chain logistics and to reduce losses. 

Official Transcript:

Erin Smith: All right. Welcome to another episode of Innovation Calling, I'm Erin Smith.

Syya Yasotornat: And I'm Syya Yasotornat. Super excited, it's my word of the day, to take a little different spin on Innovation Calling. Normally, we highlight companies directly, but today I've got two very special guests. I've got Asha and Vivek Kangralkar from Avacraft as well as Beetleq. We're gonna be focusing on your origin story today and where innovation comes from, the inspiration behind you guys starting your own businesses.

Syya Yasotornat: So, first and foremost, I'd like to say thank you Asha and thank you Vivek for joining us today.

Asha: Thank you for having us here.

Vivek: Thank you.

Asha: It's exciting.

Erin Smith: Well I know we want to start on this story because I know you're not like seasoned entrepreneurs ... Now you are, but at first you were not.

Vivek: I did work for TI. Asha is actually a very accomplished engineer as well, electrical engineer, but she just hated the corporate life. So she decided to stay home, take care of kids, and then, yeah, the adventure started.

Erin Smith: Where did the idea come from? Obviously, I mean I can probably guess. Tell a little bit about what it is first.

Asha: Yeah, it's like I love my family. I always cook for them, I try different cuisine, different recipes for them, and during that process, I used to use a lot of stainless steel cookware and then when I washed, some used to rust and some used to crack. So when I had any questions on the cookwares, and when I go back and ask the manufacturer, I never got the straight answer. Sometimes I never got the answer about the quality of the cookware or what stainless steel they use. Yeah, some of the details which I wanted while cooking, because we are like a health freak. We always want to see what is happening. The quality actually matters. Everything goes in the food.

Asha: So then, that made me think, "Why shouldn't I start? I design and create a quality cookware where people can actually bank on us and trust us while cooking for their loved ones." So that's why Avacraft was born.

Erin Smith: Okay. Which is fascinating. Do you have a background in cookware design or anything like that?

Asha: No, not at all. I don't have any background on cookware, stainless steel quality. Nothing. I have Masters in electrical engineering. It's just anything, technical things, I can understand what's happening, like stainless steel I can go back and read, you know, what's happening. It's everything I studied about stainless steel quality, the stainless steel grades, which is best and which doesn't rust-

Vivek: Composition of all these.

Asha: Composition of all the metal, yeah. It's all we studied and then, went at it.

Erin Smith: If I'm clear, you started a business, of which you know nothing about the industry. You had to start, literally breaking out some books or Googling or whatever research on the materials you're even looking to make. Did you have any connections within this industry?

Asha: No. Everything we learned, we studied everything and then we learned. Even the cookware design, so we have a designer. According to our specification, he designs. With the quality the cookwares have to look beautiful in your kitchen, so when you use it in your kitchen, you should be proud of it. If someone comes in, asks, "Oh, this is so beautiful. From where did you buy?" So it's everything, all the aspects.

Vivek: I would say that, looking and seeing Asha for a long time, it all started in the kitchen, our kitchen, getting frustrated over a few things, realizing that that's a problem. Yeah, I mean, do we know anything else? We have no idea, but can we do it? And that's how she started.

Erin Smith: And I want to get into the, not from a permission perspective of asking him permission to start a business, but like your at home cooking, he comes in, and you're like, "I want to start a cookware business," like how does this conversation happen and how like ... Okay, let's be honest, I mean, listen, I'm all about crazy. But it's a little crazy!

Vivek: It is.

Erin Smith: Were you like, "Yes, let's do this!" Or was there caution at hand?

Vivek: Yeah, that's a good question. I remember that conversation, like I used to work in Texas Instruments. One day, I mean I came in the evening and I see Asha in the kitchen. She's trying to prep for dinner, she's frustrated and she's like, "You know what? I'm gonna start this. I'm gonna design my own cookware so that I don't embarrass anyone, but I know that this is the best." So I know that she's frustrated. She cooled down after some time, maybe after a glass of wine and I just went to get fresh. That is the first day.

Erin Smith: He just exposed ... How many glasses of wine before you were saying, "Vivek, we gotta change this up?" So, you are, to me, like what a fascinating story of you don't have the background ...

Asha: No.

Erin Smith: You don't know anybody in the industry.

Vivek: No.

Erin Smith: And then you guys said, "I'm gonna make this better."

Vivek: Yeah. That's where it started.

Asha: Yeah, when you say that, "After some time she cooled down," but that passion was there. I mean, that part was there, like, "Let me provide a high quality cookware and stand by it, and any questions come, just be there to answer them."

Vivek: Yeah, one of the things I think, how it came is Asha I think experienced it over a longer time.

Asha: Yeah, it's not like one day-

Vivek: There was no solution for it. And her problem is, "How do people manage this or how do mothers like me actually face this and do they get answers? I mean, why, why is this problem?" She still tried to call the manufacturers to ask questions about some cookware. Most of them, they just don't want to pick up the phone.

Asha: It's like when they say it's induction-based, you can use it on induction, so I wanted to know what kind of base they use. If they're using aluminum for conduction, so is it inside or will it leech into my food? So those were like basic quality questions.

Vivek: And those are important things.

Asha: And those are important.

Erin Smith: Right.

Asha: So, yeah, I never got an answer. So I mean, if you search in the Google, you find, but I wanted it from the manufacturing point of view, because if you're a manufacturer and you know your metal composition and everything, you'll be able to answer correctly, according to the specification of the cookware. So that's what I do, whenever a customer asks me questions. So I know the metal composition, I know what goes behind that, so I am the best person to explain them, answer them, "Okay, this is what goes, this is how it is."

Vivek: I think it almost happened that ... There was this imagination she had, like, "I want to do this, I want to provide this. I don't have to ask questions or I can bank on it, I can pick up a phone and email someone, ask about it, I just get answered, that's what I want to create." And rest on was annoying. That's it.

Asha: Yeah, it's totally annoying.

Vivek: How was completely annoying, and it actually got me worried that, "How are we gonna do this?" But I loved that passion in Asha that, "I want to give that answer to everyone."

Erin Smith: It's a strong lie, for sure. You know, you-

Asha: Next day, we decided on ... We didn't know what are we doing, how we are doing, what's the starting point. Next day, we remember that we created the name first.

Vivek: Yeah.

Asha: We just decided on Avacraft, we just formed the LLC first, formed the company first. And then we decided that-

Vivek: So that it motivates us to, "Okay, now you cannot go back."

Asha: We cannot go back, yeah.

Erin Smith: You're official, you're an LLC. Better get a product put together.

Asha: That's it.

Erin Smith: Let's take a step back. This market you're going into is heavily saturated, if you think about it. And well known.

Asha: It is.

Erin Smith: Products are already there, I mean ... Clearly I'm not a cook so I don't know the brands, but I'm thinking like the major, 3M and Teflon, all those product brands. They already have an established reputation.

Asha: Yes.

Erin Smith: So you knew, going in, that you are going to a saturated market, but your positioning is that it's more eco-friendly and it's aesthetically pleasing and it's usable, it's much more practical in usage.

Asha: Yes, that's totally true. It's not that I am like totally new at the whole cookware business. It is, but I am adding a lot of features, like as you mentioned, aesthetically it should look good and it should be easy to use. For example, I can give you my sauce pots, like saucepans. Like it should be a day to day, usable to people or moms or anyone's wives. It should not be too heavy so that they cannot ... I mean, so it's like difficult to use day to day. And it should not be too light, so that it looks very cheap. So it has to be like light weight to use it and with the quality, with the stainless steel quality too. And you know, for right hand, left hand, there's a both side spout, so that both can use.

Erin Smith: So it's ergonomic.

Asha: There are small, small features that I incorporated, everything in one. So that's what people like, all my customers, they like it. I mean, the small, small things, the details you are taking care in one product, they're finding.

Erin Smith: Did you find you had an education barrier to overcome too? Because I know there's some people that are gonna be very aware that there's an issue with pans and what's in them. But I would think too, a lot of people are really unaware of the major issue at hand. Did you feel you had to do a lot of education too, to get into the market?

Vivek: To the customers?

Erin Smith: Yeah. Just like consumer-like to be like, "You've got a problem here and this is why we developed this, because what's in your pans right now is bad."

Vivek: Yeah. No, we did not take that approach. Actually the approach we took here is telling the customer how this pan is designed, right from the composition.

Erin Smith: Designed for them?

Vivek: Right from the designing. Doing the molds, and Asha has even scrapped a lot of molds. Molds are very expensive to do. We have a lot of trophies at home, you will see like a ton of samples of the products. You would see that in Amazon video, like this carafe that she did. It took like 10 samples and almost like eight months of time, eight to nine months of time to do one product.

Asha: With the thickness and the glass quality and the shape and the lid, how it pours. It should not drip. Everything, yeah. So it's very small details.

Erin Smith: So you say, again, you didn't know anybody, didn't have any contacts in industry. How did you find your manufacturer? We talked about this guy briefly once before.

Asha: That was a difficult task, to find a manufacturer. It took like five to six month of a span. It's like-

Vivek: 30 to one.

Asha: Yeah, it was our idea to approach this way, to use the higher quality and with the good design, beautifully looking design. When we used to tell this specification to a manufacturer like a lot of manufacturers, they used to hang up. Boom, done.

Vivek: Not a single word. They'll just disband, that's it.

Asha: It's difficult, you know. We cannot do that, because they have their set ...

Erin Smith: Machines are already set.

Asha: Machines are set in the mold, you can say. These specification are difficult for them, so it takes time.

Vivek: I think it goes back to saying what you said, it's a saturated market. Very well established market, people are making money in this market, I mean no doubt, right? And it took a long time for us even to think where to find manufacturers. I mean, where do you go?

Erin Smith: Did you just Google it? I mean, how did you go about that? I'm still trying to understand this.

Vivek: It's all Google, going around, talk to people, just figure what is where. We didn't even know how the manufacturer looks, shape, don't know nothing. I mean you just know that someone is a manufacturer, we just need to figure out. And-

Asha: A lot of use to call, chat, like video call.

Vivek: A lot of them even call her crazy. I mean, "Why? Do you want to lose money? I mean we have no time to do all those things, it's an already established market." I think-

Asha: And then they are telling that 80% of the market is using this kind of stainless steel material, why do you want to use the other kind? Which is the high quality.

Vivek: Nobody would pay for it.

Asha: Yeah, nobody will pay for it.

Erin Smith: It's cost prohibitive.

Asha: It will cost for him also and it's time for him, for everything. They said, "No, we cannot do it." But we found a couple of manufacturers. They really understood what our passion is and they really wanted to work with us. Yeah, that's how ... We have now a couple of manufacturers, they know they're really good.

Asha: Now they understand, you know, that time.

Vivek: Oh they discouraged, yeah.

Asha: Even, "We are little hesitant to do business with you, we knew that you were going to be good. Now we are giving so much of volume," they said, "Yeah, we made a right decision."

Vivek: So we go meet them, and I think the last meeting, the CEO of the manufacturing company made a comment. "We know when you guys came and started, I know that I'm gonna lose money, you're gonna lose money. It's crazy. And I never put you in priority, but now you are my priority."

Erin Smith: Well can I go into that a minute, because ... And this is Innovation Calling, you are innovating an industry where it's pretty, like-

Syya Yasotornat: Established.

Erin Smith: Yeah, we're established, we got it set our ways. 99% of people, as they're going down your path, you're being told you're crazy, you're being told this is expensive, you're being told you're going to lose money, would be like, "All right, maybe this is a really bad idea. Like, maybe I shouldn't be doing this." What is going through your brain as you're hearing all this, that you're going, "You don't know what you're talking ... Even though you've been in the manufacturing of these pans for longer than I've ever known about pans," what is making you go, "I know this is gonna work?"

Asha: Yeah, it's like sometime even I feel, "What am I doing?" Right? It's like people are telling that, you know, it's not right. Like so many people that are talking about it. And I said, "No, this is my passion." And that's what we started Avacraft, "I should not look back." So-

Vivek: And the problem is real. It's in the kitchen, it's happening. I mean I see that this is a problem.

Erin Smith: It's a tangible problem because you are so far experiencing it.

Asha: Yeah, we can solve that.

Vivek: There's one thing we always, like I remember Asha saying that, "We can go back, but if we go back," I mean, "There is nothing to lose. We might as well jump in a see where we can go." And did we lose money? We did lose money, actually. The initial molds, we did lose money, and I remember we were walking outside and the topic of MBA came.

Asha: He said like, "If we lost money, like ..." When you do MBA, you have to pay so much of money here. Real time, we are learning, you know?

Vivek: So this is our MBA.

Asha: This is our MBA's fee. So it's okay.

Erin Smith: And much more effective than an MBA too, I think.

Vivek: It was hard though, I think. I could feel it that, I would say 99% of the doors that we knocked, they just discouraged us, that we're crazy. I mean, "Go, go back." There were people who said, "I'm in this business for like 50 years. Don't tell me all these things." Shut the door. That's it, end of the story. So also we knew that we need somebody, the manufacturer, who's passionate like us. Maybe who's not like 50 years experience. Maybe just started and he wants to get an opportunity, so it taught us a lot of who to talk to. So we started looking for that type of manufacturer.

Asha: We had a fate that, "We will hit someone," that the-

Vivek: Anyway, we're not losing anything, so-

Asha: Passion wavelength matches to us so we will find someone. We had that fate, so we just keep looking, keep looking, and then we hit the right people.

Syya Yasotornrat: It just reminds me that your story is very similar to the ... You know the Sriracha?

Vivek: Mm-hmm

Syya Yasotornrat: In our family it's called, "Sriracha," that accent.

Syya Yasotornrat: Anyway, their story is very similar where he needed a very specific type of pepper. Went to a pepper farm, and they all rejected him. Many of them, and it's just one farmer was like, "Look, I'll give you a small plot here, some peppers. Have at it."

Vivek: Just do it, yeah.

Syya Yasotornrat: Well, and then obviously you know the product has blown up to the point where now that farmer is the dedicated farmer for ... And he just converted all of his product to the manufacture of these peppers now. Which is, hopefully, you guys get that level of success with your manufacturer.

Asha: Yeah.

Vivek: Let's hope, yeah.

Asha: Let's hope that.

Syya Yasotornrat: I mean, but the trick is though ... The founder found a farmer with the same passion or understood your passion and identity and mission. So, what is your passion? What is actually the mission of Avacraft? You guys mentioned it but you haven't really directly said it yet.

Asha: Yeah. This is like ... To give all my customers like a quality kitchen product, with the amazing customer service, I'll answer them whenever they have any questions. So yeah, this is the goal of Avacraft.

Syya Yasotornrat: So when you're talking about like, you know, obviously delivering a great pot, pan-

Asha: Yes.

Syya Yasotornrat: Vase, well I almost called it appliance, but a tool. Utensil, in the kitchen.

Asha: Yes.

Syya Yasotornrat: But you're talking about customer service. What do you mean by customer service? Because to me, I'm gonna buy a pot and pan at some brick and mortar shop, take it home and I'm done. I never talk to them again. I throw the box away, and that's it. So what do you mean by customer service within this?

Vivek: Do you want to call or should-

Asha: Yeah, you can call it [inaudible 00:17:30]

Vivek: The way I see Asha in this, and maybe you can add, is Asha has that picture of you buy something, go home, you should know that there is somebody standing next to you, to help you with that product. Any time. Okay, so that's where it all started, and our products sell mostly on e-commerce, so when somebody buys it, orders, goes home. Right from that point onwards, even when people, when they don't buy, they have any questions over our products, they just write. So from that point onwards to any time, they have any questions, anything, they just need to shoot an email. That's it and they get response.

Asha: Yeah, sometimes they really love the pot and they share pictures, "See, this is what I made in the new pot, the new sauce pot." They made gravy or they made some soup, they show me, "Okay, this is really great. And I made it and then I used it and cleaned it neatly and it was very clean and nothing was sticking on the bottom or anything." That's all the positive reviews. Sometimes if they have any questions on, "Can I use it on the induction? How does that induction work? What kind of steel have you used?" So I can explain them in detail, this is how the process is, everything. Yeah.

Vivek: You can tell what type of customers that their approach, they write-

Asha: It's like I get emails, I get handwritten mails to me that it was really good-

Vivek: They're all there in the office.

Erin Smith: Wow.

Asha: See, that's the customer feedback I get for Avacraft and they also write that, "I love your products. Henceforth, I'm sticking to Avacraft." Like now we have around 10, 11 products. They ask me, "Okay, when are you launching new products? So I want these kinds of ... I use these things in my kitchen. So you have these, and I want some more. Can you please make that? So I'll wait for that, when you make or when you launch the product, please let me know, so that I can go and buy."

Asha: And no matter how much you plan, I don't have enough inventory sometimes. So when I don't have enough inventory, they email me or I can chat also. I have a chat in the website, they chat in saying, "When is your next products coming? When are you releasing it? So I'll wait, let me know once your products are back, and please let me know, I'll go and buy."

Asha: So they wait for me, for Avacraft products to come back.

Erin Smith: Wow.

Asha: This is the responses.

Syya Yasotornat: So it's a good problem you're having as far as you've got customers saying, "Look, I want your product," and at this point your supply chain, if you will, you're working through that obviously as a start up.

Asha: Yeah.

Syya Yasotornat: A new business, so you gotta talk to me about that because I might love your product, but if I gotta wait four or five months or whatever, I'm not gonna love you as much anymore.

Asha: Exactly.

Syya Yasotornat: So, how are you guys addressing that?

Asha: That's what Vivek tells me, that supply chain management. Yeah, he can-

Vivek: You know, we're learning every step. Every day is learning, so when we started with ... Asha drives this and with her passion, we soon realized that, "It's not only that, there are so many things that are not cool we have in this that you need to take care. Supply chain, logistics, you got to deal with the payments and issues and whatnot." So I mainly take care of that planning of inventories. Like fourth quarter is a big one, always, for the gifts, end of the season, so how do you plan for that?

Vivek: In spite of that, issues happen. Like the ship broke in the middle of the ocean, now what do you do?

Asha: So according to that timeframe we had calculated. So now again, maybe 10 days I think I'll run out of inventory. That's, yeah.

Vivek: So I'll cover a little bit like the ... Like you said, see the good problem means customers come back and say, "Hey, I want to buy this product, I want to gift it, but it's not there. When is it gonna come back?" I mean, they always have a choice, they can go buy but they wait. And we proactively go and tell them, "Hey, the product is here," and we might send a discount code, "Here is a discount here. You go buy it." Because just want to appreciate this business.

Vivek: Last year, I'll tell you a story that happened which actually really motivated me personally. This was around Christmas time, we ran out of one of the main products. That's it, it was not there. I mean, we're losing sales, that's okay but a lot of customers started writing, "Hey I was planning to buy that to give to my daughter, my son," whatever, "And where is it? When is it coming?" And they were actually, I remember, five to six of them, they wrote every day, "Is it gonna come today?"

Erin Smith: Wow.

Vivek: The product actually came ... It ran out right from December 1st to December 18th or so. So it was a major portion of the period that we lost. The moment it came, I don't know what came to Asha but what she did is she noted the addresses of those six people, she gift wrapped the product in Christmas and she just shipped them free.

Asha: And expedited, so that it should reach before Christmas.

Vivek: They don't have to buy. I mean, they coming and asking is actually good inspiration for me, here is your product. That's it, go ahead. So she did that, so that actually makes I think customers feel that somebody's there to care. There are also times you hear good as well as bad. In the product, you always have the ... It's a manufacturing quality, so-

Asha: Or sometimes quality escape, yeah.

Vivek: So people do write back saying, "Hey, I found this problem in the product, what do I do next?" So Asha immediately gets on that. I mean, she not only gives refunds but she sends some new product, personally checked, to them. Because you have spent your hard earned money, you should get this.

Vivek: But, beyond that, she puts it down as a process and works with the manufacturer and colleague to make sure it is fixed forever. So it's a learning experience, every day is a learning ... It's a lot of rollercoaster there as well.

Asha: But yeah, if you get some not-so-good feedback, then it's actually [inaudible 00:23:15] to work more hard, work on the quality, learn from it. And then, yeah. It's working actually, yeah.

Vivek: Yeah. And coming back to Syya's question on the supply chain ... When I was working at Texas Instruments, I did have some exposure to supply chain. I did a lot of this autonomous core technology and other things, and I always saw how important it is to make sure that those chips reach customers in time, otherwise they miss their production. Otherwise you are to pay even penalties which is [inaudible 00:23:45]

Syya Yasotornat: Yeah.

Vivek: But I saw it live in Avacraft. And believe me, when we started Avacraft, it is a rollercoaster but we never thought supply chain and logistic would be so complex.

Syya Yasotornat: Yeah.

Erin Smith: Oh yeah.

Vivek: It is so complex.

Asha: It is, it is.

Vivek: There are so many things affected, even if there is a little storm, you can actually lose all the products and nobody's responsible for it. You have to just-

Erin Smith: Because it's Mother Nature.

Vivek: That's it.

Asha: Yeah, it happened, right? For us.

Vivek: In fact, one of the situations it happened is our products were all ready.

Asha: All ready. Everything to ship.

Vivek: In the manufacturer warehouse, "It's gonna load tomorrow." It stormed and then the whole warehouse flooded. All products are gone, that's it. So they're nice enough, they know, they worked extra, but a lot of products we had to just destroy and go for new production. So a lot of these things happen-

Asha: Just like that time.

Vivek: And the major challenge is the venture calculation, there is no standard, there's no "the answer" for inventory calculation. We just go by ground rule, what do we estimate. I mean Amazon also helps us a lot, estimating how much we'll sell but still you lay there ... Run out of inventory or out of so much inventory that you have to pay a lot for the inventory.

Erin Smith: Then it's sitting-

Asha: In storage, yeah.

Erin Smith: It's sitting somewhere.

Syya Yasotornat: And that's such a balance, right? When you're-

Vivek: It is. So we did learn a lot through the supply chain, is how well in advance you want to order, how do you want to stage your payments. Now this is where the business part that we started learning that how do you want to play around with your capital, because the reality of the business is you may have a passion but if you don't know how to run your capital, you're done.

Erin Smith: Yeah.

Vivek: And we learned that through this. So we learned how to stage these payments, how to work with the manufacturers, everyone. Initially, Asha used to run around all this, calling the but then slowly we realized she's getting busy so we tied with one company, they now help us write from picking up from manufacturer on the ship-

Asha: Doing customs.

Vivek: Or on the trucks, customs. So we have a warehouse, big warehouse, in L.A., so it all comes there. And from here, we just manage it using a MacBook. And that's it, there's nothing at home. It all started with three boxes in our garage, with the garage getting full.

Asha: And then slowly started the crates and then 20 feet ... No, it's 40 feet containers.

Syya Yasotornat: Wow.

Erin Smith: Wow.

Asha: It's a bigger one.

Erin Smith: So I want to go back to, because I know we got a lot more supply chain to talk, but I want to go back to the customer service because this is a huge part of your business.

Asha: Yes.

Erin Smith: As you scale, how do you maintain that?

Asha: No, I still ... I don't want to give the customer service part to anyone. I don't want to hire anyone to take care of it. It's either me or we agree we're going to handle that because that is our-

Erin Smith: But you can't do that forever. You gotta let it ... I mean-

Asha: Or I can train-

Erin Smith: At some point, you need to take a vacation, right?

Asha: No, but I make sure, during the vacation also, wherever the questions come, still now I plan to reply or answer, because the way that we write with a passion or ... I don't think so, anybody else will do that. Or maybe when it grows really big, the company grows really big, then I hire or we can train them, that this is how we have to show them what our passion is, so we have to see, we have to hire people which has the right attitude and passion to what we have. It's not that they have the educational background or quality to do this, but we want to hire people with the attitude and passion where they can live our dream.

Erin Smith: Right. Okay.

Vivek: Because I think that's one thing ... I agree with her. The way she works with the customers, I can see that emotional support from both sides, there have been times where she has-

Asha: We just keep on responding.

Vivek: Responded and the customer responds back-

Asha: It's like five, six emails.

Vivek: They are mostly chatting or email.

Erin Smith: Oh yeah.

Asha: And then one customer also, she said, "Do you have kids?" I have two kids, two girls. And she likes storybooks, she had the link of her storybooks. You can share-

Vivek: Turned out to be she's a very popular author of kids' storybooks and this is how all this connection starts. So I think the most important for her is not really the business part of it, it's that goal of the passion. "Why am I driving this," probably that's what she's saying that, "I don't want to give customers to anybody. They're mine, I want to take care of them."

Syya Yasotornat: I think it's so critical to differentiate yourself as businesses, and I think that is a very innovative idea too, by the way. And I don't ... Throw that "I" word in there for a few seconds. But we, I think as a culture or society, have let go of the need importance of customer service. I can't tell you how frustrating it was. I walked into a paint store the other day and these two gals. Great people, I'm sure. Behind the counter, we stood there for a good 15 minutes staring at each other and finally, I just said, "Can I get help here?" I thought they were busy, because they were tapping away and gabbing to each other. Never looked at me once, and I'm standing there thinking, "Wow, I'm being really patient here." I'm like, "Okay, well, I'm gonna step up," and finally I said something and they looked at me like, "Oh, can we help you?" And I'm like, "I've been standing here!"

Erin Smith: You don't think of those girls, you think of the company, right?

Asha: Yep, exactly.

Erin Smith: Yeah, and you're-

Asha: It's not the employees. It's like the company.

Vivek: It's the company and that's what I think she's worried about, that ... It is current, it is growing, and I see her, she's busy. And her habit is that if something comes, that's the priority for her. I mean she also said, "Can you look at the kitchen? I need to respond to this." It happens many times.

Syya Yasotornat: Oh, so Vivek is now the cook.

Asha: Yeah, that's a big support I have. If I am busy, I think I'll send ... They enjoy cooking for me as well.

Vivek: Yeah, we do that and that's the passion on the customer side. And I think genuinely, it's something she enjoys genuinely. That's her fun in this business.

Asha: As the company grows, as I said that I cannot do it, handle it alone. It's like, yeah ... Cross my fingers, if the company grows like 20, 30 million dollar business, then I cannot handle it. I want to hire people who have equal passion and attitude, I mean what I have.

Erin Smith: And I want to point out too, just watching you two and toggling this story, how it's ... You are so supportive of her, like ... I mean just in this situation too of, "Oh, now I gotta help you support," you know, at first, "I'm working, and now I gotta come support your business," and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, but I think this is just so key to a successful business, is that you both are passionate about it, you both love it. I know we'll talk about this-

Vivek: Sure. Yeah.

Erin Smith: How you moved into it on your own, but it's just so key of ... You take it for granted, but it's very unusual.

Asha: It is, it is. You know, yeah. You cannot do it alone when you have some dream, you should always have a family support. That's what ideally, you know, [inaudible 00:30:58] being so supportive. He's a really strategic person and I'm really good at execution. So all the strategy he makes and he pass it on to me and then I execute it. So, we have a lot of whiteboard discussion, I know that we each, one of us give a really hard time. So we keep that separate.

Vivek: Yeah, we fight.

Asha: Yeah, so we do a lot of whiteboard discussion or we just go out for a walk and then we discuss a lot of things while walking. It's really good support.

Vivek: For me, what drives me more is, as a woman, as a mother, I see her at home. I mean, every morning she wakes up, she has to get kids ready. One of the passions she has is we ... Literally we're eating outside, it's all home cooked, natural food. We don't ... We-

Asha: We don't have any boxed foods, yeah.

Vivek: So she doesn't mind cooking. Now, taking care of the kids, taking care of me and managing business, it's hard. I think we as men, however much we understand it in society, I think woman entrepreneur is hard. It's the challenge, and I feel part of it supporting her. I see her happy, and I want her to cook good food for us, so I am supportive. But I am proud of her, for the way she goes, and I have two daughters and I see that inspiration in them that, when they're growing, it's not like, "I am a woman, or I'm not a man," no.

Asha: No, we have not kept that value.

Vivek: They just see that in her, right? And they just think they can actually keep going, they can do something.

Asha: I can give an example. Back when were in India, when I think he was working with the ATM systems.

Vivek: Yeah, some startup.

Asha: Some startup and immediately after our marriage, then I started doing Masters, I wanted to do Masters. And then we had, I think, that he owned. Back in India-

Vivek: It's like a motorbike, small motorbike.

Asha: Like motorbike.

Vivek: Which men are supposed to ride it.

Asha: Yeah, back in India, never seen woman riding the bike, so I told her, "No, can we buy ..."

Vivek: Some woman's, the small moped type of thing.

Asha: Kind of thing, that there is no great gas and all. The small ... We said, "Why? Why can't you ride this?" Said, "Me? Do you think?" Then I said, "Yes, you can." And he taught me. So I used to go to college and all the work you did on the bike.

Vivek: On that sports bike.

Asha: That sports bike kind of thing.

Vivek: People on the road, they used to look at her, "Wow, okay, woman riding this bike."

Syya Yasotornat: That's so fascinating that that even exists now.

Asha: Yeah, from that time that he has supported it, "Don't feel less like you are a woman." It's like ...

Vivek: When in the market, if we see her on the little diode thing and markets you have bikes for men, bikes for women. You may see that.

Asha: It's like different-

Syya Yasotornat: Do they really?

Erin Smith: Oh my God.

Vivek: Oh yeah, I mean there are, but my point is why you should go behind it? I mean, if I can do you it, you can do it. We actually keep our girls like that. That if somebody can do it, you can do it, there is no reason you cannot do it. And I think ... But I appreciate Asha, because she would have stepped back then and there, but she knows she can do pretty much everything that I can do. In fact, I have no idea what's there in the banks. She knows everything. I just step back from there, she takes care of all those things. Managing it, so literally it's like two men or two women at home.

Syya Yasotornat: The teamwork, it's ... You really-

Erin Smith: It's a team.

Syya Yasotornat: Working as a unit, versus individuals. So you mentioned support, and ... I love that you have these two daughters. How are they supporting you guys on this endeavor at Avacraft? You're putting them to work, right?

Asha: They do help. My elder one, she's 13 years old, she's good at writing. So whenever I'm blogging or I am writing something, she helps me. She corrects me, grammar or the ... Good sentences. Because in middle school, they learn that ... I know-

Vivek: The writing skills, yeah.

Asha: The writing skills, which I lack in it, honestly speaking. Yeah, I don't have that much idea. She helps me in writing the small blog or the right terms.

Vivek: She comes and tells, "Mom, you know what? When people look at it, this is how it should be."

Asha: Yeah.

Vivek: For them, learning that, they want to put it to practical use. And we don't tell them anything new, so whatever they learn, just do it. And you can apply it. So she does that. She looks at the product description Asha writes. Sometimes she writes, she looks at that, and corrects.

Asha: And the second one helps me, checking all the product. She's just nine years old. Like packing, sometimes, and you know. Small things, shredding papers.

Erin Smith: But you're teaching them real skills here, so your 13 year old, for all intents and purposes is basically doing copy editing, marketing.

Syya Yasotornat: Exactly.

Vivek: Yeah. It's more like a digital market thing. She likes it.

Asha: Sometimes she handles my Instagram, Avacraft account, too.

Erin Smith: Social media. You understand you're setting her up for like her own business as a-

Asha: Yes. It's just ... It is like normal, it's not like we want to do this or it's purposely we are giving that response ... It's like casual, casual thing. And that's what when, I think before the podcast, we were discussing about not giving up or figuring out. So they apply that in school too, in their curriculum or in their day to day life in the school. Some challenging things comes, it's like, "Okay, we'll figure out." You know?

Erin Smith: Yeah.

Asha: Don't worry about it.

Vivek: There's already some solution. So we sometimes see our 13 year old, who's nine years old, so if has some challenge with their homework or anything she's sitting. So she's like, "That's fine, you'll figure it out. Go behind it." And we feel good in hearing this.

Asha: And it's so surprising too, kids talking like this. We'll be somewhere, sitting there, "Oh wow, okay, that's good."

Syya Yasotornat: Yes.

Asha: That's good, so whatever we are doing and whatever we are following our dreams, our kids are learning.

Erin Smith: Right.

Vivek: And we don't ... One important thing I think Asha said, we decided not to say that, "Hey, this is a business, come help in business."

Asha: Yeah.

Vivek: We never did that. It's just something that, "Can you help with this, this is ..." And they just enjoy doing part of it and that becomes like-

Asha: It's like sharing the responsibility among all four of us.

Syya Yasotornat: So you told me a story, Vivek, when we talked about how one time you had a product go wrong. I guess there was something about the induction or ... And so tell me about that story.

Vivek: Yeah. Okay, there is a saying that Asha said, "You just get out of the home and you will have Murphy waiting for you in the parking lot." It's like Murphy's law, it happens many times. And that's I guess one part of when you start growing, how you select people. Like it's an attitude, it's not the educational qualification. I think it's the passion, can you live the dream? It's a little bit of that.

Vivek: So there was this product that we wanted to build, which is like a nonstick pan without any coats, without any chemicals.

Asha: It's like hard anodized.

Vivek: Where it's oxidized and it's very safe to use. And Asha wanted to make it horizontal, basically what it it means it you can use it on fire, induction, halogen, everything. So it's one pan you can use everywhere. And then she created the mold, we got the samples and it was all tested and then ... It's a process. And then she said, "Okay, let's go mass production," and the mass production happened, the product is alive in the market. And then one customer got back and said, "Hey, this does not work on induction."

Erin Smith: Oh no.

Vivek: It was like, "Okay, now ..." We said, "Okay, that is fine, it's just one customer, maybe his issue with some induction. That's fine, let us keep going." Then the second email comes, and the third email comes, then it's like, "Okay, now we've got to see." And then she immediately pulled off the live product. Which is really the interesting thing, there are really like 100 customers or so, they already bought it. That was a tense moment because the most important is your passion, to give customers something they trust on and this hits you really, really hard.

Vivek: I remember sitting day and night, I was sick about three full days. We did not sleep.

Asha: Said, "What to do? What to do? What next? How will we have to fix it? How will we fix it?"

Vivek: It's a problem, you either give up and go back saying that, "I am sorry, I cannot do this," or get into it because you are responsible for it and solve it. That's where our kids were seeing us. We had to order from outside because we just had no time to cook. So go behind it.

Vivek: We immediately contacted manufacturer quality, they had no clue what's happening. They said, "No, we have checked it." And even we shared videos, "Its working for him, not working," so we knew something is more complex. And I learned this in technology, that if you have a product that works somewhere and does not work somewhere, it's usually extremely complex to people.

Asha: And that's with our engineering background started coming into the picture.

Syya Yasotornat: It's the last thing you ever want to see as an engineer. "I can't duplicate it!"

Erin Smith: Yeah.

Vivek: Yeah, that's what we're going through and one thing that Asha immediately did is she contacted all those customers and asked ... It's like being proactive. "Hey, this is what we are seeing, and don't worry about it. We're gonna refund you, and I want to make sure even after the refund you will get the right product that you always wanted."

Erin Smith: Right.

Vivek: And that's what she did first. After that, some customers got back saying, "Thank you, we understand," and some customers were not happy. I mean, it's part of ... It happens. You have to just get it back. And then we went on debugging it and after like four days of work, we found what the problem was. And it was one of these problems in the market where even the induction cooktops are just coming, people are just getting used to it. So there is not specification for it. And there are some induction cooktops, you know, they can detect a smaller utensil and there are some, they need the minimum diameter.

Asha: The diameter, yeah. The base of the pan.

Vivek: So we realized that some of those portable induction cooktops that people sell, they're like very portable, you can carry. On those-

Asha: It worked.

Vivek: It will not work, but if you have cooktops and other induction, it will work. So that told us, "Okay, so we did not think of this. We did not know this." So that's a lot of such learning that comes.

Erin Smith: So who's fault is it at that point? Is that the manufacturers fault or is that-

Vivek: No, I think it's more ... We take it on us more because we define everything. We define, we design everything, so we said, "That's fine." We released the products and we caught the limitation of it. And, "Okay, let's go."

Asha: You mentioned the change-

Vivek: We changed the manufacturing and the mold for the next one.

Asha: The next one, yes.

Vivek: But this was the time where I think we have easily two, three pounds each. Just by sitting at home, because it actually is a moment. And our kids saw this.

Asha: That's a big thing, it's a big thing.

Syya Yasotornat: Kids saw that.

Vivek: Kids saw this and-

Syya Yasotornat: And what do they do to support you guys in this-

Asha: What did say?

Vivek: You go on. Go on, go on.

Asha: She said, "You know, it's okay. You will figure out, you know, don't worry. You know? You just keep doing it, you'll figure out."

Vivek: We enrolled her in some of this work as well. Because, "Can you go get this," and we really ordered so many induction cooktops at home.

Asha: Yeah, just to check that. It's like four or five induction cooktops of different sizes to test it.

Vivek: Yeah, so measure this, how much is this, what are the deductions. So, we have nothing to do with induction cooktop but we know that can make your product fail.

Erin Smith: Yeah, absolutely.

Vivek: As you go, understand about it.

Asha: How it works. How the induction works, how the connection happens and even when the pan touches the induction, the base, how the connection happens and how it-

Vivek: It's all magnetism. We learned it.

Asha: You know, yeah. We learned it.

Vivek: So see, that helps. Being an engineer.

Erin Smith: Well I was gonna say, from the kids' perspective and from a business owner perspective, I don't think there's any more powerful words than, "I'm sorry, I was wrong. Here's what I'm gonna do to fix it." And if people would own that, like even just ... You guys could've point the blame, "Well our ... Blah blah blah blah blah," it's like, "Listen, we see this problem. We're gonna fix it." Not sitting there, pointing blame, and trying to get rid of it but, "This is what we're gonna do." And if every business took that on, I think the world would be a much better place.

Asha: It's like taking responsibility.

Erin Smith: Yeah. And that's what ... My kids, I will say like if I'm wrong, I'm like, "I'm sorry, I was wrong." Like I have no qualms with ... I don't like it, but sometimes-

Syya Yasotornat: I love the fact that you literally said, "I am sorry this product is wrong," as opposed to, "I am sorry if my product offended you."

Erin Smith: Right.

Syya Yasotornat: The non-apologies.

Erin Smith: Yeah, "I'm so sorry my product didn't work on your cooktop."

Vivek: There is one more story I'll share. This one customer from Ohio, I think, he got one of the products and he was not happy with it because I think he got ... I don't remember exactly, but he was not happy with it. And he wrote a handwritten mail. I don't know why but he's not on the email.

Asha: But it's a handwritten email.

Vivek: He does not use email, maybe a little like older person but he wrote an email saying that, "Oh yeah, Asha, I receive this product but it's defective. What do I do with it?" Then she wrote back immediately, saying, "Don't worry about it," it's basically you paid for something that I promised, you didn't get it. Don't worry about it and she ... "Sorry for the experience," she immediately refunded and also wrote, "I'll personally check one and I'll ship you." And she checked one and she shipped it to the person. And that's it.

Asha: That's it. We are done.

Vivek: A few days are gone, then we have another written mail.

Asha: After a month.

Vivek: A month, something, "Thank you for sending me this. I know you're trying to stand by your product, but you know what? These both, I'm going to put it to test. I'm going to test them rigorously and if the second one that you send me works, then I'm gonna pay you back."

Erin Smith: Wow.

Vivek: And he wrote that and we were like, "Wow. Okay." And then immediately Asha wrote back, "Yes, I do stand by my product, because I have designed them myself. And if you face any issues, I'm here. Just let me know."

Erin Smith: Hey, he's your unofficial QA.

Vivek: He is, right?

Asha: It feels good, yes.

Vivek: It feels good and we may hear something, say if you hear good, it inspires you. If you hear not-so-good, you know you have a lot of things to improve on. That's the simple rule that we follow. And I guess it's good because we don't focus on money, it's all about the passion. How can the customer be happy?

Vivek: And then after a month ... He really put it to the test. For like two months.

Asha: Two months.

Vivek: And then-

Asha: He wrote back again.

Vivek: After two months, we get another mail with a check in it.

Syya Yasotornat: Wow.

Erin Smith: Wow.

Vivek: So we have framed that letter and check in the office. This is how it works. And he literally said, "I have never seen anyone in this modern era standing by product for the customer, and I don't deserve to get full refund because your second product is working." 

Asha: He gave me all the money.

Vivek: And he gave a check and said, "Go and cash this check. You will go a long ways." It was like a blessing and we just put that in her office. So, a lot of inspiring things that happen. It just instills the trust and the confidence that ... There are a lot of on the spot because you are just going against the stream, but well yeah, there are people who see this.

Asha: If you receive such emails, you know, it motivates you more, doing better and better.

Erin Smith: Well, and you have two choices. I mean, some people would get mad and get angry and, "Stupid customer," right? Versus, "Wow, maybe there is something to this. What do I need to fix? What can I do to make it better?"

Asha: Yeah. It's like putting yourself in customer's shoes. Like where you feel better, you know, if somebody writes a nice email or take care of you, then you feel better being a customer. It's the same.

Vivek: Yeah and no one is perfect, right? I mean that's the reality of life, no one is perfect. Your product also goes through a lot of manufacturing and ...

Asha: As well as the shipping transit.

Vivek: We are not perfect. There so many things happen.

Asha: It's not like ... So many things goes to just treat the customers. It's just standing by that, that matters.

Vivek: It's like how can you give that experience to a customer? "Yeah, I bought it using my hard earned money." Can I get that experience? I think what I like about Asha, like you use the word "supporting," what I like about her is that it's been three years, likely more than three years for Avacraft and I still remember when she said that, "I want to start something. I want to do this on my own, for myself." She still lives that passion, right? And that's what shows here, and we don't want to lose on that. And that's what I think goes back to her, "It may not be practical, but I don't want to give customers any bad pans," right? It goes back to that.

Vivek: It's just, many times, it's a rollercoaster. As both entrepreneurs, it's a rollercoaster. Many times, we just go behind our house, there's a trail we walk on that goes miles and miles, talking, "Okay, let's come out, it's fine. It happens." And we just support each other.

Asha: It's a fun thing and we are teaching something to our kids also, as both being entrepreneurs and then you need money to run a business. You know, it's not like you can live a lavish life or have food every day, outside, or go to a lavish restaurant and have food.

Asha: So I admire my kids, they're like, "It's okay, we can have something small at home. That's fine," you know? "We need money for business. It's okay." And they are not like shopping freak. I have four T-shirts, two jeans, I have enough. It's okay. Especially my little one, I saw in me her of that. And I have seen a lot of teens are different, you know, they're like every weekend they go for shopping malls and all. She said, "Why do I need it? You know, I have so much, like four T-shirt, two jeans, that's enough for me."

Syya Yasotornat: So here's the irony on this, it's funny, is that your daughters are understanding priorities, right?

Asha: Yes.

Syya Yasotornat: But yet, your business is based on doing business over e-commerce, so we're gonna talk about Amazon for a second here. This is where I'm very proud of you. So when you're thinking you're down in the trenches and you're going through that hundred plus recall and having the humble pie letters, Amazon came to you.

Asha: Yes.

Syya Yasotornat: Amazon came to you, to interview you and highlight you as an entrepreneur in their marketplace. Can you give me a story on that? How did that happen?

Asha: That was so exciting. So, they actually emailed me saying, "We are going to do a story, so we'll do a video call." And I said, "Maybe it's something, a small thing," I never thought it's going to be such a big thing, so we said, "Okay, we'll do a video call." So we did a video call, saying how I handle customers and how do we run a business, how do you provide quality products and-

Vivek: And Amazon has visibility into all of this.

Asha: They can see all.

Vivek: They can even see our emails that we write to customers.

Asha: Emails, everything. They go through all the emails. And then, they selected us, saying that, "Okay we'll do interview. We are going to come, we are flying down to ... Listen, we'll do a three day interview."

Vivek: So there was like work for three days.

Asha: I was like, "Okay, three days."

Syya Yasotornat: "What are we going to talk about for three days?"

Asha: I don't know. So first day, they come home. They wanted to keep a natural flow so there was no prep cushions, there was nothing. It was just on this part they used to ask question and then I used to answer, and then also I cooked in my kitchen. They filmed that too, what I cook with the cookwares and everything. Yeah, it was pretty exciting, three days, so it's a long time. And then, I don't like media that much. Not like ... I'm media shy. It was pretty nervous also, like so many like ... The crew was from Hollywood. It was like lights everywhere.

Vivek: Our home was a studio. And there were those reflectors outside the home.

Asha: Outside the window.

Vivek: So those boys from outside, they would come and ask, "Hey, what's happening here?'

Asha: They were filming on the trail, on the backyard with all the kids and yeah, it was like pretty exciting.

Vivek: "Take one, take two," their thing, I mean it's just-

Asha: It's like proper-

Syya Yasotornat: Did you feel like a Hollywood star?

Asha: Yeah, it was exciting. I never thought it's going to be so big. Yeah, the director, I think we talked to him and we were like always curious and why did you select us. So I think he was talking, he mentioned saying that they were manually checking how we take care of the customer, what we write, how we write.

Vivek: How we take care of customers. [crosstalk 00:51:40]

Asha: [crosstalk 00:51:40] went manually and then they selected the sellers.

Erin Smith: Wow.

Vivek: They did take a long time, yeah it was, for me it was an out of the world experience that I'm seeing all these guys at home. There were close to like 15 people at home. Right from the grips so they can put whatever they want to the cameras, to the mic, mic everywhere.

Asha: And it was so good. I mean when they're filming like the background, the house was rearranging. "It should be like this," and it was so perfect.

Vivek: Yeah. The only Asha was nervous was there was nothing like script to talk to. It was like all natural.

Asha: It was only questions and answers, like I was like, "Um."

Vivek: They did it natural. They wanted it to be natural, no prep. No makeup.

Syya Yasotornat: More spontaneous.

Vivek: That's it.

Syya Yasotornat: Oh, well, your skin looked great on it. With no makeup.

Erin Smith: So what did it do for your business? Did it ... Did you have-

Asha: They do promote all the stories and they do a lot of advertisement in their social media. It did boost my sales, yes, it did. A lot, it did help.

Vivek: I think it helped us a lot, even now to reach people, to write back. There are people who have written back to Asha, is that, "Hey, you're so inspiring and this is my dream, to do something like this."

Asha: Yeah.

Vivek: "I'm keeping you in front of me." There was one person, just wrote two days back on Instagram.

Asha: They just messaged.

Vivek: She sent a message to her saying that-

Asha: "I want to be a human entrepreneur, I'm trying to do that. I'm so proud that you have succeeded too. I follow in your footsteps."

Vivek: And the fun side, my younger one did ask that time. Once those guys, like they were just packing up, "Are we gonna be famous?"

Syya Yasotornat: Well we hope so. We're gonna try to make it happen. So you know this is a great conversation we've had about Avacraft, and I am so jazzed and I was telling Erin, "If I cooked, I would absolutely buy everything you have."

Vivek: You should.

Syya Yasotornat: I probably should. I even let my boyfriend do all the cooking, but I mean this is a great story and I really appreciate the time that you've taken to meet with us. And you know, Vivek, with the reason we initially spoke was because of your own business, Beetleq and ... I think we're running out of time here for this context, but ... You know, you saw the challenges with Avacraft launching, and you realized with supply chain, with having to manage and monitor so much traffic going back and forth. Then you need the manufacturer and getting all that information and data together, just two seconds here. How did you apply what you were ... The pain points with your experience with Avacraft developed Beetleq?

Vivek: Sure, yeah. And I think this is another thing where we saw a problem that's happening, really, and then can something be done about it? Because one thing that, from TI and then more from Avacraft, I saw that the supply chain is such a complex concept for any company and almost every company and manufacturer faces it. And it is the lifeline of any business because you're either losing customers or you're losing business or you're losing your ... Now even B2B customers, that all happens.

Vivek: So looking at all these issues, I think the thought is, "What if we tell them something where the businesses get complete visibility into the supply chain logistics from anywhere in the world?" And when I say visibility is not only like simple GPS tracking, a lot of the businesses actually lost millions of dollars worldwide. In fact, pharma industry alone loses close to 30 million every year, worldwide.

Erin Smith: Wow.

Vivek: Just for logistic losses. Like $50 billion worth of cargo is lost, they're just not traceable. And if you look at this automotive manufacturing I was in, they lose every hour some tens of millions of dollars if the production stops. And this all happens because of this logistic that's starting somewhere, originating somewhere and reaching the destination.

Vivek: Now these losses amount not only to the immediate loss then, but it's a loyalty loss, customer loss. It has a ripple effect. So we actually, Beetleq, what we're doing is we have a patent that we're working through. It's an artificial intelligence that we'll build on the edge computing, we call it, which when used it not only helps monitor conditions but learns the conditions and even can predict any losses that can happen. And it can give the alert well in advance, so that you actually can go avoid those losses and get back the supply chain.

Syya Yasotornat: It's proactive.

Vivek: It's very proactive type of technology. So to give you an example, if it is breakage, lot of these electronic parts break and they just lose it. But this technology can tell you upfront that, "Hey, if the way," for example, "the truck is going, if it continues in the next six hours, it's gonna break." So they have immediate proactive actions to go stop it, fix it more.

Vivek: So now here, we're not telling you when the problems are already occurred, losses are occurred, but we are telling them upfront to the customer so that the losses can be prevented. So it's not only the loss prevention at that point, you can avoid losing customer loyalty, the sales and everything, right?

Vivek: There are instances we've talked to some of the prospecting lead customers where the shelf life of a product is just three days. But this avoidance can actually help them extend that by, let's say, one day. That's-

Syya Yasotornat: That's a lot of money.

Vivek: Avoidance of millions of dollars of loss.

Syya Yasotornat: Wow, so-

Vivek: That's Beetleq that we're doing.

Syya Yasotornat: So Beetleq is definitely going to be a topic in the future. We're really excited about it as well. So the way you think it is, you know, it's taking logistics into the AI world by edge computing with an IT device.

Vivek: Right.

Syya Yasotornat: Basically. So I use all those buzzwords, all-

Erin Smith: Hashtag, hashtag, hashtag. Have we covered it?

Syya Yasotornat: So Vivek, Asha, thank you so much for your time. Is there anything else that you'd like to say on behalf of ... Once we wrap things up here?

Asha: No. Thank you for having us here, it was great chatting with you both.

Vivek: It's really good. I mean we look at it like inspiring for ourselves. It's like flashback. It helps us keep going forward, let's say.

Erin Smith: Well to see how far you've come too. Sometimes you're so in the moment and then you look back, you're like, "Hey, I've done a lot."

Asha: It is, yes. Yes, actually-

Vivek: Times flies.

Asha: Times flies, yes.

Vivek: Thank you so much, we really appreciate it.

Syya Yasotornat: Yeah, thank you for being here.

Vivek: [crosstalk 00:58:13] business opportunity.

Syya Yasotornat: No, no worries at all. So, if anyone wants to check out Avacraft, you can find Avacraft on Amazon as well as Amazon ... Try this one more time, Avacraft.com, and it will have that in the show notes. And Beetleq we'll go into a little bit more detail next time around, but we'll put that up just as well, if you want to check what Vivek ... Because apparently Vivek is not doing enough, supporting and growing Avacraft, he has to start another company.

Erin Smith:  wasn't enough, he had to start his own.

Syya Yasotornat: They want to make their own amusement park.

Syya Yasotornat: So thank you very much everyone and I think that wraps up for us for another discussion on Innovation Calling.

Vivek: Thank you so much.

Erin Smith: Thank you.


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