After the industrial revolution broke out of England in the 18th century, spawning industries and factories that spewed forth physical products by the millions, bringing down the cost of multiple commodities in the space of a few decades, the objective was to produce as many products as possible, with scarce focus if any, on product customization or design, because problems like availability of raw material or labour unions were more important. The new products arriving from factories were like toys dispersed among an excited public on account of their sheer novelty. Hence, design elements didn’t need to be thought about. The market was too immature.
The end of the second world war created an economic boom that defined the tenets of consumerism. This was the era of mass advertising led by the increased proliferation of television in people’s lives, while factory lines worked overtime to make their processes even more efficient and their counterparts in laboratories worked on new materials, computer science, electronics and telecommunication applications to converge multiple disciplines and create more novel products and services.
There have never been more products (offline or online) and services in the world. Now more than ever, it is pertinent that designers, product managers, marketers and software developers work in tandem to create stellar products that resonate with their target audiences. The agency landscape changed because the internet democratized the media ecosystem. The market is vast, populated by incumbent advertising agencies and start-ups with an increased grasp of the convergence of so many skills.
Below are the excerpts from our interview with Brucira, a product design start-up that is changing how products are conceptualized, designed and led to market.
Give a brief info about your startup?
Brucira is a product design startup helping Indian and global businesses find business solutions through intelligent design.
We are a team of passionate UX/UI designers, product managers, full stack developers and communication artists. 60% of our team is from a strong product background and hence we understand why and how design and product management need to align and solve challenges together.
What made you start your startup and what problem does it solve?
We started as a combination of Product design and illustrations and found ways how we can merge these two different domains and create beautiful experiences for the users. Most of the agencies in India currently focus on quantity over quality. Being from product background we understand the involvement required of a designer at each level of product development. We rely mostly on data whenever we do a revamp and take complete ownership of the project with a focus on the business outcome. This lacks in majority of the agencies currently and this is where the real value lies.
Tell us about yourself, your previous jobs/ventures? What were you doing before this startup?
I’m a 2015 batch graduate from JJ Institute of Applied Arts. Design has been a passion and obsession as well. After college, I joined Housing.com as illustrator and saw how the whole game actually works.
Then I joined an Ad agency called Ting where I worked for around 2 years. The AD agency experience meant working on new ideas every day and collaboration with an outside team, understanding their requirements, vision and where they are coming from. Somewhere I feel that the tough timelines prepared me for the role I am playing at Brucira now.
Right before Brucira, I worked at Turtlemint as a UX/UI Designer. I was one of the early members to join the team and worked closely with the Co-founders. The company was focused on consumer experience and this value has remained with me.
Where is your startup based out of? Why do you think that is the best place for you?
We are based out of Mumbai, the commercial capital of India, this city is where business happens and brands are created every day. Before startup was even a word, this city saw strong individuals who worked on big ideas.
The energy in this city is contagious and keeps inspiring us. Also country’s some of the best art schools are in Mumbai, and this helps us in finding the right talent.
We are exploring other options to expand in other Indian cities. In the next quarter, we will be setting up a team in Bangalore since a good majority of our Indian product client base mainly the tech startups are operating from Bangalore.
As a startup founder, what are you paranoid about? What keeps you awake at night?
Customer satisfaction is something that keeps us awake at night. We want to be sure that every customer is delighted with the outcome. When a contract is entered, we become a part of the client businesses.Getting good work done and making a business out of it is never a matter of concern.
Apart from customer satisfaction our other focus area is work satisfaction of our team members. As I mentioned, it is a team of passionate individuals. If required my Co-founder and I do not mind, taking up the most frustrating work by ourselves so that the team can focus on quality things and grow.
Who are your competitors and how are you better than them?
There are design agencies that have been there as long as since last 2-3 decades, especially in Mumbai. However we do not see any parallel competition in India, since we are a product first design company that follows project management agile methodology.
The scope of Design in India is changing, infact the most of UX & UI branch of design developed only in the last 5 years and we get the advantage of being early players in the space.
The biggest advantage we have is that we are young and trusted. While we do learn from the old conventions of design, we do not restrict ourselves. We focus on keeping our minds open and explore possibilities of great user experience and brand presence creation. We think fresh and take risks.
How hard is it to have a work-life balance as a startup founder and how do you manage it?
Earlier me and my co-founder used to think on this a lot about how to balance our work and social life but eventually we realised that if we are enjoying our work it is no longer a matter of maintaining balance. There is a beauty in building something and right now we are enjoying this beautiful process. The team is young, we work hard and celebrate together. One major difference is however that we are not after to shut our minds post office hours. You are constantly thinking, raising the startup child in your head.
Have you raised funding? If yes, then we would like to know the details. If no then please tell us if you are looking to raise.
No we are fully bootstrapped. The business has been self-sustaining and growth has been there a month on month. There have been interactions where our present clients showed interest in investing but at this point of time, we want to remain bootstrapped. Being bootstrapped allows you to learn the things in a hard way, and experiment without limitations which is very important for us to grow as an early-stage startup.
What’s the biggest misconception people have about you? Why do they have that? What’s the reality?
The biggest misconception people have is that we are an illustration company despite the fact that most of the business comes from product design. This is because we can’t upload all our product designs on portfolio websites leaving our profile too much illustration intensive.
Since making the design as a business-impacting function was our focus, each project is alloted a product manager and user testing specialist who ensures that the ownership of business outcome is owned by Brucira.
What gets you excited about this company?
The possibilities of design keeps us excited. We are into what we are doing. The internal team is amazing and so are the client teams. We are solving challenges, there comes chaos at times, but when we come out with quality work as a team, every effort seems worth.
So far Brucira hasn’t invested a single rupee on any marketing neither do we have any sales team. All our clients/ leads are inbound and they come to us via some strong references only. Despite being such a young company, we have clients like Google, Volkswagen finance services, DHL India , Titan Eyeplus, Hotstar, Fractal analytics, Ithaka, Kyte.ai etc in one year.
Tell us how a day in your life looks like? Your schedule for a day right from the time you get up till you hit the bed at night.
my dog Milo, is my wake up alarm who gets me up at 6:00am sharp religiously. After being pampered, he leaves the bed to play with his toys and my routine starts. For a good day ahead, I need to have good headspace. The night before, I always pen down the things I am going to focus on the next day. I take a look at the whiteboard and then head out for jog with Milo. Music while running gives me peace, keeps me light-headed.
Our work starts at 9 am and once the team settles down, we do a team standup, post which the team working on individual projects do their own round of discussion.
The day goes on, endless scribbling, team huddles, skype calls, client offices, airport lobbies, caffeine…
Around 6:00 pm we wrap up after a quick 15 min session on work status and plan of action for the following day. On my way back home, at times I try to stop by Powai Lake, the calm water and lush greenery soothe the mind.
Tell us about your team and how did you meet each other?
We are two co-founders. Harsh, who is a Mechanical Engineering graduate from IIT Roorkee handles the product development part for the company and client interactions, whereas I handle the creative part of it and the operations. Harsh worked as a senior UI/UX Designer at Housing.com and worked on their platform development. I met Harsh while he was an intern at Housing.com in 2015. We worked on a few projects together and our work style and passion for design was aligned. We both always had the thought of developing a design team and when we discussed it, we knew the next steps. and touchwood we have an amazing team of passionate designers.
Know a great startup story or want to share your own? Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get back to you. For more updates follow Bangalore Insider on Facebook.