We are publishing an interview of Mr. Karthik Bonda, Co-founder, Rang (a startup which is creating correction glasses for those affected with color blindness, effectively negating their disability).
Please let us know about the founders:
Mahesh J (Co-Founder) – He is currently pursuing his Ph.D in the department of Ocean Engineering at IIT Madras. He is a very talented Tech-guy. He has enormous amount of knowledge in various domains of Technology. He is also the Technical affairs secretary of our hostel.
Karthik Bonda (Co-founder) – I am currently in my first year in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at IIT Madras. I mostly take care of the non-technical aspects pertaining to our startup. I am a very enthusiastic person and I like to interact with people and establish new contacts. I firmly belive that – “A problem is an opportunity to find a solution.”
I was conducting a campaign in our hostel to centralise WiFi, for which I had to coordinate with the Technical Affairs Secretary (Mahesh). That was when we started interacting.
Mahesh himself was affected with Color Vision Deficiency and was already working towards developing a software by the time I met him. Eventually, we wanted to expand it to a larger domain and we started working on this startup
What is the problem you are trying to solve? Can you share with us any insights that led you to believe that this is a big enough problem?
- Color blindness is for life and no cure is available as of now. So fixing it at the root cause would take at least decades for mankind using tools such as gene editing.
- 1 out of 12 men and 1 out of 256 women are affected with color blindness. This amounts to about 318 million people worldwide, out of which 308 million are men.
- Those affected have very limited career options and are even barred from obtaining driving license in some countries.
There are some US-based companies which are offering similar product as that of ours, but it is extremely difficult for a person in India to avail them due to financial and travel constraints.
An article was published about our startup in Eenadu, a popular telugu daily. Following this, we received many calls from people who were actually suffering because of Color Vision Deficiency (Color Blindness). Some of them even burst into tears as they were unable to pursue careers of their choice.
Also, there were cases about suicide attempts when people realised that they were color blind and were rejected from various jobs.
We also gained some insights about the severity of the problem when we interacted with various Ophthalmologists and Optometrists
What is the uniqueness about your Startup?
- Fisrtly, we are trying to solve a problem that has not yet been addressed by the Indian society
- Secondly, the most important problem that we have come across while pursuing our startup is the aspect of awareness. People are not aware of the fact that they are affected with Color Vision Deficiency (Color Blindness). So, it is important for us to conduct awareness campaigns before entering into the market
- Thirdly, our startup has the potential to change the lives of those people who are affected with Color Vision Deficiency (Color Blindness), by providing them a gateway to new career opportunities
- Finally, our team exhibits a great amount of diversity, in terms of skills, knowledge and personality. Mahesh, Sai Prasad and Mohsin (these two were helping us) are pusuing their Ph.D; Shiva Ram (the Optometry student helping us) is purusing his M.Sc and I am pursuing my B.Tech first year !
What is the revenue model? What is the logic behind it? What is the model you are following – Free / Freemium / Premium etc. ? Explain your thought process.
Since our primary objective is to spread awareness about Color Vision Deficiency (Color Blindness) , our product will be available for free initially – since we also have to test it’s effectiveness.
Later, we will be adopting a premium model
Who are the consumers that you are targeting? How is this going to affect them?
In a broader perspective, we are targeting people who are affected with Color Vision Deficiency (Color Blindness) .
Our startup will add a new dimension to their lives. Color Vision Deficiency (Color Blindness) will no longer be a barrier to their career opportunities.
Also, by providing young school going children with our glasses, we are looking to cure this deficiency (this is still a theory)
What is the big picture of your startup? Will it lead to something bigger? If so, how?
> Our startup will provide a gateway for new opportunities for those affected with Color Vision Deficiency (Color Blindness) , which were earlier barred
> We will also be coming up with tools for modifying the screen resolution and make digital devices Color-blind friendly
> We are also looking at finding potential cure to Color Vision Deficiency (Color Blindness) by providing young school going children with our glasses (this is still a theory that has to be worked upon)
What is the success story of your startup in your own words?
Since most of the people were not aware of what Color Blindness even meant, there was a point of time when we wanted to stop pursuing this, but it was due to the motivation provided by iB Hubs and Mr. Rangarajan Sriraman that pushed us to pursue this startup.
Also, the aspect of awareness was a major pivot in our startup. That happened when we realised that the most important problem lies with awareness.
Finally, “It is the vision that we should guide us through our journey, but not the product.”
Any other information about your startup that you would like to share with us.
We have thought of that our MVP would actually be correction glasses itself. Since ours is a research based startup, it would require a lot of time to come up with our MVP. Our MVP is currently on paper and we are in talks with a few Ophthalmologists and Optometrists to bring it into reality. We are expecting to bring out our MVP by next month.