BENGALURU: After finishing his engineering course at the Sampoorna group of institutions in Chennapatna, Natique Raza went on to build a mobile phone that today sells in the market at Rs 500. He calls it a “budget mobile phone”.
In 2014, he built his own company Tecoze that claims to sell the smallest smartcard phone that comes with built in features of the latest phones. If you were to get your hands on these phones, you would almost mistake it for a calculator. The cheapest phone on their list is Tecoze X6 which is a single Micro SIM slot phone that weights just 35 grams and 0.48 cm thick. His college chairman Dr BSM Naidu guided him through his research journey.
In 2016, Natique registered his firm as a private limited company that generates an annual turnover of Rs 50 lakh. Looking back, he realises how difficult the journey has been transforming his research project into a commercial enterprise. “I used to sit with Chinese spare phones, experimenting with its build,” he says. In order to cut costs, he imported materials from Hong Kong and China. “I couldn’t afford the prices in India. Even the taxes on these electronic goods and materials are high,” he says. Most of his orders come from Karnataka, Maharashtra and Andra Pradesh.
The original cost of manufacturing this phone is Rs 480. “The Rs 20 is my profit margin. My five childhood friends have joined me on the team, we split the profits,” he says. The product design was developed by Natique, who trained his engineering friends to help him with the assembly.
Interestingly Natique’s father, who owns a spice shop in RMC - Bandipalya, New Santhepet, did not believe at first that he had built a phone for less than Rs 500.
Hailing from a middle-class family, Natique’s father had been after him to find a job after his engineering course. At one point during his college, he could not even afford to buy books. “My parents just wanted me to stop with the reasearch madness that I had set off on, studying Chinese phones,” says Natique.
When he showed his dad the invention, his father rubbished it.
“He did not believe me. I then used the phone and gave him a call. Only when we spoke on the phone, did he realise what I had done,” he says.
After his phone found online orders through PayTm, Snapdeal, Amazon, Flipkart and Shopclues, Natique’s family realised the extent of his success. Within Karnataka, he sells through dealers and retailers. He has sold 2,500 pieces online and 2,000 through dealers and retailers. Tecoze currently has 9 different models and variants, priced between Rs 500 and Rs 4,500.
As of now, Tecoze does not have an investor, Natique has invested around Rs 35 lakh in his company. “We are looking for venture capitalists,” he says. Natique has also patented his product and is currently developing projects under automation, controllers and 7 D gaming.
His firm offers a one-year guarantee on the phones. “We replace the phone in case of complaints,” he says, estimating complaints to be 3% of sales.
He next wants to tie up with Hong Kong-based and Chinese companies to cut labour costs. One of the special features of the phone that he is proud of is that it can connect with another smartphone via bluetooth. Soon, the team also aims to launch LED TV. “This LED TV will be sold at 50% less price than the current market cost in the country,” he says.
You can reach out to Natique on email@example.com.