Interview with Amit Jaura, Co-founder - HEATBOXPublished Date: 2/26/2020
The interview was conducted with Amit Jaura, Co-founder - HEATBOX (https://youtu.be/ms2SK33d57U)
Amit Jaura is one of the co-founders of Heatbox. His background is in International Business and a recent graduate of Strategic Management at RSM, Erasmus University in Rotterdam. He came up with the idea of Heatbox over two years ago and his team has built-up everything they have accomplished thus far from scratch. He loves to help people and businesses by solving difficult problems.
Vishal Sapru (VS), Principal Consultant, Cognitio Research Inc. had an opportunity to conduct a Movers & Shakers interview with Amit Juara (AJ), Co-founder - HEATBOX.
VS: Can you provide our readers a brief overview of HEATBOX? The vision behind introducing the heated lunch box product and the role you see for the company in the market?
AJ: Our vision is ‘Freedom of Food’, where we want to enable people to enjoy a hot meal anywhere, anytime. No more dependencies when it comes to eating outside of home. We aim to solve three main problems: 1. the usage of microwaves (when you are able to use one in the first place) 2. Unhealthy takeout food 3. Expensive takeout food.
VS: What innovative/smart technology is being used and how safe is the product?
AJ: Other than our substitutes, our product uses steaming technology to heat up food. The electronics is completely separated from the food compartments and is safe for daily usage (will have a CE marking once we start shipping). The food compartments are also dishwasher safe.
VS: Please, describe the functionality of HEATBOX and its likely impact on the market? Who do you want to target with this product (schools, parents, students, businesses, restaurants, etc.)?
AJ: Our main target groups consist of -
1. Sports, being sports enthusiasts (training 4-5 times a week at minimum) having to take care of nutrition
2. To Go, being frequent travelers, commuters, truck drivers and more.
3. Urban, being students, professionals and the general market.
VS: Are there any other similar products in the market and if yes how different is HEATBOX from the products already available in the market?
AJ: There are, please find an overview on our page (table with substitutes). Our main UBR/USP is our steaming technology and the fact that our product is powered by a battery. Hence, our vision being Freedom of Food (truly anywhere, anytime).
VS: Introduction of new products/technology always comes with challenges either from the market, existing products, customer and the settling period of the product/technology itself. What are some of the likely challenges HEATBOX is expecting to face in the market and what strategy do you have in place to overcome it?
AJ: We believe there will be copycats of our product, which is almost inevitable and very difficult to protect yourself against. An entry barrier we have build is our patented sealing mechanism, which is a key component of our technology. Our number one priority and challenge is to create a great first product. As a startup, you are very vulnerable in terms of reputation and brand image. A disappointing first product can have a very negative effect on the future of our startup.
VS: What is your strategy in regards to offering best value to customers for the price, compared to similar offerings from competitors? if any? Also, what kind of customer feedback mechanism do you have in place to ensure that the product development and innovation matches market and customer needs?
AJ: Please see point 4 above and the overview on our Kickstarter / Indiegogo page. Crowdfunding on Kickstarter and Indiegogo is a feedback mechanism itself. It is our first customer base and we interact as a tight community. Constant feedback takes place prior to shipping and will continue once the first product are delivered.
VS: Could you elaborate on the acceptance or adoption of your product in the prototype stage as the product is in its commercialization stage? Also, do you foresee the acceptance of your product to have influence (trend setter) on the overall direction of the market?
AJ: We have our final models ready and we have already started the manufacturing process. We believe that there will be followers of our concept, as the current models on the market lack in crucial aspects (both performance and design).
VS: Continued innovation is the key to success for any company. How is the process of innovation managed at HEATBOX? And what do you want the company to accomplish in next 2 to 3 years and how will you define success for HEATBOX?
AJ: We are aiming for mass adoption. We consciously targeting a more premium segment for our starting phase, but are already working on future models and product diversification as well.
VS: What are your marketing and product positioning initiatives? Do you plan to form any strategic alliances and/or partnerships and will the focus be regional or global? How do you plan to build and strengthen the brand equity of your offering?
AJ: We value our brand image very much. In this stage, we are setting up partnerships with retailers and high-end electronics stores across the globe. We are judging our partners very strictly based on the match with our own brand values.
VS: To conclude - what do you think the future holds for your company and the product? Any other information you may want to share with our readers that may be important and we missed asking?
AJ: There are many growing trends (including health and veganism) that are making people aware of what they eat and proper nutrition. Trends that are likely to sustain growth in the future and are more reason for our product to exist. We started our crowdfunding campaign in November and reaching our funding goal within 24 hours and currently have raised over $115K in pre-orders alone. We believe we are on the right track and have a proven/validated concept, but have to be aware of the mentioned obstacles and threats.